By The Glass
Bold diners go wacky with wine pairings
The pairing of food and wine offers limitless combinations. There are a few rules of thumb that I like to stick with -- such as choosing a wine with very little oak, if any, to serve with fresh and delicate seafood. And we all know generally red wine goes with red meat.
But while general rules usually prove true, there is still a lot of room to experiment.
Here are some of my favorite wacky food pairings.
Fried Rice and Hom Yee with sauterne
I always get asked, "what does sauternes go with?"
Typically sauternes is matched with foie gras or dessert dishes, but to me it really goes well with fried rice with hom yee, Chinese salted fish.
The sweetness of the wine and the saltiness of the fried rice are foils that make this a really good match. Imagine how sweet and sour work well with each other.
Just about anything salty can work with a sweet wine, so don't limit yourself to fried rice.
Recommended: 2001 Lafaurie Peyraguey, $26.99 for 375 milliliters
Barbecued Pork Ribs with viognier
Speaking of sweet and sour, finding any wine that can go with a dish that has a lot of vinegar can be very difficult. But the viscous quality of viognier texturally can handle the sloppy, thick sauce on ribs.
Also since viognier is a heavier white wine, it also can handle the bold flavors of ribs. I find the tanginess and smoke flavor from the ribs marry well with the spicy, exotic floral and fruity flavors of a viognier.
Viognier is like a spicier, more exotic sister of chardonnay. Even without the barbecue sauce, viognier is a great match for white meats like grilled pork chops.
Recommended: 2006 Cass Viognier, $26
Mole Cheese Enchiladas with Mourverdre
Mole sauce has a million different variations, just as every family has their own secret chili recipe. The common thread in most mole sauces is smoked, dried, mild chilies and chocolate. The flavors that both those ingredients provide call for a heavy red wine with substantial and ripe tannins.
I like visiting a Mexican restaurant called Los Chapparos on Beretania Street in Moiliili, where owner Mario Barron's version of mole has great flavors that are subtle and not overly spicy. I like a good, dark mourverdre with his dish. You could also easily have a cabernet, syrah or Argentinean malbec.
Recommended: 2005 Villa Creek Bete Noir, $45; 2005 El Felino Malbec, $19.99
Remember, there are lots of possibilities with wines and foods, kind of like human personalities. I'm sure all of us have a few friends with personalities that really differ from ours, yet when we're together, the synergy works well. The same goes for wine and food.
This column is a weekly lesson in wine pairing written by a rotating panel of wine professionals. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org