While you might not drink wine with every meal (or maybe you do!), there are times when a glass or two hits the spot, even if the menu includes chicken fingers. No matter how low-key the fare, wine advice from an expert brings it up a notch. With mac and cheese on the menu recently, I got in touch with one of my favorite wine pros for a recommendation.
Inspired by this post on Mom.me, I talked to Howard Jarrett of Terra, who holds a Wine Specialist Certification from the Society of Wine Educators. Terra, one of our local favorites, is owned by Chef Mike Davis, a genius with seasonal ingredients. His sophisticated menu always has a down-home, comfort food element, so Terra's wine guy seemed like the perfect person to ask about my planned feast. Here's what Howard had to say, with a bit of humor, of course:
Traditionally Boone's Farm is the way to go. Look for the vintage that says Tuesday, 3 p.m. Actually, the traditional pairing would be a red burgundy. We would suggest the 2010 Pierre Andre Vieilles Vinges Reserve, an "everyday" bottle.
For a more formal Mac and Cheese, the 1999 Remoissenet Beaune-Marconnets 1er Cru from Cote d'Or will surely turn heads. But this would have to be a once a year Mac and Cheese.
Because you lean towards white wines, I could recommend the 2011 Brancott from Marlborough. The crispness of the New Zealand style would play off of the creaminess of the mac and cheese.
The pairing was delightful, though I must admit to cracking open that bottle, a very reasonable $10.99, before the meal made it to the table. Chef Mike Davis recommended a few more pairings.
- Fried chicken: Cru Beaujolais, a Morgon from Marcel Lapierre, is light, fruity and goes well with everything. Made from Gamay, it is something my wife Taje and I drink at home all the time, one of my favorites.
- Fish sticks: Haven't had a fish stick since '83, but I would imagine an un-oaked Chardonnay from NoCo made by the guys from Lioco in Cali, one of our favorite producers here at Terra.
- Breakfast for dinner: Mimosas, of course!
- Chili and cornbread: I like my chili spicy, so I would go with a dry Riesling like Schloss Gobelsburg "Gobelsburger" from Austria. The bright acidity would cut the spice and stand up to the chili. A fruity Riesling would not work here, so stick to dry, either Austrian or one from Alsace.
Do you pair wines with comfort foods or just go straight for beer? Or do you prefer a more traditional beverage, like milk? Let us know if you've discovered any great pairings with some of your family favorites!
This post was requested by Angela! for Reader Request Week 2013.
(Images: Anne Postic)