Wine & Food Pairing with Classic French Dishes

By Monday, August 19, 2013 Permalink 0

James Flewellen photo, wine tasting expert, The Art of Tasting Wine: James FlewellenJames Flewellen: Wine & Food Pairing with Classic French Dishes

by James Flewellen

 

Strawberries with red wine
Strawberries with red wine3liz4 / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Cassoulet This depends on the choice of meat in the dish. Try a Chianti or another Tuscan wine, with more savoury notes for deeper-flavoured meats. Or a Barbera, or even a youthful claret if there’s more pork than game in the dish.

 Choucroute garnie If you stick to local Alsatian wines for this dish you really can’t go wrong. Use the same wine you’ve used in cooking if possible (typically Riesling), or go for a Pinot Gris.

Confit de canard (duck confit)
(from Southwest, cooked over
a fire in its own fat)
For this rich dish we have two options. One is to stay local and go for a spicy red wine from the south-west of France – a Tannat from Madiran or a Malbec from Cahors. Alternatively a full-bodied, oaked Chardonnay would also work. The acidity of the white wine will cut through the duck fat nicely. Choose a robust wine with enough body to stand up to the rich flavours though – Meursault from Burgundy, or a Californian pretender.

Coq au vin While red Burgundy is the classic pairing for this dish, a claret will also go very well. Choose one with a few years’ bottle age so the savoury developed notes complement the complex herbs in the sauce.

Andouillettes (sausage
made with chitterlings)
A tough dish to pair with on account of its strong flavours and somewhat acquired taste! Both reds and whites could work here. Light reds such as Beaujolais or Chinon will do well to complement the dish without dominating it with too much tannin. On the white side, a light, fresh style is best: perhaps Chablis, or the mountain-air notes of an Arbois from the Jura.

Escargots de Bourgogne (snails
baked in their shells with
parsley butter)
My favourite pairing for escargots in butter is champagne. The acidity helps out with the fat in the butter but the wine does not overpower the delicate flavours of the snail. A Chablis or other unoaked Chardonnay would also work.

Quenelle (flour; butter; eggs;
milk; and fish, traditionally pike,
mixed and poached)
The wine pairing depends on the fish used in the quenelle, typically pike. A fish quenelle would go very nicely with a Picpoul de Pinet. The lively, clean flavours of this wine complement fish nicely, and there is great acidity to cut through the butter and eggs.

Brandade de morue (puréed
salt cod)
Strongly flavoured fish dishes can be hard to find wine companions for. I’d suggest a very dry Alsatian or German Riesling. Being a bit more adventurous, you could also try a white wine from the Rhône – something based on Marsanne or Rousanne.

Bouillabaisse (a stew of
mixed Mediterranean
fish, tomatoes, and herbs)
For Bouillabaisse you want a wine that keeps pace with the rich flavours of the dish, but doesn’t detract from them. Keeping local, I would go for a Provençal rosé, or possibly a quality white wine from the south of France. If you’re in the mood for reds – try a light-bodied, acidic wine such as a Cabernet Franc from Chinon or a German Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir).

Ratatouille (a vegetable stew
with olive oil, aubergine, courgette,
bell pepper, tomato, onion
and garlic) with white fish
I go Italian when matching wine to tomato-based dishes. Try a juicy Dolcetto, Barbera or Primitivo. You could also go for Primitivo’s Californian cousin: Zinfandel.

Duck à l’orange Pinot Noir is the classic pairing for duck, however I find the orange in this dish doesn’t quite gel with the flavours in Pinot. Try a Grenache-based wine from the Southern Rhône, such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The extra spice in the wine complements the orange.

Pot au Feu A hearty red wine is just the ticket for this meal. I’d go for a Merlot-based Claret from Pomerol in Bordeaux, but wines based on Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec, or Grenache will also do beautifully. Just avoid something that is too jammy in fruit profile.

Blanquette de veau I can’t go past an Alsatian Riesling for this dish. Dry, austere, acidic – the perfect foil for the cream – and the fruit profile won’t obscure the meat.

 Sole meunière This dish cries out for a fruity, crisp, light white wine. My pick would be an Albariño from Galicia in Spain.

 Tournedos Rossini My classic pairing for this would be a juicy Left Bank claret. To take a step away from the norm, try a Tempranillo-based wine from Ribera del Duero. Unlike its cousins in Rioja, Ribera wines are more robust and full-bodied – ideal for the steak – and usually avoid the sweet-scented American oak.

Foie gras (terrine), served with
figs or onion jam
I’ve tried many things with foie gras and really don’t think you can go past the classic Bordelais pairing of Sauternes. The sweetness in the wine works beautifully with the salt in the terrine and the fruit profile goes well with the figs and onion jam.

