By The Glass
Easy-to-make meals pair well with wine
I know how hard it can be and all the effort it takes to plan family dinners for a work week. It's so much easier to make reservations instead.
But plenty of easy-to-make meals are sold at Costco and Sam's Club, as well as at grocery stores, making some meals really easy. And I have just the wines to pair with those meals. I know, because I've tried them!
My son's absolute favorite things to eat are the chicken and vegetable potstickers that you'll find in the frozen-food section. It's that huge bag with something like 50 of them. They are so easy to cook -- just boil and fry, all in the same pan.
The style of wine I like with this dish, especially with the vinegary dipping sauce, is off-dry riesling. Recently I had a bottle of the 2005 JJ Christoffel JJ Riesling ($18), a wine with a beautifully penetrating aroma of fruit and mineral. It is super easy to drink, with lower alcohol and a refreshing sweetness and bright acidity that balances out the salty, vinegary pot-sticker dip. The acid also helps cut through any of the oil picked up during frying.
among my wife's favorites are frozen crab and shrimp raviolis. The instructions on the bag recommend a butter, garlic, lemon and parsley sauce that is finished off with Parmesan cheese. It sounds more complicated than it actually is to make. I kick it up by using lemon zest, extra virgin olive oil and freshly grated Parmiggiano Reggiano and it is quite good.
Chardonnay is a heavenly pair with this dish. The 2005 Louis Latour Pouilly Fuisse ($22) is a terrific bargain for French wine drinkers. The 2005 vintage was terrific for burgundy, and it really shines through in this wine, with riper and more exotic fruit flavors than one would expect from French chardonnay.
And what dad doesn't enjoy the already roasted baby back ribs that come hot out of the oven? You can buy them hot or just bake and broil them at home. I like to add more barbecue sauce on top, myself.
This dish really screams for a juicy, bold red wine like the 2005 Denner Vineyard Grenache ($39). This decadent wine bowls many a dish over. But the roasted, almost sweet barbecue sauce and the fattiness of the pork ribs make an undeniable match with the jammy-ness and intense richness of this grenache. You or your palate basically would have to be dead for you not to taste the hedonistic pleasure in this wine.
You don't have to be a chef to cook up a good meal at home nowadays. And you don't have to be a master sommelier to be able to find a nice wine for your meal.
Just keep trying and you'll find something that will be great!
Roberto Viernes is a master sommelier and wine educator with Southern Wine & Spirits.
This column is a weekly lesson in wine pairing written by a rotating panel of wine professionals. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org