Mar 16, 2011 10:55 AM
Saint Patrick's Day - Pairing Wine with Corned Beef and Cabbage.
Saint Patty's Day approaches: What wines, you may ask, go best with Irish fare? Assuming a good Single Malt Scotch from Isle with a Guinness back is out of the question, you still have options. Corned beef is notoriously salty, boiled dishes are typically mild (don't say bland), and cabbage - well, it's not the easiest vegetable to pair with wine. That said; here are some options that should please palate and guest alike.
Remember this: salty food and Champagne. Champagne's crisp acidity, along with its classic toasty and fresh-bread aromas, make it a beautiful compliment to salted dishes - think coarse salt on sourdough bread. Try a bottle with pommes frites (French fries) or with pommes gaufrettes (potato chips) to prove this to your self.
Sauvignon Blanc is another white wine option. When sourced from a cooler climate - the Loire Valley of France, for instance - Sauvignon Blanc has a delicate fruitiness that won't over power the subtle flavors of boiled meat. Grassy, herbaceous notes will also compliment the bittersweet taste of stewed cabbage. Look to Sancerre from the Loire Valley or white Bordeaux to fill this roll.
For red wines, try a light to medium bodied, high-acid wine from the Old World. While many will work (Grand Cru Beaujolais, Italian Dolcetto, Austrian Blaufrankisch, etc.), I enjoy a nice Bierzo from Northwestern Spain. Made primarily from the Mencia grape, and described by some as the Burgundy of Spain, the wines of Bierzo show ripe fruit with moderate tannins, and a decidedly earthy, mineral component. Expressive in their restraint, the wines of Bierzo are often-overlooked, yet high-value wines, whose balanced complexity compliments dishes of delicate flavor without stealing the show.
Descendientes de J. Palacios is a good producer to know when buying Bierzo.
To try these pairings, consult your favorite wine store and put your apron on early, or come to the Cliffhouse at Pikes Peaks and let us do the work for you. Beir bua agus beannacht! (Best Wishes!)