I remember there being a big wine-tasting event that weekend, and many of the wineries hosting multi-course luncheons. I went to a luncheon where the main course was grilled chicken breast with Merlot sauce, oven-roasted parsley/garlic red potatoes, sautéed fresh seasonal vegetables, and Sonoma French bread with sweet-cream butter.
According to the auction booklet, it was served with the 1989 St. Francis Barrel Select Sonoma Valley Chardonnay, and the 1988 St. Francis Sonoma Valley Merlot. In the booklet, I placed a check mark next to the Merlot listing, meaning I thought it was the best pairing partner for the dish.
It just goes to show that the “rules” of food and wine pairing — red wine with red meat, white wine with white meat — are meant to be broken.
What made the Merlot pairing shine were the ingredients used in preparing the dish, including mushrooms, Italian tomatoes, garlic and rosemary. Reviewing the recipe published in the auction booklet, I could almost taste it again — even though 25 years had passed.
Now if I just had a good glass of Merlot to go with it…
Wait… the Vinesse tasting panel has assembled a lineup of Merlots that would be perfect with this dish. Check them out, and once they’re on your wine rack, open one up, heat up a skillet and do some experimenting with the ingredients mentioned above — and don’t forget to add a cup of Merlot to the mixture.
Meanwhile, I’ll open up a bottle and try to figure out what happened to those 25 years…