Thursday, October 11, 2012

A classic pairing? Pinot and Salmon...

Pairing food and wine is often a confounding experience. Luckily, there are a lot of people/websites/books out there offering suggestions for perfect pairings. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a perfect food and wine pairing. Sure some pairings might work better than others, but the important thing is to drink what you like and will enjoy. If you're craving a crisp sauvignon blanc while you eat a steak, then by all means don't let some talking head tell you otherwise. If you want a big bold cabernet sauvignon with your Sole Meunière, go for it. Sure, switching those pairings might make more sense flavor and texture-wise in most cases, but not in all cases.

One of the classic pairings is supposedly pinot noir and salmon. Some times it works, but the past few times I've opened a pinot noir with salmon the pairing simply fell short. So, when I cooked salmon recently I decided to switch things up. I didn't go with the other suggested pairings for salmon: chardonnay or riesling. I actually chose pinot. Not pinot noir, but pinot gris. And it worked. So I tried it again a few nights later with a different pinot gris. Lo and behold, it was another great pairing. Don't be beholden to the "best" pairing when a different one might be better. So next time you eat salmon grab a glass of pinot, but make it pinot gris!

2011 Guy Drew Vineyards, Pinot Gris, Colorado

At the Drink Local Wine conference in April, Joe Roberts proclaimed this wine might be the single best pinot gris he's tasted from the U.S. Now, I don't know if I'd go that far, but it is a mighty tasty wine. The grapes for this wine are sourced from the high-elevation vineyards (6,000 ft kind of high) of Delta County, CO. This is an aromatic wine with an acidic backbone surrounded by fleshy flavors of melons, tart peaches and zesty lemons. If you find it, but it. Sadly though, I doubt you'll find it anywhere as only about 60 cases were produced. 13.9% abv Purchased $16. Very Good

2011 J Vineyards, Pinot Gris, California

J Vineyards is known primarily for their sparkling wines. They also make still wines and this pinot gris is probably one of the better values. Finding a bottle of this is easier than the Guy Drew PG because 36,000 cases were made from a variety of vineyards (Clarksburg 62%, Monterey 16% Russian River Valley 12%, Napa 10%). This is an easy drinking wine with fresh fruit flavors. Orange, grapefruit, lime and tart apple flavors are complemented by a hint of honeyed lemongrass. 13.8% abv Sample $15. Good/Very Good

1 comment:

  1. Kyle,

    Thanks for the “Good/Very Good” review on our 2011 J California Pinot Gris with your suggested salmon pairing, cheers!