Category Archives: Wine

Wine and Cheese Pairings

Wine and cheese: two of life’s greatest treasures. As with any food and wine pairing, experts suggest pairing strength of flavors. Hearty red meat, for example, traditionally pairs best with a bold red, like a cabernet sauvignon. White meat and fish, on the other hand, often lean on the lighter side and can be pleasantly accompanied by a buttery chardonnay or a refreshing Riesling. The same theory is at play with cheeses.

As with pairing meats, it’s best to think of the variety of combinations as either complementary or contrasting. A wine with high acidity will cut into the cheese’s sweetness, whereas a lush wine works rather nicely with a triple-cream cheese like brie.

What kind of cheese are you looking to pair? Is it bloomy (creamy, decadent, soft rind), hard (stiff, sharp), blue (pungent, salty, blue tinge), or fresh (soft, often spreadable, mild)? Many connoisseurs argue that white wines tend to pair better with cheeses, but we shouldn’t discount reds altogether. Half the fun is experimenting. Decide on a cheese you’d like to pair, try a taste and see how the flavors connect when you mix in wine. Too opposing? No worries. The combination possibilities are endless.

Here are some common wine and cheese pairings examples courtesy of Wine Enthusiast:

Bloomy Cheeses

Camembert – Champagne

Brie – Chardonnay

Robiola – Sparkling Wine

Taleggio – Pinot Blanc

Hard

Gouda – Merlot

Cheddar – Cabernet Sauvignon

Parmesan – Chianti

Double Gloucester – Zinfandel

Pecorino – Valpolicella

Gruyere – Sauvignon Blanc

Fontina – Bardolino

Blue

Gorgonzola – Port

Stilton – Sauternes

Blue – Riesling

Cambozola – Eiswein

Fresh

Ricotta – Pinot Grigio

Mozzarella – Sauvignon Blanc

Goat – Chenin Blanc

Feta – Beaujolais

Burrata – Tocai Friulano

 

Interested in learning more about wine? You may enjoy some of our other blogs:

You can also browse our large assortment of wine supplies here. Cheers!

Customer Spotlight: Mallow Run Winery

A good bottle of wine is often a staple of the dining experience. Wine has the power to bring together new friends and strengthen bonds between lifelong ones. Whether you prefer those on the sweeter side of the scale, or your palette grants you the opportunity to enjoy the subtle complexities of a bold Cabernet, conversation is inevitable.

It seems, much to our delight, more and more locally owned and operated wineries are springing up across the country with the goal of bringing consumers together to share in memorable experiences. Wine production is such a rich field that it always offers something new to learn, both for expert connoisseurs and novices alike.

When it comes to growing grapes to turn into wine, the climate holds major influence. It’s a sensitive procedure, tending to grapes, with many factors to watch out for. For instance, too much rain or humidity, too little exposure to sunlight, or off-balance soil pH levels can drastically alter the grape, and thus the flavor of the end product. It’s no surprise, then, that certain areas with favorable climates have come to stand apart as “Wine Capitals,” producing and distributing some of the best wines in the world. Northern California is one such hotspot that’s home to popular wine destinations like Napa Valley and Sonoma County. With its sunny afternoons and cool nights, the hospitable environment is a perfect home for vineyards.Vineyard

If the climate plays such an important role, then it can come as some surprise that Indiana has seen a rise in wineries over recent years, and has been able to hold its own in terms of quality of product. With a climate that experiences both extreme heat and cold, as well as a myriad of other harsh weather-related elements, it doesn’t necessarily paint a picturesque outlook for vineyards. Still, though, as if in direct defiance of Mother Nature herself, many of the wines produced from Indiana wineries have gone on to win national awards and critical praise.

One such Indiana winery is Mallow Run, located twenty minutes south of downtown Indianapolis. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Sarah Shadday, the Marketing and Wholesale Coordinator for the winery, to learn more about the business, as well as the challenges and possibilities of operating an Indiana winery.

Q & A

Central Restaurant Products: What inspired the idea for Mallow Run?

Sarah: The winery originally started as a vineyard; a project by owner John Richardson and his son Bill, after they moved back to the family farm in the early 2000s. What started as a vineyard to grow grapes and supply other wineries turned into its own winemaking facility and has since evolved into a vineyard, winery, concert/event venue, and much more!

The name of the winery comes from John’s Great (x5) Grandfather, George Mallow, who originally settled the farm. The farm is still owned by the family today and in addition to the winery, still produces corn, soybean, alfalfa and cattle.

