Wild Yeast Wines
Grilled Ham and Cheese with Strawberry-Red-Wine Jam
Pairing: 2008 Scribe Pinot Noir
"I give the wine the freedom to do its own thing," winemaker Andrew Mariani says. Part of this includes allowing the wild yeasts that live on the grapes to start the fermentation process, instead of adding commercial yeasts: "There are something like 300 strains of yeast in a fermentation vat as soon as you put the grapes in."
Pairing: 2008 Yalumba Wild Ferment Chardonnay
This amazingly fast dish from Grace Parisi takes only 20 minutes to make.
Viognier-Steamed Clams with Bacon and Parsnips
Pairing: 2008 Dalton Reserve Wild Yeast Viognier
Chef Dean Maupin thinks most things taste better with smoky bacon. These bacon-garnished briny clams, steamed in fruity and floral Viognier, are such a big hit that he serves them regularly during the cooler spring and fall months.
Clams the Sailor's Way
Pairing: 2008 Gemtree Vineyards Moonstone Albariño
It's not uncommon in Galicia to have a meal that consists of lots of different shellfish, bread and nothing else. Encarna Méndez of Do Ferreiro winery prepares clams the fisherman's way: steamed in Albariño with onion and garlic.
Grilled Squid and Torpedo Onions with Sorrel
Pairing: 2007 Spy Valley Pinot Noir
For this unexpectedly fun dish, Matt Lightner of Castagna in Portland, Oregon, tosses grilled torpedo onions (a sweet heirloom variety from Italy) with grilled squid bodies. Since the onions and the squid resemble each other so much in color and shape, each bite is a small surprise.
Creamy Chicken-and-Mushroom Fricassee
Pairing: 2009 Terres Dorées L'Ancien
"I love the word fricassee, Andrew Carmellini says. He garnishes his with celery leaves.
Caramelized Asian Pork Chops
Pairing: 2007 Domaine Paul Blanck Pinot Gris
Zesty white Alsatian grape varieties go well with Asian-inspired dishes. A citrus-scented Pinot Gris will pair well with all of the flavors here.
Fennel Mussels with Piquillo Rouille
Pairing: 2008 Scribe Chardonnay
Before Chris Kronner makes this dish, he forages mussels from the nearby coast. "You have to climb down a 75-foot rock face on a rickety ladder; it's intense," he says.