Our Daily Dinner

Our Daily Dinner

May 3, 2010

A Word About Wine

I don’t know which I like more: food or wine. Since one compliments the other, it’s a winning situation of which I take full advantage. With rare exceptions, we always have wine with dinner. My choice may not be perfect, but I’m not a purist and don’t fret over it.

If I like a certain wine, I remain faithful to it for a long time, giving one criterion: none costs more than $13. a bottle, including tax. That applies particularly to our house wines: Marqués de Cáceres Rioja Crianza 2005, Côtes du Rhône, Saint-Esprit, 2007, Delas, and Bogle Vineyards, Petite Syrah, 2007. The Rioja is excellent with meat dishes. The Rhône Saint-Esprit is lighter in style and good with chicken and pasta. The Bogle is straight forward and straddles everything.

Our present white house wines are Babich Sauvignon Blanc 2009, and Côtes du Rhône, Guigal Blanc 2007. The Sauvignon Blanc is a wine lover’s dream and deserves a medal for being reliable and utterly delicious. Although there is a lot of good Sauvignon Blanc available, I favor the one from New Zealand.

Beyond that, we have favorites: George likes Sangiovese, the primary wine from Tuscany. I love Riesling, especially the one from the Mosel region. Alas, it’s hard to find. Ever so often Eric Asimov, the wine critic for the NY Times, conducts a Riesling tasting and gives a glowing report. Wine Spectator, which I read avidly, does the same. But try and find their recommendations! It’s totally academic. Fortunately Alsace produces benchmark Rieslings, and I’m happy with them.

Occasionally I will buy a wine to pair with a particular dish. A Muscadet to pair with salad; a dry Vouvray for a salmon preparation; even a Beaujolais-- not my favorite wine—to accompany a simple chicken dish.

When we used to go out for dinner, I liked to have a glass of champagne before we decided on our order. Aside from that, I don’t think champagne pairs well with food. We’ll drink it on New Years’ Eve, to be sure, and maybe to celebrate a birthday. We like Pol Roger and Veuve Clicquot. Prosecco can be fun.

French Bordeaux and Burgundy used to be our favorite wines. Now their prices are out of sight. Maybe that is just as well. Recently a well meaning friend brought us a bottle of Chateau La Mission, Haut Brion 2001.Checking it out in Hugh Johnson’s “Pocket Wine Book”, I read that it is a grand scale, full-bodied, long maturing wine with fine tannins. Other sources exalted the wine for its fantastic richness, silky texture and extraordinary balance. All call it irresistible. Now I wonder what meal would be worthy of such a treasure. I still haven’t figured it out.

I deal with three wine stores: Yorkshire Wines & Spirits, Sherry-Lehmann, and Mr. Wright Fine Wines & Spirits. Yorkshire Wines is located one block from us. They have a good selection of wines, are competitively well priced, and give a 10% discount on 12 bottles. It took me a while to realize that Sherry-Lehmann is anything but an expensive store. Their selection is fabulous and their prices are fair. Marty, one of their salesmen, knows my preferences and advises me accordingly. Comes the summer, Mr. Wright, another neighborhood store, has the most comprehensive selection of Roses. Their mark-up is slightly higher than the previous two stores, but I can depend on Joe, one of their sales people, for needed suggestions.

As always, I welcome your comments.

Yorkshire Wines ((212) 717-5100
Sherry-Lehmann, (212) 838-7500
Mr. Wright (212) 722-4564

1 comment:

Robert said...

I like champagne with our local Japanese restaurant which is bring your own. Does anyone else think this might match?