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Apr 21, 2007 07:53 AM

Wine with pineapple?

I am home curing some duck breast bresaiola. Mario Batali serves this with onion jam and borlotti beans (and it is a good combo) but this time I want to serve it in a finger-food setting, so I am thinking of draping thin slices of it over chunks of pineapple, basing it on the pineapple-and-prosciutto idea, since bresaiola is also slightly salty cured meat. But what wine can I serve with this? Is pineapple one of those things that can kill a wine at thirty paces? Forgive me if I am being naive--my wine knowledge lags far behind my food knowledge, and the partner I used to count on to select the wine is now my ex.

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  1. Pineapple has the dual problem of high citric acid AND high sugar content, making it a serious wine-pairing neightmare. Your best bet is probably a German Auslese Riesling,

    1 Reply
    1. re: whiner

      I'd agree with you - there is also a good dry Riesling that's super cheap by Bonnie Doon

    2. Since you say "finger food", might this be some sort of appetizer / canape item ?

      If so, I'd look at: Sweet Vouvray, Late Harvest Riesling, or Sauternes.

      To jazz this dish up just a bit and make it even more wine-friendly, add a dab of the appropriate cheese. For Riesling, a thin veneer of Emmental is perfect. For Sauternes or Vouvray, a smear of roquefort would be incredible..

      1. Hmm...before the wine bresaolo and pineapple go together?

        I love bresaolo, very impressed you're making your own. I'm wondering if its subtle flavors will no longer be distinguishable when paired with ripe pineapple? Just like I imagine the sweet subtlety of prosciutto might be lost paired with pineapple in comparison to prosciutto being paired with the less-assertive honeydew. Has bresaola with pineapple been a tasty combo for you in the past?

        Tricky to pair, if so. The wine would have to be sweeter than the combo of bresaola and pineapple, and my best guess is Sauternes or late-harvest Riesling. I'm not sure you want to serve a sweet wine, however.

        It's your house-cured bresaola, so my suggestion (not what you asked for -- sorry!) is to show it off without much adornment. Perhaps slices rolled into "cigars" like on an antipasti platter, or atop crostini with a spread of onion jam. My favorite is still the classic Italian way: sliced and placed on lovely platter, with drizzles of exceptional olive oil, a few capers and (sometimes) shavings of Reggiano. Served in any of these ways, a world of wine-pairing options opens up.

        32 Replies
        1. re: maria lorraine

          Sauternes = too sweet

          Moscato d'Asti = perfect match!

          1. re: RicRios

            Is sauternes "too sweet" for foie gras ?

            And I don't see how it's too sweet for pineapple...

            1. re: Chicago Mike

              Sauternes is a no-no for foie gras.

              1. re: RicRios

                say what? Sauternes is THE match with foie gras.... or duck liver pate for that matter.

                1. re: Chicago Mike

                  Gotta say i agree 100% and so do a million french cooks. Sauternes & foie gras were made for each other.

                  1. re: RicRios


                    I normally agree with all that you write, but strongly disagree here. If I cannot get a Sauternes, or a Barzac, I'll head for a Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise. As a backup, I'll go for a TBA, or very similar. I am talking about "seared" Foie Gras, but then I've used the above with many other preps. Now, I did have a great pairing of a Late Harvest Apple Cider (Quebec, IIRC), with an apple-infused Foie Gras in London last year, and it was sublime.

                    I'm not sure what you are referring to here.


                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                      "When should you drink Sauternes? The classical combination is with foie gras or pâté at the beginning of the meal - though this rich combination tends to ruin the appetite for the rest of the menu."
                      The speaker here is Michael Broadbent.
                      And I entirely agree.
                      A perfect meal is a subtle in-crescendo flirtaceous interplay of wines and dishes.
                      Foie gras belongs to a meal's foreplay, time for bubbles and/or acidity.
                      A good Sauternes on the other hand belongs to climax time.

                      1. re: RicRios

                        Ric, this is just so, uh, linear. Love the music/sex metaphor though. By adhering to such a fixed course, you may be missing out on a lot of "climaxes"! Maybe a little "wiggle" room is in order.

