Wine & Food

Snooth User: Deevee128

Twist on surf and turf and dessert

Posted by Deevee128, Jan 19, 2015.

Hi All!  I could really use some advice.  My husband and I run a restaurant and we are having a 4-course Valentines dinner and I'm looking to pair each course with wine.  Affordable wines...lol!  The courses I need help with are: ginger soy braised beef with crispy rock shrimp tempura(think Nobu style) with cauliflower puree carrots and snap peas.  The dessert will be chocolate cremeux with passion fruit sorbet, raspberry coulis and raspberries.  I am looking for wines in the $20 or less range. Most research I've done says that we could use Pinot noir for the surf and turf.  Sparkling wine came up too but we're using a sparkler for the first course.  Madeira came up for dessert. Any thoughts and insight would be greatly appreciated!

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Replies

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Reply by EMark, Jan 19, 2015.

Boy, DeeVee, it is disappointing that you haven't received much help, here. 

That Turf 'n' Surf course looks tough, to me.  Your idea for Pinot Noir is solid.  The only red alternative I can think of would be a Grenache.  Maybe somebody smarter than me can come in here and recommend a Grenache-heavy Rhone wine.

Of course, I'm thinking that a white wine alternative would be good for your guests.  I know that if my wife and I were joining you, she would be looking for a white wine--maybe a Riesling or a Gewurztraminer.

I am no help for dessert.  By the time dessert comes around, I'm looking for coffee.

Good luck, and I hope some others chime in, here.

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Reply by GregT, Jan 20, 2015.

"ginger soy braised beef with crispy rock shrimp tempura(think Nobu style) with cauliflower puree carrots and snap peas"

That's hard. You have beef, shrimp, vegetable puree, and snap peas. The beef and veggies can go with a number of reds, especially Merlot/Cab types, but the shrimp are kind of sweet and then you have soy, which is a difficult match for a red.

I might go with something white for this and I can't believe I'm saying it but even something like a Sauvignon Blanc. Or maybe Verdejo.

"chocolate cremeux with passion fruit sorbet, raspberry coulis and raspberries."

That sounds just excellent. Coffee is my suggestion. But for wine, the only wines that really work with chocolate are oxidized wines like some sherries or tawney Ports. So I'd go with one of those. They'd work with the fruits too. Madeira too, but a Bual or a sweeter one wold be best.

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Reply by dmcker, Jan 20, 2015.

I'm going to go against what the previous two have recommended for the main course.

You have a Chinese beef dish and a Japanese fish dish together as the same course. As Greg mentioned soy sauce is a killer for most wines, especially red. The wine will be transformed into something barnyard in the drinker's mouth.

So you say you have sparkling for an unnamed starter course. For this main course I'm going to recommend a rosé sparkler. If you don't go for Champagne but stick domestic you should be able to find something acceptable around your budget. And since it's Valentine's Day, no one should look twice at two types of sparkling on the menu. The sparkler will be good with both the shrimp and the beef, and even do a fair job of matching the soy and ginger sauce.

The only wines that work at all with chocolate are Bandol and Ports and sweet Sherries and Madeiras and maybe some Italian Vin Santo or Marsala. Non-vintage ports and sherries will be your best bet budget-wise (although personally I'd go with a digestif like brandy, and a coffee), so here I'll go along with Greg...

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Reply by JonDerry, Jan 20, 2015.

Good advice!

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Reply by Deevee128, Jan 20, 2015.

Thank you all!  Such a wealth of information!  Thank you dmcker!  You're right, why can't i have 2 sparklers?  The first course is a smoked salmon appetizer and we were contemplating a brut rose' for that.  I'm sure we could find another sparkler.  My only other concern regarding that(again I'm a novice here) is our second course is truffled asparagus soup which we were pairing with a white wine.  Can we go from sparkling to wine to rose sparkling?  I"ve been using What to Drink With What You Eat and Great Tastes Made Simple by Andrea Immer for a few years but you don't find Asian surf and turf too often!  Thank you again!

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Reply by dmcker, Jan 20, 2015.

Deevee, you've provided yet another challenge! Asparagus goes with almost no wine, too. Though you might just stay with the sparkling, I'd be tempted to suggest a dry Fino sherry. Do choose a white brut sparkling with the smoked salmon if you're going to do the rosé for the main.

Good luck with the meal, sounds delicious!

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Reply by Deevee128, Jan 20, 2015.

I guess I like a challenge, dmcker!  I also love to learn so thank you again for the info and the compliment!  I know they say to add an element that might be more wine friendly when pairing unfriendly food, so I thought a good truffle oil would help but now I'm not so sure!  I'll be on the lookout for a dry fino Sherry!  I'll have a lot of homework in the next few days(we always do testers).   *Hiccup*  

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Reply by dmcker, Jan 21, 2015.

Keep us posted on how your selection process goes. Wish we could share the testing!  ;-)

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Reply by GregT, Jan 21, 2015.

