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Jan 18, 2008 11:16 AM

pairing with mussels and frites?

What is a good wine to pair with this food? also, roasted chicken? what is a good pairing for (in general) french rustic fare?

i figure the mussels call for a white of some kind, maybe a ... chenin blanc? ugh, i'm still not very good at this. the roasted chicken i would think would most likely call for a red... maybe a pinot noir?

thanks in advance for any insight!

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  1. I would go for a Muscadet, to cut through the food/oil.

    The roasted chicken can stand with a good chardonnay (California) versus a Chablis.

    1 Reply
    1. re: aacharya

      Muscadet is a classic pairing with mussels, but Probably sparkling or Chablis if you're eating mussels.

      With roast chicken, it all depends upon on how you've seasoned it. I generally prefer the less oaked French chardonnays to the Cali ones which often have gratuitous oak . Not all French chards are expensive. Try a Macon Villages or a St. Veran.

    2. the mussels have a lot of options depending on what you like. The best match would probably be a Muscadet, with the added bonus that it's cheap. If that's not your style and Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire valley (especially Sancerre) would work well. You could also try a crisp White Bordeaux. A bone dry Chenin Blanc from the Loire would probably work well, but most seem sweet even when they have no residual sugar. The same could be said of a bone dry Riesling. Finally a really crisp Chardonnay like a Chablis would be good as well.

      For the chicken, I like reds, but it depends a lot on the sides. Pinot Noir is a good match, but to get a good bottle you generally are spending more than rustic food really deserves. So I do what the French do and drink reds from the Loire and Beaujolais. You can get a Chinon, Saumur-Champigny, Samur or other Cabernet Franc from the Loire and it will pair with almost anything. The same can be said for a cru level Beaujolais. Those along with a Cotes-du-Rhone would be perfect bistro wines.

      1. You're on the right track. Something from the Loire would do well.

        If you'd be open to Italian, try a Verdicchio di Matellica or maybe a Tocai Fruiliano. Those would work fabulously.

        If might be interesting to try a Alsatian Pinot Gris as well.

        And then there's always Champagne.

        The great thing is that you can go in many directions and hit the mark.

        1 Reply
        1. re: brupnow

          I wouldn't try an Alsatian Pinot Gris. I find many of them thick and fairly opulent. If I was going to pick a wine from Alsace, it would be a bone dry Riesling.

        2. A blanc de blancs champagne works better, even more with th fries. With still wines, muscadet is great with oysters and fine with mussels, but with the lack of minerality in mussels, I think a dry chenin blanc is a little better.

          With roast chicken, pinots, beaujolais, CDRs, and cabernet franc all work, as do most ros├ęs. What you choose would depend on your taste preferences and the particular ingredients of the chicken and the sides.

          1. Chardonnay matches both the mussels and roast chicken splendidly.

            As for "rustic French", that covers alot of ground...

            But if I could only choose 2 wines to match a wide range of dishes at my favorite "rustic french" restaurant (Cafe Bernard in Chicago)... they would probably be the great varietals of burgundy... chardonnay and pinot noir. As an aside, I'd definitely do French wines here as they are so flavor-wired into this cuisine.

            With simple french you can also get alot of mileage out of a nice half bottle of Sauternes..... it can match some apps, great w/ foie gras, matches alot of desserts (especially fruit tarts, berry dishes, etc.),... w/ roquefort on the cheese plate it's ethereal... I'll often pour a small glass and just keep it as a "side sipper" alongside a red and white throughout the meal.

            9 Replies
            1. re: Chicago Mike

              Thanks for mentioning the Sauterne. I used to enjoy it with several desserts and haven't had any in years. This solves one of my selections for an upcoming dinner.
              I am also looking for a pairing of something with seafood gumbo (not one heavily laced with tabasco). The problem is I have rather unconventional tastes when it comes to wine, so I don't entirely trust my selections for others. I am not fond of whites, so would a Nouveau Beaujolais be too odd?

              1. re: TalN

                Beaujolais would probably work fine, but avoid nouveau. For the same price you can get a good Beaujolais-Village wine which will be much better. And for just a bit more (under $15 usually) you can get a Cru Beaujolais.

                1. re: TalN

                  Seafood gumbo...

                  My top choices here are all whites... Riesling is fantastic... a GOOD Gewurztraminer is perhaps even better... and a floral bubbly like Moscato d'Asti can be luscious with gumbo...

                  Beaujolais or Rose if you insist on a red, but IMO the whites above are better matches with seafood gumbo and with spicy cajun cuisine in general.

                  1. re: Chicago Mike

                    I liked Beaujolais-Village until I worked with a Chef that was obsessed with it. Now I cringe at even the sight of the label. Maybe someday I will get over it, but not yet.
                    I have several bottles of Laboure-Roi's Nouveau on hand, but the Asti sounds absolutely inspired. Since I am very short sighted when it comes to whites, I really appreciate the help.

                    1. re: TalN

                      Another thought on the topic of the seafood gumbo...

                      This is an ideal dish for serving a red AND a white...

                      Notice that none of the listed wines are "expensive" by anyone's standards, lest perhaps the gewurztraminer which is going to run in the high 20's or lower 30's for a really fine premier cru...

                      All the others: riesling, beaujolais, rose, moscato... these can all be had in fine examples well under 20 bucks...

                      So why not serve both the red and white?? It offers up an entire new dimension to the meal that everyone will enjoy, and also an opportunity to compare and discuss what your preferences...

                      As another virtue, this 2-wine (or 3 :) approach allows you to branch out and construct a more complete meal.... let's say you go with Riesling and Rose here... then you can construct an appetizer and/or 2nd entree course that pairs well with one or more of these wines AND a really nice cheese course to pair with both of them... and build a really exquisite 4 or 5 course meal just starting with your main entree and a couple of reasonably well-matching wines.

                      1. re: TalN

                        I'm confused. You don't like Beaujolais-Village wine, but you do like Beaujolais Noveau? this doesn't make a whole lot of sense. They are the same grape and made in the same manner. The Beaujolais-Village just comes from better parcels and has more age. I could understand how you could not like both. Or I could understand you no liking some producer's Beaujolais-Village. But what you said really doesn't make sense.

                        1. re: vanillagorilla

                          I understand your confusion, but I can taste a difference as the Beaujolais begins to age. The more it ages, the less I like it. I haven't researched it, but I would guess that if I ranked my preferences among the Nouveaus I sampled at this year's Nouveau festival, they might mirror a ranking by their age. All I know for certain is that in a blind tasting my choices show a consistent and distinct difference between them.

                          1. re: TalN

                            imho, Nouveaus are really meant to be drunk within the year of their release. The Beaujolais wines that age are some of the "Crus," the higher quality wines of the region that bear the names of the town they come from, -plus Moulin a Vent. (They are, in addition to MaV) Julienas, Morgon, Fleurie, St. Amour, Chiroubles, Brouilly, Cote de Brouilly, Chenas, Regnie.)

                            1. re: ChefJune

                              I totally agree. That's why I found his previous statement odd. Of course, I've never had an aged Beaujolais-Village wine. But I would think as long as it was drunk withing a year of it's release it would still be pretty fresh.

                              Cru Beaujolais is some of my favorite wine. If I was forced to buy only one wine it would be a toss up between in and Chinon.