                        1. re: RicRios

                          Not to slight Mr Broadbent, or you, for that matter, I have had Foie Gras with Sauternes, and similar, at the second course many times. At no time, have I felt that any other course, food, or wine, suffered from having done so. Yes, I ascribe to lighter whites, working up to bigger reds and then dessert wines, but not once have I felt that I have slighted any following course.

                          Just my experiences,

                      2. re: RicRios

                        sauternes and seard foie is match made in heaven!

                    2. re: RicRios

                      What about peach, apricot, anything like that vs. pineapple?

                      1. re: Cinnamon

                        try a Prosecco "Cartizze" (preferably produced by Bisol)

                        1. re: Cinnamon

                          Paraphrasing our beloved ex-Secretary of Defense, the answer is:

                          "Yes, peach, apricot, anything like that"

                        2. re: RicRios

                          scagliola moscato d'asti "Prim Bacio".

                        3. re: maria lorraine

                          Bresaola is actually a lot easier to make than it is to pair with wine, or rather wine and pineapple. :-) I love your idea of showing it off with less adornment, and will probably slice it up thin and top it with EVO, capers and Reggiano. So THEN what would you (any of you) pair it with?

                          The pineapple idea, in case you are wondering, was inspired by a delicious and memorable dish I had in Giardini Naxos: a wedge of pineapple draped with prosciutto. But come to think of it Sicily is not the prosciutto capital of the world, so it was probably not the most subtle prosciutto in the first place, and my taste buds were probably distorted by the lovely setting, a seaside town just down the hill from Taormina.

                          This is my first time on the wine list but I will be back--you people take food at least as seriously as the folks on the home cooking list. Thanks to all who replied!

                          1. re: alixschwartz

                            Well if you're going with a sliver of Parmesan Reggiano on the Duck... P.R. is just a much better match for rich red wines.

                            If you lose the pineapple and just do Capers, Olive Oil & Parmesan Reggiano then IMO zinfandel is going to be your single-best match. We often think Pinot Noir for duck but it's only a fair match with P.R.

                            So it's sort of a decision between... Pinot Noir matches the Duck perhaps better but Zinfandel matches the Parmesan better.

                            As another twist you might add a hint of truffle to the EVO in which case the favor swings towards Pinot... and it especially swings to Pinot if you add a more pinot-friendly cheese like Roquefort, Epoisses, or Chevre....

                            Perhaps the ultimate would be to do BOTH zin and pinot so you get a bit of "taste comparison" going...

                            But the bottom line is that when you add the Parmesan, which is such a red-wine cheese, you almost have to lose the Pineapple and go with a red wine accompaniment.

                            So... Since you're really putting thought into this, how difficult is it to produce two slightly different versions of this dish so there's a "white wine version" and a "red wine version"... your guests will enjoy having two wines and trying the taste-testing involved.

                            White wine version: Duck & Pineapple with sliver of emmental, served with a chilled riesling.

                            Red Wine version: Duck, capers, & truffle EVO with dollop of (your choice: Roquefort, Epoisses, or Chevre).

                            Your guests have this varied little mini feast with two glasses of wine... pretty nice!

                            1. re: Chicago Mike

                              Mike, if you were to stick with the Italian theme of bresaola and parm, what Italian wines would you pick?

                              Please bear in mind bresaola is not duck per se, it's concentrated, dried duck, almost like beef in nature.

                              1. re: maria lorraine

                                Well.... Bresaoloa and Parmesan Reggiano...

                                Zinfandel would be clear first choice. It's okay-to-good with fowl (duck, turkey, etc.), and sublime with Parmesan so that's what I'd pick first.

                                  1. re: maria lorraine

                                    how did I know you'd ask that ?

                                    Well, zinfandel is supposed to be related to primitivo, no ? I've heard some debate on that, but you can pretend that zin is an italian wine...

                                    Anyway, if it has to be an italian red, I guess Nebbiolo would be first choice BUT cabernet is incredible with Parmesan so I'd also consider a tuscan cabernet.

                                    Either would probably be a fair match because they are so exceptional with P.R.... For the same reason, brunello would probably be at least fair.

                                    But to "italianize" it to the hilt I'd probably stick with the Nebbiolo and add a hint of Italian Truffle to the recipe, either truffle-infused olive oil or a thin slice of truffle. Magic with Nebbiolo so that's the "ultimate".

