WineAdvisor: Wine and deli?

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WineAdvisor: Wine and deli?

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Feb 02, 2007 4:22 pm

Wine and deli?

Who doesn't like a deli sandwich, at least every now and then? Corned beef, hot pastrami, beef tongue or chopped chicken liver; maybe a little lox? Pile it high on thick, seeded rye bread, add a fat dill pickle, and you've got enough lunch to fill you up right through dinner.

I learned to love the stuff as a wide-eyed teen-ager from Kentucky in Queens and the Bronx, discovering gustatory wonders that I had never known existed. And it's still hard for me to go back to NYC without at least sampling a deli or two (preferably something real like Second Avenue or Katz's, not your Midtown tourist destinations). And every now and then, even if my home town of Louisville can produce only a wan replica of the real thing from Gotham, I'll succumb to a craving and bring home a big bag full of the good stuff.

One thing about NYC kosher-style deli, though: In contrast with its equally delicious if less exotic (at least to me) cousin Italian deli, you rarely hear of anyone accompanying it with wine.

As a dedicated wine lover who believes that most food goes better with wine (and vice versa), this makes no sense to me. So, the other night, suiting action to words, I brought home a hefty pastrami-on-rye and started thinking about a bottle to match.

What would work? Let's face it, kosher-style deli meat is fatty - this is part of its succulent appeal - so an acidic wine would be mandatory, providing a palate-cleansing edge to cut through the grease. Pastrami is as salty as the ham that it emulates without violating the principles set down in Leviticus, so it needs a robust yet quenching wine. And it's beef, so it really needs a hearty red, with no marks taken off for tannic astringency. A hint of earth would do no harm, particularly in the presence of an enticing schmear of hot mustard.

We're zeroing in on the Rhone, Provence and Languedoc here, and - since it's also the subject of our monthly Wine Focus in our online forums this month - I reached out for the Languedoc, uncorking a robust, earthy Syrah-dominant blend with some Mourvedre and a splash of Grenache.

Bingo! The <b>Domaine de Nizas 2001 Coteaux du Languedoc</b> made a perfect match, for all the reasons enumerated above. It would have worked as well, I think, with corned beef, tongue or even chopped chicken liver. I think I'd pass on it with lox, though, and as for that dill pickle, fahgeddabout it.

Domaine de Nizas is a relatively new producer, a collaboration of John Goelet and Bernard Portet, who founded Clos du Val in the Napa Valley in 1972. Goelet is also the owner of Taltarni Vineyards in Australia, where Portet's brother Dominique was the founding wine maker. They've planted about 120 acres in Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc.

In this 2001 at least, they've come up with a very good, very typical Coteaux du Languedoc. It's fruity, acidic, softly tannic and touched with more than a whiff of earthy "barnyard" aromas. And it goes great with hot pastrami. My tasting notes are posted in the Wine Focus section.

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Re: WineAdvisor: Wine and deli?

Postby Redwinger » Fri Feb 02, 2007 5:06 pm

Ham/cheese sandwich and a nice Rose works pretty well for me.
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Re: WineAdvisor: Wine and deli?

Postby Maria Samms » Fri Feb 02, 2007 5:33 pm

Great post Robin! I am forever thinking about wine pairing!

When I am having deli, I normally reach for a nice Beaujolais. However, most of my sandwiches are pretty tame (turkey, roast beef, ham on wheat...usually a little mayo, maybe some munster). But I do love a good pastrami, swiss, and rye...and for that kind of sandwich, your pick sounds perfect! I do think that very aromatic and earthy rye bread needs a wine with a little more backbone than a beaujolais. I will certainly keep the Domaine de Nizas 2001 Coteaux du Languedoc in mind for my next rye/cured meat concoction. Thanks Robin.
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Re: WineAdvisor: Wine and deli?

Postby Carl Eppig » Fri Feb 02, 2007 5:44 pm

Redwinger wrote:a nice Rose works pretty well for me.

In the middle of summer, which is pretty hard to imagine right now, we love to get a deli platter of meats, cheeses, and salads and pop a nice one on the deck. A well chilled Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo hits the spot.
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Re: WineAdvisor: Wine and deli?

Postby Tony Willett » Fri Feb 02, 2007 8:19 pm

Great article Robin!! A vist to Katz's on lower east side of NYC in Nov 2005 still remains memorable. Living in country Queensland, Aus, we don't get many oportunities to indulge in the "real deli" experience. However it is nice to experiment at home, but I've never tried to marry the experiments with a wine. Any thoughts on an Aussie wine to match? Do you think any wine of the same grape blend as the French one in your article or would a particular Aus regional wine "do the trick"?
Keep up the great articles.
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