Tournedo Burgers with Pizzaiola Butter
Nothing is better than a burger and a beer, but that's no reason that it shouldn't be a great pairing. If you want to make things interesting, try a sour beer. Sour beers are a historic style of beer and they have a tart, acidic flavor which usually comes from the brewers using native yeast for fermentation instead of a purchased one. These beers are great with a variety of cheeses, but I also love them with charcuterie and hamburgers. These are high-octane, full-flavored intense beers, but they are also incredibly delicious, unique and a versatile pairing with a variety of foods, especially if they are rich foods. Many American craft brewers are experimenting with this style, but I still love one of the originals, Rodenbach from Belgium.
Joe Campanale's Perfect Pairings
March 07, 2013
Tournedo Burgers with Pizzaiola Butter
March 01, 2013
Egg Tagliatelle with Ham and Peas
When you visit the beautiful city of Bologna, you can find a plate of egg tagliatelle on every corner. In this case, I like to drink the local wine that is made to go with that dish; the bubbly red Lambrusco. Lambrusco has ancient origins and had a spike in popularity in the '70s and '80s before falling out of flavor, but today it makes some of the tastiest, most food-friendly and excellent valued wines in the world. I'd go with one of the smaller producers like Lini 910, Cleto Chiarli, or Medici Ermete, which can all be found for around $15.
February 28, 2013
10-Flavor Double Dipped Buttermilk Fried Chicken
A secret of the sommeliers, nothing goes better with fried chicken than champagne. There is something about the way the bubbles clean off the grease from your palate and make you want to take another bite and the flavors all work so well together. But champagne can be really pricy, so I like to look toward other regions such as Cremant de Bourgogne, Cremant d'Alsace in France and even Cava in Spain. One of my favorite Cava producers, Raventós, recently made the dramatic step to leave the Cava appellation since he was unhappy with the general standard. His wines are still truly great and offer incredible values. I'd check out the Raventós "de Nit" Rose for less than $20; it has a lot of the character and quality of champagne, since it is made in the same method, but for half the price!
February 22, 2013
Reuben-Style Casserole with Pastrami Meatballs, Sauerkraut and Barley
The Reuben is one of my favorite sandwiches – one I usually eat with a Dr. Brown’s cream soda! But Rachael's dish is so flavorful and hearty, so you have a few options. If going with wine, an aromatic wine like a Gewürztraminer would be a great choice. It’s a northern Italian grape with a German sounding name. It’s full of exotic spice flavors that will pair well with the sauerkraut component and all the spices. Try the J. Hofstatter Gewürztraminer or something from New York State like Dr. Konstantin Frank (about $11). Beer is an excellent choice as well. I'd go with something a little bit darker, but not too heavy, such as the Sixpoint Righteous Rye.
February 21, 2013
Meaty Baked Ziti
I'd normally go with an Italian Sangiovese here because tomato sauce and Sangiovese is such a great combo, but I've decided to take a slight turn to America. Zinfandel is such a versatile grape because it is soft, juicy and not too dry, so it pairs with a lot of things. It is also a wine grape that is distinctly American! (Even though in Croatia and Italy they grow its cousins.) I've recently fallen in love with the Antic Zinfandel, which we have on our list at L'Apicio. It is made by the winemaker, Chris Brockway, who I think is one of the best winemakers in the states right now and has a really good value, less than $20 retail. Unlike some other Zinfandels, which can be a bit too ripe and alcoholic. (The grape bunches don't ripen evenly, so many producers pick when they’re overripe to make sure all the berries are perfect.) This one maintains freshness that will keep you coming back for more. Another bite of ziti, another sip of Zin. Zit, Zin!
February 18, 2013
Penne with Pistachio-Mint Pesto
A lot of folks think that it’s impossible to pair wine with asparagus and artichokes. I'll admit, artichokes can be difficult; they contain a compound called cynarin (Cynar, by the way, is an artichoke-based Italian aperitif that is delicious!) that alters the taste buds, but asparagus is completely doable! This dish reminds me of the Italian Riviera, so I would go with a coastal wine like Laura Aschero Pigato or Sartarelli Verdicchio. If those are too challenging to find, try a Grüner Veltliner. Grüner is an Austrian grape that has vegetal, fresh snap pea-like aromas and is generally a great value. I love Berger which is 1 liter for about $14.
February 15, 2013
This meaty, beefy, hearty spaghetti needs a sturdy wine. Put away your Pinot Noir! It’s time to take out your rich, full reds – especially a good red from California or Australia where they tend to use American oak. American oak has distinct notes of vanilla and coconut which would be great with all of the tasty, smoky, warming spices. I absolutely love the Bonny Doon Vineyard wines; while not as ripe or as oaky as some other New World wines, which are good options as well. They are incredibly balanced and lively. For this dish, check out the Bonny Doon Syrah "Le Pousseur" (about $20).
February 06, 2013
10-Shallot Spaghetti with Kale
"In this show, I helped Rachael and Sunny open a bottle of sparkling wine. They did great - I bet they've done it before! One point I wanted to make, but totally forgot about, is how great sparkling wine pairs with food! It’s not just for aperitifs anymore! Sparkling wine is one of the most versatile food pairing wines - it serves to cleanse the palate after you eat something rich. It’s fun, festive and usually has a good amount of acidity which you know I like. The one time I'd stay away from sparkling wine is with particularly spicy food. I've found that it increases the heat. In this case I'd try a Rosé Sparkling. One of my favorites is the Scarpetta Brut Rose NV made by Bobby Stuckey and chef Lachlan McPherson from Frasca Restaurant in Boulder, Colorado." - Joe Campanale
February 05, 2013
Chicken and Broccolini Shepherd’s Pie
"Scotch Whisky! I know it sounds crazy to drink a Scotch with dinner but it would be perfect with this dish. On top of the malty and woody flavors you find in Bourbon, Scotch has an earthiness to it - a little bit of a vegetal character. Think of Bourbon (American) vs. Scotch (from Scotland) about the same way as American wine vs. European. The American version is stronger, more bold and in your face. The European version is lighter, more subtle, more earthy and more connected to where it comes from. Though more subtle than American bourbon, it is still quite strong and will not get lost in the flavors of Rachael's Shepherd’s Pie. In this case I'd choose something from the area of Scotland known as Islay, which is known for more intensely vegetal drinks to complement the herbs and broccolini. Go for the Bruichladdich Laddie 10 year - it is incredibly complex and not as herbaceous as some others in the area, but it's one of my favorites!" - Joe Campanale
January 30, 2013
Spanish Stewed Chicken Thighs
"What grows together goes together!" I'd choose a Spanish wine, like a juicy/spicy Mencia from the Bierzo region, like Palacios "pétalos." Another good option would be to do a rosé. The Crios Malbec Rosé from Argentina (about $14) has enough flavor that it’s not overpowered by the strong flavors of the dish, but it will also cool down some of the heat from the chilies.
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