Each month members of the Court of Master Sommeliers, an international association of wine experts, suggest wine pairings for popular menu items. Here they offer us both premium and bargain wines to enjoy with sandwiches of their own invention. The sommeliers do not have a financial interest in any of their recommendations.
Anthony Anselmi, MS, Kermit Lynch wine Merchant, Venice, Calif.
Bargain wine: Marcel Lapierre “Raisins Gaulois,” Beaujolais France, 2010
Grape variety: Gamay Noir
Taste profile: Drink two glasses of this and proceed to the nearest good time. Juicy red fruit goodness wrapped around a bright spine of tangy loveliness with little in the way of drying tannins. Moderate alcohol, no new oak to dim your view of a wine that the winemaker says he drinks in the shower.
Pairings: A good time. Also, roasted quail legs served by the bucketful.
Average wholesale case price: $120
Premium wine: Pecchenino San Luigi Dolcetto di Dogliani, Piedmont, Italy, 2009
Grape variety: Dolcetto
Taste profile: Dolcetto is a dark, brooding wine that reminds me of wild boar that got into a fight with some dark blackberries and blueberries in the middle of a wet forest of fallen tree trucks. The combination of rich fruit with earth make this a match made in heaven for the sweetness of pork sausage.
Pairings: You will want something with fat to help cut the chunky tannins in this wine. It would taste great with charred boar sausage with grilled, olive oil marinated sweet onions.
Average wholesale case price: $160
Scott Carney, MS, director of wine education, International Culinary Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Bargain wine: Côtes du Rhône E. Guigal, France, 2009
Grape varieties: 50 percent Syrah, 40 percent Grenache, 10 percent Mourvèdre
Taste profile: Fresh red berry fruit with notes of kirsch and violets. The palate is fleshy and smooth but well contained. It has a moderate finish, but pleasing complexity for this price point.
Pairings: A worthy partner for the spiciness of lamb sausage. I’m dreaming of a French bistro with a plate of merguez sausage and frites.
Average wholesale case price: $110
Premium wine: Frog’s Leap Zinfandel, Napa Valley, Calif. 2008
Grape varieties: 80 percent Zinfandel, 19 percent Petite Sirah, 1 percent Carignan
Taste profile: A well-behaved Zinfandel, with savory tannins and a toned structure. Wild berry fruit, black and red, with notes of nutmeg and black pepper. Stylish, balanced, a delight to drink.
Pairings: Spicy merguez from an American bistro.
Average wholesale case price: $172
Jason Smith, MS, director of wine, Bellagio, Las Vegas
Bargain wine: Benziger Syrah, North Coast, California, 2006
Grape variety: Syrah
Taste profile: Filled with dark, jammy fruit and black pepper notes, this Syrah is an excellent value.
Pairings: Rich and meaty sausages, but stay away from those that are overly spicy. Try it with wild boar sausage with red onion marmalade
Average wholesale case price: $108
Premium wine: ZD Pinot Noir, Carneros, Calif. 2009
Grape variety: Pinot Noir
Taste profile: Red fruit notes of raspberry and red cherry with sweet brown spices of cinnamon and clove.
Pairings: This is a jack-of-all-trades wine that can go with just about everything from sausage to boudin noir. I’d recommend a sweet Italian sausage with peppers and onions.
Average wholesale case price: $240
Learn more: Meet the Master Sommeliers. Check out bios and photos.