Chicken Club Cutlet Stacks
Few things are as good as a sandwich with chips and a soda. There's something about the way the salty chips and meaty sandwich are washed away by the soda and your mouth is refreshed and ready to take another bite. Rachael's Chicken Club Stacks are grown-up sandwiches and they deserve a grown-up soda. My choice is Lambrusco! Lambrusco is like grape soda for grown-ups. It is made from the dark Lambrusco grapes from Emilia-Romagna and has dark berried flavors and sometimes, dry earthiness as well (if it’s a good one). That plus a light fizz means that this is a gulpable wine meant not for sipping! There are an increasing number of good Lambruschi available (Lini, Luciano Saetti just to name a few), but I recently enjoyed the Medici Ermete Lambrusco and can still taste it. Even better, you can get the very best examples of these wines for under $25, with really fine Lambruscos in the $15-$20 range.
Joe Campanale's Perfect Pairings
April 10, 2013
Chicken Club Cutlet Stacks
April 09, 2013
Chicken Paillards with Arugula Salad
For this dish, you need a hearty white wine to deal with the intensely peppery flavor of the arugula and the pungent Dijon mustard, but one that still has freshness and is not overripe. It can be challenging to find wines that are full-bodied because they usually have a higher alcohol content, but there are a few places where you can have that kind of balance, like in the Godello grape from Spain or Timorasso from Piedmont, Italy. A wine that we pour on our “by the glass” list at L'Apicio, which has the perfect balance of richness and freshness, is from one of my favorite winemakers: Abe Schoener of the Scholium Project. His wine, Naucratis from the rare Verdelho grape, would be a perfect pairing! I don't know anyone else growing those grapes in the U.S. and have never met a more interesting winemaker.
To read more on Abe and his wines check out this article by Robert Draper.
April 05, 2013
Spaghetti with Artichokes and Tuna
Wow, is this a delicious dish, but one that can be especially challenging to pair because of the artichoke, which contains an acid called cynarin. Cynarin inhibits some tastes buds and makes water and wine taste a little sweet. The types of wines I usually try to pair with artichokes are very dry high acid whites or sparkling wines which, according to me, pair with anything. Here the tuna makes things a bit more complicated because tuna is a meaty fish, especially in flavor. It is closer to a lean steak than cod. For instance, the wines that pair with these things don't coincide. Here's the lesson: Don't overthink it. For a pairing like this, just choose a wine you like. I'd probably stay away from the highest alcohol, oakiest wines (but then again, I stay away from those all the time anyway) and choose something more middle of the road, like a Godello from Spain or a soft Northern Italian red. One good option would be Jean-Paul Brun Beaujolais "L'ancien" served chilled (about $18).
April 01, 2013
Lemon & Rosemary Chicken with Spring Onions, Rice Pilaf with Artichokes & Pine Nuts
I love a light, juicy red wine with roast chicken. Beaujolais or Pinot Noir comes to mind as great pairing options. However, with this recipe we have lots of delicious green elements, such as the spring onions, artichokes and rosemary. I'd still stick with a red wine here, but would try one that goes more towards the herbaceous flavors to complement the set of the chicken. My choice here would be a Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley. Cabernet Franc grows in a few places around the world, but it is at its very best in the Loire river valley of France. Within the Loire Valley, the appellations (or specific places) found are Anjou, Chinon, Bourgueil and Saumur-Champigny. When Cabernet Franc is grown in the Loire, it is medium-bodied, aromatic, earthy and can have great herby flavors; it is an ideal food wine. Best of all, it represents one of the great wine values in the world; most examples are under $20 for truly unique, special and delicious wines. A good option would be Catherine & Pierre Breton's Bourgueil "Trinch" 2011 for about $18.
March 28, 2013
Easy Boneless Roast Lamb with Roasted Potatoes and Tomatoes
I'm going to go with another classic pairing here. Lamb and Syrah were made so that they can make each other taste better. Lamb has a little gaminess and Syrah can be ripe and fruit-forward when from the New World (America, Australia) or dry and earthy when from Europe (mostly the Rhone Valley in France). You can go either way; choose a New World wine and you’ll tamper down some of the earthy quality of the meat with the ripe fruit or choose an Old World Syrah to bring out those savory, gamey flavors. For a New World Syrah, I love Copain Syrah "Tous Ensemble" or Wind Gap. In the Old World, try Chave Cotes du Rhone "Mon Coeur", a rare Cotes du Rhone made from a great producer and mostly from Syrah.
