Green beer is not your only beverage option when St. Patrick’s Day rolls around on Saturday.
And, no, the alternative we’re about to suggest is not a Shamrock Shake. It’s wine.
That said, some of the food associated with St. Patrick’s Day can be somewhat challenging to pair with wine. That’s why we’re here—to keep those Irish eyes smiling on Saturday with some inspired pairing ideas…
- WITH IRISH STEW—Hearty dishes call for hearty wines. And a very hearty wine that’s also extremely food-friendly is Barolo from Italy. A less expensive choice would be Chateauneuf-du-Pape from France, particularly one with Grenache as the dominant variety of the blend. For an Aussie take on “CDP,” opt for a “GSM,” which is short for Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. Even though it’s made from basically the same grapes as Chateauneuf-du-Pape, expect the “Down Under” version to be more fruit-forward in style.
- WITH CORNED BEEF AND CABBAG—The tricky part of pairing wine with this most traditional Irish dish is the cabbage. It really doesn’t match well with any wine, except perhaps a Blanc de Blanc bubbly. So, when drinking wine with this dish, we suggest isolating the cabbage and eating it between bites of corned beef, rather than with the corned beef. Then you can enjoy the corned beef with wine, and the pairing options are numerous: Syrah from California’s Central Coast, a Syrah-based blend from France’s northern Rhone, Dolcetto from the Piedmont region of Italy, or a restrained (not too high in alcohol) Zinfandel from California. A “fall-back” option for corned beef—and almost any dish, for that matter—is the aforementioned Blanc de Blanc. Why? Because of its neutral flavors. It’s a rare wine that can provide refreshment and pleasure with little concern over food-flavor affinity.
- WITH FISH AND CHIPS—Here’s a much easier Irish staple for pairing with wine. The fish itself is fairly neutral in flavor, which means the tangy tartar sauce needs to be considered. To tame the tang, opt for a wine with ample acid. Good choices are Sauvignon Blanc from California; dry Riesling from Germany, Austria or Washington; Torrontes from Argentina, or Viognier from France’s Rhone Valley.
Go ahead and have a green beer with your St. Patrick’s Day lunch, but when dinnertime rolls around, don’t forget the wine.