Wine with Food: For Luncheon Dishes, Casseroles and Pasta
by Paul Kalemkiarian Sr | June 1982
Before I discuss wines to serve with cheeses, desserts, eggs, salads, (yes some salads can have wine accompaniments) which are the topics of the next four columns, I decided to cover a catch-all group of meals of an everyday nature. They lend themselves to informal occasions and in many cases wine will accent their simplicity. With a little showmanship of presentation, they can become quite impressive fare. Let’s see what we can match in the wine department to embellish these dishes and help make them into feasts.
(as well as Submarine, Torpedo, Hoagie, and Grinder sandwiches)
A Grey Riesling from California or a Pinot Blanc will go very nicely if you fancy a white wine. Equally appropriate can be a California Gamay Beaujolais or Grignolino. Do not overlook the rose spectrum of wines either; the varietal roses are delightful like Pinot Noir Blanc, Cabernet Rose, or Petite Rose. Be sure they are on the dry side, and ask your wine merchant about this. All of these should be young and fresh. For an import– here is where the famous wine that “goes with everything” goes well — Liebfraumilch. Some are sweeter than others, so serve a dry one. A Swiss Neuchatel would also be very nice. Be sure it is young. Not over two years old. Some of the Alsace wines, like their Sylvaners or their Rieslings, are delightful with cold-cut lunches. For the submarine, torpedo, hoagie or grinder sandwiches, go easy on the salad dressing that is usually added to these sandwiches as it can conflict with the wine.
Now for Phyllis MacFaddens’ recipes on the opposite page. My favorite vegetable — mushrooms! — but alas, that garlic and thyme in the second and third recipe preclude a wine accompaniment. It is practically impossible to find a wine that will stand up to the garlic in the second recipe, and to the lemon, garlic, and herb thyme in the third recipe. Both recipes are delightful but a wine should be skipped with their course.
The first recipe is really a great one to serve wine with:
BAKED MUSHROOMS SWISS
I suggest a California Pinot Blanc here. A few great ones are being made now by a few California winemakers. At recent tastings I have favored Buehler Vineyards (about $9.00) and Jekel Vineyard (about $7.50). In the import department a Pinot Bianco from Italy is different but worth trying and learning about. Try Santa Margherita from the Alto Adige region (about $7.00) and Tenuta S. Anna from the Fruili region (about $4.50).
A California Emerald Riesling or a Dry Chenin Blanc will be most appropriate. They should be young and fresh, again not over two years old and served chilled. A Spanish white wine from the Rueda region or a Sicilian Alcamo Bianco will fill the bill from the import side. The younger they are the better.
VEGETABLE AND MEAT CASSEROLES
A red wine usually goes best here. One with medium body and fruitiness. Serve a California Napa Gamay or Carignane. Both can be up to five years old. If you find a French Morgon or Fleurie with about four years of age, and it is from a good vineyard, you will enjoy the match. A Bourgueil or Chinon from the Loire in France would also be excellent.
RICE OR PASTA WITH MEAT OR TOMATO SAUCE, PIZZA
My favorite is medium body California Zinfandel or a California Barbera for this type of meal. Fom an import naturally an Italian wine would be best. Try an Italian Barbera or better still a Chianti Classico. Another good choice is a Corvo Salaparuto Red from Sicily.
RICE OR PASTA WITH CHEESE, FISH, OR WHITE SAUCE
California has some charming Sauvignon Blancs that are just right for these dishes. This varietal in its dry version has enough substance in its flavor to stand apart from the food and exert its own flavor, yet not overwhelm. Age up to five years enhances these wines so do not hesitate when this is the case. For an import, the French counterpart. A Graves appelation white Bordeaux will fill the same bill (but not the the register receipt! — they are more expensive but worth trying sometime). More humble in the French scale of classifications, but very nice, and from similar grape origins, are the Entre-Deux-Mers of Bordeaux. They should be young.