I’ve been enjoying some really excellent wines, lately, and I’ve notice that I’ve been pairing them with ‘everyday” foods. These aren’t “bad” foods, mind you, just “common”. So, I’ve had burgers, pizza, salad, chips, etc., with exceptional wines. Typically, I might pair such foods with “table” wine, or a less-expensive acquisition from the local store. But, I have a lot of great wine in the house! Also, opening a great bottle of wine instantly transforms a simple meal into something much greater – without adding any time to the food prep! The ease of ordering pizza or throwing a burger on the grill does not have to be compromised for a fabulous dinner – just open a nice bottle of wine!
Here are two of my recent favorites.
Pizza and Zorah Karasi 2011, Armenia
The picture shows many of my favorite meal items: pizza with red pepper, mushrooms, and pepperoni, a big bottle of salt(!), friends, and the fantastic Zorah Karasi. The fact that the wine is from Armenia was a bonus for our dinner guests, all of whom are fellow archaeologists and/or historians, and who work in regions contiguous to Armenia. But, the wine stands alone on quality and great taste. It has a perfect acid/tannin balance, a wonderful medium-light weight, and flavors including red fruit and white pepper. This paired perfectly with the pizza – as well as would have a nice Sangiovese or Grenache. Speaking of Sangiovese, one of our dinner guests brought along a bottle of her recent-favorite wine, a Morellino di Scansano (read more about them here). She noted the similarity between the two wines, which are from very different grapes but that have similar styles. Like the Morellino, the Karasi has a medium body with plenty of acid to lighten the mouth even more. Each has bright red fruits on the palate, with a bit of pepper spice and some herbal notes. These are great food wines, and equally great summer wines.
Grilled hamburger on a salad and Dalton Fumé Blanc 2011, Israel
Leftover vegetables, fresh mozzarella, and a burger make for a simple, fast meal. It is pretty basic, but, add a nice wine and suddenly it is a feast! We were the happy recipients of a bottle of this wine after my husband’s colleagues found out that I own a wine bar and work in the Middle East. Viola – try the Israeli wine! I have had – and enjoyed – Israeli wines before, so the fine taste of this one was no surprise. However, I have not often tried Israeli whites. The Sauvignon Blanc grape took on a bit fuller-form here, with some melon notes in addition to the citrus-y grass and mineral. Aging included some oak, which was felt in the mouth. Overall, this is a rather elegant wine that stood up to the burger and tomatoes.