Hunting season is in full swing! Before long, freezers will be full of moose, caribou, waterfowl and other game. You can almost smell the pots of duck gumbo simmering in every household. With a new winter menu comes the opportunity to discover new wines. The following are some of the latest wine pairing ideas for hunting season.
Bruce Abbott, Brown Jug’s Wine & Spirit Merchant, recommends choosing “red wines from the Old World (in particular, France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal), because they were built around game. Wines from those countries are often better suited to game, in contrast to riper, richer, more tannic wines of the New World.” Consider adding some of Bruce’s favorite wine pairings, listed below, to your dinner table.
Full Moon Double-Barrel GSM
This full-bodied Australian gem is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. In France’s Rhône Valley, the “GSM” blend has been a classic combination for centuries. In Australia, this same combination of grapes makes a bigger, more fruit-forward wine than in their ancestral homeland of France, but their ability to stand up to the big flavors of strongly flavored cuts of meat remains. Suggested meat preparation: On the grill, brushed with barbecue sauce.
Les Belines Châteauneuf du Pape
Whereas the Full Moon GSM leans toward ripe and fruity, Les Belines Châteauneuf du Pape is earthier and more complex. Meat preparation: Slow-cooked in a Dutch oven with garlic, red wine and Herbs de Provence.
Château Pontet Bayard Bordeaux
Hailing from Bordeaux France, this medium-bodied red is silky smooth, with dark fruit flavors that help lean game meats taste richer. Château Pontet Bayard is from Bordeaux’s Right Bank. With 70% Merlot in the blend, this wine has the soft tannins and big flavors to make it a versatile companion with a variety of game meats. Meat preparation: Roasted in the oven and served with a red-wine pan sauce.
NO NEED TO CRY FOWL
France’s Burgundy region produces delicate, terroir-driven red wines from the Pinot Noir grape. These wines are the perfect match for game fowl, possessing the acid profile to cut through waterfowl’s oily flesh, as well as an earthiness that pairs well with their gamey flavor. Burgundian reds tend to be quite dry, but Thomas Bassot Coteaux de Bourgogne blends a portion of the fruity Gamay grape with the Pinot Noir, adding a dollop of rich red fruit that balances Pinot Noir’s racy acidity. Meat preparation: Duck breasts pan-seared in butter.
SALMON FOR DAYS!
Fall’s bounty brings many things, including the Silver Salmon Run. Many sommeliers stand by the perfect marriage of pairing Alaskan Salmon with Pinot Noir. This wine’s light body and high acid profile allows it to cut seamlessly through salmon’s rich, oily texture, providing a mouth-watering counterpoint to the decadent flesh. While Sockeye or King Salmon stand up to a powerful California Pinot Noir, the milder and more delicate Coho Salmon needs a more delicate wine. The cool-climate Conveyance Pinot Noir, from Willamette Valley Oregon, fits the bill with its layered flavors of raspberry, cherry and hints of earth. Meat preparation: Poached salmon with dill cream sauce.