February 7, 2014 No comments » [ssba]

“The flavor of a food almost always reveals the quality of a wine and exalts it. In turn, the quality of a wine complements the pleasure of a food and spiritualizes it” – Luigi “Gino” Veronelli, wine critic

Yes, yes, we all love our food, but at a meal, what you drink is just as important as what you eat.  Before we divulge in the deep epicurean ideas of the enjoyment of fine food and drink, let’s talk about the daily grind of meal planning, because well, it’s not always so easy.  In the morning, it begins with the question, “What do I grab for the road on the way to work (without it spilling all over me in the car)?”

Bagels to-go

Bagels to-go

Then, as lunch time approaches, “What do I order from the associate’s menu at The Restaurant at Ponte?”  Which isn’t too difficult because the options are amazing.

Classic Margherita Pizza served at The Restaurant

Classic Margherita Pizza served at The Restaurant

As the day lingers on it’s, “What do I snack on? The counter’s pita chips or should I be healthy?”

And, ahhhh finally, “What do I cook for dinner, being especially limited to the ingredients that I have in my fridge without going to Baron’s Market for the 5th time this week?”

Some of you have it perfectly figured out. Lauren, our Tasting Room Manager, totes healthy and perfectly-put-together lunches.  Michelle, our Tasting Room Assistant Manager, blows my mind the way she plans out meals for her and her kids.  And Mark, our winemaker, solves all of his dilemmas by having leftovers for dinner.  As for me, I’m still learning.  Perhaps it’s because I’ve been blessed for the last four years by never really having to learn to cook, having the convenience of a dining hall in college.  So, now, I’m left nearly clueless in the kitchen…but only nearly.  My saving grace has been a single solving word: Brinner, meaning breakfast foods at dinner time.  The final question for me is, “What wine do I pair with this meal?”

In the morning, it’s a no-brainer to pair breakfast with a cup of coffee or two. Traditional American breakfast fares include savory dishes with eggs, bacon, cured meats, and cheese or sweeter delights like fruits, pancakes, and toasts.  But at night, when you’re indulging in these delectable ingredients for dinner, it’s totally appropriate to pair you’re your brinner with a glass of vino.

In my quest to master breakfast foods for dinner and share good advice with you I’ve asked a few people, and scoured various sources, for assistance.  By way of a long-distance phone call, mom has told me exactly how to boil an egg – and how to do it without it cracking!  A friend from college, who is also adjusting to the real world, but in Manhattan, has shared her wonderful foodie photos and recipes that she blogs with.  For a comprehensive guide to pairing, I borrowed a book from the Tasting Room “What to Drink with What you Eat” that has every type of pairing.  And for local pairings, winemaker, Mark, has the best knowledge of Ponte Wines and has suggested which ones to enjoy my brinner with.  I did find some comfort in knowing that there is not just one answer for the right complementary pairing for a dish – but many! This exploration has proved to be rewarding as I mix up different dishes and wine pairings to share with you:

Perhaps your brinner will start with a little appetizer. Pairing a California Chardonnay with toasted bread will seem like a butter spread.  Swing by Great Harvest and pick up one of their fresh loaves made daily.  I don’t recommend a sourdough toast as its ph balance will throw off a wine of any type. But try their honey wheat, Dakota, or rye and have some fun with cheeses and wine.

Crustless Quiche – This recipe changes the way to prepare scrambled eggs into a more sophisticated French recipe.  This dish from the Northeast region of France would pair well with a wine from the region, specifically an off-dry white wine like our Arneis – a crisp white wine that is best served chilled. The name means “little rascal” meaning that it is a difficult grape to grow – very fitting for a more complicated dish to cook.  But enjoying it with a glass of wine makes it well worth the effort.

For those who love bacon, there are endless creations you can make with the meat for dinner.  Bacon, and other smoked foods, like to be paired with a low tannin red wine.  When serving it, choose a rich wine with a medium body, like Zinfandel which will really bring out the complexity and deliciousness of bacon.

Don’t skip the salt with toast and eggs.  A fruity wine will pair magically with a salty dish.  Our Angry Wife blend is a medium-bodied wine with full aromas of apples and lemon zest to pair with this light bite.  This one is easiest for me because it requires little cooking!

Why not have steel cut oatmeal with fruit for dinner? After all, it’s filling and satisfying.  If only we sold Muscat grapes to top this oatmeal because those sweet wine grapes are delicious even before being made into a sparking Moscato.  However, when paired with this, the sparkling wine with floral aromas offers a light sweetness to the hearty oatmeal.

Pancakes!  Another, non-typical dinner but it was too good to not have on Monday night!  Refreshing Rose Spumante wine was the perfect match.  When served chilled, its burst of strawberry flavors complemented this pancake’s topping.

I have a mouth full of sweet teeth, so I hope you saved room for dessert.  To pair a wine with dessert, just remember that a sweet wine goes with any sweet foods.  When it comes to donuts – frosted, glazed, or sprinkled – try them with our Zinfandel Port.  The dark chocolate and blueberry flavors of the port will act as the perfect end to a meal.

So save the apple juice, grapefruit juice and coffee for the morning and introduce a new pairing of Ponte Wine with tonight’s brinner.  This was a very fun way of combining easy breakfast ingredients for a hearty dinner to be paired with the best wines!

-What are you having for brinner tonight?

-Cameron Snyder

Posted by , February 7, 2014 No comments

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