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July 22, 2005 10:36 AM   Subscribe

I'm having a dinner party where I'm serving a lemon mushroom and leek risotto and a red onion, pesto and goat cheese tart as the main dishes. What the hell kind of wine do I serve with that?
posted by sciurus to Food & Drink (32 answers total)
I'd go with a hearty white. Not chilled to hard.

/derail can you send me the recipe for the tart?
posted by OmieWise at 10:40 AM on July 22, 2005

posted by OmieWise at 10:40 AM on July 22, 2005

Seriously, just post it, that sounds like an incredibly tasty meal!

I agree, hearty white is the answer.
posted by josh at 10:42 AM on July 22, 2005

The mushroom and goat cheese are bold enough that you can throw a good unoaked chardonnay at it. But you might consider a domestic pinot grigio, many of which will have a nice citrus note (and one of my personal preferences for white). If you are into bold spicing and would like a white that's less dry, consider a reisling.
posted by Scooter at 10:48 AM on July 22, 2005

I would second the pinot grigio. I've never tried domestic, though, but I've found the nice citrus note Scooter's talking about with New Zealand pinto grigios ("grigi"?).

Unless Scooter is actually from New Zealand, in which case I'm just babbling.

In any event, something slightly acidic like that would, I think, do well with the pesto.
posted by occhiblu at 10:53 AM on July 22, 2005

not sure what "hearty" means, and here (chile) the range of wines (at reasonable prices) is restricted to local produce (little riesling, for example!), but i'd serve a sauvignon blanc. i'd have it pretty cold, too. but i'm no expert. it does sound a delicious meal though.

another option is some kind of beer. i could imagine that a slightly sweet ale would be pretty good with that.
posted by andrew cooke at 10:54 AM on July 22, 2005

I can't recommend the Newton Unfiltered Chardonnay enough. We are not white wine drinkers, but this was just amazing. I would go perfectly with your Pissaladiere.
posted by Heatwole at 10:55 AM on July 22, 2005

Be saucy. Go for a chilled Pinot Noir.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:10 AM on July 22, 2005

Grüner Veltliner might also be a good choice. It's dry and minerally, and I've found it goes well with strong flavors like lemon and goat cheese. Felsner makes an excellent and reasonably priced Grüner Veltliner.
posted by Hegemonic at 11:18 AM on July 22, 2005

I too am drawn to a light and acidic red with this rather than a white, though you can't go wrong here with a Chilean sauvignon blanc (Los Vascos is cheap and tasy in the US). Civil-Disobedient's suggestion of a young, slightly chilled pinot noir appeals. To be really daring, but it will work delightfully, I might suggest a dry, full-bodied rose, with the ur-type in my mind being Bandol, a Provencal made from grenache and mourvedre grapes. But I'm not sure if there is a Chilean equivalent. Another possibility would be a lighter-styled Beaujolais, like a Fleurie, again slightly cooled, though that will have less acidity than the Pinot Noir or the right rose.

And since it is Risotto, a young Chianti, Dolcetto, or Valpolicella would be a nice red as well, and marry especially nicely with the pesto and goat cheese. For an Italian white, perhaps Gavi.
posted by realcountrymusic at 11:18 AM on July 22, 2005

Try a Gewurtztrameiner. If you like Reisling, you'll really enjoy a good Gewurtz.

And can I come over to eat the leftovers?
posted by lambchop1 at 11:20 AM on July 22, 2005

I swear I am not snarking - but this sounds like a fun opportunity to have a two or three different wines and ask your guests to participate in deciding what goes best with the meal.
posted by vignettist at 11:51 AM on July 22, 2005

Oh man. Any chance at some recipes?
posted by agregoli at 11:51 AM on July 22, 2005

I am with realcountrymusic -- a lighter Beaujolais Villages would be good here. Finding a white that hits all of these flavors is tough.

I like vignettist's suggestion, too.
posted by briank at 12:01 PM on July 22, 2005

Response by poster: this sounds like a fun opportunity to have a two or three different wines and ask your guests to participate in deciding what goes best with the meal

That is actually what I plan on doing.

