When you cook at home, what is your favorite dish to prepare and which of your wines do you like to match it with? Why does the combination work?
Giuseppe Mazzocolin, Fattoria di Fèlsina (Chianti, Italy). There are two dishes that I love to prepare. Generally it’s a primo piatto (first course) that I feel more comfortable with: Risi e Bisi alla Veneziana (risotto with peas), especially in this season, just picked from the garden and shelled by hand. (It’s a great satisfaction to do it by yourself!) I do the same with beans, to prepare pasta e fagioli Venetian style: I use fresh beans, a part whole and a part mashed, then I add little cubes of Parmigiano cheese, late enough not to completely melt during the cooking.
I usually accompany these two primi piatti with our Chianti Classico Berardenga 2009 and 2010 to enjoy the freshness and drinkability of a young sangiovese. Other wines that also match perfectly with these dishes are the young barbera and cabernet sauvignon produced by Vigneto San Vito di Federico: a great experience for everyday drinking and for special occasions.
Ken Forrester, Ken Forrester Wines (Stellenbosch, South Africa). Here we are heading into winter in the Southern Hemisphere and as it gets cooler and the days a little wetter I start looking to rich stews, comfort food. And a long-time favorite is traditional Osso Bucco, slow-cooked sliced calves’ shin rich with marrow, slowly braised in wine and saffron with garlic, and topped with a citrus- dominated gremolata at service, traditionally accompanied by risotto Milanese. The wine match for me is our Gypsy, dominated by red fruit flavors of grenache and filled in the mid-palate with a hint of mourvèdre and spiced with syrah. A wine with sufficient poise and red fruit to deal with the richness of the dish, while still having sufficient body and depth of flavor to complement the tooth-sticking flavors of slow-cooked beef.
Chester Osborn, d’Arenberg (McLaren Vale, Australia). Guests love the marinated prawns I cook on the hot plate with a glass or ten (!) of the sparkling wine we make called DADD. The marinade is spicy with olive oil, sweet chili sauce, garlic, ginger, pepper and fresh coriander. The lovely bright, minerally length of the wine goes great with the spicy flavors and the slight caramel hints of the dish.
Isabel Ferrando, Domaine Saint-Préfert/Domaine Isabel Ferrando (Chateauneuf du Pape, France).When I cook at home, I like to cook lamb in the fireplace, with white beans. It’s a typical Provençal plate, and the combination works well with the red wines of Châteauneuf du Pape. I like particularly to serve the Réserve Auguste Favier from Domaine Saint-Préfert with it. The sauvage flavor of the lamb makes a nice combination with the complexity of the wine. And the Réserve is subservient to the lamb, not the opposite. The wine has to make the dish lighter, not the opposite.
Alberto Antonini, Wine Consultant (Italy and Argentina). I don’t cook at home as I’m spoiled by my wife and mother-in-law, who are both excellent cooks! But I’m asked to choose the wine, which has to match with the Tuscan food we normally eat at home.
Tuscan food offers us many choices and I like most of them! A traditional dish is the Baccala’ (cod) alla Livornese cooked in a simple tomato sauce. This dish matches well with a fresh, lively Chambolle-Musigny, which cuts through the fat of the dish, leaving a beautiful feeling in the mouth.
Gilles Nicault, Long Shadows Vintners Collection (Walla Walla, Washington). Sometimes a simple dish can be tasty and very versatile with wine. One of my go-to dishes is grilled pork tenderloin. I rub the meat with olive oil and then with some smoked paprika, salt and pepper. I put the tenderloin on the hot grill to sear one side, then the other, and turn off the burners to slowly finish cooking while preserving the moisture. Simultaneously, I grill some veggies in season. So if I’m serving Long Shadows Pedestal Merlot with the pork, I’ll often make a cherry reduction sauce, or if I’m pairing it with Chester Kidder Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah, I’ll make a red wine reduction. If we are eating on the deck on a warm day I like Saggi served at 60 degrees, as it has a zesty, clean, complex flavor that marries with the warms scents of summer. If it’s a cold day I like a slightly warmer Sequel as it has the robust scents that complement the rich ambience of the kitchen smells. The best thing about this dish is that it really pairs with many types of wines.
Jacques Lardière, Louis Jadot (Burgundy, France). A sea bass on the skin on coarse salt in the oven with a salty white butter of Nantes and potatoes of Noirmoutier accompanied with a bottle of Puligny Montrachet. Basic aromas of iodine, salt, fern, oak, mushroom and soil are found in the fish, the potatoes and the wine, with the salted butter blending them all into a harmonious whole.