Our Thursday night wine tasting was a food and wine pairing. Gail invited Marianne McCarroll of Marianne’s Pantry to make three dishes to compare with the wines. We tasted two different wines with each of the three appetizers Marianne prepared. Our mission for the evening was to decide which wine paired better with each appetizer. Each wine was tasted blind, as usual. Food was not tasted blind as this can lead to a very messy situation! Marianne prepared each appetizer ahead of time and warmed them just before serving.
Rather than focus on a critique of each wine we will give just a brief description of each wine and put more emphasis on how well the wine paired with the food.
The first appetizer was Fig Balsamic Glazed Salmon paired with a Chardonnay and a Sauvignon Blanc. Marianne used 18 year old fig balsamic vinegar, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper on the salmon which she roasted.
2008 Solitude Carneros Chardonnay – This wine had a big nose and tasted like citrus, minerals and had a round, buttery mouthfeel. It had a lot of acid and a long finish. This wine undergoes malolactic fermentation and is aged in oak.
2008 Mason Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley – The nose was very floral mixed with hay. The flavors were grassy and fruity with good acid. This was obviously a Sauvignon Blanc.
The group was almost evenly split between the two wines as to favorite with the salmon. My favorite was the Chardonnay.
Next we had Thai Red Curry Risotto paired with a Riesling and a Burgundy. This was a pairing to illustrate what wines pair best with spicy food. Marianne prepared the risotto with Thai red curry paste, fresh ginger, coconut milk, dry Sherry, cilantro and lime juice. As seasonal additions Marianne added green beans and squash.
2006 Schloss Wallhauseen “Prinzsalm” Riesling Kabinett, Nahe, Germany – The nose was distinctly diesel with light fruit flavors, a slight sweetness and a light mouth feel. The finish was clean and it paired nicely with the spicy risotto.
2005 Domaine Gilles, Red Burgundy, Cotes de Nuit-Village – The color was a transparent garnet. The nose was earthy with tart fruit. Tannins were moderate and the wine had a light mouth feel.
The group overwhelmingly chose the Riesling as the favorite with the risotto. The clean slightly sweet wine cooled the spiciness of the risotto and the flavors did not compete with each other.
Next we had Meatballs from Grass Fed Beef paired with a California Merlot and a Bordeaux from St. Estephe. Maryanne prepared the meatballs with wild porcini mushroom dust, smoked paprika, minced onion, sage, oregano, thyme and home made ketchup then baked the meatballs.
2006 Whitehall Lane Napa Valley Merlot – The nose was earthy and smelled like dark fruit. The flavors tasted of spice, rubber tire and dark fruit. The tannins were moderate with good acid.
2006 La Dame de Montrose, St. Estephe, Bordeaux – The nose was slightly stinky initially and became more earthy with time. The flavors were earthy and tasted of dark fruit. The tannins were big with good acid and a long finish. The flavors of the wine over powered the taste of the meatballs.
The group favored the Merlot over the Bordeaux by a slight margin.
Overall this was a very interesting tasting. It is fun to pair food and wine, as usually we just taste wines by themselves. Marianne prepared food for a similar tasting at Fine Wines of Stockton back in September. We’re glad to have sampled her tasty food again.