Scheurebe Does Double Duty in Middle Eastern Pairing
Chef Mike Solomonov makes simple, soulful food with no apologies at Zahav in Philadelphia. Israeli comfort dishes like whole-roasted lamb shoulder and sable salad pack wallops of flavor. In Solomonov’s hands, even the basics like hummus are worth closer (and slower) inspection to savor every bite.
Much of the menu at Zahav is comprised of smaller plates, so most tables order at least four to six dishes at a meal. This can present a wine-pairing dilemma, but Sommelier Brian Kane’s wine list is composed of versatile wines. He seeks out medium-acid and medium-body wines like Scheurebe, Gruner Veltliner, and Airén, which are bright and refreshing but can stand up to heartier dishes like duck and lamb. Most of the proteins are cooked over charcoal, so charred barbecue flavors linger in the food, which he finds works beautifully with the subtle residual sugar in wines like Verdejo and Austrian Riesling. In Kane’s hands, the challenge of multiple food and wine pairings becomes an eye-opening adventure in the versatility of a well-chosen wine list.
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Kane pairs this rustic dish with a German Scheurebe for its generous fruity acidity, which lends itself to pairing with a wide range of ingredients. He further explains: “The charred aspect of the sprouts and the sour notes of the sumac and feta cheese complement the bright nectarine flavors of the Guntrum Scheurebe, and the grape’s acidity cuts through the richer tehina flavors, which are very nutty and creamy.”
Pairing a single wine with multiple small plates can be a challenge, but Kane proves that one wine can highlight different notes in two great dishes.