                                    1. re: Chicago Mike

                                      Thanks, appreciate that. I've noticed that you usually stick to Zin, Cab, Chard, SB and Riesling, with only very occasional recs outside those. I was hoping you could expand your horizons a bit...and ultimately have more wines to work with in your pairing suggestions...with the goal of getting a little closer to paradise, of course.

                                      1. re: maria lorraine

                                        I've been "studying" wine and especially food and wine combinations for almost 20 years. I'm always open to a new idea to "expand my horizons" but there are certain flavor combinations that I've found to be very tried-and-true from real-world experience.

                                        In addition to those varietals you list, for various threads on chowhound I've recommended Tempranillos, Sauternes, Muscats, Gewurztraminers, Chenins, Valpolicellas, Scheurbes, Syrahs, Champagne, Sangiovese, Grenaches, Soaves, Port, Vouvrays, Viogniers, to name some I can recall... Perhaps you haven't read those threads.

                                        As for "getting closer to paradise"....I don't find it necessary to over-reach with food & wine combinations that sound great but don't measure up taste wise. If I think, for example, FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE that Zinfandel is a better match in a certain situation than something else, I'll say that. And it doesn't matter if I've recommended zinfandel 1 time or 100 times before...

                                        And one of the least sacred issues for me is regional integrity. I have zero problem matching an Italian dish with a French wine, for example. I'm looking to optimize the flavor combination. To me it's all in the taste...

                              2. re: Chicago Mike

                                I was actually thinking of losing the pineapple, but a two-version appetizer is definitely appealing, and anything with truffles wins my heart.
                                Maria Lorraine below is right that bresaola doesn't really taste like cooked duck.
                                My mind is whirling with all these great wine choices--you people really know your stuff!

                                1. re: alixschwartz

                                  Alix, you can actually make it about a 6 or 7 version event this way...

                                  Do up the bresaolas, one w/ pineapple, one without...

                                  Then have an assortment of 4 or 5 cheeses, and a few infused oils...

                                  Then serve with 2, 3, 4, however many wines you want. Maybe one white, a light red and a richer red, or two reds/two whites, however you want to do it...

                                  Then your friends can enjoy mixing and matching the bresaolas with the different cheeses and then trying them with the different wines to find their favorite combinations.

                                  For not alot more work you get a much more varied experience.

                                  1. re: Chicago Mike

                                    Alix, I'm traveling now so this is a quick note from the road (tasted about 50 Spanish wines today, though). I'd serve your house-cured bresaola simply, as I suggested above. Drizzles of evoo and shavings (not a lot) of Reggiano. You want your b. to shine, and have the regg as a supporting note. I'd choose a Chianti Classico Riserva or, if you use truffle oil instead of olive oil, a Rosso di Montalcino because it's so friendly with mushrooms. I like the Rosso of Siro Pacenti and Argiano, but there are many other producers...just check to make sure it's ready to drink. Rosso di M's big sister (brother) is Brunello (both the sangiovese grosso grape), but that's overkill here and too $$$. Another option: A toasted baguette slice (crostini) with a little bed of caramelized onions (as a sub for Batali's onion jam) and a slice of bresaola on that on top. In that case, I'd choose Zin -- zins love caramelized onions and the bresaola will work well. Just make sure the Zin is varietally correct -- forward cherry fruit, black/white pepper zing at the back of the mouth, and not too high in alcohol. Forgive me my directness, but I'd lose the pineapple -- it doesn't really work. W/o the pineapple, this is a red-wine app. And I wouldn't make two diff. appetizers or all those other versions -- it makes things complicated and takes the focus off your b. and puts it on the cheeses and infused oils. Make it easy on yourself. Just do one app with the b. and use the time for something else more valuable, even if it's just a few minutes to compose yourself and relax before your guests arrive. Other wine possibilities -- a Ribera del Duero (luscious red) or a Rioja with a nice core of cherry fruit and that sweet dustiness of Spain. Wish I could taste your bresola.

                                    1. re: maria lorraine

                                      I wish you could, too--you've given me so much of your time thinking through my seeming dilemma! You're not on the road in the Bay Area, are you? Wouldn't it be great if you could drop by for appetizers tomorrow night?

                                      I'll let you all know how it goes. (I am taste testing the bresaola tonight: if I die of food poisoning my guests will be safe tomorrow night, since the party will be off. Seriously, I have made this once before, and it was not only safe but divine, but one never wants to experiment wantonly on one's guests.)

