Erin go Wine
Bearing in mind that the Irish are not really a wine-drinking culture, a glass of dark Guinness would probably be the most natural choice.
But this raises a broader question for those of us who really enjoy wine and matching it with food: What do you do when you want to choose a wine to match a dish that doesn't traditionally go with wine?
In the case of corned beef, the challenge is similar to that of matching wine with ham: It's a strong-flavored meat and very salty. For me, this calls for something fresh and fruity and not piercingly dry: A Beaujolais or Dolcetto, if you want a red, or something on the richer side, maybe an Alsatian white or Loire Chenin Blanc if you prefer a white.
To test this theory, I made corned beef and cabbage by a very traditional method over the weekend, simmering a store-bought "corned" brisket for hours and adding cabbage wedges and potatoes toward the end of cooking, and serving it all with mustard and horseradish on the side. An Alsatian Pinot Gris with a bit of sweetness in its full-bodied flavor worked just fine, as I report in the tasting note below.
As a bit of lagniappe for St. Paddy's, here's a non-wine-related link to a Website where you'll find a songbook full of Irish music that you can play on your computer: Midi and RealAudio sound files and links to Irish bands on the Irish Music Page, http://www.geocities.com/SouthBeach/Marina/4870/midi.html.
Have you tried matching wines with dishes that don't usually go with wine? Tell me about it in an E-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll save some of the best examples for future columns. I regret that the growing circulation of the "Wine Advisor" makes it difficult for me to reply individually to every note, but I'll answer as many as I can; and please be assured that all your input helps me do a better job of writing about wine. Please feel free to get in touch if you'd like to comment on our topics and tasting notes, suggest a topic for a future bulletin, or just talk about wine.
If you're enjoying The 30 Second Wine Advisor, we hope you'll invite your wine-loving friends to register for their own free weekly copy at http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor.
An Alsatian match for corned beef
Clear gold, with pleasant melon and grapefruit aromas. Soft citric flavors, ruby-red grapefruit with slight, honeyed sweetness, full-bodied but a bit short on acid balance. U.S. importer: W. J. Deutsch & Sons Ltd., Harrison, N.Y. (March 12, 2000)
FOOD MATCH: The wine's light sweetness and soft texture becomes a plus when it's used to wash down the salty, spicy flavors of corned beef and cabbage.
The ballot is larger than usual, and we hope you will get a chuckle out of the choices we've selected. You may choose up to three, and there's an "other" option if you can think of a really good, humorous "symptom" that we've overlooked. We hope you'll join in the fun. Click to http://www.wineloverspage.com/votebooth/index.shtml.
STELLAR CELLAR, INC.
Toll-free in the U.S.: 1-800-230-0111
You are on the subscription list because our records indicate that you registered during a visit to Robin Garr's Wine Lovers' Page. If for any reason you don't want to receive this publication, simply send E-mail to 'email@example.com' and we'll remove your name from the list. We do not use this list for any other purpose and will never give or sell your name or E-mail to anyone.
If your E-mail program is having trouble handling the images in this edition, feel free to request that we switch you from the HTML to TEXT edition ... or vice versa. We welcome feedback, suggestions, and ideas for future columns. Send us E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.
If you'd like to talk about wine online with fellow wine enthusiasts around the world, we'd be delighted to have you visit the interactive forums in our Wine Lovers' Discussion Group. If you're from another part of the world and don't feel entirely comfortable chatting in English, visit our International Forum and introduce yourself in the language of your choice.
Vol. 2, No. 8, March 13, 2000