Venison with Cumberland Sauce (page 55). When pairing game meat with wine, look for a red with rustic, rough-around-the-edges nuances and a full-bodied flavor profile. Lost Draw Cellars 2014 Mourvèdre, which won gold in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, provides a delightful accompaniment to this hearty red-game dish served with classic Cumberland sauce. Mourvèdre, a grape that originated in Spain, has proven to be a good one for thriving in Texas as it grows best in warm—even hot—dry climates. Lost Draw Cellars 2014 Mourvèdre is a full-bodied, rustic-style wine with an explosion of dark fruit and herbal aromas of black pepper, thyme and nuances of red meat—all the necessary notes for pairing with venison.
Roasted Radish and Fennel with Bagna Cauda (page 39). Bagna cauda is a favorite Italian condiment that includes a hefty dose of anchovies. Pairing a beverage with the heavy saltiness and funky notes of these little fishes can be difficult. However, when in doubt, always look to the regional origin of the dish for ideas. Dolcetto is a delightful wine grape that originated in Italy and is proving to be a good grape for the Texas terroir. Dolcetto works well with the aromatic notes and oiliness in foods—both of which are highly present in this dish. Bingham Family Vineyards 2014 Dolcetto is a medium-bodied, well-balanced wine with an intensely fresh taste and a fruity nose of red berries and smoke. It also has a good note of minerality from its Texas terroir on the finish. The lush mouthfeel of berry flavors makes it a perfect choice for this pairing.
Crispy Salad with Merguez Sausage and Kefir-Harissa Dressing (page 38). This dish presents a double whammy of heat from both the generally fiery merguez sausage and the harissa dressing. A good beverage pairing would be one that cuts through the spiciness of the sausage and the dressing and tames the heat so that the other lovely flavors in the dish can be savored. Austin Beerworks BloodWork Orange IPA is a good choice for the task. Made from Sicilian blood oranges and bold Citra hops, the brew has a foamy head and a long finish to follow the back-of-the-throat heat of the spices in the dish.
Pecan Pie with Mesquite Flour Crust (page 48). A dessert as rich and hearty as this provides a bounty of taste—both from the pecan filling and the buttery crust made using mesquite flour. Ground from the dried seed pods of our beloved mesquite tree, this is a high protein, gluten-free flour with a texture like that of wheat flour, but a little grainier. Its taste is slightly sweet with definite nutty nuances, making it a genius addition to pair with the pecans in the filling. Try a coffee-based liqueur with this gem of a dessert. Austin’s Revolution Spirits Cafecito Coffee Liqueur is a good bet. The deeply flavored liqueur is produced from local coffee roaster Cuvée Coffee’s bold-and-brewed “Mezzanotte,” which is then blended with filtered neutral corn spirits and Demerara sugar, and finished with heady Madagascar vanilla beans. Either stir a bit into your favorite coffee (whipped cream on top optional), or pour about 5 ounces over ice in a rocks glass and stir in 2 ounces of half-and-half for a lovely pairing cocktail.
New Mexico Pork and Green Chile Stew (online exclusive: visit edibleaustin.com for the recipe). This two-fisted Tex-Mex stew, cooked in a cast-iron Dutch oven over hot coals, conjures visions of vaquero campfire cuisine. And what better beverage than a Mexican-style beer to accompany it? The natural choice for such a beer would be Austin’s own Twisted X Brewing Fuego Jalapeño Pilsner. The beer is styled as a pilsner first, with the subtle note of jalapeño bringing up the rear, rather than the fiery front-of-the-mouth blast of heat found in many chili-infused beers. There’s a perfect note of Tex-Mex flavor in the Fuego (“fire” in Spanish), making it a great pairing for Tex-Mex dishes.
By Terry Thompson-Anderson