Tag Archives: pairing food with wine

Grape of the Week: Syrah/Shiraz


Syrah, UC Davis

Since we made a virtual visit to the Rhône last week, with Viognier, we may as well stay in the neighborhood and check out the most important red grape in the region, Syrah, AKA Shiraz.

What to expect
How about a little intensity?  Expect deep, rich, concentrated flavors – nearly black in color – with spice and tannin to spare! The best will still show beautifully 20 years down the road.

Where Pinot Noir is the seductive “gateway” red, Syrah is for the convicted red-wine lover. The exception is the high production/low-end fruity, somewhat sweet versions that come from Australia. But just as White Zin isn’t representative of the best of California’s Zinfandel, these big-box store bargains don’t tell the whole story for Australia. They also produce some magnificent examples! Penfold’s Grange, for instance.

Of course, Shiraz is the name they use for Syrah in Australia. And, don’t let them hear you say “Shih-RAHZ!” They’re quite definite that it’s pronounced “Shih-RAZZ.” Continue reading


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Red with Meat, White with Fish?

Barbara wrote in saying she knows the old rules about red wine with meat and white with fish have been thrown out. But then, what should she go by? This two-minute video explores some options: 

I promised to flesh out the info in the video here on my blog. Here are a few points I didn’t have time to get to:

Flavor matching: This can be fun! If you’re serving a mushroom terrine, try serving it wine a wine that also has earthy flavors like Pinot Noir or Merlot. Or match the citrusy, herbaceous flavors of ceviche “cooked” in lime juice and served with tomato & cilantro salsa with the citrusy, grassy flavors of a Sauvignon Blanc.

I know I already said this in the video, but I want to drive home the fact that the preparation is often more important than the particular sort of protein in the dish. The cooking method, such as grilling vs. poaching, marinades and sauces can be better points of reference when you choose the wine than the meat, fish or chicken.  

Regarding red wine with meat: As mentioned before, matching big flavors makes sense and I’ll add that the marbling in red meats has a softening effect on the tannins in the wine. It’s just another reason that most of us love red wine with our steak. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Recipe: Duck Breast with Porcini Mushrooms and Pink Pepper Sauce

How about a quick, easy and delicious recipe to pair with Cabernet Sauvignon? This one’s courtesy of Chef Michel Cornu of Raymond Vineyards here in the Napa Valley. Bon appetit! 

Long Island Duck Breast with Porcini Mushrooms and Pink Pepper Sauce

Cornu: “The wine’s softness, roundness and balance make it a good match for Raymond’s Generations Cab. It’s good with the sweetness and gaminess of the duck,” Another cab might be too big. It needs to be a soft cab with good acidity.”

Send me your wine question

For a free email subscription go to home page, right column

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Recipe & Pairing: Rosemary-Scented Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Potatoes, Spring Onions and Stone Fruits


photo courtesy of Sherry Page

Enjoy this delicious and easy to make recipe for Rosemary-Scented Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Potatoes, Spring Onions and Stone Fruits from Sherry Page of Culinary Getaways. As Sherry says, “A meal in a baking dish!”  

Sherry: “We love this dish in the summertime when the stone fruits are ripe.  It is a nice blend of sweet and savory.  We serve it with either a fruity Chiarello Family Giana (Zinfandel) or with a spicy Hill Family Syrah.  The dish brings out the stone fruit, berry and spice notes in these delicious wines.”

Pairing tip: If you feel like having a chilled wine with a pork dish this time of year, the natural sweetness of pork makes it a good partner for fruit-driven wines such as Viognier, Riesling or a dry or off-dry rosé.

About Sherry: My good friend, Sherry Page, has been cooking since age five and has vivid memories of standing on a big, heavy chair at her Grandma’s stove, stirring away!

She has, since, deepened and polished the cooking skills she gained as a child by taking cooking classes all over the world, including Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons near Oxford, Le Cordon Bleu in London, and culinary weeks with Patricia Wells in both Paris and Provence. She has also taken classes in Japan and Italy and has completed a number of professional wine classes at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, Napa Valley.

Her day job? She’s the owner and very gracious host of Culinary Getaways, a travel company that focuses on introducing her guests to the riches of the Napa Valley, Paris, Provence and Tuscany through unique, carefully-crafted, food and wine experiences. 

I had the pleasure of going on her Provence getaway a few years ago, so I can attest, first hand, that she’s the hostess with the mostest! She makes it a point to know the special secrets that each region has to offer and the getaway is filled with exquisite tastings, intimate meals, really fun cooking classes and lots of laughter.

Sherry has generously agreed to share a special recipe and wine pairing with us from time to time. Enjoy, and bon appétit! Learn more about Sherry

For a free, email subscription go to home page, right column 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Need Help Pairing Food with Wine?

For those who love wine and love food, but aren’t so sure how to put them together, this video tells you about a couple of great books with great advice by Jill Silverman Hough! Cheers! 

For a free email subscription go to home page, right column

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

What is Food Friendly Wine?


Question from Bill: What do you mean when you say that the wine is food friendly?

Reply: Hi, Bill. Thanks for writing. I know I use that phrase quite a bit. First, let me say that all wines are inherently food friendly because of their basic structure. High acid beverages – tart or crisp beverages that aren’t sugary – have a cleansing effect that makes them very food friendly. And, wine is higher in acid than just about any food you can imagine unless you like to snack on fresh lemons. So the thing not to do is worry about this. Besides – preferences are personal!

White wines are generally higher in acid than reds so they’re extremely versatile – it’s really hard to go wrong. So, yes, that means that if you prefer a glass of Pinot Grigio with your short ribs, go for it. Tastes fine, right? The wine still tastes like the wine and the food still tastes the same when you put them together. But, not so satisfying? The thing is, that some foods, like slow-cooked red meats, have so much flavor that, while the crisp white wine isn’t a miss-match it, somehow, doesn’t do the trick. Many of us prefer a wine of ample body to stand up to those substantial flavors and that usually means red wine. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized