Roasted Pork Sandwiches with Sauerkraut Relish
Pairing: 2008 Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfandel
There are nice vanilla tones in this flavorful, berry-driven red, thanks to a year of oak aging.
Quinoa Salad with Sugar Snap Peas
Pairing: 2009 Nobilo Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
A combination of grapes from Marlborough's Awatere and Wairau subregions gives this white a good balance of crisp gooseberry and citrus fruit and the grassy, herbal notes that are the hallmarks of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
Indian Pulled-Chicken Sandwiches
Pairing: 2009 Torres Vina Esmeralda Moscato/Gewürztraminer
Torres blends 85 percent Moscatel with 15 percent Gewürztraminer to highly aromatic effect. Orange blossom, passion fruit and lychee jump out of the glass, followed by a palate dominated by pink grapefruit and citrus peel. The kick of spice and bright acidity keep it balanced and immensely enjoyable.
Octopus Salad with Potatoes and Green Beans
Pairing: 2009 Chateau St. Jean Sonoma County Chardonnay
Winemaker Margo Van Staaveren's basic Chardonnay has been a go-to value white for many years now, and the '09 will only sustain the wine's reputation. Silky, with an alluring touch of sweet oak, it's classic California Chardonnay.
Shrimp and Noodle Salad with Ginger Dressing
Pairing: 2008 Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Riesling
This off-dry (i.e., lightly sweet) bottling is a good example of how a touch of sweetness can nicely set off Riesling's lively acidity. Anyone skeptical of off-dry whites should try the wine with a spicy Asian dish like a Thai curry: It's an ideal match.
Cuban Sandwiches with Tomato Jam
Pairing: 2007 Concha y Toro Carmín de Peumo Carmenère
Many countries, including Chile, make exceptional Cabernet. Only Chile makes great Carmenère. This wine's velvety richness, black currant fruit and green-olive-plus-herbs aroma are as good as Carmenère gets.
Rice Salad with Merguez and Preserved Lemon Dressing
Pairing: 2008 Argiolas Perdera
Monica, the grape in this juicy red, came to Sardinia with either the Spanish or the Saracens—historians are still arguing the matter centuries later.
Pairing: 2008 Feudo Arancio Nero d'Avola
Sicily's warm climate gives its native grape a lovely, spicy depth.
Spicy Avocado-Cucumber Soup
Pairing: 2007 Prager Grüner Veltliner Achleiten Stockkultur Grüner Veltliner
Tony Bodenstein, the impressively talented winemaker at Prager, makes this concentrated and complex Grüner Veltliner from a single-acre plot of 70-year-old vines in the renowned Achleiten vineyard. It's one of those rare wines that seem to smell and taste different with each sip: lime, wildflowers, wet stone and more.
Chilled Red Bell Pepper Shooters
Pairing: 2010 Quintay Clava Sauvignon Blanc
From a new winery that looks like a giant brushed-steel cube (truly), this Sauvignon has sweet citrus notes with a little lemon-peel bitterness.