I have to admit that I’ve been dreading this post more than virtually any other one. I hate Salmon. No… wait a minute. Hate isn’t strong enough a word. I despise Salmon. I loathe it more than almost any other food with the possible exception of any kind of liver, and calling liver food is a stretch.
You know what really sucks about writing blog posts for the Holidays. Well first, it’s the Holidays so writing blog posts is kind of like work and who really wants to work during the Holidays? Second, there are lots of distractions. Drinking wine, visiting with family, drinking wine, buying gifts, drinking wine, attending parties and drinking wine while at them, interminable amounts of driving and drinking wine – not at the same time however.
Sometimes just the length of a blog post can convey how complicated a concept it’s trying to convey. Long blog post – it’s probably a complex idea. A short blog post on the other hand is likely to convey a simple idea because it just doesn’t need much of an explanation. It’s so simple and intuitive that even writing it is a borderline insult to the reader’s intelligence.
Type “Holiday Main Courses” into Google and you’ll get a pretty typical selection of meats that are commonly served as a main course for Christmas or Hanukkah. However, many of those recipes also decide to get very creative with their ingredients, which makes providing simple food and wine pairing advice rather difficult. They can be simply seasoned and roasted, complimented by sauces that are subtly flavorful or something so overwhelming, you can’t tell if you are eating chicken, beef or fish. Here’s a free piece of advice and even though we are a wine site, pairing food with wine goes hand in hand. Don’t buy a nice piece of meat and then turn it into a mystery meal by covering it in a sauce so overpowering, that you could be eating a piñata and it would still taste the same.
It’s a shame Tempranillo doesn’t get more love in the US. It’s the primary grape in Spain’s most famous red wine blend, Rioja. Most of the Tempranillo grown in the US comes from warmer regions of California and Tempranillo pairs with food extremely well. If you are going to pair Tempranillo with food, we suggest leaning to flavors that are mildly spicy. Cajun is a particular favorite of mine, as long as it’s not over the top with heat.
Syrah is a great food wine. It’s extremely versatile because it is made in so many different styles. First things first though – let’s clarify a common misconception.
Syrah vs. Shiraz
Is there a difference between Syrah and Shiraz? Not really. Genetic testing has proven that they are actually the same Varietal. Stylistically, “Shiraz” will often be made in a lighter, fruitier style while the more traditional Syrah has more body, tannins, and acid.
Shiraz has become Australia’s “national” red wine and some of the best Shiraz comes from down under. Wine that is called “Syrah”, more often than not, are a little deeper in color, with less fruit and a little more tannins and acid on the finish but this is strictly the whim of the winemaker. For this post, we’ve chosen foods that go with the heavier Syrah style. If you are looking for Shiraz food pairings, click here.