Summer Food & Wine Pairings with Michel Schlumberger
I recently spent a GLORIOUS long weekend in Sonoma County, California. What was I doing there? WINE TASTING, obviously! I guess some people go to Sonoma to ride bikes or shop or something, but for me it’s 100% wine, 100% of the time. One of the many highlights I enjoyed on this Sonoma wine weekend was an afternoon at Michel-Schlumberger winery, where we toured the grounds and cellars before settling into the best part of the winery: a five-course food and wine pairing in their beautiful back garden.
Before each course, the chef came out and introduced his course, which wine was paired with it, and why. Educational and delicious! I loved every bite and sip. Let’s recap together! You just might find some inspiration for your upcoming summer cookout… there’s so much more to backyard BBQ boozin’ than just beer.
Course 1: Vietnamese Grilled Shrimp Lettuce Cup with Toasted Peanuts paired with NV Brut
Why a sparkling wine with this shrimp course? The crisp brightness of the brut pairs well with the delicate flavors found in both shrimp and Vietnamese seasonings. Sparkling whites can also stand up nicely to spicy food, and this shrimp definitely had a kick to it!
Course 2: Bruschetta with Grilled Peaches, Ricotta, Toasted Pecans, and Estate Olive Oil paired with 2013 Gold Collection Chardonnay
So this might not look like much from the photo, but this bruschetta was phenomenal. Peaches and soft cheese are always a great combo, but the toasted pecans and the kiss of olive oil really added a roundness to the dish. This particular chardonnay boasts a smooth, full, creamy body that can stand up to the richness of the olive oil. The fruity notes of the chardonnay ties in with the light, sweet peaches as well.
Course 3: Watermelon & Cherry Tomato Salad with Pine Nuts, Cucumber, and Mint paired with 2014 Rose of Merlot
You know my motto: rosé all day! This rosé features aromas of wild strawberries and fresh cherries, which of course works well with the watermelon but also is a nice contrast to the saltiness of the feta, cherry tomatoes, and pine nuts in this fruit salad. In my opinion, it’s hard to go wrong with a dry to semi-dry rosé when it comes to a wine to pair with any light summery salad/side.
Course 4: J Brand Roasted Chili Cheeseburger with Sweet Onion and Comeback Sauce paired with 2012 La Cime Cabernet Sauvignon
Man, you can serve me fancy food all day long, and all of these courses were absolutely delicious, but there’s just something about a perfectly grilled burger in the summertime. It’s a classic for a reason. Everyone in our group couldn’t stop raving about this one. We all know red wine and red meat go well together, and this cabernet sauvignon is no exception. Cab sauvs are generally one of my favorite reds, and this one easily exemplifies the characteristics that make me love it: it has a rich, long, fruity finish with a nice depth and spice to it. Good to sip on its own, even better when it’s up against some juicy red meat. Not only can it stand up to the burger, but it only adds a lush fruit aspect to contrast with the spice of the green chili and zingy, creamy sauce.
Course 5: Coconut Fool with Fresh Berries and Toasted Coconut paired with 2012 Port
My friends and I had been drinking a lot of wine by this point and we thought the name of this dessert was hilarious. “Coconut, FOOL!” etc. Anyway, port isn’t usually my drink of choice, but I did really enjoy these two together. The Michel port boasted a rich texture and a dark fruit & toasted nut finish. As you might be able to guess, the toasted nut aspect worked in tandem with the toasted coconut, and the dark fruit aspect was a great complement to the fresh, juicy berries. A perfect sipper to end our decadent meal.
Now go forth to grill, chill, and drink some wine in the backyard!