It’s been over a month since I paired up some of my recipes with different wines. Today’s dishes are all beef based and will give you an idea of how many great wine options can work with beef. It also gives you an idea of why wine and food texture can really be a different dimension that most sommeliers either choose not to take into account or never really investigate.
Beef tenderloin is not my favourite cut of beef. I find it’s texture is too soft, it’s flavour too muted and it’s price much too high. Pairing wine with tenderloin is an even more finicky proposition. Most people just think a big California cabernet is the easiest way to go. And I agree it’s a safe bet that more often than not will work nicely. But I like to really find a wine that punches up the mouth feel with some grippy tannins and big dark flavours. This is why I would go with EOS Petite Sirah with this dish. A heavy, inky black luxurious wine from Paso Robles, California. Nice dusty/grippy tannins and huge dark berry flavours will work really well with the tenderloin.
Burgers are a truly North American dish. But sometimes you need a european take on a more renown american varietal. Primativo is the old world name for Zinfandel. This grape was originally cultivated in Croatia and is genetically one of the most ancient varietals still in wide use around the world. In itality Primativo is grown in a few distinct regions but for this dish I would recommend one from Apulia at the south eastern part of Italy*. Unlike a California Zinfandel, Italian Primativo is very dry and peppery. It works well with beef and pork. Zinfandel is normally looked at as a great utilitarian BBQ wine and it’s Italian cousin adds a more aggressive yet refined take on the varital.
This burger is a Mexi-Cali take on the above Braised Blue Burger and pairing a wine with it shows how different I like to go with my pairings. The addition of avocado, and ceviche to this burger makes for tougher pairing. I love to add some texture and some intense aromatics to the dish with the wine. For this I would chose a wine from Spain. A Ribera del Deuro to be more specific. This wine hailing from the northern Spanish plateau land along the Deuro river is a great match for this dish. With an aggressive nose of earth and cigar box, Ribera Del Deuro also boasts a very intense tannic mouth feel that can at times be puckering, but this mouth feel will really work with with the creaminess of the avocado and the acidity of the ceviche stuffed pepper.
* Think of Apulia or Puglia as the heel of the boot. Just across the Adriatic from Greece, Albania and Croatia.