menu for west coast wine tasting party
I am hosting a wine tasting featuring wines from the west coast Cal, Wash, Oregon. I am looking for specific menu items that is specific to the regions. I could really uses some help with suggestions. Thanks!
Oh maybe I wasn't clear enough. The menu I need help is the food menu. Got the wine....4 wines from each state.... white blends, chardonnays, cabs, pinot noirs, red zins. Sorry for the confusion. Never been to the west coast so haven't had the opportunity to discover the regions foods.
What is great about the majority of West Coast wines (but certainly dangerous to make generalizations for any one producer) is they tend to be more cocktail wines. They tend to have pretty floral/fruit/spice noses, and fruit/floral/mineral/spicy palates.
As a result, they are harder to pair with some food because of the strong flavors in the wine. Pork/lamb/beef/duck dishes with a fruit component (say apple or pear or orange) often work well.
Also maybe grilled fish with a mild mango salsa for the whites.
Good point, and one, to which I often ascribe. Great sippers, but often let-downs with food. However, there ARE exceptions, and for most varietals. Unfortunately, the OP has not shared the exact wines, and some might well be very "food friendly," or have a major affinity for a particular dish, or prep.
When I start pairing foods with wines, I more often think to Europe, though drink a bunch of CA/OR/WA wines, and love them. Also, some of those, really work with certain dishes.
Okay, I'll take a stab.
Santa Barbara--Spot Prawns
Santa Maria--Santa Maria Style BBQ
Monterey--Sand Dabs, Clam Chowder, Artichokes (I know this is a legendary "land-mine" but I've found well made wine goes with well made food--often BBQ'd in the area)
North Coast--BBQ Oysters, any Cow Girl Creamery cheese (I think you can get it shipped), baby lamb.
Washington--Salmon and fresh (not bbq'd) oysters.
Some great calls. Had not seen Cowgirl Creamery, as I mentioned it well after you did.
For me, the "landmine" is the artichoke. Though I love them, I have found fewer wines, that really go with them, in most preps. GV is about the best pairing, but do not know of any US West Coast producer, doing a good GV.
The mushroom was an aspect that I just flat missed. Duh! For me, many OR, and some WA PN's call out for mushrooms, and even some CA PN's, as well.
For many CA styles of BBQ, I immediately think of Zins, but then with so many dishes, I think of Zins...
re: Bill Hunt
...definition of insanity...doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Good point Bill on the artichokes but I just can't help myself. I used to work at a Monterey winery and there were so many great artichoke preparations in the area we just ignored that it wasn't always the best pairing. When I think of regional food from there it always comes to mind, but yes, it is a challenging pairing.
And I can't believe I forgot Dungeness crab. A must. Excellent call.
As I love both, artichokes and wines, I am always on the lookout for some good pairings.
The best that I have found, to date, was an obscure Solvinian Pinot Gris, with an artichoke dip, but as it was not MY artichoke dip, I do not know if it was something else, or the pairing.
Next best was a Torrontes, with artichoke.
Well, for WA/OR, a great Alaskan Salmon is a must do. The PN's, and PG's (if you have chosen good ones), will be ideal.
Now, as you head south a bit, I think beef, for the bigger Cabs, and Zins, but not knowing which wines you have chosen, that is but a guess.
As you get into the SB's and even some lighter, more acidic Chards, think Dungeness crab. Same for a good Chenin Blanc, though those might be harder to find, if you have not done so, already.
Ending the main meal with a cheese course, featuring, say some selections from Cowgirl Creamery, you can pair many of the whites, probably some of the PN's, and with harder cheeses, like aged Monterey Jack, some of the older Cabs.
End with raspberries and dark chocolate, and a nice Merlot, and you should be set.