Sunday Dinner … Roast Chicken with a Red Bordeaux

Pairing:  French Roast Chicken paired with a 2005 Balthus Bordeaux Superieur from Château de Reignac

Food:  Every family has a favorite food that everyone loves and doesn’t mind having again and again over the year. In our household, that beloved meal is French Roast Chicken served with mashed potatoes, peas, and rich brown gravy. Maybe some pie for dessert. Now that’s comfort food! To make a simple french roast chicken, stuff the cavity of a whole chicken (about 4-5 lbs) with 1-2 Tbs of tarragon and some cut-up onion, carrot, and celery. Sprinkle more tarragon on the outside of the bird, along with generous shakes of paprika. Lay three strips of bacon across the breast. Roast in a 425 F oven for 30 minutes, then turn down the temperature to 325 F for another hour or so until done. Baste the bird periodically with beef stock while it is roasting. Make the gravy with the pan drippings from the chicken and the basting beef stock.


Wine:  A few weeks ago I wrote about the versatility of Roast Pork as a food that goes well with so many different types of wine, both red and white. The same thing is true of Roast Chicken. Favorite pairings include Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Cote du Rhône. This past Sunday, we decided to try a Red Bordeaux. Bordeaux is more commonly paired with strong flavored, rich meats like lamb and beef. It turns out to be a delicious accompaniment to roast chicken as well. This Château de Riegnac Bordeaux Superieur is made from 100% Merlot from old-growth vineyards north and east of the city of Bordeaux.  And, it’s worth noting that 2005 was a fabulous vintage year for the Bordeaux region.



Tasting:  Rich, lush ripe dark fruits (notably blueberry and raspberry), along with leather and chocolate are all offered on the nose. Amazing! On the palate, much of these same things can be tasted in a true medley of flavors. The fine tannins are present, but not at all overwhelming. And a pleasant taste of black currant and cedar lingers on the finish. Wow! An exceptional bordeaux.

Other Wines that Pair Well with This Food:  Pinot Noir, GSM, Beaujolais, Chardonnay, Dolcetto

Other Food that Pairs Well with This Wine:  Roast Lamb, Beef, Pheasant, Venison

Read About:

A Source:


Greece and Argentina …a Surprising Pair

Pairing:  Spanakopita and 2013 Don David Torrontés

Food:  Spanakopita is a traditional Greek pastry made with feta cheese, spinach, and egg. Our recipe is a favorite from an old copy of Craig Claiborne’s NY Times International Cookbook, but there are lots of recipes out there from which to choose. However, our pastry is not made with the usual flakey phyllo dough found in supermarkets. Rather it is a non-layered phyllo called spitiko filo (recipe found in Diane Kochias’s cookbook, Ikaria). We’ve served ours with sausage made from chicken, feta and spinach from a nearby market, and beets from a neighbor’s garden. A very tasty combination.


Wine:  More often than not, the most successful food and wine pairings happen when both the food and the wine come from the same country or region within that country. For example, pasta with tomato sauce and a good chianti. Or boeuf bourguignon and a red burgundy. However, as one samples wines from many different parts of the world, a mental inventory begins to form (or perhaps, if you’re really organized, you’ve created a wine journal to keep track of the different flavors of different wines). Torrontés is a grape variety unique to Argentina. This pairing is an example of the food and wine coming from different parts of the world, but with flavor profiles that complement one another very nicely.


Tasting:  A delightful, gentle lemon aroma is what comes right to the nose. That same light lemon flavor combined with a hint of green melon describes the taste of this very nice simple wine. The taste of lemon or other citrus can sometimes be too harsh in a wine. This Torrontés hits the mark with a sort of sweet acidity, but remains a refreshing dry wine. It should be noted that lemon is an important dimension of Greek cuisine, so it’s no surprise that this wine is such a good complement to this meal.

Other Wines that Pair Well with This Food:  Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Verdicchio, Assyrtiko (Greek)

Others Foods that Pair Well with This Wine: White Fish, Asian Food, Shellfish (Oysters, Mussels, etc.), Mexican Food

Read About:

A Source:

A Classic Pairing … Pizza and Tuscan Wine

Pairing: Roasted Vegetable and Pepperoni Pizza with 2012 La Massa Toscana

Food: In our house, Saturday night is pizza night … has been for over thirty years. We’ve experimented with any number of crusts. Lately our favorite has been a sourdough crust based on a recipe from King Arthur. Toppings can be most any leftover veg. For this pizza, we roasted some tomato, summer squash, leek, and onion. Pepperoni and black oil-cured olives were added to the grated mozzarella. Classic (for us) … delicious.


Wine: Over the years of eating pizza, we have enjoyed a lot of Italian red wines with all that pizza. The 2012 La Massa IGT Toscana has to rank up there as one of our very favorites. Other vintage years have been equally satisfying. Fattoria La Massa is located in the Chianti wine region of Italy near the town of Panzano about half way between Florence and Siena. The 2012 La Massa IGT is 60% Sangiovese with the remainder consisting of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Aliante. The inclusion of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (grapes most often associated with the Bordeaux region of France) gives this wine the identity of a “Super Tuscan”. Because of the inclusion of these grape varieties, they cannot call themselves a Chianti which has its own set of rules to follow.


Tasting: The nose reveals different black fruits (black cherry, black currant, blackberry). The palate continues the black fruit medley, but showcases the ripe black cherry. Leather and satiny tannins add further complexity. Although smooth, the wine also has the desirable “edges” typical of a good chianti. Very tasty with pizza.

Other Wines that Pair Well with This Food: Chianti Classico, Montapulciano, Merlot

Other Food that Pairs Well with This Wine:  Pasta with Tomato Sauce, Grilled Meats

Read About:

A Source:

Pairings with Pork? … Anything Goes!

Pairing: Roast Pork Tenderloin with 2010 Tait “The Ball Buster”

Food: Roast pork is one of those universal foods that goes well with almost any wine, red or white. For this meal we first pan-seared a pork tenderloin (seasoned with salt and pepper) until brown on all sides, then roasted it for about 20 minutes at 350. The sauce is made from black currant jam, whole black currants, a splash of soy sauce, and a few tablespoons of this wine. Combine in a saucepan and reduce until thickened bit. We’ve served the pork with broccoli and rösti potatoes.


Wine2010 Tait “The Ball Buster” Leave it to the Aussies to come up with interesting and fun names for their wines. The origin of the name is explained on their website. This deep, lush, concentrated red is a blend of 77% Shiraz, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 7% Merlot and comes from the Barossa Valley in South Australia. This region has a long, distinguished history in winemaking, as does the Tait name, particularly when in comes to crafting Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Ball Buster has consistently won high praise over the years as a tremendous value for such a high quality wine (about $20 or less). This is a great wine … get it if you can.


Tasting: This particular combination of grape varieties results in a terrific complexity of very pronounced aromas. Leather, earth and, most apparent, dark fruits … black currant, blackberry, and black raspberry. Every time you take a sniff, you get different smells coming to the forefront. On the palate, you get a smooth amalgam of flavors that can best best be described as hedgerow fruit leather (if such a thing existed!). Dark fruit jam with overtones of leather and earth is another way to describe this big, rich, powerful wine. Delicious! Maybe the name says it all!

Other Wines that Pair Well with this Meal: (white wines) Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay, Riesling, Vouvray. (red wines) Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel

Other Foods that Pair Well with this Wine: Steak, Grilled Lamb, Venison, Duck, Aged, Hard Cheeses

Read More:

A Source: