Wine with Food: With Eggs and Omelets
by Paul Kalemkiarian Sr | July 1982
Now—whoever heard of serving wine with breakfast? Well—I must say that wine with two fried eggs and bacon does not evoke the mental picture of flavor harmonies! However, there are some very appropriate combinations with certain egg centered dishes that do lend themselves to the serving of wine.
The time of day and the occasion might influence your serving wine or not. Where it always be appropriate to serve a wine with lunch on any day, and likewise with dinner or a later supper, the serving of wine with a morning breakfast is rarely done. Yet, the leisurely late morning lazy weekend, the holiday time, or special occasion breakfasts, with those special breakfast egg dishes could be accompanied with wine. The brunches later in the morning, and lunches with egg dishes also lend themselves to wine embellishment.
Other than the time of day, the infinite variety of egg cookery dictates “wine” or “no wine”. A light fluffy, delicate egg recipe, a creamy or sauce dominated one, or a combination of eggs and meat and/or vegetables, all can find wines to match. The hard cooked egg, with strong “eggy” flavor just says “no” and recalls the taboo of garlic or chocolates and wine.
A California French Colombard or a Grenache rose can go well. From the imports, I particularly like a Swiss white wine like a Dole or Neuchatel. All of these should be young, less than 3 years old.
OMELET WITH HAM, CHICKEN LIVERS OR SPANISH OMELET
For a California wine, one of the varietal rose wines that is dry or slightly sweet, would be excellent. In the imports, a rose from Provence or Anjou in France can be equally nice. Again, all these wines should be less than 3 years old.
OMELET WITH CHEESE OR MUSHROOM, EGGS BENEDICT, EGGS POACHED IN CREAM
A California Chenin Blanc or a Sylvaner that is slightly sweet. You will also enjoy a California style Gewurtztraminer that is not too flowery. In the French wines, a Vouvray from the Loire or a Takay from Alsace. Some age up to 4 years is acceptable here.
A Grey Riesling from California will not overpower the delicacy. It must be young. For a French wine, try an Alsatian Pinot Gris, or an Italian Frascati from the Lazio region around Rome, or an Orvieto secco from the Umbria region. The younger the better.
HARD BOILED EGGS, EGG SALAD
A California Sauvignon Blanc with some age (up to 4 years) can match. A French Entre-Deux-Mers or Verdillac, all young, would make a light accompaniment.
You will notice I have not mentioned champagne in any of the recommendations above. The fact is that champagne would be very appropriate for all the categories above. The taste of the sparkling aspect of the wine adds to the compatibility. I tend to favor the lesser California champagnes and some of the ones made from other grapes like Green Hungarian, Chenin Blanc or Gamay (rather than the traditional Chardonnay and Pinot Noir). The finer, classical champagnes with the yeast overtones of flavor should be reserved for savoring alone or with milder fares. Try some of the Vin Mousseaux from France, like the Sancerre, Vouvray, or Muscadet. (These are among the other sparkling wines of France, without the pedigree of champagne from the official Champagne region in the North East. They are delightful, and less than half the price.