Many guests want to break free of the typical wine pairings but often they’re not sure where to start. Petra Polakovicova, wine director at San Francisco’s Epic Steak, shares her insight and suggestions for unexpected wine and food matches.
Steak with Champagne.
I would go for some vintage Champagne or rosé—those are great with meat! Vintage Champagne has more body, with deeper, warmer flavors, and they match the intensity of the steak. The bubbles in Champagne help to “clean” the marbling in steak, leaving you with a fresh, uplifted feeling rather than feeling heavy.
Seafood with Japanese sake.
It is kind of unusual because sake is not actually wine. But sake with seared tuna is amazing. Sake is very mild and complements the lightness of tuna. The sake has faint sweetness that matches beautifully with the dish.
Traditional Thanksgiving turkey
dinner with Blaufrankisch
The general “rule” is white meat, white wine, but typical Thanksgiving dinner fare tends to be rich, so you may want wine with more body and richness. Blaufrankisch is a medium-bodied Austrian red, and has nice red berry fruit and spicy notes that will complement the turkey dinner.
Steak tartare with white Burgundy.
Again, one may think you need red wine for red meat. But steak tartare is great with white Burgundy (French chardonnay). Here you have nice, full body white that will complement the intensity of the sides. The bright acidity in wine cuts through the saltiness of the meat, leaving your palate fresh, ready for another bite.
Fried Chicken with Moscato d’Asti.
This is a sweet, effervescent wine. I like the small bubbles to cut through the fried, oily component of the chicken. The sweetness of the wine acts like a honey glaze on the chicken—a nice combination of sweet and savory.
Pork Tenderloin and Roasted Chestnuts with Roussanne.
Going into fall, I really get excited about chestnuts, and I like roasted pork loin with some roasted chestnuts. With that I would drink roussanne. It’s a white wine, so it’s not often paired with pork, but roussanne has nice waxy texture that complements the richness of the dish. The chestnuts and the roasted flavors of the pork highlight the nutty flavors of the wine.