CRP: What types of wine do you produce?

Sarah: We produce a wide variety of wines, from dry reds and whites like Pinot Grigio and Cabernet Sauvignon, to semi-sweet wines like Traminette (Indiana’s signature grape) and sweet wines made from grapes like Concord. We also do fruit wines like Blackberry and our famous Rhubarb! We also started making hard cider last year. That has been a fun project!

CRP: Do you still grow your own grapes, or do you import them from other regions? Grapes

Sarah: Both. While we do have twelve acres of vineyard (four of which were planted this past Spring), there are certain varieties that will just not grow in Indiana’s climate. When we want to add a wine like Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Grigio to our list, we are importing that juice from growers on the West Coast and producing the wine here.

CRP: Can you explain how much Indiana’s weather contributes to the taste and quality of each batch?

Sarah: Indiana is a HARD place to grow grapes, especially in Central and Northern Indiana. The summers can be hot and dry; the winters can be devastatingly cold. That incredible range of temperature and precipitation can really stress the vines and in some cases, kill them. However, when the weather is good, it can really produce some flavorful grapes!

The biggest difference between our grapes (which are primarily hybrid grapes) and West Coast grapes (which are primarily vinifera grapes) is that ours tend to be white or red with lower tannin structure. They’re not going to be as big and bold as the Cabs and Zins in California. But Indiana grapes do have some really fun fruity, earthy, and floral characteristics that do come through.

CRP: What would you say sets your wine apart?

Sarah: I think our wines are special because they really mean something to people. Our best seller, Rhubarb Wine, is sweet and fun, and rhubarb is a super nostalgic plant for a lot of people. They remember Grandma’s rhubarb pie.

We go for fun flavors and try to keep it interesting by doing new things. Earlier this year, we were the first Indiana winery to ever CAN wine!

CRP: Can you give us a brief overview of the wine-making process?Tank

Sarah: This could fill a book, so I’ll keep it simple. We spend a lot of time in the vineyard making sure to prune in the winter and allow sunlight to produce healthy grapes in the summer. We then watch them carefully when we’re close to harvest and let them tell us when they’re ready. We usually only have one or two days’ notice! After picking, the grapes are crushed and pressed and the juice is fermented.

Depending on what we want to do with that particular grape (blend or create a single varietal) it may stick around. It can be blended, introduced to oak; there are so many variations and choices. Once a wine has been filtered and stabilized (for wines that will be chilled), a team of five people still bottle every single wine by hand. We sell wine at the winery of course, and it is distributed to select grocery stores, restaurants and retail outlets in Central Indiana.

CRP: Are there any good food and wine pairings you would recommend?

Sarah: Our motto – eat what you like, drink what you like. If it pairs well on your palette, it’s a perfect pairing! Traditionally you match strength of flavors. Something heavy and fatty? Choose a structured, bold red. Light fish? Go for a delicate rosé or light white.

CRP: Anything else you would like the readers to know?

Sarah: Don’t be intimidated! Younger and younger demographics are enjoying wine. It can be fun, casual, and cool. It’s becoming the Millennial’s drink of choice very quickly!

Formula for Success: Wine + Food + Live Music

Mallow Run also pairs wine tastings with exciting events. They feature live music nearly every single weekend, and during the summer season they host the Picnic Concert Series, inviting musicians, guests and food trucks to jam out all summer long.

On Labor Day Weekend they will be celebrating their eleventh anniversary with a hog roast and three days of music, food and, of course, wine.

Another upcoming event is their annual Wine at the Line run/walk that benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Indiana. It will be held on Saturday, October 1.

In addition to hosting their own events, they also participate in dozens of festivals throughout the year.

If you’re interested in learning more about wine, be sure to swing by Mallow Run and try a tasting with their experienced sommeliers.

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Types of Wine: The Basics

“It doesn’t matter if the glass is half empty or half full. There is clearly room for more wine.” – Anonymous

If you do a quick Google search for quotes about wine, thousands come up and for good reason! Wine has been a beloved nectar amongst people for hundreds of years. Whether you use it for cooking or consumption, there are different varieties and types of wine to think about. What food goes well with each type of wine? Having a background knowledge of wine will help when you plan out your menu and can help servers suggest wines to go with their meal.

Basic Types of Wine

Each wine has a backstory that makes up the differences in taste and color. Where the grapes were grown, what region of the country it grew in and what the climate was all makeup the flavors and aromas. Wine comes in a wide variety of styles, but we’re just going to talk about the eight basic types between white and red.

