September Wine Pairings
Suggestions from our Wine Director
Grilled pork belly kabob
Sweet and sour piri-piri, harissa, pistachio dukkah
We almost always suggest bubbles to start of a meal; they are fresh and lively and set your palate up for a great dining experience. In many case, they can also take you through the whole meal, but be careful, the more delicious they are, the easier they go down. Summer doesn’t officially end until September 22, so there’s plenty of time to drink pink versions, especially pét-nats. An increasingly popular style of wine, pét-nats finish their fermentation in the bottle, leaving a subtle fizz: Pétillant in French and frizzante in Italian. If you’re in the mood to go completely natural, then the following producers of no-sulphur wines will be of interest: Tiberi, Furlani, Conestabile della Staffa and a favorite at Puritan, Casebianche “Il Fric.” Best value around $20-$25.
Summer tomato soup
Basil oil, parmesan, taleggio grilled cheese
September is peak tomato season in New England with so many different kinds and ways to prepare them. Rosé is great with tomatoes—and cheese and basil—and of course, the options are virtually limitless. For serious food pairing, we suggest a darker, richer style like Tavel from the southern Rhône Valley in France or Cerasuolo from Abruzzo in Italy. Tavel is the only appellation in France that is devoted exclusively to rosé, and lately, the quality of the wines available has increased dramtically. Try wines from Château Manissy or Château de Trinquevedel. Cerasuolo takes the idea of rosé to the very edge of red wine; dark in color with some chewiness from tannin, these wines produced from Montepulciano offer incredible depth and complexity. Tiberio’s Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo is among the very best. Wines in a similar style from Vini Rabasco include Puritan favorite Cancelli Rosato. These are wines that will easily take you through an entire meal. Best value: around $20.
Roasted Beet and Carrot salad
Whipped goat cheese, almonds, date vinaigrette
This salad combines tangy, sweet and nutty flavors. An easy pick would be Sauvignon Blanc, but there are all kinds of fresh, zesty whites that would do equally well. Two wines that are well ahead of the pack for this pairing are Moscato Giallo from Italy, or from Austria, Gelber Muskateller. Both versions of Muscat produce highly aromatic wines with good weight and freshness and are generally fermented to total dryness. Biodynamic estate Alois Lageder in Italy’s Alto Adige makes perhaps the best available, but there are a few others. For Gelber Muskateller, look for Berger, Heidi Schrock or Lackner-Tinnacher. These are not the easiest wines to find, but they are well worth the search. Best value: around $20
Grilled lamb loin
Charred eggplant, peppers and green olive chimichurri
The flavors in this dish call to mind one of the most versatile wines around, Dolcetto. A Piedmont native, it is characterized by dark fruit tone, earth, spice and a touch of herbaceousness. There are monmumental wines rich in extract and highish in alcohol that would satisfy the most jaded Cabernet drinker, but what you really want is something medium-bodied with good balancing acidity and a touch of tannin; these are the wines that truly shine with food. The great advantage to Dolcetto when well-made, whether big or not, is that they saturate the palate with flavor. Better wines will be named for their source like Dogliani or Ovada, but some of the best value wines are called Dolcetto d’Alba. Producers to look for include Albino Rocca, Ascheri, Luigi Einaudi, G.D. Vajra and Eraldo Revelli. Best value: between $15 and $20
blackberries, peanut butter mousse, dulce de leche
Chocolate loves red and black fruit, making blackberries a natural complement. Why not try a wine with similar flavors? And if you’ve had a couple of glasses already, why not something a little lower in alcohol? Among many options are the pétillant red wines of Savoie known as Bougey Cerdon or Cerdon de Bugey. Bugey is tiny, tucked into the alpine foothills of eastern France and is almost exclusively known for this wine. Light, fresh and richly flavored with berries and spice, it is eminently quaffable. Look for wines from Cellier Lingot-Martin and Renardat-Fâche. Best value: $20 or less.