Yeah - asparagus is really hard. You kind of want a white that has some herbal notes to it, which is why I mentioned Sauv Blanc before. Many whites have a citrus kind of element, some have a floral quality, and neither of those really works with asparagus. I guess I'd go with something like a really lean wine from say the Loire Valley. But it's a hard match.

I agree with Dmucker about the chocolate. When sweet wines get an oxidized quality, they pick up a kind of toffee flavor and that works with chocolate. Without that, you have tannin, which doesn't work with chocolate, or you have acid, which doesn't work either. So tawny Ports, some sherries, Madeira, vin santo, etc., would be good companions. One of the world's best chocolatiers actually did a tasting a few years ago with Wine Spectator and they came to the same conclusion.

As far as sparkling wines go - that's an interesting direction to take. There's no reason you can't have multiple sparkling wines. But the truffles make a whole different event.

Truffles change the equation and they can actually work with many wines. Old-school Rioja often has mushroomy qualities, but so does Barbaresco/Barolo, or Burgundy, N. Rhone wines, etc. If you're going to do sparkling with that, I'd go for something with some real age on it. But first choice wouldn't be sparkling.

To answer your question - there's no reason you can't go from sparkling to still to sparkling. The order of serving is partly based on custom that may or may not apply.

In general, you go from lighter to heavier with dinner. That's why you start with white and move to red. In tasting of course, that's a mistake. But you're having dinner, so let's assume you move from a really light sparkling wine to a light still wine to a heavier bodied sparkling wine. That could work.

Sounds like a pretty interesting dinner.

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Reply by dmcker, Jan 21, 2015.

It's truffle oil in asparagus soup, right? And the per bottle budget is around $20, correct?

Sorry, Greg, but I don't see the Nebbiolo or Syrah or Tempranillo with that. And real age (even younger bottles) knock the budget into a cocked hat.

Although it'd certainly be fun to do some testing along these lines...  ;-)

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Reply by dvogler, Jan 21, 2015.

My palate is akin to a garbage disposal.  I love asparagus and just steam it and put some butter and lemon juice on it  and red wine seems just fine with it, not that I use it like a chaser, but when I have a good wine, I don't care what I'm eating!

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Reply by GregT, Jan 21, 2015.

Whoops - I ignored the part about the oil in the soup. I agree - that changes the equation.

Then I'm back to my original - Sancerre or something like that. I'd go for a Sauv Blanc with lots of herbal notes, as opposed to like a NZ version that's all grapefruity.

But then again, I'm a little like DV. You don't have to use the wine as a chaser and on occasion I drink Syrah with my poached cod.

But what about a fino? That goes with a lot of things and I'm betting the guests wouldn't be all that familiar with it.

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Reply by dmcker, Jan 21, 2015.

"But what about a fino? That goes with a lot of things and I'm betting the guests wouldn't be all that familiar with it."

See my earlier post ('I'd be tempted to suggest a dry Fino sherry')!  ;-)

Let us know how the testing goes, DeeVee.

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Reply by A Oak A, Jan 22, 2015.

I would ditch the ginger/soy braise and go with a sherry braise instead. Opens up a whole world of reds to pair nicely. 

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Reply by dvogler, Jan 22, 2015.

@ A Oak A

Now THAT sounds brilliant!!!

 

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Reply by A Oak A, Jan 22, 2015.

Why thank you! I think sherry braised shrimp is not too uncommon as well. Not to mention that sherry is a bit more romantic for a valentines day dish than ginger/soy.

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Reply by dmcker, Jan 22, 2015.

I thought of asking for a menu change, but I figured the restaurant had a reason for doing the dish(es) they did, and that the challenge was placed on us to find a match for what they wanted to offer. Not sure that sherry reduction (which I like) is sexier than the soy and ginger, especially when matched with a shrimp tempura (which the sherry won't be better with because of the sweet on sweet, so might need to think about changing that half of the dish, too). All it does is make certain reds easier, which may not be the point intended.

This matching of wine to food is one of the more interesting parts of wine, I find....

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Reply by GregT, Jan 22, 2015.

Yep. And I'm about to do a matching a la dvogler.

I'm going to open a mediocre Zin blend and have that with a Chinese rice dumpling wrapped in a lotus leaf, with bean, egg, and mushroom on the inside.

I'm having the wine because I need to clear out some space and it's in the way, plus it is going to be very different from the horrific Bourgogne I had last night that made me have a nightmare before I even went to bed.

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Reply by dvogler, Jan 23, 2015.

Greg, just give your Burgundy to JD.  Do yourself a favour!

I just had a New Zealand Merlot with spaghetti (meat sauce) and asparagus (with lemon and butter), listening to Mandalay (Nicola Hitchock...ethereal electronic stuff) and I was in heaven (my wife was out paddling with her team). 

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Reply by A Oak A, Jan 23, 2015.

Oddly enough, asparagus does pair well with Champagne.

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