Serving a meal with the proper food/wine pairings is a great way to impress your guests and provide them with a memorable culinary experience. But if you’re uncertain what wine works best with the food you’re serving, do what I do – take the menu to your local wine shop and ask for suggestions.
I recently hosted a multi-course dinner and was looking for a fairly eclectic range of wine choices. I brought the menu to Bellingham’s Gateway Wines, and owner Mike Petersen helped narrow the field and let me make the final selections.
One of the best things about Mike is that he won’t steer you towards a $30 or $40 bottle of wine when he knows there’s one that’s half the price that will work just as well. I’ve always found his recommendations to be reliable and reasonable – good stuff to know if you’re flummoxed by the seemingly endless array of wine choices.
For starters, we paired a Carlos Basso 2006 Chardonnay from Argentina (about $10, pictured at left) with triopitakia – a Greek pastry filled with savory vegetables. The Chardonnay is big, full-bodied, and loaded with tropical fruit flavors and it provided a nice complement to the thin, buttery layers of the pastry.
The surprise of the evening was the Contado Mankas 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon from California (about $15). Although this is lighter in body than most cabernets, the complex finish of toasted oak and spices was a perfect match with an entrée of veal roasted in cinnamon and chocolate nibs.
Gateway Wines is located at 202 East Holly Street #111 and is open Monday through Saturday from 11:30 am to 7:00 pm. Phone 676-6284 for more information.