Margaret Pearman is a certified sommelier under the Court of Master Sommeliers and is responsible for curating the award-winning wine list at Charlie’s L’Etoile Verte. Here are her sipping suggestions for October:
One of my treasured moments of the day is to pour a glass of wine and start preparing dinner for my family. There is such an innate connection between food and wine. I prefer sipping on light whites such as Picpoul, Muscadet and Sancerre. As much as I like to drink the wine, a splash often ends up in what I am cooking. First off, use what you have around. Never throw away the two-day-old bottle of wine that has lost its luster; just store it in the fridge.
White wine finds its way in to sautéed seafood and chicken preparations. Chardonnay works best for these, but a mild white makes a great substitute. Adding red wine to your spaghetti sauce gives it a deeper robust flavor. Better yet, finish off sautéed mushrooms and onions with red wine and butter, which is perfect for a pork or steak topping. Beef stew benefits greatly from
a generous dousing of red after all the meat and veggies have been browned. Not only does it add flavor, but it helps to tenderize the meat. Pinot Noir and Sangiovese (Chianti) are probably the best reds for cooking.
Lastly, the entire category of fortified wines is essential to the gourmet kitchen. Sherry works in seafood-based soups just as well as it deglazes a pan. Port and Madeira are often used with demi-glace to create a steak sauce with a wow factor. Nowadays you can find demi-glace premade. All you have to do is heat it up, let it reduce a bit, add the fortified wine and a bit of butter, and voila! Think of wine just like salt and pepper.