White Wines

Photo credit: eflon / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: eflon / Foter / CC BY

Riesling: You’ll find the best Riesling wines coming from Germany, France, New York, Washington State and parts of Australia. This wine is crisp and clean, with hints of green apple, pear and sometimes even lime flavors. The more a Riesling ages, the more honey flavors it exudes.

Food Pairings: Poultry and pork, along with spicy and Thai food

Pinot Gris: The taste of this wine depends on the grape and where it was grown. In France, Oregon and New Zealand this wine is usually rich with some spice. The Italian style, that’s known by the name of Pinot Grigio, is more fresh and crisp.

Food Pairings: Seafood, pasta, poultry and vegetarian food

Chardonnay: A Chardonnay grape is extremely versatile because the flavors depend on where it’s grown and how it’s made. Flavors range from apple and lime in cooler climates to more tropical fruits in warmer areas. If a Chardonnay is aged in an oak barrel, it takes on richer flavors with notes of honey and butter. If it’s aged in a stainless steel barrel, it has a mineral flavor with fresh notes.

Food Pairings: Favorite with seafood. Mineral versions pair well with oysters.

Sauvignon Blanc: This wine is known for being crisp and fresh. Sauvignon Blanc’s usually have notes of grapefruit and grassy flavors. France and New Zealand are prime regions for great a Sauvignon Blanc.

Food Pairings: Extremely food-friendly wine that pairs well with seafood, pasta and vegetable dishes.

White Wine Glasses

The bowl of a white wine glass will be more upright than a glass made for red wines. White wines are meant to be served cold, so this type of glass can maintain a cooler temperature as well as release its aromas.

Red Wines

Pinot Noir: This delicate red wine has notes of red fruits, like cherries, raspberries and strawberries. The Pinot Noir grape is actually really difficult to grow, but does well in Oregon, New Zealand and the cooler areas of California. As a Pinot Noir ages, the flavors and aromas become more complex.

Food Pairings: Poultry, salmon, meat and vegetable dishes

Merlot: Merlot is a soft red wine that has flavors of plums, blackberries and even mint and chocolate in some variations. Merlots don’t take as long and are ready to drink earlier than their counterpart Cabernet Sauvignons. Merlots do well in the old world, Europe and the new world such as California, Chile and Washington State.

Food Pairings: Meat dishes, such as beef and lamb

Cabernet Sauvignon: Cabs are more assertive than Merlots, and have more tannins and aging potential. You’ll find notes of blackberries, plums and black currants. Cabernet Sauvignons are normally aged in oak barrels, and take on flavors of vanilla, cedar, chocolate and coffee. Cabs do well in Napa Valley, California, Washington State, Chile and Australia.

Food Pairings: Meat dishes, such as beef and lamb

Syrah: This wine is produced primarily in France, where the grapes create Syrah’s that are spicy, rich, dark and delicious. Syrahs are great for aging, and develop more complex flavors the longer they age. A Shiraz is the Australian version of a Syrah, and has big, bold spicy flavors along with fruit aromas.

Food Pairings: Pairs well with a variety of foods. Perfect with grilled meats.

Red Wine Glasses

Red wine glasses are typically fuller and rounder with a larger opening than you would see in a white wine glass. The large opening allows your nose to detect aromas better. The big bowl creates a larger surface area for the red wine to get in contact with more air, resulting in more aromas and flavors.

Wine Not Shop Central?

There are dozens of different varieties of wines, so this is just the tip of the wine bottle! If you’re in need of wine glasses (both white, red and everything in between!), click here. Central also carries the perfect accessories for every wine connoisseur.

Thanksgiving Dinner Wine Pairings

Turkey is the main attraction for Thanksgiving dinner, but the wine you choose to serve at your restaurant or home can be just as important. The decision can be quite daunting with the endless wine options. When deciding on wine purchases, you have to take in account all the variables. For example; how many will be attending dinner or will be dining at your restaurant? How long will the dinner last?  White or red? There is still time to make last minute wine purchases to cater to your Thanksgiving Day guests.

 How Much to Buy

Before the decision of what wine to buy, it is important to know how much to buy. You don’t want to run out of wine before the main course!  The amount of wine your guests will drink depends on the amount of food being served.  The longer the meal, the more wine is needed. If you have appetizers before the main course you will want to account for that as well.  Keep in mind, if the meal is longer, you’ll want a wine with a lower alcohol percent.  Thanksgiving is a time when adults tend to drink more wine, and you don’t want any of your guests to have to leave early!

