Pairing Food with Wine

This week, I had a little more time than I usually do when planning for wine tasting. So, I thought we would have specific food pairings with each wine. Sometimes I can get a little lazy and just serve berries and cheese & crackers. You can get all the food pairings at Manteca Grocery Outlet as well (while supplies last), with the exception of Becky’s Blackberry Pepper Jam…

Here’s a link to a basic food and wine pairing chart, check it out if you’d like to have a little more guidance. I don’t know if I’d trust it completely though – it lists chocolate as one of the hard to pair with wine foods. I have never had any trouble pairing chocolate with wine – it seems to go with just about every red that we’ve tried on the Front Porch!

a nice line up of wine

Marco Fiori Sauv Blanc ~ Lander Jenkins Chard ~ Greg Norman Malbec ~ HCV Merlot


Marco sauv blanc   fresh fruit pairing

2013 Marco Fiori Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley $4.99

Elsewhere price $18.99

4.7 out of 5 on

We let this wine breath for 15 minutes before we tried it and we paired it with a fresh fruit platter. Terry took her first sip of this Sauvignon Blanc while we we’re all still visiting, and interrupted with a, ‘oh, that’s good. I like it a lot.’  Kerri commented that this Napa wine is airy, nice on a summer evening. She said she would pair it with fish or chicken. Larry tasted pear. Scott, who usually stays away from Sauvignon Blanc because it’s too sweet for his taste, said, ‘this, I’ll drink, it’s not too sweet at all. So, to recap: Kerri said it was airy, Larry thought it was pairy and Terri and Scott liked it a lot.



lander jenkins chard   beckys jam and chard

2011 Lander Jenkins Chardonnay California $4.99

Elsewhere price $12.99

2012 New York int’l wine competition awarded this winery Family Owned Winery of the Year

After searching the internet on details of this wine, I found that they have recently changed their label, which may be why we have it. We paired this California Chardonnay with Becky’s homemade Blackberry Pepper Jam with cream cheese on crackers. Dang, that jam is good. Larry felt it had a little bite to it and Terry thought it was buttery. Becky said it’s pretty good and Scott stated that it was strong, but not bitter.

Wine Enthusiast: Rich in apricot, orange and tropical fruits, with buttered toast, honey and creamy lees flavors, this Chardonnay leaves nothing to the imagination. It’s flashy and forward, yet has enough acid and mineral balance to give it interest.  (8/ 2013)

K&L Notes: Lander-Jenkins’ 2011 California Chardonnay boasts the freshness of the cool 2011 vintage, with aromas of lemon cream and Key lime pie that carry over to the round, but fresh palate. Packs a lot for the price.



greg norman malbec   sliders and malbec

2011 Greg Norman Malbec Argentina $4.99

Elsewhere price $12.99

This Malbec from Argentina also has had a label change. This bottle, even with the old label, was my favorite of the night. We paired it with Chicken Sliders with provolone cheese and marinara sauce. Kerri tasted the berries and would pair it with red meat. She said it reminded her of a Pinot Noir. Terry thought it was good, very smooth and I agreed. Scott was talking baseball with the guys, but stopped to say, ‘I like it’.

Winemakers notes: Intense purple red and ruby hues paint the backdrop for this Argentinian adventure bursting with ripe fruit flavors, hints of exotic smoke and vanilla and a long, dreamy sunset-like finish.

“Excellent and enjoyable best describe this black-fruit driven Malbec. Hard to find this quality for the retail price.”           —Steve Pollack, wine buyer for the Chairman’s Selection® program



HCV merlot   salami and merlot

2010 Happy Canyon Vineyards Merlot $6.99

Elsewhere price $22.99

This California Merlot scored 92 points from! We paired it with Salame and Cheese on bread rounds. Kerri commented that is was jammy and she definitely tasted dark cherries. Becky said, ‘I love it! It’s like sunshine in my mouth.’ She would pair it with steak or cheesecake. When she paired it with her Blackberry Pepper Jam then took another sip, she said you get a little ‘pizzaz’. I thought it was just dry enough and after about 30 minutes of breathing, it mellows way out. This would go excellent with a nice dark chocolate.

Tasting notes: Happy Canyon Vineyards offers us an aromatically complex Merlot with their 2010 release from the nation’s newest AVA, Happy Canyon! This release is a blend of 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec, and 1% Petit Verdot. The palate offers cocoa and fresh dark cherry fruit with soft tannins supporting the fruit. Reserved oak and a bright acidic structure keep this Merlot food friendly and down-to-earth.