When it comes to wine-food pairing, there are tried & true tests that instinctively work together. Sav Blanc & seafood, Bordeaux & roast lamb, Pinot Noir & venison. Sometimes though it's fun to step off the beaten track & try something new.
The first "rule" of wine-food pairing is to try & match the weight of the wine & the dish. You don't want to swamp a delicate wine with a massive dish (and visa versa). Acidity & Tannins need to be considered- acidic wines tend to pair well with dishes with a fair bit of fat including butter and cream while big tannins need some protein to chew on. Does the colour matter so much? After a successful pairing of Lamb and Chardonnay recently, I wanted to challenge myself with another "White Meets Red."
Beef tenderloin (eye fillet) is arguably the most delicate and tender cut of beef, less suited to a stonking great Shiraz compared to a lighter wine. In this case I was attempting a balsamic-pomegranate reduction. What to pair with something with sweetness, texture and tanginess... how about Gewurztraminer? Crazy right?
The beef was well aged, seasoned very basically with salt & pepper, seared then oven roasted to medium-rare. The reduction starts with finely chopped shallots & butter, a cup of balsamic vinegar and two (ok three) tablespoons of brown sugar, with a handful of fresh pomegranate seeds... slowly bubbled down to resemble a thick jus. Served together with charred brussel sprouts & garlic.
The wine - my favourite Gewurz comes from Alsace - on France's eastern border with Germany. One of our own imports, the Dopff & Irion 'Les Sorcieres' (the Witches), is off dry in sweetness, but has a rich fat texture, and a balance of fresh aromatics, exotic spices and luscious tropical fruits. Did it work? Absolutely! I wouldn't say that I knocked it out of the park on this one but I'd give it a solid 7.5/10. The palate weight was paired well, the sweetness of the wine worked well with the piquant pomegranate, in hindsight some crisp buttered beans might have worked better than the bitterness from the charred sprouts but very enjoable as a pair.
Have any favourite white meets red crossovers? Drop me a line or comment below.
(ok my photography skills are not as good as my kitchen talents... but rest assured it looked prettier on the plate than this).