Editor's Note: With our May issue devoted to divine local wines, STLwinegirl Angela Ortmann is dedicating this month's Quite the Pair columns to St. Louis-area restaurants that serve them.
Poached Chicken, $15
Grace Manor owner Debra Grace sticks to her motto of "celebrating the flavors of the season" with a carefully thought-out menu featuring quarterly changing dishes and daily inspirations.
For this dish, chicken breasts marinated in lemon, olive oil and fresh thyme are poached in chicken broth and delicately drizzled with an herb-based chimichurri. Kale-laced mashed potatoes and sautéed leeks round out the plate.
Grace Manor prioritizes local ingredients, and even goes as far as to offer a drink list with only local wines, beers and sodas.
Alto Vineyards Traminette, Ill., $7 by the glass
We often talk about the sweetness of wines, especially with local varietals. Many grapes, depending on how the winemaker works with them, can result in dry as well as sweet wines. "Off-dry" and "semi-dry" are terms used for wines that have hints of sugar but are not technically sweet.
Traminette comes from the parent grape Gewurztraminer and shows similar qualities: stone fruit flavors, floral aromas and undertones of spice. This off-dry version from the Shawnee Hills wine trail in Southern Illinois has hints of sweet peach and tart key lime. Its fruit-forward nature becomes a brightening complement to the vegetal dish.
Montelle Winery Seyval Blanc, Augusta, Mo., $4 by the glass
Popular in England as well as the United States, Seyval Blanc produces medium-bodied wines that are similar to Sauvignon Blanc. Tropical and herbal notes proved a perfect match for the fresh, green characteristics of the poached chicken. The crisp acidity balanced well with the chicken while the citrus-like wine melded into the sweet sautéed leeks. This pairing was the most reminiscent of spring for me, as everything on my plate and in my glass tasted and smelled of fresh fruits, greens and herbs.
St. James Winery Chambourcin, St. James, Mo., $4 by the glass
St. James is one of the most well-known Missouri wineries. With more than 40 years of production and 200,000 cases of wine per year, St. James has been part of the pack bringing Missouri wine to the national scene.
It might not be as popular as the red-wine Norton grape, but even so, Chambourcin is often looked at as a Pinot Noir-styled wine. It's medium in body and packed with tastes of sweet cherry and tart cranberry. Slight earthiness in the finish makes this wine good with meats and sauces. Though definitely more powerful than the chicken, this Chambourcin still lends itself to a lighter, fruity approach. Enjoy it slightly chilled for warm-weather dining.
Grace Manor, 1801 N. Main, Edwardsville, 618.655.0650, gracemanorrestaurant.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.