Nothing beats the simple indulgence of comfort foods. They are a universal cure for a bad day or blue mood and add to our overall sense of well-being. We all have our own concept of comfort food and certainly amongst them are quick fixes. It’s easy to grab vanilla ice cream, Oreo cookies or a bowl of Frosted Flakes. But taken to the next level, comfort foods include dishes that are more complex. They are rooted in our cultural heritage and childhood. Certain foods with multiple ingredients and distinct aromas immediately take us to a place of comfort. Enjoying these favorite foods alongside of the perfect glass of wine adds to this warmth and sense of contentment. So this winter while you are enjoying some of these classic American comfort foods, hopefully this guide can help you select the perfect wine.
Pot Roast, Beef Stew or Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes
The classic comforting pair of meat and potatoes happens to also be the most versatile when it comes to wine pairing options. So let your mood be your guide. To simply enjoy the rustic earthiness of beef stew or pot roast with roasted vegetables, choose a Merlot or an oak-aged Chardonnay. For more oomph, or if your dish is well peppered, then select a Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Rioja or Malbec. If you like your meatloaf spicy, doused in ketchup or if you are looking for bold flavors that will warm you up with the first sip, then a high alcohol big Red Zinfandel is a must.
Roasted Chicken or Chicken Pot Pie
Few meals are more satisfying than a simple roasted chicken or a classic chicken pot pie. Once your meal is in the oven and there is not much left to do, uncork a bottle of wine while you wait. Your selection should be light and fruity in either a red or a white. Red wine choices include Beaujolais, Pinot Noir and Grenache, while white wine choices include French Rhone blends, dry Rieslings and Viognier. If you can’t decide between a red and a white, select a dry Rose, which is my personal favorite.
Mac and Cheese or Grilled Cheese
For cheese lovers, nothing melts the heart like warm cheese. For wine lovers, there is no better companion to wine than cheese, so if you love both, then this pair is the ultimate comfort. A simple grilled American cheese sandwich calls for a Chardonnay. If you like yours dunked in a bowl of tomato soup, then a low tannin red wine such as a Gamay or Grenache would be perfect. A great mac and cheese should be creamy regardless of the cheeses used. Creaminess calls for a high acid wine. Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc and a Spanish Albarino cut perfectly through the richness.
Finally, if bacon somehow finds its way into your dish, then sweetness and/or bubbles are in order. Try either an off dry Riesling or a slightly sweet sparkling wine, such an Italian Prosecco.
By Georgene Mortimer