Technically and traditionally, St. Patrick’s Day pays homage to one of Ireland’s patron saints, St. Patrick.
In practice in the United States, St. Patrick’s Day is embraced by far more people than just those of Irish heritage, and provides a reason to drink lots of beer that has been dyed green. It also gives the folks who live in the Windy City an excuse to dye the Chicago River green. I lived there for 13 years, and I can report that a lot of green beer is consumed along the green river each March 17.
But as St. Patrick’s Day 2017 approaches, we all need to remember that beer is not the only adult-beverage option for accompanying traditional Irish pub fare. Wine works, too. Wonderfully.
I have personally experienced all of the pairings I’m about to suggest, and highly recommend you give one of them a try this Friday… or any day…
- With Fish-n-Chips — Almost any fried food matches beautifully with dry Riesling. Try the 2015 Carl Zuckmayer from Germany’s Rheinhessen region. It’s a crisp, juicy, easy-to-drink wine. Or consider the fresh, crisp and powerful 2015 Sherwood Estate Riesling from New Zealand.
- With Corned Beef and Cabbage — This has become the “go-to” dish for many restaurants on St. Patrick’s Day, and a nice Pinot Noir makes an excellent pairing partner.
- With Irish Stew — Cabernet Franc is an ideal pairing partner for this hearty dish. I love the wine known as “Le Bouquet” from Laporte, as its flavors of tea leaves, blackcurrant, strawberry and chocolate intermingle deliciously with the flavors of the stew.
- With Bangers and Mash — If your palate is feeling adventurous, pork sausages with a bit of spice call for a fruitful wine with some spice of its own. For me, that can mean only one thing: Zinfandel. It’s a uniquely Californian wine that meshes perfectly with this traditional Irish dish.
And that’s no blarney.