Chicken and Broccolini Shepherd’s Pie
"Scotch Whisky! I know it sounds crazy to drink a Scotch with dinner but it would be perfect with this dish. On top of the malty and woody flavors you find in Bourbon, Scotch has an earthiness to it - a little bit of a vegetal character. Think of Bourbon (American) vs. Scotch (from Scotland) about the same way as American wine vs. European. The American version is stronger, more bold and in your face. The European version is lighter, more subtle, more earthy and more connected to where it comes from. Though more subtle than American bourbon, it is still quite strong and will not get lost in the flavors of Rachael's Shepherd’s Pie. In this case I'd choose something from the area of Scotland known as Islay, which is known for more intensely vegetal drinks to complement the herbs and broccolini. Go for the Bruichladdich Laddie 10 year - it is incredibly complex and not as herbaceous as some others in the area, but it's one of my favorites!" - Joe Campanale
Joe Campanale's Perfect Pairings
February 05, 2013
Chicken and Broccolini Shepherd’s Pie
January 30, 2013
Spanish Stewed Chicken Thighs
"What grows together goes together!" I'd choose a Spanish wine, like a juicy/spicy Mencia from the Bierzo region, like Palacios "pétalos." Another good option would be to do a rosé. The Crios Malbec Rosé from Argentina (about $14) has enough flavor that it’s not overpowered by the strong flavors of the dish, but it will also cool down some of the heat from the chilies.
January 29, 2013
If I had to choose one, I'd do red Lambrusco. The good stuff, not Riunite! And not on ice! Serve it chilled and in a wine glass. My favorite producer is Lini 910, but there are so many good ones now! Camillo Donati, Cleto Chiarli, Medici Ermete, Luciano Saetti and many more. Good Lambrusco is dry, red and frothy. It is full-flavored with a little bit of earthiness and some tannin (the drying material that helps it pair well with meat). They are so versatile because the bubbles serve to clean your palate and it is so flavorful that it won't get overpowered by the really strong flavors of Buffalo-style spices. And the best part? You couldn't spend more than $20 if you tried and most are below $15.
January 24, 2013
For Rachael's stroganoff, you'll need a red wine to stand up to those bold flavors, but you don't want anything too dry because of the smoky chipotle peppers. I love Austrian reds for this job. They are the perfect balance of being food friendly (soft, juicy with mouth-watering acidity), wallet/pocketbook-friendly (there are a bunch of obscure grapes that don't cost nearly as much as a good Cab) and they offer you the possibility to try something truly special and unique. Zweigelt is a uniquely Austrian red grape that is soft, juicy, lively and has great flavors of warming spices to pair with the beef. Check out the 1 liter Berger Zweigelt for only $12-$13. It is a great example of this grape/wine region and a great price!
January 23, 2013
Tingly Szechuan Pepper Beef Noodles
There is nothing better than Szechuan cuisine and a great Riesling; it is a sommelier's tried and true go-to pairing. You'll always find groups of wine pros at Chinese restaurants in New York City bringing their favorite bottles of Riesling to pair. Szechuan food is characterized by an intense but fruity spiciness, and the sugar in the Riesling (and its cold temperature) will serve to cool down your palate and get you ready for the next bite. One of my favorites is the Hermann Wiemer Semi-Dry Riesling from the Finger Lakes region in New York State. It is slightly sweet but well balanced and at around $15, it’s an outstanding value.
January 18, 2013
Pork Chops in Mulled Cider Brine with Onion Gravy
Pinot and pork are perfect pairings! Pinot Noir often has sweet baking spice flavors, which marry so well with the cider. I love the Montinore Estate, an organic, value-oriented Pinot from Oregon ($15-$16), or for a splurge try one of the Hirsch Pinot Noirs from the cooler Sonoma Coast.
January 17, 2013
Spicy Chicken Cacciatore
With a spicy dish, you need a wine that will cool off your palate. An aromatic white such as a Riesling, Gewürztraminer or Gruner Veltliner would be a great call. But since this dish has tomato sauce, I really like to go with a red. In this case, I'd choose a light-bodied, soft and juicy red, but one that you can chill, like a white wine. Try a Beaujolais! Beaujolais is one of my favorite wines because of its great value and food-pairing versatility. It is made from the Gamay grape from a region in France just south of Burgundy. One of my favorites is the Marcel Lapierre Raisins Gaulois for about $13. Try to find a smaller producer. They make much better wine here than the bigger guys.
January 16, 2013
Rigatoni with Creamy Mushroom Ragu
This dish is rich and creamy, but also has great earthy flavors from the mushrooms. A great wine for this would be from the Nebbiolo grape. Nebbiolo is one of the few red grapes that has very high acidity and grows almost only in Northern Italy. It is full of earthy, mushroomy flavors and tart berry notes. It makes some of the world’s greatest (and most expensive!) wines, such as Barolo and Barbaresco, but if you seek out less fancy wine, you can get all those great flavors at a much lower price. Seek out a Nebbiolo d'Alba or Langhe Nebbiolo from a good producer or from the Lombardy region, or try the wine Sandro Fay Valtellina for under $20.
January 10, 2013
Grainy Mustard Chicken Thighs
This dish just reminds me of one of my favorite dishes, the Bavarian combination of pretzel, white sausage and honey mustard. And when you're in Germany, the perfect pairing for this is a wheat beer. To me there is nothing better than the pairing of that sweet-tart honey mustard glaze with the slight bitter, effervescent wheat beer. For this pairing, I love to go with a classic like the German Schneider Weisse and if you're being adventurous, the Brooklyn Brewery recently teamed up with an Italian Brewery and made a delightful light wheat beer called "Ama," which we serve at all our restaurants.
January 08, 2013
Greek Meatballs and Toasted Orzo
I have been a huge fan of Greek wines and as they say, "What grows together, goes together!" So what would be better than a Greek wine to pair with these Greek meatballs? Greece is known for its crisp, “minerally” white wines, which pair seamlessly with their abundant seafood, but they also make some really exciting red wines, such as the tricky to pronounce, yet delicious to drink Aghiorghitiko and the dry earthy Xinomavro. To pair with this dish, I'd try out one of my favorite Aghiorghitikos, the Domaine Skouras "St. George" Nemea for about $15. It's fuller bodied and dark with sweet black fruit and baking spices, all flavors that really complement Rachael's meatballs.
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