Top Pairs: Washington DC

top pairing
by Tejal Rao with photos by Antoinette Bruno
Vol. 1
June, 2006   
This round of the top pairs comes from recent editorial tastings in our Nation's capital. Aside from Belga Café's beer, these pairings prove the ingredients of the domestic terroir result in standout combinations, as with these West coast-based wines and their dishes.
Restaurant
  • Charlie Palmer Steak
  • 101 Constitution Avenue Northwest
  • Washington, D.C. 20001
  • (202) 547-8100
  • www.charliepalmer.com
Who
Sommelier Nadine Brown Sommelier Nadine Brown, at Charlie Palmer Steak, is a career-changer who discovered her acute sense of taste as a front-of-house manager. Now, as a sommelier, it is her goal to obtain Master of Wine and Master Sommelier certifications simultaneously.
Wine
Delille Cellars Chaleur Estate Bordeaux Blanc Blend, Washington
Dish
Warm Copper River King Salmon, Green Asparagus Risotto, Morel Mushroom Viniagrette
Pairing Note
Silky, funky, it goes well with the morels. Earthy, buttery flavors with medicinal qualities.
Wine
2003 Littorai Les Larmes Anderson Valley, California
Dish
Trio of Sonoma County Duck, Melted Endive, Peach Tart-Tatin, Celery Variations
Pairing Note
This wine by Ted Lemon has rich flavors of deep black fruit. Earthy and just starting to develop; it was a perfect compliment to the richness of the duck and its accompaniments.
Restaurant
Who
Chef Bart Vandaele These exceptional duos from Chef Bart Vandaele at Belga Café impart just as much complexity to the dish as any wine. Dishes on his menu also incorporate the beers for reductions and poaching.
Wine
Duchesse de Bourgogne (330 ml)
Dish
Foie de Canard- foie gras, smoked and poached with tutti fruity gelee
Pairing Note
A fizzy and bubbly wine-like beer. The reddish-brown ale cut through the fat in the foie gras, while the fruity notes and lack of sweetness complimented the foie.
Wine
Petrus Old Brown
Dish
Tonijn and Couscous Terrine- a tuna and couscous terrine with wasabi cream and a marinated seaweed salad
Pairing Note
Very smooth, dark and refreshing, also from the brown/red beer selection, easy to drink, a good ‘first’ beer. Fruity and not sweet, it adds a nice touch to the appetizers.
Wine
Liefman’s Goudenband (355 ml)
Dish
Filet Van Hertekalf- filet of venison with fresh herb crust, sherry-braised endives, couscous waffle, and apple butter sauce
Pairing Note
The orange-citrus notes in this traditional Flemish ale are an excellent match to the venison and brought out the fruit in its apple butter sauce.
Restaurant
Who
Sommelier Danny Boylen Self-taught Wine Director Danny Boylen, of Notti Bianche, proves that even without formal training, he has the intuition and knowledge for standout pairings such as this one we experienced.
Wine
2003 Fiano di Avellino, Terredora di Paolo - Campania, Italy
Dish
Malfati- Spinach Ricotta Gnocchi with Porcini and Mascarpone
Pairing Note
This sexy wine has a wonderful smoky nose to cut through the richness of malfati. Get a bottle and bring out the baker boys!
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