Cranberry Chutney, $10
Cranberries are such a sign of the season, aren't they? Usually relegated to side-dish status, the holiday-season berry takes center stage this month at Home Wine Kitchen.
Chef Cassy Vires' knack for making common ingredients shine with interesting preparations and presentations comes through with a special charitable dish - Cranberry Chutney - one that gave me an especially fun evening of wine pairing.
Perfectly balanced between sweet and tart, this jar of berries also has touches of fig and red wine, creating a more layered and complex flavor that one would assume could be achieved with the simple cranberry. The chutney is served with soft, fresh goat cheese and a handful of arugula along with a stack of deliciously grilled bread.
NV Domaine St. Vincent Sparkling, N.M., $8 by the glass
Getting into the festive spirit, I opted first for bubbly. Sparkling is always an excellent choice for cheese-based dishes, and I was interested to see how well it would work with the cranberry. The crisp, dry wine turned out to be an ideal start on my tasting escapade. Along with acting as a great palate refresher, the sparkler highlighted the sweet fruit notes of the chutney and seamlessly matched the goat cheese. I got so wrapped up in the combo that I almost forgot I had two more pairings to go.
2009 Domaine Depueble Beaujolais, France, $8 by the glass
Beaujolais wines are one of my go-to choices during the holiday season. The grape of Beaujolais is Gamay, and it is known for bringing elements of sweet and tart berries, cranberry included. Seeing the red on the list, I knew without a doubt it was going to be a stellar pairing. Mimicking similar fruit tones in the chutney, the wine added to the intricacy of the flavors. Beaujolais' lively acidity brought a delectable dimension to the goat cheese. As a whole, the pairing felt ideal for the chilly winter night and added another level to my enjoyment of Beaujolais this time of year.
Crispin Brown's Lane English Dry Cider, Minn., $4 by the can
For something a little different, I turned toward the beer list. This traditional-style dry cider has a combination of soft effervescence and natural apple sweetness. When sipped with the contrasting flavors of the chutney and chevre, the cider and dish come together in harmonious fashion and invigorate your palate. An added perk is the low alcohol content, making it an easy start to your meal.
Home Wine Kitchen, 7322 Manchester Road, Maplewood, homewinekitchen.com
STLwinegirl Angela Ortmann gained a passion for all things epicurean by working in the luxury restaurants and hotels of St. Louis and San Francisco. Through her event and consultation business, she is dedicated to enhancing your food and wine experience.