Friday, March 11, 2011

Provisions Irish Spring 2011

This month’s Provisions food and wine pairing theme was “Irish Spring” although there was a little bit of Mardi Gras Cajun sprinkled in as well so there was a nice variety of meals.

We started with a chilled spring pea soup and it had a very strong pea or vegetable flavor, much like asparagus. To combat the overpowering flavor, it was paired with a Sparkling Gruner Veltliner. There weren’t many bubbles to it like a traditional sparkler, but the acidity helped to cut through the creamy flavor. I also noticed that Chef Scott snuck in some bacon bits on the very top of it, so I had to wash it all down with a lot of wine.

After struggling with the first course, the second course was worse. Either the bottle was corked or something wrong with my glass, but I actually had a “barnyard” tasting Sauvignon Blanc. Normally Blancs taste cool, crisp, and minerally to me. So this flavor came out of nowhere and I don’t think it was the correct taste. Luckily, the pasta was quite good on its own.

Fortunately, the third pairing saved me and I have to give Angela Ortmann (aka STLwinegirl) the proper credit for using a special request that I had made. (http://www.stlwinegirl.com) Chef Scott is known for his love of Cajun food and he made a dirty rice with crawfish. It wasn’t spicy at all so it was perfect for me! This was paired with a 2009 Efeste “Evergreen” Riesling out of Washington State. I had read about it in the Wednesday Food section of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and it got very high marks from Wine Spectator, as well as finishing in Jon Bonne’s Top 100 wines of 2009. You can find more reviews here: http://www.wine.com/V6/Efeste-Evergreen-Riesling-2009/wine/107959/detail.aspx

Since the food was not spicy, the drier Riesling was a very balanced pairing. If there had been any spice, then a sweeter Riesling would have definitely been required. But it was perfect. While I love sweet wines, drier Rieslings are actually easier to drink because they are so smooth without the typical tart finish that can be overwhelming at times.

In addition to the wine, Angela paired a beer with this course and it was the exact same LaChouffe Golden Blonde Ale I had JUST picked out on Saturday night at Cicero’s! (http://www.ciceros-stl.com) Coicedence or no? I’ll let you decide. Either way, this pairing was a complete success.

The next pairing was actually just as strong even though I was biased by my favorites. We had the typical Corned Beef and Cabbage, but it came with a delicious creamy sauce that was not overpowering. This really paired well with the 2009 Georges Deboeuf Beaujolais since it is so full of fruity flavor. Another beer, the Schlafly Irish Ale, had just as much flavor as the wine and both drinks could stand up to the sauce. Again, a well-balanced pairing.

Last but not least, the dessert course was Bananas Foster paired with a chocolate stout. This definitely made sense to me as a pairing but I would have liked to have traded in the stout for a bottle of chocolate sauce to smother the bananas in. I was surprised that the stout was smooth and not as bitter like I expected, but I still prefer a lighter beer.

The next Provisions food and wine pairing will take place on Tuesday, April 5th and the theme still has yet to be determined. You can post suggestions on STLwinegirl’s wall at http://www.facebook.com/STLwinegirl or tweet her on Twitter @STLwinegirl.

Here is the pairing list:
Chilled Spring Pea Soup
Punkt Genau Sparkling Gruner Veltliner
Austria

Spring Vegetable Pesto Primavera
2008 StarLane Sauvignon Blanc
Central Coast, California

Dirty Rice with Crawfish
2009 Efeste “Evergreen” Riesling
Washington State
LaChouffe Golden Blonde Ale
Belgium

Corned Beef and Cabbage
2009 Georges Deboeuf Beaujolais
France
Schlafly Irish Ale
Missouri

Bananas Foster
Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence
New York