 What Wine to Serve

Once you have figured out how many guests you will have and the length of the meal, it is time to choose the combinations of wine you will be serving.  Better Homes and Gardens suggests serving sparkling, white and red wine throughout the meal.  A sparkling wine, like champagne, is perfect to start with as your guests arrive and are mingling with others. These help the celebration start on the right note with their light and bubbly taste.

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CC Image courtesy of Bar Wines by Alex Brown on Flickr

Moving to the appetizers or finger foods, white wines can be served to your guests to get their pallets ready for the main course. Serving a white wine with a lower alcohol percent would be beneficial here. Your guests will be drinking as much as they are eating. Better Homes and Garden advises to serve more fruity wines that are light, but crisp. Moscato or a Riesling would fit this description perfectly.

As the afternoon (or night) moves to the main course, red wine can be an option for your guest.  Not everyone enjoys red wine, so be sure to have enough white wine for the main course as well.  A red wine can add to the decoration of the dinner as well. It is important to choose a light red wine over a dry one. This will allow your guests to enjoy the smooth taste without the bitterness.

For dessert, it is really up to you. It also depends on the selection of desserts as well. If there is a bigger selection, wine might be too overwhelming for your guests.  Wine does not necessarily need to be part of the dessert, but having it available for the guests who want it is not a bad idea. Sweeter white wines can be served again after dessert when your guests are starting to wind down and are grazing on leftover food.

Shop Central

Whether your are hosting guests at your home or at your restaurant, keep in mind these tips while purchasing wine for a great Thanksgiving Day.  For all your wine needs from glasses to merchandisers to wine savers/stoppers, Central has you covered!  Shop online or call one of our helpful product consultants at 800-215-9293 for information about all the options available.

Serve Wine Right with Eurodib Wine Cabinets

Recent statistics from a Wine Institute/Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates study showed that wine consumption once again rose in 2013, with total wine “consumption per resident” reaching 2.82 gallons – up 4% over 2012. While some of that may be consumed on a Thursday evening geared around a certain network’s TV lineup, more and more diners are looking to add a glass or two of vino with dinner at their favorite restaurant. If you are not lucky enough to have room for a wine cellar in your establishment’s basement – how do you ensure you are serving your reds and whites at the peak temperature and freshness? Consider a Eurodib Serving Cabinet from Central Restaurant.

Eurodib Wine Merchandisers are a Perfect Solution

Eurodib cabinets keep your wine fresh and at the right temperature

Eurodib cabinets keep your wine fresh and at the right temperature

Central recently added several new Euordib cabinets to our online assortment. Models include the 36″H undercounter MH-54DZ that is perfect for your front-of-house bar or the full-height MH-168SZ and MH-168DZ with extended capacity. All models feature a stylish black finish with stainless steel door frame. These coolers have a stylish look that will blend into any environment and can also be used as an ageing cabinet. LED lighting adds to the presentation without creating the extra heat a fluorescent bulb can introduce into the cabinet. Door locks are standard to ensure complete security.

All models use a thermostatic cabinet to maintain accurate temperature, and beech wood shelves help to regulate the humidity. The MH-168SZ has a single compartment that can be adjusted between 41 and 61.4°F. Offer a variety of wine types? The MH-54DZ Undercounter and MH-168DZ models have two separate zones that allow red wines to be stored at a proper 50 to 64.4°F while you keep your white and sparkling wines at a colder 41 to 50°F. Setting and monitoring temperatures is easy with a multi-function digital control visible through the glass door.

Capacity is king too. The full height, single zone MH-168SZ can hold up to 176 bottles of wine in their proper horizontal position on 16 shelves . The 36″H undercounter model still holds up to 46 bottles on 16 shelves.

Shop at Central with Confidence

This 36"H undercounter model is great for front-of-the-house

This 36″H undercounter model is great for front-of-the-house

Still have questions? Talk with one of our knowledgeable Product Consultants by calling 800-215-9293 – or use our online chat option. We also carry a wide selection of wine glasses and stemware for every operation. And if this is your first time offering wines, our Central Restaurant blog has previously covered this topic, including the a September 2014 guide to equiping for wine season and a help with understanding everything from Stemware to Service.

 Feature image courtesy Jakub and his Foodie’s Feed.