Wine people always talk about pairings, and pairings are indeed important. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea that the right wine with the right food produces something more than either wine or food could do by itself. I talk a lot about pairings in this column because it’s interesting to me, and because I don’t see enough of it in columns that I myself enjoy reading.
So for this selection from the Cellar Reserve (Pearmund’s 2008 Viognier), I thought it’d be fun to do a night of pairings. My pair (my wife Katie) and I went over to our friends Jake and Melissa, for dinner. Melissa cooked up the chicken tacos, and I prepared the Pineapple Mango Salsa Recipe suggested in the tasting notes. I bought all fresh fruit, and the night before, dutifully chopped up all of the assorted fruits, peppers and onions to go into the dish....which quite frankly was a lot of work. However, I test tasted the salsa and enjoyed the rich tropical fruit flavors and spice that it brought to the table, so it was worth it. Be forewarned though, if you have to buy fruit for this (I didn’t exactly have mango and papaya lying around) the right ratio is about 1 mango, 1 papaya—buy a big one because you have to peel/de-seed it, half a red onion and about a 1/3 to a half of a pineapple. This makes well...a lot of salsa.
So, armed with wine for 4 and salsa for 12, we went over and had an enjoyable evening. The wine was a huge hit and really exhibited those explosive fruit flavors featured in the tasting notes. It was so fruit forward and crisp it was almost sweet, but none of the sweetness that comes from residual sugar, more like the natural sweetness in tropical fruit, that just leaves you craving more. It had a golden color that reminded me of the pineapple as well, and was a simple delight to drink. It was a great wine to pair with the salsa, highlighting the fruit and the spice of the dish.
We paired the Viognier also with another wine, Pearmund’s Sauvignon Blanc, featured in this month’s regular Wine of the Month shipment. The Sauvignon Blanc was like a brash younger brother, hot and acidic, with an edge to it on the taste. The Viognier was the more dignified older brother of the pair, less acidic and more mellow. However, both went very well with the salsa and tacos for the night, and both were very enjoyable. I’ll leave it to you to pick your favorite of the pair. I will say that the Viognier was the more versatile of the wines, and I think would be a bit more food friendly. Many people enjoy serving Viognier at Thanksgiving, and I think this wine would be a great addition to any Thanksgiving table and its myriad of foods and flavors.
I hope everyone has an excellent holiday, with whatever pair and vintage you find best. Here’s to you.