Happy to announce that we will be sharing a Wine Pairing Segment written by our very own Proal Perry for Norman Van Aken’s online cooking classes. You can learn more about Norman and his cooking classes here. As many know, Proal has an extensive background in a 25+ year career in wine importing and distributing while consulting with some of the world’s most prestigious wineries. What a perfect collaboration! Our first segment will pair Proal’s wine suggestions with Norman’s Southern Glory Skinny Pork Chops with Cheesy Grits and Fried Green Tomatoes. This online class is on March 24, 2022, at 6 pm EST. In addition, Norman recently shared that this class will have a tag line “Cooking Ukraine,” with 100% of the proceeds being donated to this cause.
Details of the On-Line Class
“Though we visited the South while growing up it was always a plane ride from Chicago to Miami. That was with my sisters and parents. But when Janet & I moved to the south it happened in an automobile. There was true magic as the icy, snowscapes of wintertime Illinois receded and the world bloomed into a warming embrace as we sailed the miles south through Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia on to ‘the Sunshine State’. Spring wakes up new flavors once again and it puts me in a ‘Southern Spirit’.” – Chef Norman Van Aken
Wine Pairing Recommendations by Proal
This quintessentially American dish argues for a wine companion of American origins. The roots of the dish are more specifically Southern, but though the wines of the South have made great strides, they have not yet achieved the quality level of other US growing regions. I, however, anticipate a day when a wine from Virginia or North Carolina will be a worthy substitute for “sweet tea”!
The foremost requirement for an appropriate pairing for the dish would be a wine with great versatility, to nimbly bridge the various components, from the subtle heat of the Escabeche Rub, to the acidity of the Green Tomatoes, and finally embracing the creamy richness of the Cheesy Grits. I think there are a couple of options that could work equally well, one each white and red that meet the above requirements.
For the white, I would recommend a Riesling: one that aims for lip-smacking acidity, without losing touch with its underlying fruit. Though this variety is often maligned by wine neophytes, I’m not talking about your grandma’s Liebfraumilch. If you were to poll wine professionals, I would bet that the majority would argue that Riesling is not only the most noble of white grapes, but the most appropriate with a broad range of food, particularly a dish with varied flavors like Norman’s Skinny Pork Chops (not to mention the totality of the components of the dish are somewhat reminiscent of a schnitzel preparation that would classically be paired with Riesling in its German or Austrian birthplace). My first recommendation would be to seek out Graham Tatomer’s wines in Santa Barbara County of California, particularly his Riesling’ Steinhugel’. Although the production is quite small, this bottling is somewhat more available and quite reasonably priced for the quality. Other possible substitutes could include Montinore Almost Dry Riesling from the Willamette Valley of Oregon, or Boundary Breaks Dry Riesling from the Finger Lakes region of New York.
For the red I would recommend one of the so-called Red Blends that have become extremely popular over the last few years. Many producers have tried to ride the coattails of wines like The Prisoner, which was the trailblazer in this category and there are now a plethora of these on the market. In particular, I would recommend Broc Cellars’ Love Red’. This bottling is composed of Carignan, Syrah, Valdiguie, Mourvedre, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Grenache Noir. It is picked early to highlight the bright fruit components, while preserving acidity, and aged in neutral oak and concrete vats, avoiding overly “woody” wines. This versatile wine is truly a case of the total being greater than the sum of the parts! I would tend to avoid less expensive examples in this category (say under $15), which will tend to be sweeter and richer. If Broc Cellars is not available at your local wine shop, look for other examples at a slightly higher price point. Here you can find wines with more structure and less residual sugar, appealing to wine drinkers looking for the approachability this style of red wine offers, but in a more “serious” profile”. — Proal Perry, March 2022
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Looking for an unforgettable getaway to enjoy some good wine and farm-direct dining? Check out our Wine and Dine Package that runs through April and our much sought-after Revana Wine Weekend on April 29th-May 1st. Our website has details and great pictures of our luxurious rooms with mountain views and spa-like baths.