We all need counseling at times, so The Wine Counselor® and I chatted recently about Michigan Wines for the holidays. Sommelier and C.S.W. (Certified Specialist of Wine) Michael Schafer is The Wine Counselor®; he’s a speaker, writer, and entertainer – he entertains while teaching people about wines.
Pairing wine with meals depends on what you’re serving. There are many sites that help people pair with meat – so I went with vegan food pairings! Here are Schafer’s pairing suggestions along with some recipes. (Thanks to Vegan GR for some of the recipes.)
First Course Salad. Pairing: Pinot Gris/Grigio or Sparkling
Michigan Awesome Bowls. In this recipe, the ingredients are improvised, but the dressing stays the same. Since it often will have apples, beets, or carrots, it’s fairly sweet. Pairing: Semi-dry Riesling or Rose
Delicata Squash Fries Appetizer. Other than preheating the oven, this is a quick and delicious appetizer. Pairing: Sparkling
Roasted Root Vegetables. This meal will warm you up this winter. Pairing: Pinot Noir
Mac and Cheese. Thanks to Vegan GR for this healthy of version of classic comfort food. Pairing: Oaked Chardonnay
Chili. Chili can be made a lot of different ways. Pairing: Red blend with a bit of sweetness, a Riesling, or a Gewürztraminer
Raw Lasagna. I always have to toss in a raw recipe! This one is great for entertaining. Pairing: Cabernet Franc or Blaufrankish
Black Bean Soup. This soup is simple and delicious. Pairing: Pinot Grigio or Pinot Noir
Spicy Meals. We make this Food and Wine Magazine recipe with my MI canned tomatoes. (Veganize it with vegetable broth and use Earth Balance instead of butter.) It’s also great with MI white beans. And, I substitute the Habanero pepper with MI Serrano pepper. As they say “Heat likes sweet.” Pairing: Riesling or Gewurztraminer with some residual sugar.
And, what if you celebrate with a peanut butter sandwich (Really, I love those.) A MI cherry wine, of course!
Now, for Desserts. Pairing: Whatever your favorite is an excellent choice, but the wine must be sweeter than the dish!
Of course, sparkling wines came up in the conversation. They are festive, and Schafer told me that people consume more sparkling wine from Thanksgiving through New Year’s than the rest of the year combined. Larry Mawby on Leelanau Peninsula is the preeminent Michigan sparkling wine maker. His original label is Mawby, and M. Lawrence is a more value priced label. Many of the other wineries make sparkling wine, so look for them wherever you purchase MI wine.
Other basic guidelines:
– Sparkling wines and Pinot Noir are the most flexible for pairing with foods.
– Mirror the dish: A light dish with a light wine and a heavy dish with a heavy wine – except curry. Use a sweeter wine with curry.
– Don’t forget the Michigan ports which are a dessert all by themselves. Cerise by Chateau Chantal is my personal favorite.
– Michigan Rose’s are also available and are also very flexible with meals.
Michael Schafer teaches around the state – including annually at the Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer, and Food Festival. His trademarked tagline is “I taste bad wine so you don’t have to”®. If you have any wine questions, don’t hesitate to contact Schafer.
Special thanks to The Wine Counselor® for the wine pairing information. As he says, ” wine should only be enjoyed on days ending in the letter y!” Find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Linked In. Click here for his website.
It’s time to celebrate!!!