A trivia tidbit for those who have not already heard, corned beef and cabbage is not a traditional St. Patrick’s day meal in Ireland, though here in the states it seems to be the meal of the day, along with Irish soda bread and of course a tall Guinness to chase it all down.
If beer is not your drink of choice and you would prefer a glass of wine, here is some information to help you choose a white or red wine.
This is a challenging pairing. There’s not much going on in this boiled meal though the flavor profile is unusual — briny, salty meat that has quite a bit of fat, herbs and some spices and, of course, the unforgettable cabbage.
Condiments can be a factor too, but it’s best to keep the condiments to a simple mustard rather than complicate the dish with additional stronger flavors which can be even more difficult to pair with wine.
With all those flavors in corned beef and cabbage it’s understandable as to why beer is the drink of choice. The effervescence helps to cleanse and refresh the palate. Easy drinking and good eating.
With that said, the first wine recommendation is a bubbly or sparkling wine which are very food friendly wines. Choose your favorite, or go with a Rose sparkling wine which has good acidity and the complexity of red wine.
The higher acidity in white wines can help to cut through the fat and saltiness of the meat. A grassy, herbal Sauvignon Blanc can be the white wine of choice which can also be a good partner for the cabbage.
A Riesling from Alsace can also be a good pairing. One of the traditional foods of Alsace is Sauerkraut, not that Sauerkraut has quite the same flavor of the boiled cabbage, but do keep in mind that a wine from the same region as the food can be a good choice. Some characteristic flavors in Alsatian Riesling are similar to those in the corned beef and cabbage.
A light-bodied Pinot Noir from the coastal areas in California can have good acidity and medium tannins, and a tart cherry fruitiness with a spicy finish can be a nice pairing with the corned beef.
A young Chianti, with tart fruity flavors and hints of herbs/spices will go well.
California Zinfandel also has the tart fruit flavors as well as having the spiciness and peppery flavors that can be another good pairing for the corned beef.
Your local wine store can recommend a wine with these flavor profiles for you. They should be reasonably priced wines in the $12-$20 range.
Top O’ The Morning!