Crispy Chicken Thighs with Golden Raisin Compote
Pairing: 2007 Jacques Puffeney Cuvée Sacha Arbois Blanc
Producers in France's Jura region age whites in oak barrels for years. The resulting wines have both bracing acidity and a rich texture that Brad Ball, owner of Social Restaurant + Wine Bar in Charleston, South Carolina, loves with these crispy chicken thighs.
Grilled Baby Octopus with Roasted Peppers and Potatoes
Pairing: 2000 Viña Tondonia Rosé Gran Reserva
Antonio Gianola, the former wine director at Catalan in Houston, will open his own wine bar, Wild Vine, this spring, focusing on super-traditional European wines. One of his favorites is the R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia Gran Reserva rosé from the Rioja region of Spain, aged for years in oak barrels. Even the 2000 vintage—ancient for a rosé—is still lively enough for charred octopus with silky roasted peppers. Inspired by a recipe in Wine Bar Food by Tony and Cathy Mantuano, Gianola poaches the octopus slowly before grilling it until crisp.
Smoked-Trout Salad with Mustard Dressing
Pairing: 2006 Vinoterra Kisi
"I've never met a wine I didn't like, says Lou Amdur of Lou in L.A. One of the wackiest he's ever tasted is the amphorae-aged Vinoterra Kisi, made from the indigenous Georgian white grape Kisi. It's unexpectedly delicious with smoked fish.
Pappardelle with Duck Ragù
Pairing: NV Cornelissen MunJebel 6
Paul Grieco of Terroir in Manhattan is one of the few sommeliers to serve wines from Sicily's Frank Cornelissen, who favors a hyper-natural approach and the use of amphorae for red wines. Chef Marco Canora's pasta with braised duck is just the thing with Cornelissen's red; this version calls for duck confit.
Roasted Rack of Veal with Root Vegetables
Pairing: 2004 Gravner Ribolla Gialla
Frasca Food and Wine restaurant in Boulder, Colorado, is inspired by the Friuli region of Italy; co-owner and wine director Bobby Stuckey serves a number of edgy Friulian wines. This veal dish is particularly good with slightly tannic "orange" wines like Gravner's Ribolla Gialla.
Seared Tuna Steaks with Citrusy Soy Sauce
Pairing: 2009 The Scholium Project Farina Vineyards The Prince in His Caves
A former Greek philosophy professor, Abe Schoener of The Scholium Project in Suisun Valley, California, has a cult following for his experimental methods. One of Schoener's famous wines is The Prince in His Caves, a Sauvignon Blanc he ferments on its skins, then ages in oak. Wine director John Locke of Soif in Santa Cruz, California, thinks the luscious, funky wine is best with funky flavors, like in the citrusy soy sauce here.