Monday, September 5, 2011

Chile Verde Paired with 2009 Stoneleigh Marlborough Pinot Noir and 2010 Matua Valley Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

Chile Verde-2

This pairing marks the official kick-off of the 2011 football season and is the first in what I intend to be a series of finger licking good football food.  All the football fans out there know exactly what I am talking about.  There is a whole class of foods that we fans of the game find nearly enjoyable as the game itself.  Settling down for a Saturday afternoon of college football or a Sunday afternoon of NFL football demands a certain cuisine.  Unfortunately, football food and wine pairing is not the first thing that comes to mind when dreaming of our weekends at the game, or in front of the TV cheering for our favorite teams.  Football (or pretty much any other sport) is usually synonymous with beer.  I like beer, but believe there is an unexploited audience of wine lovers that would enjoy a good football food wine pairing – and I am just the person to fill this void.

Cubed Pork

To kick off the season, we are starting with chili – a time tested favorite football food.  Never one to draw within the lines, we are flipping the coin in favor of Chile Verde, a favorite dish in New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado.  The offensive line for this meal is a pair of New Zealand wines which makes great sense – they play the more civilized cousin of US football – rugby.

Chile Verde

The quarterback (chef) for this meal was “not so much a football fan” Dawn.  Golf buddy Steve and I were at the wide receiver positions and selected the wine.  After hearing Dawn’s description of the recipe, we decided on a double wide-out pairing with Steve selecting a Pinot Noir, and me selecting a Sauvignon Blanc.  Our selections included a 2009 Stoneleigh Marlborough Pinot Noir and a 2010 Matua Valley Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.  I chose the Sauvignon Blanc with the idea of balancing the piquance of the recipe.  We hedged our bets, not having previously tasted the recipe, with Steve’s selection of a Pinot Noir with the thought of a better body balance.

2009 Stoneleigh Marlborough Pinot Noir and 2010 Matua Valley Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc-1

Although the bright citrus flavors and healthy acidity of the Sauvignon Blanc did a fine job of balancing the heat of the chili, the heft of the dish overwhelmed the light body of the Sauvignon Blanc.  While enjoyable, the Sauvignon Blanc just could not stand up to the weighty front line of the chile verde.

2009 Stoneleigh Marlborough Pinot Noir and 2010 Matua Valley Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

On the other hand, the 2009 Stoneleigh Marlborough Pinot Noir went toe to toe across the line of scrimmage with the chile verde with perfect balance in body.  This Pinot Noir was not only a well balanced compliment to the chile verde with respect to weight, but was impressively smooth with well integrated tannins and flavors of bright berry fruits with darker berries lingering in the finish with a nice touch of sweetness that worked very well in balancing the mild heat of the chile verde.  While everyone enjoyed both wines, the 2009 Stoneleigh Marlborough Pinot Noir was clearly the best pairing choice.  At $15, both wines are very good values.

Chile Verde-1

For the recipe used by Chef Dawn, follow this link to the Sunset Cookbook.

In vino veritas, buen provecho.


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