March 27, 2013
Banh Mi Dog
There is nothing better than a beer and a hot dog! But for these Asian-influenced dogs, I would choose my favorite beer out of Japan, Hitachino Nest White Ale. It is a combo of a Belgian Witte (white beer) and a Japanese Ale and comes together to make a delicious, refreshing beer. In the Belgian-style, it is lightly spiced with lemon zest, coriander and clove, the perfect thing to complement the hot dogs; all 3 of them!
March 20, 2013
Smoky Tex-Mex Sloppy Josés
This recipe is a smoky, sloppy, tasty take on the sloppy Joe and I just don't feel right pairing it with a wine. A Negro Especial would be especially good. It’s light and crisp and cleans up your palate after all the beefy goodness. Below is a great recipe to go with one of my favorite cocktails. We serve the Sandia del Fuego at Anfora – it’s smoky, spicy (if you choose to infuse the watermelon) and has just the right amount of sweetness.
Sandia del Fuego
3-5 cubes of the infused watermelon (infusion is optional)
1 3/4 oz blanco tequila
3/4 oz lime juice
1/2 oz agave
In a mixing glass, add watermelon, tequila, lime and agave. Add ice. Shake very hard. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
To infuse watermelon, add cubed watermelon to an airtight container. Fill with tequila and 6 chili peppers. Cover. Strain off in 24 hours or to taste.
March 19, 2013
Beef Stew with Bacon and Butternut Squash
This dish screams for a Pinot Noir! But I wouldn't go with a French Pinot Noir, which tends to be more delicate and earthy; I'd do something a bit riper from America. The trick here is to find a Pinot that is a bit riper but still has the balance and elegance that we love in Pinot. A few of my favorite producers that accomplish this are Hirsch, Sandhi, Ceritas, Chanin, Tyler, Peay and Au Bon Climat. They all make beautiful, compelling wine from the cooler areas of California, which are balanced and aromatic. One producer that makes wine in this style, but at a very reasonable price is Lioco. I love their wines – we’ve always served them at L'Apicio and their Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is an excellent example of this style. For something a bit fuller, check out the Lioco Indica, which is mostly Carignan (a Southern French grape most often used in blends) from very old vines and has a bit extra spiciness and body.
March 15, 2013
Corned Beef Melts with Sweet & Sour Onions & Wilted Cabbage
This dish has acid, fat, a touch of sweetness and a lot of tasty flavors! For me, all roads point to a wine that is flavorful, but has enough crispness to tame the corned beef and a touch of sweetness to balance the onions. The winner is...Riesling! Riesling hits on all of those points. It is an aromatic grape, has lots of acidity and a bit of sweetness, depending on the brand. A dry Riesling could definitely work here and you'd find a bunch of great examples in Alsace, France and Austria, where they prefer the drier styles. However here I'd like a touch of sweetness since we do have the sweetness from the onions. A classic example of a German off-dry Riesling is the Dr. Loosen Riesling 2011 (for about $12). It is fresh, crisp and aromatic with some sweetness. I also recently had the Montinore Estate "Almost Dry" Riesling from Oregon and loved it. That organic estate is making beautiful wines at reasonable prices.
March 08, 2013
I would definitely pair this with a spicy Greek red wine. In Greece, especially central Greece, they eat a ton of lamb and drink their local reds. As I always say, what grows together, goes together! Also, Greek wines represent a high amount of value and a truly unique tasting experience. One of my favorite Greek reds is a local grape called Agiorgitiko, which can be full-bodied, but soft and juicy. Some producers make these into great, very age-worthy wines, but I love the fresh, unoaked or lightly-oaked ones. Skouras makes a great version, called "St. George," which is from the top growing area of Nemea, but still is approachably priced at under $20.
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