To some (us especially), wine is the sauce to our food. The proper wine with the proper food enhances the flavors of both. So, here’s a simple guide to matching food to some of the key grapes in Colorado.
When touched with balanced oak, Chardonnay melts with simple seafood cooked in either butter or oil. The “butter” feel of the oak that gives the wine a medium body is fun to play with in a variety of other applications such as soft cheeses and poultry.
Paul says: Try the Sunnyside white (2/3 Chardonnay blend available to wine club members) with Rocky Mountain trout or homemade mac and cheese, depending on how you're feeling that night.
Rich and aromatic, Colorado Pinot Gris is a beautiful and floral summer wine. This is your wine to pair with salads filled with citrus flavors and, of course, a cheese plate with a variety of options on it.
Paul says: Try Bella Risa (often 100 percent Pinot Gris) with chicken fajitas.
On the drier side of this wine's spectrum, try cheeses such as havarti. If there's a bit of sweet in the Riesling go for the “clichéd’ pairings with Asian food. The fruit and acids in this type of wine stand up to medium bodied foods, but stay away from citrus in most cases.
Paul says: Try our Colorado Riesling with chicken pot pie.
A rich and structured Cab with hearty tannins goes together with a medium rare steak like Denver and the Broncos. Basically, when you serve red meat cooked to a perfect medium rare, Cab is the choice.
Paul says: Try our Colorado Cabernet Sauvignon with triple cream brie or a ColoRouge from MouCo cheese company in Fort Collins. Throw a black pepper salumi log on the side for good measure.
The parent of Cabernet Sauvignon is a little earthier and spicier. It also is a small step down in the body category. Look toward red meats again, but ones served with mushroom sauces and sides. The two earthy flavors sing wonderfully together. A little roasted pepper never hurts, either.
Paul says: Try our Colorado Cabernet Franc with chicken sate with a Do-Si-Dos cookie dipping sauce.
Spicy and meaty come to mind with Syrah, regardless of where in the world it comes from. Syrah is a medium/full bodied red that generally mixes blackberry notes with earthy flavors. They are rounded and feature reserved tannins. A Syrah is always a good companion for lamb, braised meats and hearty dishes.
Why is Sangiovese so popular? It’s the key grape in Chianti. What do they eat in Chianti, the north central Tuscan wine mecca? Red sauce and spaghetti. The Chianti grape has the acidic backbone and smoothness to mesh with the tangy acids of a tomato. Wine pairing 102 suggests if you really want to pair food with wine, find the European root of the grape and see what they eat there.
Paul says: Try Vinny No Neck (a Sangiovese and Merlot blend) with large Satellite pizza (it's got everything on it) from Carl's Pizza on 38th.
At the end of the meal comes dessert, and the flavor profiles of both dessert wines and desserts themselves will run the gamut making pairing a difficulty at times. Just remember to pick a dessert wine as sweet as your actual dessert.