                                      1. re: alixschwartz

                                        Yes, in the Bay Area, yesterday for the Spanish Wines tasting, today for the Wine Literary Award (1000 wines!) that was awarded to Karen MacNeil. I have your contact info...will radio in...

                                        1. re: maria lorraine

                                          Ok, for any of you who are hanging in there waiting to hear whether this story had a happy ending, read on.

                                          Maria Lorraine used her research skills and found my home number. We talked on the phone Friday night, after I had taste-tested the bresaola. It was spicier than I had remembered. Given that additional detail, we decided I would go with the carmelized onions on crostini option, to balance out the heat. So I printed up key parts of this very helpful exchange and brought it to Kermit Lynch, my local wine merchant, figuring I would go with the zin (Chicago Mike and Maria Lorraine wouldn't steer me wrong) but realizing I know not nearly enough about wine to figure out which Zin would have the requisite qualities (forward cherry fruit, black/white pepper zing at the back of the mouth, and not too high in alcohol). I discussed the dish and these qualities with one of the staff people there and a very knowledgeable customer (who, like you Maria, also writes about wine) and they said that they carried no zins with low alcohol--apparently wines are getting more and more alcoholic to appeal to the American desire to get drunk faster. And when I learned WHY we wanted low alcohol (because high alcohol would flare up the red pepper flakes in the mouth) I thought that would be more important than coming home with a zin. They chose a 2004 Domaine Tempier Bandol for me.

                                          While we were talking, the customer who was helping out (Karen) asked what else I was serving. After I had paid for the Bandol she asked what wine I would serve with the porchetta and broccoli rabe. I said one spectacular bottle of wine for the first course would get us started and I could count on these guests to bring a lot of other wines they would want to try. Being more of a perfectionist than I, she showed me a wine that she thought would marry blissfully with the pork (which has some bitter tones, notably the lemon peel) and the broc rabe: she said if I cook slightly bitter greens a lot, which I do, I would want to know about this wine. It's a 2005 Domaine de las Chanteleuserie Bourgueil. I bought that too and headed home to finish cooking.

                                          Ok, here I will insert the fact that I realize these are both French wines, and I did hope for an Italian wine for an all-Italian meal, but I think Kermit Lynch may be stronger in French wines and since I didn't know what region bresaola comes from anyway, I didn't feel in a position to insist on a geographical match.

                                          So my guests for the first part of the evening were four gay boys. Two of the four turned out not to drink red wine (they brought their own white). But for the rest of us, the Bandol worked like magic in the mouth. It didn't overpower, but instead brought out the sweetness and freshness of the bres, and also complimented the spice. And then the Bourgueil did exactly what Karen predicted: played up the bitter notes in some mysterious way that did not make them more bitter, but rather still bitter but delicious.

                                          Overall, the evening was a stunning success. We were joined by one more gay boy and two more gay girls by dessert time, and all the excessive food I made (five courses) was eaten up and exclaimed over. Moral of the story: from now on all my dinner parties will start with a trip to Chowhound and end with a house full of gay boys. Best dinner party I've ever thrown.

                                          Thanks, you guys. I know I don't know much (ok, anything) about wine, but you have made me feel welcome and eager to learn more. And really, if you are ever in the east bay, let's make a party!

                                          1. re: alixschwartz

                                            Great report! Thanks. Glad to hear things were a success and that you had fun.

                                            1. re: alixschwartz

                                              Reads like a wine n' food oriented short story! Thanks for the report and glad that all went well for the party. Amazing what a resource CH can be.


                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                I agree: CH is AMAZING! Thanks again, all, for your input.

                            2. You could always serve it with Maui Blanc, a pineapple wine made by Tedeschi Vineyards. There are those who will turn up their nose at such a thing, but those kinds of people are never fun to entertain for; don't invite them. I quite like it, has a wonderful acidity. What my people tend to call a 'hot-tub wine.'

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: themis

                                I was also thinking Tedeschi Vineyards. Something on par w/$2 Chuck (but a bit more expensive).

                              2. I would go with a dry but full-bodied Riesling. Alsatian could work (watch the residual sugar) or a Smaragd level wine from the Wachau region of Austria (ask your local wine shop guy)