Pairing Wine With the 'New Meats'

Still opting for a nice, thick, juicy steak… or perhaps some divine preparation of lamb… or maybe an herb-infused chicken breast… when dining out? That is so yesterday!

(Okay, it’s still very much today for a lot of us, but we needed to draw you into the story. And now that you’re here…)

There’s no question that beef and chicken are getting a run for their money from a category of food being referred to as “the new meats.” Some of these meats are “real” and some are “faux,” but all are tasty.

And all are candidates for pairing with wine. But given the new flavors and textures with which to contend, the question becomes: Which wine?

Sunset magazine tackled that very question earlier this year, so we’ll begin with a few of wine writer Sara Schneider’s recommendations.

* Handcrafted Salumi – “Sweet pork laced with spices calls for a white. Pour a dry Alsatian-style variety.” Specifically, Pinot Gris.

* Gourmet Pate – “You need a light-bodied red wine that shares the pate’s earthy character and spice.” That wine: Pinot Noir.

* Exotic Cured Ham – “From Spanish Iberico and serrano to Italian prosciutto, air-cured hams need a juicy red to cut through their sweet marbling.” Try: Grenache or a Grenache-based blend.

* Garden Veggie Burgers – “A burger made of nutty grains mixed with sweet and savory produce needs a rich gardenful of flavors in a wine partner.” Schneider suggests Viognier, and we also like Sauvignon Blanc.

More of Schneider’s recommendations may be found in the March 2010 issue of Sunset.

And what about the more established “new meats” such as ostrich, bison or emu? Because these meats are quite lean when compared to beef, one should avoid wines that are high in tannin, which would tend to overpower the meat flavors. Instead, opt for more fruit-forward wines such as Zinfandel, Pinot Noir or Cotes-du-Rhone.

Posted in Food and Wine Pairings/Recipes
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