This month a delightful celebration brightened the skies of over Concannon Vineyard in Livermore, CA, in honor of Jim Concannon’s 80th birthday and the Ninth Annual Petite Sirah Symposium. This annual sold out event, was well orchestrated by P.S. I Love You Executive Director, Jo Diaz, and sponsored by Concannon Vineyard. As you have gathered from earlier posts, I am a huge fan of this petite grape that transforms into mighty, delectable wines. In addition to a host of informative, engaging speakers, there were many impressive examples of Petite Sirah shared throughout the day. It was my pleasure to speak about “Heavenly Pairings with Petite Sirah”- a summary follows for your enjoyment:
Hearty Beef Stew: Fully structured Petite Sirah marries beautifully with thick, aromatic beef stew, each carrying powerful flavors to the table. The richness of the stew compliments the lush fruit and nicely woven texture of Petite Sirah. Comfort food, comfort wine!
Filet Mignon topped with blue cheese: The pungent, intense flavor of the blue cheese accenting the tender beef stands up nicely to a full bodied Petite Sirah. The protein content of the beef and fat content of the cheese tones down the tannins of a muscular Petite Sirah.
Grilled Pork Tenderloin with spice rub (black pepper, sea salt and sage): This is fun to match with a plumy, spicy Petite Sirah as the spice flavors of both the dish and the wine can echo one another nicely and the fruitiness stands up to the spice. The charcoal grilled meat can also bring out smoky, toasty notes in Petite Sirah.
Beef Tenderloin served atop onions reduced in Petite Sirah: Wow, this works with a big, bold Petite Sirah. The richness of the beef compliments the jammy fruit in the wine, and the concentrated wine reduction sauce brings out the sweetness of the onions. The depth of flavors in the dish can handle a dense and lush Petite Sirah.
Roasted Venison with blackberry compote: Roasted game is a pleasing match with zesty, supple Petite Sirahs that showcase savory game aromas. Using blackberries in the dish also enhances the blackberry notes in the wine, marrying the two together harmoniously.
Beef Stroganoff: The sour cream in the stroganoff sauce really highlights the creamy plush texture of a Petite Sirah, and I like how the mushrooms and spice in the dish can bring out earthy qualities in the wine.
Blackened Salmon: Fruit driven, jammy Petite Sirah can take the heat of blackened salmon. The wine’s ripe, dense fruit tones down the exotic spices in the dish. This pairing broadens the depth of delicious flavors that comingle delightfully and display an enticing kaleidoscope of flavors across your palate. A great example of successfully pairing seafood with red wine.
Eggplant Parmigiana: I also like vegetarian fare, and I was pleased when pairing a Petite Sirah with plenty of plumy fruit and spice with this eggplant dish. In addition to it standing up to the savory spice in the sauce, the creamy mozzarella cheese also tamed the tannins.
Petite Sirah with Cheese
A cheese appetizer or cheese course after a meal also works well with Petite Sirah, which calls for full flavored cheese selections.
My favorites include:
Rosenborg Danish Blue Cheese: tangy, ripe with a touch of salt, this pairs with a wide range of Petite Sirah styles. The salty notes nicely offset a deep and fruity Petite Sirah and the wine and cheese both show peppery notes and match well in weight, too.
Swiss Gruyere: This flavorful cheese holds both sweet and salty notes. When young it is creamy and nutty, highlighting the creamy texture of a round lush Petite Sirah. With age this cheese takes on an earthy note, marrying well with an earthy, spicy Petite Sirah.
Italian Gorgonzola: Also very creamy in its youth, I like this melt in your mouth cheese with a densely fruited Petite Sirah. When aged the cheese is pungent, robust and spicy, and works terrifically with a big, bold, complex Petite Sirah.
Aged Cheddar: Rich and robust, this cheese is another one that hits the jackpot with a variety of styles of Petite Sirah. A lush and plummy Petite Sirah was just right paired with Fiscalini’s Bandaged Wrapped Cheddar from Modesto CA; a delicious cheese boasting a classic sharp cheddar flavor without the bite.
Aged Gouda: I recently paired Frisian Farms aged Gouda from Des Moines Iowa with a dense black fruit dominant full-flavored Petite Sirah. The complex cheese brings out the depth and spice of Petite Sirah and flavors meld together deliciously.
Step outside the box; be adventurous in your food and wine pairings, after all, who’s palate is it, anyway?