 Steack-frites with Béarnaise sauce Let’s face it steak and red wine go together like a hand in a glove. If you want to emphasise the pepper in the Béarnaise then go for a peppery Syrah from the Northern Rhône or Shiraz from the Barossa.

 

 

Sign up for Jonell Galloway and James Flewellen’s  “Celebrate the Chartres Festival of Lights & Autumnal Equinox with a Food & Wine Tasting Masterclass” in France from September 19 to 22, 2013.

 

_____________________

Dr James Flewellen is The Rambling Epicure wine columnist. James is a biophysicist at the University of Oxford. Originally from New Zealand, James learned his trade in taste through the Oxford Blind Wine Tasting Society, of which he was the President from 2010-2012. During his term, he represented Oxford at many international blind tasting competitions – twice winning the prestigious ‘Top Taster’ Award in the annual Varsity blind tasting match against Cambridge University and captaining winning teams in competitions throughout Europe.

James runs wine education courses in Oxford through the Oxford Wine Academy and is completing the WSET Professional Diploma in Wine and Spirits. He is the founder of  The Oxford Wine Blog and co-author of the forthcoming book: The Concise Guide to Wine and Blind Tasting.

 

 

Never miss a post
Name: 
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields
Correct invalid entries

Simple Sustenance: In Season and Healthy — Peach and Spinach Salad

By Tuesday, September 4, 2012 Permalink 0

by Renu Chhabra

One should eat to live, not live to eat” –Benjamin Franklin

Peaches are synonymous with summer.

California being the largest peach-producing state, we are blessed with an abundance of them. Farmers markets are flooded with these fuzzy yellow beauties. So many of them. Different varieties with vibrant colors. Juicy, sweet, and simply delicious.

Farm-fresh peaches have flavor that can’t be found in supermarket ones. I have tasted a few California varieties that need no explanation. Instead, just close my eyes and bless the soil and the farmers who nurtured them. It’s nature’s bounty at its best.

These peaches are in season from May through September. Baking, grilling, roasting, and poaching are definitely a few ways to enjoy them. But nothing beats the joy of savoring them in their natural form. So, I made a salad with this seasonal fruit and paired it with baby spinach.

Another ingredient that gives this salad a little zing is the peach balsamic vinegar. My culinary find that is absolutely delicious. Drizzle a little on salads, grilled vegetables, toasted baguette, or ciabatta, with or without olive oil. It stands out on its own. Its peachy flavor is the star that shines through.

A few other ingredients that complete this salad are ginger, honey, almonds, raw sesame seeds, and roasted sunflower seeds. Ginger and honey, a classic combination goes well with peaches. Raw sesame seeds and roasted sunflower seeds add earthiness and texture. Finishing with a grind of good sea salt (I used pink salt) and pinch of red pepper flakes complements the sweet peaches and honey. All together it makes it a sweet, salty, and spicy experience.

Recipe

Dressing
 
2 tablespoons peach balsamic or white balsamic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon juice of ginger
1 teaspoon honey or agave
Sea salt to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
Salad
2 medium yellow peaches, sliced or diced, your choice
2 handfuls of baby spinach

Garnish

Sliced raw almonds
Raw sesame seeds
Roasted sunflower seeds

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the dressing in a mason jar. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, gently toss spinach with light dressing.
  3. Place spinach on a serving dish.
  4. Drizzle some dressing on peaches and mix. Serve spinach carefully.
  5. To finish the salad, drizzle a little more dressing and sprinkle sea salt and pepper flakes on top, if needed. Garnish with almonds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds.
  6. Serve immediately.

Note: Use dressing to your taste, but be careful not to drench the spinach with too much of it.

    1. Mix all the ingredients for the dressing in a mason jar. Set aside.
    2. In a bowl, gently toss spinach with light dressing.
    3. Place spinach on a serving dish.
    4. Drizzle some dressing on peaches and mix. Serve spinach carefully.
    5. To finish the salad, drizzle a little more dressing and sprinkle sea salt and pepper flakes on top, if needed. Garnish with almonds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds.
    6. Serve immediately.

    Note: Use dressing to your taste, but be careful not to drench the spinach with too much of it.

    • Simple Sustenance: Summer in a Bowl – Honey-Ginger Papaya Salad

      1. Mix all the ingredients for the dressing in a mason jar. Set aside.
      2. In a bowl, gently toss spinach with light dressing.
      3. Place spinach on a serving dish.
      4. Drizzle some dressing on peaches and mix. Serve spinach carefully.
      5. To finish the salad, drizzle a little more dressing and sprinkle sea salt and pepper flakes on top, if needed. Garnish with almonds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds.
      6. Serve immediately.

      Note: Use dressing to your taste, but be careful not to drench the spinach with too much of it.

      Never miss a post
      Name: 
      Your email address:*
      Please enter all required fields
      Correct invalid entries

UA-21892701-1