Chili & Wine – A Winter Romance

First and foremost, beer is often thought of as chili’s “classic” partner. Guinness tops that list, but be on the lookout for a new Baltic Porter from our friends at Milwaukee Brewing Company (it’s not available yet, but more on this in upcoming blogs).

This time of year we are often asked, “what wines should I pair with chili?” That depends on what kind of chili. If it’s a chicken or turkey base, we’d recommend an off-dry Riesling or Chenin Blanc. If the off-dry Riesling appeals to you, check out the Pacific Rim Organic Riesling: medium dry- a sweet fruit salad medley of flavors that lead to a long clean finish. It’s great… and it’s #3 on Wine Enthusiasts Top 100 Values of 2009! If you not up for the sweetness of these whites, a classic opulent Chardonnay has great potential. Try Los Alisos, a Jess Jackson project from Santa Barbara. Rich with balanced high notes that can clean your palate and creamy enough to keep you from breaking a sweat if you go overboard with the spices.

If it’s Chili con Carne, there are a variety of Reds that both pair wonderfully and are priced right.

  1. Cru Beaujolais- The New York Times keeps writing these up as some of the best values in wine today. If you’re still snubbing Beaujolais for being thin, weedy and unsubstantial, try a Cru bottling. You’ll find more substance, but it maintains that just-right balance of juicy floral red fruits and tangy youthful freshness. Yeah, the Cru’s will take you over the $10 mark, but many can be found for under $20.
  2. Zinfandel- The All American Red- You can’t beat Cline’s Zinfandel at an everyday low price of $9.99. Jammy and spiced just right… you’ll find this red perfect for both cooking and drinking. At this price, it’s ideal for entertaining a crowd.
  3. Grenache- The most planted variety in Spain and widely seen throughout the south of France. Try Jean Marc Lafage’s “Cote Grenache” from the French Catalan. Bursting with warm raspberry fruit flavors as if just picked under a warm summer sun, the finish is clean and savory, showing a mineral depth rarely seen in a wine priced under $30. Now just $12.99.

Last, but certainly not least, are the hundreds of wines we can hand select for you and your personal taste. Stop in and we’ll find the perfect pairing for you and your Chili.

Wine & Spirits | January 18th, 2010