Exciting trips on the books? Wine tasting excursions to wine country? Reservation at your favorite restaurant? Nope…me neither:) As we are stuck home in quarantine, I enjoy writing about the most fabulous food and wine pairings I have been lucky enough to enjoy. We’re not quite at a place where we can do any of these things just yet, but alas, we can dream.
Food and Wine Pairings
This brings me to memories of an LA Wine Writers luncheon with Winemonger, an importer of Italian, French, Austrian, and German wine. This lunch featured wines of Austria expertly paired with dishes at Napa Valley Grille in Westwood, CA. I’d be remiss if I did not mention and give kudos to our host, Brian Cousins and the Napa Valley Grille in Westwood. Though Napa Valley Grille is closed during this COVID-19 crisis, I look forward to patronizing them again once the city reopens.
Napa Valley Grille takes both their food and wine seriously. They are a mainstay in Westwood and for this reason, they maybe get passed over. They’re not the celeb hotspot or a new restaurant being touted by the food world. In contrast, they are an oldie but goodie.
Brian explained to us that unlike many restaurants, they give wine pairings directly on their menu. We always talk about making wine easy for the consumer to understand, and this is a perfect example of that. Their staff gets extensive training, including deep dives into grapes, one by one. Their list is full of classic wines and benchmarks, but there are lots of values to be had, and also thoughtful, and interesting selections. Check out my post HEREfrom last week about another lovely food and wine pairing at Napa Valley Grille.
Wines of Austria
But first, a high-level view of Austrian wines. Austria is known for both dry varietal whites and sweet botrytized whites. White wine, in fact, makes up 2/3 of wine in Austria. There is also an increase in fine red wines in Austria. On the dry white side, Grüner Veltliner is king. 2/3 of white wines in Austria are made from Grüner, which have classic notes of white pepper and spice. On the red side, Zweigelt is the most planted grape.
And now for the food and wine pairings with my tasting notes!
Ludwig Neumayer Riesling Engelgarten 2016 ($22 retail)
A precise and balanced Riesling. On the nose: lime peel, white flowers, and petrol. Ripe stone fruit on the palate (apricot and peach), pineapple, and petrol on the palate. Bracing acid. Zippy. Love it.
We’re in the Weinviertel DAC, which is Grüner country. But this is not Grüner. The blend is 65% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Gelber Muskateller, and 5% Traminer. A beautifully feminine, perfumed wine. Both fruit forward and savory at the same time. Wondering about the label? That’s loess soil…as a wine nerd I love that.
Chicken Milanese (Mitzuna, Red Onion, Orange Citrus Vinaigrette)
Brianne Cohen is a certified sommelier based out of Los Angeles, California.
She has been producing events and weddings for over 10 years in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and also offers her services as a wine educator, writer, and consultant to inspire people of all ages.
Brianne completed the entire curriculum with the Wine & Spirits Education Trust and traveled to London in order to receive her Diploma certificate, which is one of the most coveted and difficult wine certifications. Most recently Brianne judged at the International Wine & Spirits Competition and the International Wine Challenge in London.
As a wine blogger, I frequently accept samples for review on the blog and on my social media channels. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss sending samples for review. I promise to always be honorable with the samples. I will evaluate all wines in good tasting settings and with no distractions.
All reviews are my opinions, and mine only. Because of the volume of samples I receive, I cannot promise that all samples received will be reviewed, but I will do my best.