Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wine-Down Wednesday- Let's Talk Casual

Not very often do I get in the mood for a hamburger at home or eating out. I try and stay away from fast food joints, and prefer a good steak. I had the opportunity to take some photos at a friends place, with good lighting, I decided what I wanted to start my photo session with a good juicy and sloppy cheese burger with some good caramelized onions and a fried egg.

Eating casual food with beer and wine is not unheard of; its a down right needed comfort meal if you ask me!

A Kobe beef patty, bacon, caramelized onion, fried egg, pickles, lettuce, and tomato on a brioche roll. Served with seasoned white sweet potato fries. Would a beer or a glass of wine be the perfect match for this dish? Of course both will work, but which ones?

BEER: Palm Belgium Ale, 5.2% alc/vol was imported into the US in 2007, and distribution has slowly made its way across the north east by way of Connecticut. Now offered on draft in many restaurants, and can be found in Whole Foods in bottles.

Tasting Notes: A top fermented beer, gives off a typical bitter sweet aroma and dry refreshing taste. Palm is not a bad ale if you want something unobtrusive and gentle; it has a reasonable flavor, but is rather on the bland side of the Belgian scale (my girlie taste buds agree, only because I normally prefer wine, but have enjoyed Hoegaarden with an orange slice). I have been told during Christmas another version of this beer can take on a more promising appearance- slightly stronger version Palm Dubbel, but a marginal improvement in their opinion.

Brewing style: Speciale Belge. This designation is strictly reserved for amber beer brewed in the Provinces of Brabant, Antwerp, East Flanders and Hainault. PALM dominates this segment in Belgium.

Taste profile: Toasty, maltiness, some spice and orange notes and very clean finish- great with fattiness of the beef!

Caramelized flavors of Brown Ale, or Pale Ales will also pair nicely with a good char on a burger.

Fun Fact: The Japanese are pairing German and Belgium style beers with Sushi.

Wine Pairings: Barbera, Beaujolais, Cabernet Sauvignon, Valpolicella, Zinfandel

Many of you in the past, as well as myself do not find a Beaujolais the popular choice as we do these other listings. Due to the fact as I have mentioned before the first growth bottles that come out the 3rd week of November have to be drunk immediately, but would work with this because it is young and fruity. Beyond the first of the year it will take on other flavor notes that would not make a good match.

The better choices: Beaujolais Villages and Beaujolais Crus- will work fine with this dish.

Heavier Red Wines (chewy on the mouth feel) pair well with the fattiness of beef, and or meat, caramelized onions (sweet pairs well with fruitiness), as well as the cheese on the burger. Nothing too young or tannic (preferably aged), or it will over power the whole dish. The balance should be that neither over power the others flavors- a rule for most pairings. I omitted raw onion, as it tends to be strong on the palate and would be an overpowering flavor, but sometimes that is how you might roll.

My pick- Cabernet Sauvignon; it is the dominant red grape variety on the left-bank of Bordeaux; is popular in many other countries including Argentina, Australia, Chile, and South Africa. Cabernet Sauvignon is widely grown in the United States and is the signature grape of California’s Napa Valley.

I was never fond of sipping casually on a Cab; it always does however go great with food. Meats are the choice if you plan to serve up beef. They hold up with their strong bold mouth feel, and the bold ripe fruit flavors of currant. Chilean, South African, New Zealand and Australian are reasonably priced and good bargain Cab based at $25 and under per bottle. Finding them for $12 a bottle like the New Zealand Pillar 'Padthaway' Box Red I paired with lamb is an excellent find.

Shoot a good bowl of stew, smothered steak, or even a chuck roast cooked in a red wine sauce (comfort favorites in this 'snowmageddon') would suit my mood right now.

Wine and beer are a matter of taste, so go try one and share what you think!

A Partners In Wine Club post...