Luke Pours & Pairs: “Occasion Wines” at Whole Foods Venice

Luke put together a food and wine pairing wrapped around the theme of “Occasion Wines.” Many of us have wines that are traditional for certain occasions, so Luke kept those moments in mind when creating this flight.


First, Champagne seemed apt for toasting the start of a new year and to kick off the tasting event. NV Laurent Perrier Brut L-P stepped up to the plate. Crisp green pear and citrus zest on the nose with just a touch of toast made this wine a nice fit for whitefish caviar on crème fraiche atop steamed then chilled fingerling potatoes.

Beaujolais Nouveau

For wine lovers around the world, a humorous annual occasion is the third Thursday of every November. On that day the new vintage of Beaujolais Nouveau pulls a Santa Claus and shows up in every town around the world. While most Nouveaus are rarely taken seriously, Kermit Lynch has a 2010 that should be respected. The wine is light and fruity, but grips with good acidity and body. This wine was paired regionally with Persillé du Beaujolais bleu cheese and Luke’s Port, red onion & heirloom Arkansas Black applesauce.


Coppa shared the plate with the bleu cheese to serve as the evening’s third pairing for the celebrated Italian wine, Amarone. The cured ham with the Arkansas Black applesauce made a complementary sweet and salty combo for the 2006 Cesari Amarone della Valpolicella Classico. Traditionally, a blend of Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara varietals, grapes for Amarone spend several months drying on racks after harvest. This concentrates the remaining juices and increases the skin contact of each grape lending to softer tannins and richness in color. This depth of character is present in the 2006 Cesari, making it a suitable addition to formalities like meeting the parents.


Another famed and oft overlooked wine made its way into the tasting but seemed more fitting for an occasion where one might have slain a dragon. NV Rabbit’s Foot Dry Mead was paired with crème fraiche and blackberries topped with drops of kirsch and sprinkled with brown sugar. The kirsch added just enough bitterness to make the sherry-like mead seem sweeter, while the crème fraiche accentuated its nuttier flavor components.

Late Harvest Dessert Wine

Ending a great meal or occasion often means breaking out a good bottle of dessert wine. To complete this flight, Luke paired the 2006 Rosenhof Welschriesling Beerenauslese with a bite of gorgonzola dulce and fresh whole honeycomb. Second only to Trockenbeerenauslese, this qualification of wine for Germany and Austria is amongst the most sought after wines of each good harvest. Affected by noble rot, the fruit used in Beerenauslese is hand-harvested, grape-by-grape creating a lengthy and laborious harvest. A wine this hard to make usually costs a mint, but not the Rosenhof at around $20.

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2 responses

  • Stumbled across this blog – and I love it! I just had a great time going back through your old posts. Keep updating – you guys kind of rock. :)

  • Excellent pairings Luke. Mead is a fun one, eh? Hope to see my favorite Hipsters – if we meet at Pinot Days will you bring something to pair when they run out of cheese?

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