Thursday, March 3, 2016

Wines for St. Patrick’s Day

By Liza B. Zimmerman

While the Irish are known for their love of many types of drink, it is not always wine. However given how bitter the weather can be in New York, and other parts of the country, for the big parade some bone-warming wines are always a great call with which to enjoy the festivities.

So here’s a play-by-play chart on what to drink for St. Patrick’s Day. While you are watching the parade with a slice of pizza or a fresh-from-the-stand hotdog, you might enjoy a Beaujolais slightly chilled. If you are going to pile the sauerkraut on the hotdog, or potentially hot mustard, you might debate pairing it with a sweeter wine like a sparkling wine with a hint of residual sugar. A Riesling might even work, but please just don’t ask the hot dog guy to uncork it on the street.

If you go the pizza route, which many of us do on St. Patrick’s Day, I have a few suggestions. If you have a white pizza (with no sauce) and lots of spice you might go with a Chablis or even a Rhône white (trust me that these flavors work better with whites). If you are going to add that tomato sauce you may want to think about a light and simple red, perhaps a Sangiovese or Zinfandel, which are always great choices. They could be either Italian or from California. A lesser-known, but great fruit-forward choice would be Di Majo Norante delgi Osci Sangiovese from the southern Italian region of Molise.

For the Sit-Down Meal
I always like to come home to a classic, meat-hearty meal after running around in the cold streets of New York to see the parade. The evening would be the time to pull out some more serious wines, ideally red blends. Those could be rowdy blends from California, something slight peppery from the Rhone Valley or Bordeaux. A lesser-known blend and a gem is the Esporao Alandra, which is a blend of the indigenous grapes Moreto, Castelao and Trincadeira.

If you sear a steak you may want to pair it with bigger, more tannic and higher-alcohol wines such as California Cabernets or Douro reds. Should you make chile in the crock pot, which I love to do on cold days, you might want to scale back to lighter reds such as Pinots from California to Oregon and Burgundy, if you have the budget. If you make them with pork and lots of spice you might even go for a rich white such as a white Burgundy or a Rhône blend. One delightful choice would be the Domaine de Suremain Mercurey 1er Cru 2013.

To close the evening bubbles are always the best. They could be Champagne or Gruet from New Mexico or California sparklers. You could always just pour a little ice wine over some ice cream to celebrate a day with a cool finish for the Irish who live in colder climes.

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Liza B. Zimmerman has been writing and consulting about wine and food for two decades. She is principal of the San Francisco-based Liza the Wine Chick wine writing, education and consulting firm. She has worked on staff and freelance at national magazines such as Wine Enthusiast, The Magazine of La Cucina Italiana, Wine Spectator, Where SF and the Examiner. She currently contributes to Cheers, Wine Business Monthly and the Examiner, among others.

Zimmerman focuses on demystifying wine and transforming it into a tool for business and networking for companies all over the country. Past clients include Genentech, Roche and IBM.

She has visited all the world’s major wine regions and is one of select few in the U.S. to hold the Diploma of Wine & Spirits (D.W.S.), the three-year precursor to the Master of Wine.

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