Jordan Wine Country Table - Vol. 16, 2021 - 43

FOOD
to stand up to wood-grilled foods. " If
you have food with very intense smoke
and pair it with a soft wine, the smoke
will overshadow it, " he says. " You need
something that is fresh and alive, because
grilling is a pronounced flavor. "
Like Attar, Rodil believes that barbecued
S edu ctiv e
SMOKE
Pairing wine with smoke-infused foods
is a balancing act. Smoke's pungent aromas
and flavors can quickly overwhelm a subtle
wine, but they can also do wonders in
enhancing and complementing the character
of oaked wines.
The first thing to consider when pairing
wines with smoked foods, says Attar, is the
variety of wood. Both Fielding's restaurants
use a combination of local woods to fuel
their wood-fired grills. " I think if you're
"
grilling with more delicate woods, such as
pecan, oak or cherry, they're going to bring
out and complement the more perfumed
facets of an elegant wine, " he says.
On the other hand, if you're grilling
with a bold wood like mesquite, a more
powerful wine makes a better match.
" When you grill with mesquite you've got
these big flavors, so you need something
that has some structure and backbone,
like a bold cabernet sauvignon, cabernet
franc or primitivo. "
Attar typically leans toward California
cabernets and chardonnays, because they
have the complexity, fruit and structure
foods with a heavy smoky character call
for equally bold wines. " Especially in reds,
smokiness enhances the fruit flavors, but you
have to start with the baseline of how smoky
the food is. Barbecue is intensely powerful,
so you need an intensely powerful wine. "
For a grilled steak Florentine, Rodil
recommends a beautifully balanced cabernet
sauvignon that also displays elegance and
freshness. The fat in the dish's traditional
porterhouse cut also helps enhance the
pairing by providing opulence and richness
that increase the wine's depth of flavor.
Gausepohl typically chooses a robust
red wine, such as syrah or zinfandel,
to pair with smoked red meats. With
smoke-enhanced poultry and fish dishes,
he recommends a white wine enhanced
with a bit of oak.
I think if you're grilling with more delicate woods, such as pecan, oak or cherry, they're going
to bring out and complement the more perfumed facets of an elegant wine. "
CARY ATTAR | SOMMELIER
Comp le me nt ing
CARAMELIZATION
Burned sugars in meats and vegetables add depth to grilled foods
and present intriguing wine-pairing opportunities.
Because caramelized foods can make the tannins in red wine
taste more astringent, Rodil looks for dark, robust reds with
rounded fruit flavors. " Choose a wine with power and a bit more
fruit density, " she says. " You want to be able to get that lovely,
rich fruit bouquet. "
The effects of caramelization have an especially profound
impact on vegetables, says Attar. " When you grill something
like a cherry bell pepper, it adds a wonderful layer of complexity, "
he says. " Then when you layer in some nice olive oil, salt and
pepper, it just pairs so well with chardonnay, sauvignon blanc
or even gew├╝rztraminer. Both the wine and food will become
very fragrant and perfumed. " T
WINECOUNTRYTABLE.COM 43
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Jordan Wine Country Table - Vol. 16, 2021

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