I'll put the recipes up here later this evening. Thanks for the recommendations so far!
posted by sciurus at 12:07 PM on July 22, 2005

Another vote for Grüner Veltliner. And another request for recipes!
posted by trip and a half at 12:09 PM on July 22, 2005

Note: if you are looking for a New Zealand Pino Grigio, we generally follow the French nomenclature and call it "Pinot Gris". Confusingly ours tend to the full, less dry style like the Italian pinot grigios rather than the more steely French ones.

I also agree that a gewuerztraminer or a dry riesling would work well too.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:21 PM on July 22, 2005

My first thought was Riesling, but that Newton unfiltered chardonnay sounds nice. I've only had their claret but have the highest praises for it.
posted by ikkyu2 at 3:22 PM on July 22, 2005

I am going to deviate from the herd here. I like big lush reds. I think that they go well with anything, including many fish dishes. Any dish rich with fats or starch marries well with a lush red. These dishes probably are rich enough to support that. I would probably avoid a bone dry red. I would like to try something like an Amarone with these. The only issue is how much lemon? Too much and it might not click with the Amarone. A little bit would be a nice complement though.
posted by caddis at 3:28 PM on July 22, 2005

Response by poster: Here are the recipes. They are from this book, which is awesome on many levels.

Leek Mushroom and Lemon Risotto


8 ounces trimmed leeks
8 ounces cremini mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) butter
1 large onion, roughly chopped
scant 1 ¾ cups Arborio rice
5 cups hot vegetable stock
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup mixed chopped fresh chives and flat-leaf parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper
lemon wedges and sprigs of flat-leaf parsley to serve

Serves: 4

1. Wash the leeks well. Slice in half lengthwise and roughly chop. Wipe the mushrooms with paper towels and roughly chop.

2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the garlic for 1 minute taking care not to burn it. Add the leeks, mushrooms and plenty of seasoning and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until softened and browned. Remove the mixture from the pan and set aside.

3. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to the pan and cook the onion over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until golden and soft.

4. Stir in the rice and cook for 1 minute. Add a ladleful of stock to the pan and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid is absorbed.

5. Gently stir in more liquid as each ladleful is absorbed, this should take 20-25 minutes in all. The risotto will turn thick and creamy, and the rice should be tender but not sticky or gluey.

6. Just before serving, stir in the leeks, mushrooms, remaining butter, grated lemon zest and 3 tablespoons of the juice, half the Parmesan and the herbs. Adjust the seasoning and serve, sprinkled with the remaining Parmesan and the herbs. Serve with lemon wedges and sprigs of flat-leaf parsley.

Red Onion and Goat Cheese Pastries


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ½ cups red onions, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried plus a few fresh thyme sprigs, to garnish (optional)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1-pound packet ready-rolled puff pastry
½ cup goat cheese, cubed
1 egg, beaten
salt and freshly ground black pepper
mixed green salad leaves to serve

1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan, add the onions and fry over gently heat for 10 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally to prevent them browning. Add the thyme, seasoning and balsamic vinegar, and cook for 5 minutes more. Remove the from the heat and leave to cool.

2. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Unroll the pastry and using a 6-inch plate as a guide, cut four rounds. Place the pastry rounds on a dampened baking sheet and, using the point of a knife, score a border, ¾ inch inside the edge of each round.

3. At this point I usually spread the bottom of the rounds with pesto, before adding the rest of the filling. Apparently you can use tapenade as well.

4. Divide the onions among the pastry rounds and top with the goat cheese. Brush the edge of each round with beaten egg and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden. Garnish with thyme, if using, before serving with salad leaves.
posted by sciurus at 3:51 PM on July 22, 2005 [7 favorites]

Yum, thanks!

Caddis, I agree and personally I'd pair this with something lush as well. Amarone might be overkill for me, but it would be interesting. The solution, halfway to Amarone but a tad less raisined and a little lower alcohol, is Masi's amazing Campofiorin , a "ripasso" (thus made from overripe grapes, like Amarone) but finished in a slightly drier style. But I don't think this combo would be for everyone.

Frankly, this meal is great in part because it would pair with a wide range of wines. When do we eat again? I'll bring the Campofiorin.
posted by realcountrymusic at 3:57 PM on July 22, 2005

Man, this thread is making me hungry and thirsty. My first thought was riesling or pinot grigio (I prefer Italian to most US versions, but YMMV) but I like a lot of the suggestions here, especially realcountrymusic's (Bandol is fabulous and I'll bet it would work great with this), but I wanted to warn against chardonnay, which I think would taste really weird against this background. Trying two or three different wines sounds perfect. Let us know what you decide on and how it works out!
posted by languagehat at 4:18 PM on July 22, 2005

Prossecco (not the cheap sweet stuff, the real prosecco,DOC di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene.

