Could a Syrah paired with fish work? It sounds like an unorthodox pairing, but I like to try new things! I had a bottle of 2011 Halter Ranch Syrah from Paso Robles that I wanted to use for the September Wine Pairing Weekend event. I’ve enjoyed this before paired with steak, but in the spirit of trying something new, I wondered if grilled tuna paired with a Syrah could work.
There were a few factors that helped make this a good pairing. For starters, a meaty tuna steak is very substantial, matching the body of the Syrah. Then I added some spice to the dish, by serving the tuna with grilled eggplant with spicy peppers. These veggies bridged to the wine nicely, as did the cumin garlic mixture I rubbed onto the tuna steak. Get all the recipe details over on Cooking Chat.
Now, more about that Halter Ranch Syrah. This wine has a big fragrance of violets and forest floor. I got blackberry jam and white pepper taste. I had my initial taste before I started grilling the tuna. By the time we settled down to eat about 10 minutes later, the Syrah had really opened nicely and was showing a lot of finesse on the long finish. This helped it make a nice harmonious pairing with the tuna–plenty of substance for this meaty fish with the spice element to work with the food. A good wine and a nice pairing! In fact, one thing that reminded me to blog about it this morning is I’m making it again for a gourmet get together with friends tonight!
I get to experiment with pairings for this Grilled Steak with Garlic Cumin rub fairly often. The rub packs enough flavor for grownups, but my 9 year old also loves it, so it gets used often! A lot of big, bold reds can work with the meaty dish, but there’s also the spice element to pick up. That gets me going more in the direction of a Zinfandel or Syrah for this grilled steak recipe.
You could do well with any of your favorites in the Syrah or Zin department, but one specific pairing for this grilled steak recipe that has worked very well for us is the 2011 Halter Ranch Syrah from Paso Robles. It’s got big berry flavors to stand up the beef, and some nice spices to pair with the flavors of the rub. Give it a try or let me know with you come up with for a pairing! (you are going to try this super-easy rub, aren’t you?).
Here on Wine Pairing Weekend, I typically just link over to the original recipes. But if you’re in a hurry, the rub is simply equal parts cumin, garlic powder and salt, and you can add a pinch of cinnamon and/or other dried herb (sage is nice) to vary the flavor.
This is a variation on the sausage and Zinfandel theme I blogged about the other day. I had gotten two large Andouille sausages from D’Artagnan, and only needed one for that pasta with sausage and collard greens. So the other night I used the other one to make Rigatoni with Kale and Sausage. I used feta instead of the cheese blend in the original recipe, and that worked great. There was a sample box of wines from Renwood Winery in the cellar waiting to be opened. Knowing they specialize in zin, last night seemed like the perfect time to crack one open to pair with the spicy sausage in the pasta dish.
My friends from Renwood had sent a variety of their wines to try. We were getting going on this dinner late after another Little League baseball game, so I didn’t have time to do much research to determine which bottle to open first. 4 are straight zins, but I decided to go for one with Syrah in the blend. We opened the 2011 Renwood Clarion Red Wine, a blend of Zinfandel and Syrah from California’s Amador County. We were very pleased with the selection! I got a touch of cinnamon along with blackberry and pepper tasting this one, and it has a nice smooth finish. Enough spice to match well with the sausage. I look forward to trying the other bottles in the box–stay tuned for details!
Before signing off, I should mention one other thing about Renwood. They are having a BBQ sauce making competition, with the winner getting an all expenses paid trip for two to Renwood Winery for the Amador Vintners’ Big Crush event in October. Entries must be submitted by August 30. I haven’t made my own BBQ sauce before, but this might give me reason to try! It’s been way too long since I’ve been to California wine country, and I’d love to get back there. I probably shouldn’t share the link to the contest info as that might increase my competition. But I’m a nice guy so I’ll share it anyway–here you go!
Full disclosure: I received this wine as a courtesy sample from Renwood. As always, free samples don’t influence the opinions expressed or guarantee mention here on this blog.
Yesterday was the first official Wine Pairing Weekend event! I enjoyed hearing all the great pairings my fellow bloggers came up with for grilled meat. I will post highlights on some of their pairings in the coming days, but first wanted to share about my pairing: Grilled Pork Tenderloin with a Bonny Doon Syrah.
The pork dish gets marinaded with lime juice, cilantro and garlic and topped with chipotle cream. So I was looking for a wine with some substance and a bit of spice. I picked the 2009 Le Pousseur Central Coast Syrah from Bonny Doon Vineyard. I got a whiff of a summer meadow on the nose, and was struck by the polish on this wine from the first taste. Supple cherry fruit and a bit of leather. The finesse and flavors of the wine worked well with the nuanced smoky and spice flavors of the pork.