Oh, dear--wine pairing for beer-braised chicken tonight?
Tonight's currently-in-the-oven dinner was based on the assumption that our guest was a beer-only kind of guy. Chicken thighs braised a la flamande--in Belgian ale, onions, a touch of mustard, thyme and brown sugar.
Now, I just got a text saying, "no, no, he really likes wine." So...what on earth should we drink?
I'm thinking perhaps an Alsatian Pinot Gris or Riesling with a bit of heft to it; I'm trying to imagine a red pairing and failing miserably.
In wines, you just can't miss with a kabinett riesling here. Otherwise chardonnay should be quite nice.
And as for beer... definitely a nice German hefe-weizen or a well-made US wheat microbrew....
Since it's cooked in Belgian Ale you might try a nice Belgian with it... but do you go pale on the drier side (like a pale tripel) or a darker sweeter brew (like Gulden Draak)? Or better one of each so you can experiment with the pairing matches. But matching food with these fuller-flavored beers is always a bit dicey, the matches often aren't as good on the palate as they sound to your ears... whereas wheat beer is so universally food friendly.
Please report back.
The arrival of The Guest and subsequent kitchen/kid/hosting duty juggling meant that I couldn't check back here before dinner--but I'm pleased to report that several great minds were thinking alike. :o)
We tested two beers and one wine with the chicken, and one of the beers and the wine were a very decent match:
VI Wheat from Jandrain-Jandrenouille (don't know if they do any export to the U.S., but they're about 60 km east of Brussels) -- some nice grapefruit/melon in the nose, citrus on the palate and a peppery finish. I'd tweaked the chicken with a serious hit of lemon at the end to keep it from being *too* beery-oniony sweet, so this was a decent match. A St-Feuillien Triple was a total wash--too heavy and burly.
2012 Kloster Eberbach Steinberger Riesling Kabinett--This isn't one of my favourite Rheingau producers, but I didn't feel like digging for anything else, and it did quite a nice job. Good concentration, honey, citrus, peach, good acidity. A very pleasant match, and it segued nicely into the cheeses afterward.
Of course, the star of the evening was the 2007 Clos de L'Eglise Cuvee Marie Pacherenc de Vic Bilh, which went marvellously with foie gras macarons. :o)
Thanks to all for your input!
Kelly: Thanks alot for the report back.
Beer-matchers should take note of your comments that the "Triple was a total wash - too heavy and burly"... That's a knee-jerk pairing someone might think would be great because of the belgian ale in the preparation. Often these seemingly great pairings with big beers turn out to be just that... heavy and dull.