Improbable food-wine pairings! Value vino and legumes edition

We often talk about those impossible food wine pairings; here are three improbable food wine pairings that I had recently that worked.

Food: sauteed green lentils
Wine: Ocone aglianico 2003
(about $15; find this wine)
Every year at about this time we make a lentil minestrone that is so good that it has even gotten approving nods and slurps from carnivores. But it takes a lot of time, ingredients and three pots. This quick version uses the same green French lentils but is a lot easier with just some onion and garlic and a quick boil all in one pan. The result is dish rich in earthiness and umami. The biodynamically grown Ocone aglianico (about $13; find this wine) really picked up on it and registered one of those desired pairings that improved both the food and the wine.

Food: Trader Joe’s Dal mahkani
Wine: Drouhin, Laforet, Bourgogne rouge
(about $13; find this wine)
We’ve talked about Indian food before; in fact, we’ve even talked about Trader Joe’s Indian before! And while pinot noir under $25 is pretty rough terrain without terroir, pinot noir under $15 mostly something straight out of Fear Factor. But this, the lowliest Drouhin made, would surely outclass most pinot sold by the glass. To my surprise, the lightness of the red really worked with the dal!

Food: homemade vegetarian chili
Wine: Albert Mann, pinot blanc, Alsace 2007
(about $16; find this wine)
I uncorked a Bandol red with six years of age on it that I thought might work with vegetarian chili; it didn’t. The tannins on this mourvedre were still too huge and the fruit was miserly. But I shifted gears and tried this biodynamically grown pinot blanc that was at the bottom of the Dr. Vino cave and it was a great match! Full and rich, but with a good accompanying zip, pinot blanc balanced the spiciness of the chili. The only complaint from the guests on this one was that it was too easy to drink.

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4 Responses to “Improbable food-wine pairings! Value vino and legumes edition”

  1. Dr.,
    I’ve been reading your cite for a long time and read your book the week it came out. Needless to say, I’m a fan.

    I find it intriguing that two of the wines you mentioned were biodynamic. Were you seeking this criteria or was it by chance? Have you read Joly’s book?

  2. Hi Peter –

    Thanks for the kind words and support!

    That actually was just by chance that there happened to be two biodynamic wines here. I was sort of surprised since it can be difficult to find reasonably priced ones, say under $20. Yes, I have read Joly’s book.


  3. Thanks for the pairings. I noticed you increased the SPIT or SWALLOW posts after I asked for more, so I hope this will follow suit. I’d love to see more of this–I truly enjoy cooking, and, while I’m aware tastes vary, it would be a nice to have a first step with certain pairing explorations.

    Fingers crossed.

  4. […] Spit or swallow? It’s the go-to double entendre of winebloggers here, here, here,  here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. The commentors get into it here. […]


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