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Feb 17, 2008 02:46 PM

wine with fennel pork sausages

Last night was as a penne pasta dish, with arugala, tomato paste, garlic, shallots, thyme, and a touch of cream, topped with aged asiago and toasted sliced almonds. This was a spur of the moment adaptation of Mario Batali's orecchiette with spicy lamb sausage. The Côtes de Provence Rosé was adequate, but no more.

Tonight, the sausages will be pan roasted whole, with sides of creamed leaks, and roasted fingerlings with dijon mustard and rosemary.


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  1. I'd do a red and white here.... riesling (around kabinett) and shiraz...

    Both are really superb with the pork sausages.... both work with leeks (riesling especially), and both pick up mustard quite well...

    Neither the fennel or the cream are particularly well-matched by these wines, but I'd consider it more a neutral... wines that would really spark off the fennel (chardonnay and sauvignon blanc in particular) won't work so well with the remainder of the dish.

    To bring the dish even closer to the wine, add ginger, red pepper flakes (or your favorite pepper) and celery to taste to your pan while roasting the sausages.... Also, keep the rosemary somewhat of a "background" note and it should all be quite delicious.

    1 Reply
    1. Depending on the level of fennel, I like a Pinot Meunier. In a pinch, a red Burg could do, but the PM seems to really love being with fennel and anise.

      Sorry that I probably missed your dinner hour, but just saw the post.


      2 Replies
      1. re: Bill Hunt

        Interesting. The only bottle I've seen is the Domaine Chandon Carneros. I'll try this for next time.

        1. re: mengathon

          I've had several, but the Domaine Chandon is the one most likely to be seen around these parts - AZ, and even then, they can be difficult to locate. Though it is the most-planted varietal in Champagne, many retailers have never heard of it, as it is almost 100% used as a blending grape and not produced as a single varietal. To me, it's worth looking for and in more "cosmopolitan" wine areas, is probably more easily found.


      2. I know your dinner is past but this is just for the fun of the discussion. First of all, you sound like a fine cook, from the way you describe your nightly cooking. Your statement, "The Cotes de provence Rose was adequate, but no more" suggests some formidable standards.... the wine MUST sing every time, it cannot MERELY be adequate.

        My own small contribution here. It depends on the level of the spices. How much fennel in the sausage, how much mustard, how much rosemary. How assertive is your spicing generally? My own sense is that any red would mute these flavors, unless a very light red.

        So... reisling, perhaps, not too sweet, to let your good cooking do more of the singing than the wine. The wine will be there to cleanse the palate between bites, and add a dimension of sweetness (and health). Red would muddy it up here. My fledgling wine pairing opinion...

        2 Replies
        1. re: Budget Palate

          It's quite alright. There's a few more sausages in the fridge for me to experiment with next weekend. And thanks for the compliment, though quite undeserved. A cook is only as good as his ingrdients, and I had some very fresh produce. By no means do I do this on an everyday basis.

          By adequate, I meant that the wine didn't elevate the food, nor vice-versa.

          The fennel and mustard flavors are quite strong, and the rosemary a little more muted. I agree, I think a white would be more preferable. I'll try a riesling next time, though I think it might clash with the cream.

          1. re: mengathon

            I think I see what you mean about adequate: the food and wine didn't necessarily clash, but neither did they elevate each other.

            Yes you're a good cook.

            Good point about the riesling and the cream. Although a more flowery riesling and a sweeter cream could harmonize. Or omit the cream. It might even be better, cleaner that way. Omiting the cream would move it away France and towards Italy. You have some pretty Italian ingredients going on there anyway. Why French this up with the cream?

            You've inspired me to go and get some good sausages for my freezer. The local upscale market has them in every possible flavor combination. Some pretty experimental stuff going on: artichokes, feta, etc in the sausage.

        2. How about a Gruner Veltliner? I've found that GV goes really well with fennel and the minerality should balance out the cream. I had a Gobelsburg 2006 recently and it's delicious, especially at $15.

          And while you're in the Austrian aisle, maybe pick up a Zweigelt to go with the first dish you describe. I think it would be a good match.

          1 Reply
          1. re: oolah

            I've seen several references to GV and fennel, but have yet to try that combo. I've usually paired them with lighter seafood, but will explore them with fennel.