A St. Patty’s Day Guinness Alternative…or Six

“Clever” wine writers have been asking the same question and providing the same answer for years when St. Patrick’s Day rolls around.

The question: “What wine goes with corned beef and cabbage?”

The answer: “Beer.”

You can just see them sitting at their keyboards, waiting for the uproarious laughter of their readers to subside. Then they proceed with a list of wines that match well with the St. Patty’s staple.

Because they’re “wine writers,” they typically don’t go on to explain that beer really is a great match with corned beef and cabbage. The first person to pair that dish with a Guinness knew what they were doing.

That said, there are a handful of wines that also pair nicely. You’re not likely to experience culinary nirvana with them, but you’ll have a nice experience and save quite a few calories because Guinness is not a light (or “lite”) beer.

Why is corned beef and cabbage such a pairing challenge? Well, the corned beef is both salty and fatty, while the cabbage lends both sweet and salty nuances. And let’s not forget the vinegar and or the various spices that are added to the boil.

Here are a few wines worth considering:

  • Gewurztraminer—Find one that’s off-dry or semi-sweet. Most bottlings have a clove-like flavor that really works nicely with this dish.
  • Pinot Gris—One of the more versatile of all food-pairing wines. (Hey, if the French drink it with sauerkraut—and they do—it’ll match with almost anything.)
  • Sauvignon Blanc—Its flavor profile works nicely with cabbage, and its acidity helps cut through the fat of the corned beef.
  • Sparkling wine—The same observation about acidity applies, and its somewhat neutral flavor makes it drinkable with almost any food.
  • Beaujolais or Cotes du Rhone—These wines typically have the fruitfulness, acidity and impression of sweetness to meet this pairing challenge.
  • Zinfandel—Select one that’s not too tannic, and its remaining qualities will mimic those of Beaujolais and Cotes du Rhone.

By the way, in case you missed it, we featured a recipe for a very tasty corned beef dish last Friday. Check it out here.

Posted in Food and Wine Pairings/Recipes
Members-only Wine sampler specials delivered straight to your inbox via our Cyber Circle newsletter.

%d bloggers like this: