Thursday, August 11, 2011

#GDandBurgers - A Pairing Adventure

Food and Wine pairings are one of my passions. Putting the perfect morsel together with whatever wine I'm considering for the evening is a habit of mine that drives my other half crazy sometimes. But on a particular night in July when @winetwits paired up #GDandburgers – the man was oh so happy to indulge. French wine and sliders – he was in heaven.

It was all Eat. Drink. Love.

With a little wrangling, and more than a few tweets culminating in receiving our tasting kit in Charlottesville, VA at the Wine Bloggers Conference, without ever meeting the great guy who had hauled it all the way from New York – (sheesh, thanks for all your hard work with that – love Ohio shipping laws!) We brought home a box of Georges Dubœuf wines and some killer recipes from Chef Bob Waggoner. Ever the purist, I set out to purchase all the necessary ingredients from our local vendors to make slider representations of all 3 recipes to pair with the three wines... we invited a few neighbors over and it was on.

All wines were chilled for 3 hours before serving, and then set out to gradually warm. The Julienas was decanted and then chilled.

First wine paired was the 2009 Beaujolais-Villages, for which I prepared angus sliders stuffed with bacon, shallots, rosemary and New York aged sharp cheddar. This was the easiest “drinker” of the wines – and conversation flowed around the smoothness of the gamay and the price ($9.99 retail) – making this a crowd favorite for an everyday wine.

The grilled portabella slider was the burger favorite – topped with eggplant, green onion and tomato after basting in some beaujolais, it was hard not to love this burger. I'm not exactly a mushroom fan, but have a feeling this one will reappear on my menus. When paired with the 2009 Brouilly, I found it to be absolutely divine. With a retail price of $13.99, this fitted into most “good dinner” budgets in the room. It was chewy, very berry and very much a stand out wine. Dubœuf believes this one can lay down for about 24 months – based on the tannins, I'd agree with that assessment, but I wouldn't go much past that.

The last burger (wow... three huge and delicious sliders... I could already hear the elliptical downstairs calling my name) was a turkey burger with sundried tomato and basil sauté. This one also called for arugula and grilled red onion stuffed into a pita. While I had some trouble finding pitas that were not too big, and not too small (cue Goldilocks here....) I did find a work around and got all of that goodness stuffed into an appropriate package. This one was paired with the 2009 Julienas Chateau des Capitans which showed a spicy richness and tight tannins, along with pepper and licorice on the palate. Although we decanted this one for several hours prior to serving, it was still very tight and not the favorite of the evening. I left it decanted overnight however, and found it much more open and flavorful the next day. At $17.99 retail, it was closer to a “special night in with a steak” sort of wine for this group and with all the decanting needed, the consensus was that this was one to buy and keep for a few years to let it settle down.

Preparing the burgers just before showtime was the key to making it all happen. I heartily encourage anyone doing a twitter tasting to dedicate someone to tweeting, recording and snapping pictures, as it is nigh on impossible to host an event and do any sort of substantive tweeting. We did manage to participate in the conversation, though our video feed of Chef Bob never did work properly - but it was a struggle even for my multitasking brain. 

Many thanks go out to our neighbor Becky, who provided positively scrumptious cheese filled dates wrapped in bacon as an appetizer. They paired very well with the Brouilly and the Villages wines we were sipping pre-gnosh. Compliments to the vendors from West Side Market in Cleveland for providing all my ingredients from one amazing local source – save the fresh herbs, which came out of my balcony garden. And also to Winetwits for getting this all together – absolutely loved the pairings and the idea.

Lets do it again!
Eat. Drink. Love. 

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