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Sep 12, 2008 04:30 PM

Wine & chicken/sausage gumbo

If you were invited to a gumbo dinner party, what wine would you bring?

I would love to stay under $30 a bottle and am open to red or white suggestions

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Bill Hunt is the wine board's NOLA cuisine pairing expert, so I'd certainly like to hear from him.

    I'd serve a Riesling with just a touch of sweetness. Will certainly fit your budget level, and goes well with the filé and spicy heat in the sausage. But I will admit this is not
    the cuisine with which I have the most expertise in pairing.

    1 Reply
    1. re: maria lorraine

      Oops, I was out of town and missed this one.

      Now, "gumbo," is a very personal thing. The recipes vary across the board from family to family, from area to area. Still, I think Pinot Noir for a red and Riesling for a white with most "gumbos," that I know.

      If one has more heat, then a fruitier PN, or a higher-level of harvest in a QmP Riesling would work best. Stay clear of some of my fav. PN's, because of their alcohol levels. Not a problem with QmP Rieslings.

      For my wife's spicy New Orleans Seafood Gumbo, I lean toward a domestic PN, though with a hint of Burgundian style - think OR, or WA State. Carneros can work with some heat, but check the ABV level. While I love the Santa Rita Hills PN's, most are too "hot" to pair well.

      So very much will depend on how spicy the sausage is and what is added to the mix.


    2. Champagne.

      That or an off-dry Riesling

      2 Replies
      1. re: whiner

        I'd want something slightly off-dry as well.

        I think anytime you chime in with champagne, which btw I agree with in just about all instances, I'm tempted to suggest a Loire chenin. I wonder if I can keep up... demi-sec vouvray, anyone?

        1. re: mengathon

          It would not have occured to me to reccomend a demi-sec Vouvray, but you are right, it might work. And you could easily find a good example well under $30.

          An off-dry Scheurebe would also be nice.

      2. If you want to change things up try a Torrontes from Argentina. Floral like a gewurztraminer on the nose but crisper and dryer on the palate. La Yunta or Zolo are both nice. For a red you can go light pinot noir like Castle Rock California Cuvee(they make 7 different pinots. Make sure it's the California cuvee(the lightest)). Otherwise if you can get it try a Zweigelt, a red from Austria. Zantho is a fun one. Depending on how spicy you're going should influence how fruity/sweet to go. Spicier equals sweeter, less spicy, less sweet.

        1. It's hard to miss with riesling, gewurztraminer, or scheurbe... any ripeness you like really, even up to some auslese, just depends on how thick the flavor layers of the gumbo are and what your palate likes...

          If doing these wines, serve a "nibbler plate" of emmental cubes, it matches the wine so nicely....

          As a twist, beaujolais can be fun too....

          1. I'd bring beer. But if it must be wine... Depending on how hot (spicy) the gumbo is, you will want wine with some residual sugar. That will do a couple of things. It will create the illusion of tempering the heat, and you'll also be able to taste the wine. Lower alcohol by volume is also a good thing since the alcohol tends to appear more pronounced when consumed with spicy foods.

            So... You have several recommendations for Riesling. I'd look to ones from Germany or Australia. Unless the word "trocken" or "halbtrocken" or "dry" appears on the label, there will be some residual sugar. Many Riesling wines from Alsace are vinified dry. They also tend to have lower alcohol levels.

            I also recommend Champagne, and id doesn't even have to be a demi-sec. One labeled Extra Dry will have more residual sugar than one labeled Brut, but the latter will still have some sugar depending on the bottling dosage.

            If you want to bring a red, keep an eye on the alcohol by volume level. Beaujolais is safe, and can also be served a little cooler, which will also minimize the pronouncement of alcohol in the wine.