Marit's Wine & Spirit Pairings
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Chicken Marbella:

I made this easy recipe for my picky husband and he loved it. These are definate Spanish flavors in this popular Cuban dish, so I thought a A Spansih White wine would be perfect. I like Marques de Caceres 2010. Dry Wiite Rioja wine at $5.99. This wine is made from Viura Grapes that produce a crisp, clean and slightly final profile. Enjoy - Ole!

Pad Thai:

Who Doesn't love Pad Thai? I think this is a really easy flavorful dish. The best pairing for this exotic flavors is a Voignier. This French varietal has a nice acidity balanced with floral, fruity notes and is a suprising dry finish. I like Honeymoon Viosner at $5.99 or Blue Fin Viosner at $3.99 at Trader Joes. Great Bargins.

Kalua Pork:

So Since we're having a luau, we need a good Hawaiian beer to "Wet our Whistles". When I tried the Wailua Wheat Ale with Passion Fruit by Kona Brewing Company, I knew it would be great with our rich and smokey pork. The passion fruit is so subtle that you might not pick up the flavor but what it does for this ale is wonderful.

Swedish Meatballs:

I brought Aquavit and beer for pairings because that is the traditional Scandanavian accompaniment to this popular dish. Aquavit in an extrememly strong spirit distilled with caraway, anise or other botanicals. Because of its high alcohol content, aquavit is used for toasting while beer is used as the berevage for the meal. Try to find a Scandanavian beer if you can so you can have the full experience - Skol!

Puerco Pibil:

Spanish Tempranillo is a great pairing for this dish, I like La Granja 360 Tempranillo from Trader Joes at $3.99. The Tempranillo grape is native to Spain and produces medium to full bodied wines with powerful tannins and flavors of raspberry and spice. Since puerco pabil is a rich, flavorful dish it needs a full, tannic wine to stand up to it - Delish!.

Marit's Brief Guide to Varietal Wines
Chardonnay: The Most popular white varietal, produces a dry to medium-dry wine with pear, apple or tropical flavors. When Chardonnay is oaked it tends to be more creamy and buttery, but if left unoaked, it produces a crisper wine that is more fresh on the palate.

Sauvignon Blanc: These wines tend to be dry with tropical, citrus or apple notes. These crisp, light bodied wines can take on grassy or green pepper flavors, especially the wines produced in New Zealand.

Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris: Italy's most popular white, this varietal produces crisp, light bodies wines with apple, pear notes.

Reislings: Mostly sweeter style wine with bracing acidity. These varietals contain floral or peach notes. I enjoy the dryer style Reislings from the Alscace region of France

Viognier: Dry to the palate, these wines offer up abundant fruit flavors of apricot and peach. Viognier can be very complex and lush, definately worth trying.

Gewurtztraminer: Decidedly spicy, this grape also offers big exotic flavors of lychee and peach. Gewurtztraminer ranges from crisp and fruity to late harvest style dessert wines.

Cabernet Sauvignon: The world's most popular red varietal, this wine can offer many flavors including, currants, black cherries, chocolate and leather. Cabs, come in a variety of styles from lighter and easy drinking to big dense full bodied wines. Be sure to ask your wine purveyor for suggestions that will coordinate with your own palate.

Merlot: Mostly soft and fruit forward in style, this varietal offers plum, currant and berry notes with hints of oak derived from barrel aging. With externded aging, Merlot takes on vanilla and pepper notes as well.

Pinot Noir: A medium to full bodied wine. Pinot Noir offers cherry, spice and oakey vanilla notes. In the hands of a great vinter, Pinot Noir can become silky and complex in short; a revelation. Be sure to ask for help in selecting just the right bottle.

Syrah/Shiraz: Syrah is called Shiraz in Australia but both offer dense berry and violet flavors. With further aging this wine takes on very complex earth, tar and spice notes. Australia and the U.S. offer a more intense style of wine that France does.

Zinfandel: This California varietal offers spicy dark fruit flavors with mocha and oak notes. Medium bodied to full, these notes intensify as the wine is aged. Look for "Old Vine" designations on the bottle to be sure you are getting the finest Zin.

Pepit Sirah: Deep colored, full and peppery, this wine has strong tannins and appeals to those of us who prefer a rich and hearty wine. Look for great Petit Sirah's from California and you will be rewarded with bold and complex flavors.

Malbec: This is Argentina's most popular red varietal. This wine boasts blackberry and dark fruit flavors with bold tannins. In the mouth these giveway to a bold, gutsy wine that is a perfect pairing with roasted meats.

Tempranillo: This Spanish varietal produces medium to full bodied wines that are redolent with raspberry and spices. When aged in oak, Tempranillo takes on earthly, woody notes and becomes more refined and elegant

Barbera: Native to the Piedmont region of Italy, this lighter style wine has cherry and spice notes and is crispy acidic. Barbara's are perfect wines for Italian cuisine, in particular those featuring tomato based sauces.