recipes with wine pairings / wine articles

Braised short rib recipe… what to pair?

Well it just dawned on me that I erred in two separate ways last night… oooh it stings to admit that.

First and foremost, I failed in the most basic concept of this website. I’m supposed to give you recipes and make wine recommendations, thus PERFECT PAIRINGS… I didn’t. I’m so sorry guys! Truthfully, I think I was mentally spent from sitting there for over an hour trying to write that damn recipe (which is definitely going to take some getting used to) with cabin fever infected kids trampling each other in the background, that when I got to the end I just threw in the towel with an “open a big red” and told you what I was drinking.

C’mon Derek, what is this, amateur hour!?

Ok, so let’s do this for real this time.

In order to figure out what to pair with any given meal you have to look at all of it’s components and how it will play together. I’m in the process of writing an in depth article on this that will be posted soon (maybe today?) so I’m not going to get into too much detail right here. I’m just going to cheat and jump right to the answer.

So braised short ribs, root vegetable jus, noodles, mushrooms, sprouts… Kind of makes you think of classic Italian peasant fare huh? And…….. historic wine regions developed wines that fit with their local cuisine (as compared to “new” wine countries that just try to make what sells). So……. if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, well then it must be a duck!

Ok, so we’ve narrowed it down to Italy… which is like saying “I need a car, let’s look for one with four wheels.” Italy is the largest wine producing country in the world, I think maybe we should get a little more specific. So rich braised meat with root vegetables, makes me think of a cooler climate, northern Italy, getting close to some mountains… Let’s say Piemonte!

But hey Derek, there are mountains in Northeastern Italy… Trentino Alto-Adige region perhaps? Nah, their roots are based more in wild game, lamb and Germanic cuisine.

So Piemonte (or as we in the States say it, Piedmont) it is, and I’m going to recommend the noble grape of the region, Nebbiolo. You could really go in a number of directions here… a basic Langhe Rosso, Barbaresco, Barolo, Gattinara, Ghemme… The list goes on and on.

Wow, what to choose?

My recommendation, based on pairing and also money, is a Barbaresco (But if you can afford it, go for a nice Barolo! Bartolo Mascarello anyone?). Typical flavor profiles of quality Barbaresco’s that are traditionally made… you should find nice cherry and brambly fruit in the opening and mid palate, subtle acidity (which you need to cut through the richness of the ribs!) hanging in the background, moderate rustic earth tones (that will play very well with the root veg,  ‘shrooms & sprouts) and overt tannins in the mid palate and especially the finish giving the wine depth and grip. You’ll find other nuances as well, depending on the winery and their terrior… I often find beautiful notes of fennel which in this instance would work very well with the parsnip.

A few producers I would recommend are :

Cascina della Rose – Their basic Barbaresco is quite nice but if you can find their Rio Sordo or Tre Selle, you’ll be a very happy camper.
Roagna – I absolutely love their Paje, but price point wise we’re getting up into Barolo territory.
Cigliutti – Their entry level Serraboella is very pretty, but the Vigne Erte is stunning.
Socre – Probably the best bang for the buck in this list. You can find Socre on the shelf in the mid-$20’s and it drinks like a $50 bottle.


So wait a second Derek, you didn’t have Nebbiolo last night, what gives!?

Yeah, about that… Remember when I said I made two mistakes yesterday? My wine pairing with dinner was the second mistake. Don’t misunderstand me, Carlisle ’10 Monte Rosso is a stunner, but it just wasn’t the right fit. I was taking a square peg and trying to put it in a round hole, mainly because I really really really wanted to crack open that bottle. It wasn’t a bad pairing, the wine and food played well with one another, but it certainly wasn’t perfect.

Oh well, it happens.

Anyways, let me know if any of you take my advice or cook my recipe and how it all turns out!

2 thoughts on “Braised short rib recipe… what to pair?

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