Each month members of the Court of Master Sommeliers, an international association of wine experts, suggest pairings for popular menu items. Here they offer us both premium and bargain suggestions to enjoy with poultry. The sommeliers do not have a financial interest in any of their recommendations.
Sean Razee, specialty product coordinator, Whole Foods Market, Southwest region, Austin, Texas
Premium wine: Archery Summit “Premier Cuvée” Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon, 2009
Grape variety: Pinot Noir
Taste profile: Stunningly complex aromas of spiced cherry and black licorice. On the palate, earthy truffle complements the fresh raspberry and cherry notes. Its mouthwatering acidity makes it an ideal food wine.
Pairings: Full-flavored birds with robust preparations such as Asian spice–rubbed duck breast with duck confit and Bing cherry compote.
Average wholesale case price: $420
Bargain wine: Maison Joseph Drouhin, Beaujolais-Villages, Burgundy, France, 2011
Grape variety: Gamay
Taste profile: Hedonistic aromas of candied cherries and fresh raspberries. The flavor of the wine combines cherry compote, macerated raspberries and savory tea notes
Pairings: Flavorful poultry dishes that combine light sauces and earthy vegetables, such as pan-seared thigh with sherry demi glace, carrots and summer peas.
Average wholesale case price: $110
Kathryn Morgan, sommelier, Michel Richard Citronelle, Washington, D.C.
Premium wine: Château Carbonnieux Blanc, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France, 2009
Grape varieties: 65 percent Sauvignon Blanc, 35 percent Semillon
Taste profile: Oak-driven vanilla and baking spice flavors marry Semillon’s tropical papaya to Sauvignon Blanc’s racy tangerine and herbal notes.
Pairings: Not for delicate preparations, this wine should be paired with rich dishes and creamy sauces. It can handle the mayonnaise of a classic salad, and its herbal flavors really pop with tarragon.
Average wholesale case price: $400
Bargain wine: Domaine Pichot Vouvray, Loire Valley, France, 2011
Grape variety: Chenin Blanc
Taste profile: Crabapple, peach, tart citrus and honey flavors with intense minerality and hints of ginger and cinnamon. It’s off-dry, with moderate alcohol.
Pairings: The residual sugar makes a great partner for the heat of Jerk Chicken, and the subtle spice notes resonate with the spice rub.
Average wholesale case price: $116
Larry O’Brien, sales director, Micro Cru, Las Vegas
Premium wine: 2009 Louis Jadot Château Lumières Morgon Côte du Py Cru, Beaujolais, France
Grape variety: Gamay
Taste profile: A striking nose of ripe red and black berries heavily accented by earthy mushroom and musky floral notes. The texture is rich and silky, but underpinned by serious acidity and minerality. Decant this wine for about half an hour prior to service and serve at 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pairings: Dark fowl such as pan-seared duck breast, Peking duck or squab. Its classic match is coq au vin.
Average wholesale case price: $142 for 6 bottles
Bargain wine: 2010 Rosemount Traminer-Riesling, Southeastern Australia
Grape varieties: Traminer and Riesling
Taste profile: The nose is very bright and aromatic, featuring lots of floral-spiced, exotic and citrus fruits. The aromas also are expressed on the palate, albeit more softly and with a stronger presence of stone fruits. This off-dry wine is nicely balanced by a zesty, lemon-lime acidity.
Pairings: Extremely versatile, this wine’s kiss of sweetness and lip-smacking acidity make it ideal for a touch of heat. It is well suited as a party starter with spicy dips, or with lemon-pepper chicken tacos.
Average wholesale case price: $84
Learn more: Meet the Master Sommeliers. Check out bios and photos