It should be less than $20.00 a bottle and the spritz is an extra attraction, specially if this is a special occasion as it sounds.
posted by leafwoman at 4:41 PM on July 22, 2005

Sigh. I just had a bottle of orange soda and a bag of potato chips (damn server is down again and I'm stuck at the lab).
posted by realcountrymusic at 6:15 PM on July 22, 2005

White. The lemon in the risotto and the freshness of the goats cheese is going to clash even with something like a slightly-chilled Grenache. You want something to complement the clean tastes of the food, rather than compete with them.

So, something a bit floral and fruity rather than oaky. A Viognier might be worth a try: the Chilean ones are as good, if not better at their price point than the French. Or, given the menu, a dry Tuscan white, like a Vernaccia di San Gimignano, if you can get hold of it. I'll second prosecco, too, especially as an aperitif.
posted by holgate at 6:49 PM on July 22, 2005

wow. haven't seen viognier for sale here. will try to find it next time i'm in santiago - anakena seems to be growing it, and their wines are also on the domestic market here. thanks for that pointer!
posted by andrew cooke at 6:27 AM on July 23, 2005

Viognier is the primary grape in many white Rhones, which should be available in Santiago, I'd think. I like the pairing very much. I somehow failed to notice the lemon in the original question. Pairing any wine with a lemony dish is a challenge. You actually want a good deal of sweetness and lower acidity in the wine if the dish is very lemony. Vernaccia is a nice choice too. Or perhaps an Orvieto.
posted by realcountrymusic at 7:37 AM on July 23, 2005

well, according to web searches, it's new here. the local market is dominated by oaky cabernet sauvignon, with merlot and carmenere in second place. there's a little shiraz (still oaked), and that's it for reds. for whites, it's sauvignon blanc, semillon (rarely by itself) and chardonay. that's it, at least on supermarket shelves. actually, no, i think errazuriz do have a white rhone, but that's the only one i remember. i guess i need to try going to a dedicated wine shop (but then i guess things will be more expensive). (this is just from staring at supermarket shelves, as i said - i'm no wine expert. although i have relations who are in the business, so i guess i should ask them next time i see them).
posted by andrew cooke at 10:59 AM on July 23, 2005

damn. keep forgetting that's now post and not preview. this chilean site has some reviews, and shows the "selection". although having said that, if you scroll down there's a vioginer chardonay. ooo and a pinot noir at the end. i shall have to use that site as a guid and start looking more carefully.

sorry for the digression.
posted by andrew cooke at 11:02 AM on July 23, 2005

A pure semillon, or largely semillon, might do the trick here Andrew. That grape can be finished in a very lush but bright and floral fruit with a lot of sweetness -- just a notch citrusy, which might marry with the lemon here. Semillon can also be over-oaked, and of course with botrytis it is the grape of great Bordeaux dessert wines. I don't know what the Chilean makers do with it, or if they do it on its own, but I'd be curious. In the US, its been a specialty of Pacific Northwest producers as a solo varietal. Aussies also do good things with it, but tend to oak it heavily.
posted by realcountrymusic at 2:48 PM on July 23, 2005

Oddbins has stocked the Casillero del Diablo Viognier on and off for a good few years, and there are Cono Sur and Santa Rita Viogniers in supermarkets: the British generally don't know how good they have it in terms of access to varietals and both Old/New World producers.

The general rule is either to get a sense of where your menu is coming from, and look to wines from that region (i.e. Vernaccia); or to imagine the dominant tastes on your palate and work around them (Viognier). Involves drinking lots of wine and remembering its taste, which doesn't always happen!
posted by holgate at 3:04 PM on July 23, 2005

Response by poster: I went with Trimbach, an Alsacian Gewurtztrameiner, a Caymus Conundrum white table wine and a cheap bottle of pinot grigio. Everyone thought they all tasted fine with the food, so so much for overthinking it. Personally I liked the Conundrum best, which is probably right since it was rather expensive. Thanks for your help everyone!
posted by sciurus at 4:57 AM on August 1, 2005

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