Ask the Expert: Wine Choice Pairings for Mexican Food

Ever been stumped on how to pair your Mexican food with wine beyond the basics of white goes with chicken and red goes with meat?  Well, with Mexican food there are various spices to take into account that makes the pairing need a little more thought.

MCCN Contributor/Dave’s Mexico Blogger Dave Miller catches up with Wine Expert Ed Draves.

 

Christmas Wine Buying Guide

Ed Draves Manager at Prestige Wine and Spirits in Buffalo, New York

Ed Draves Manager at Prestige Wine and Spirits in Buffalo, New York

The big holiday meal.

And as anyone who has ever had the in-laws over for Christmas dinner can tell you, like gift giving, this meal, with all of the innumerable side dishes also comes with lots of expectations and tension.

In that spirit, hoping to lower your stress level a few notches, the Multi Cultural Cooking Network reached out to one of our good friends, Ed Draves, Wine Manager for Prestige Wine and Spirits in Buffalo, New York, where he has worked for over 20 years.

We asked Ed for a little advice on wine pairings and that Christmas meal.  Hopefully, with the suggested pairings below, you’ll be able to do a better job of getting the right wine for whatever you are planning on serving for the big meal.

Rather than ask for a specific wine or brand, we gave him a range of food items that might be served and asked him to think generally.  That way you can look for what is locally available to fit your meal.  With that, we think we’ve got you covered.

Here’s what Ed recommends to help you out.

The famous Rockwell Turkey Dinner… Look for champagne or a nice sparkling wine.  These will pair well with what typically tends to be a rather dry main course.

Pork loin… Look for a full bodied Pinot Noir or an Alsatian wine (pictured).  Remember, you are not trying to overpower your main course, but to complement it.  Both of these will fill that role.

Alsaltian Wine

Alsaltian Wine

Prime Rib… for many this is the boldest meal of the year so you want this done right.  For this main course look for a Bordeaux or a Meritage blend.  These darker wines will stand up well next to a nice cut of beef.

Christmas Ham… if you are going this route you need to be looking for a white Riesling or aGamay(pictured) if you are looking for a red.  Ed says both of these will do a great job alongside the more salty flavored ham.

shirazBut what if you are making the newest rage, the Turducken? In that case go for a full-bodied Shiraz.  There’s a lot of variety out there so get a young one that has some nice peppery hints.

And what should you do if you are avoiding meat products and maybe have that Tofurkey ready to go?  Ed says match your sides and remember, wine is a complementing beverage for your meal.

Finally, don’t forget about dessert.  If you want to top off a great meal right, get the classic, a Port wine.  Or, if you are lucky enough to live in the Northeast, try one of the local ice wines.  Both are perfect alongside the sweetness of your dessert.

So there you have it.  A quick how to guide on buying wine for whatever you may be serving come Christmas Day.

-Written by Dave Miller, World Traveling Missionary, Former Restaurant Manager and regular contributing writer for MCCN.

 

Grilled Food and Wine/Drink Pairing

Photo Credit: warginwines.com

As we head into the heart of summer, it’s time to get the barbecue cleaned up and prepared for a good stretch of home grilling. Unfortunately, if you are like most people, including me, when it comes to matching those outdoor delights with a good wine or beer, your lost.

Fear no more!  The MultiCulturalCookingNetwork reached out to our friend Ed Draves, the wine know it all for the Premier Group in Buffalo, New York for a quick primer in making your summer feast a success, at least when it comes to drinks.

 

MCCN: Ed, thanks for taking a few moments to help us out on this.  So, we want to have some folks over for a little summer entertaining and we need some help making sure we’ve got the right wine on the table.  If I’m putting together the classic backyard BBQ, you know, burgers, hot dogs and potato salad, what should I pair with that?

 

Ed Draves: Dave, with the classic burger cookout, a nice Rhone wine from France, think Syrah/Grenache, is perfect.  You can usually find really nice ones in the $10 range.  If you are thinking beer, look for a pale ale and if you can find it, the Live Pale Ale from Southern Tier Brewing Company would be a winner.

MCCN: Okay, but what about some of the other options.  What if I want to grill some chicken, do a little cedar plank salmonor even a light summer fruit or pasta salad?

 

Ed: All these scream for Riesling, sweet or dry depending on taste but always cooler climate with ample acidity.  There are lots of great local examples for people living in Idaho, Michigan, NY, Ohio, and Washington.   The German examples (Kabinett level) are also fantastic.  The lemon you’d put with the Salmon has me really exited to match with a Riesling, something from the slate soil of the Moselle region.

 

Also, for the salmon or the salads, you could try an unoaked Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.  If you really want a red wine, try a Pinot Noir, it goes great with both salmon and chicken and is a nice light style wine.

 

MCCN: Okay Ed, that’s the light stuff, but sometimes you need to turn up the heat and throw a couple of T-Bones on the grill.  What works with that or a big juicy Porterhouse?

 

Ed: That’s when you reach for a nice rich Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  Deep red and full-bodied.

 

MCCN: Thanks Ed for your help on this.  Any further thoughts?

 

Ed: Dave, just that if you are doing summer and drinks, why not try something on the cutting edge?  Leave the vodka and rum in the cabinet and go for some premium Wahaka Mezcal [Joven Espadin] straight out of the freezer, ice cold and undiluted.  It’s a great alternative if you are looking for something different in the spirits category.

 

So there you have it, our summer guide to putting your best foot forward  when it comes to the backyard barbecue and drinks.

 

Again, our thanks go out to both Ed Drave and Premier Group VP Jon Notarius for their help and input.

© Copyright Dave Miller, MultiCulturalCookingNetwork, 2013 – 2016. All rights reserved.