What Is One To Do With Two Great Reds!?

Sometimes it’s hard to determine what you really want to drink. Yes, like me I always think about what I am eating, but what happens when you have two great wines and two great cuts of meat? My answer…make em’ both and have yourself a lovely feast with a friend!

My predicament was to choose between my gorgeous 2011 J. Lohr Merlot and my 2010 Cholame Vineyard Zinfandel. Both are so completely different, and yet, went so well with both meals. Being that I wanted to do a fun, spicy, yet in depth article, I chose both of these companies because I find the wines fun to taste, analyze, and pair.

IMG_1784      The 2010 Cholame Zinfandel, is a wine I realized I wanted to decant once the aromas didn’t jump out of the glass. This wine decanted for about 10 minutes and showed me a side that I knew it would once it had a little breather room. For a big spicy wine I tend to want to pair it with a meat that has a slightly sweeter side, so I chose Lamb Shoulder. IMG_1783The fat in the cut of meat makes for a beautiful flavor and is great for a bigger wine. Lamb tends to be a sweeter flavored meat, with a lot of punch, so a simple salt and pepper rub down was all this needed. The Zinfandel was full of black pepper, plums, and currants. On the palate the fruit shined once decanted, but leaves you with a finish of chocolate, some slight tobacco, and when tasted with the lamb, it was simply beautiful. This wine is a fun one, as the longer it breathes, the more beautiful it becomes! At 15% alcohol, this wine surprisingly doesn’t pack as much heat as one would think… which means, it’s certainly a well-balanced wine!

IMG_1699  The 2011 J. Lohr Merlot is such a sensual wine. My goodness, this wine was smooth, creamy, and smacked you in the face with ripe red and black fruit. On the nose, it tickled you with a little hint of cocoa, making it irresistible to not want to taste immediately. This wine does not need to be decanted, so keep it in the bottle if you’re drinking it at this prime IMG_1702young age. Paired with this was an Omaha Steak Filet Mignon, and it was wonderful. Now, we know, that’s an easy pairing, but because once I tasted the wine, I wanted it to shine with the dish, so I chose the stereotypical pairing because I knew it would just work.

California wines we know can be intimidating to choose as there are so many great wineries, and now, many different grape varietals. I happen to love California and have yet to really show just what these wines are to you lovely readers, so that’s why I had to show off two, of many of my favorite vineyards. Cholame also makes incredible whites that are crisp, full bodied, and pair perfectly with some other dishes you will read about very soon. When I first fell in love with Cholame, I happened to be searching for wine shirts, and came across their great line of tank tops and T-shirts which have a beautiful side design and a quote on the back, “The Beautiful One”, which certainly describes many of their wines!

As for J. Lohr, the Chardonnay is always on my shelf for entertaining and weeknight wine purposes, as it’s easy to drink, food friendly, and perfect to pair.  J. Lohr has appeared on many of my wine lists in restaurants and is a great buy for a great wine!

Always remember.. eat what you like, and drink what you love! 

Sara Lehman

About Sara Lehman

Sommelier, Private Chef, & Food and Wine Pairing Expert in NYC! Sara is a Wine Writer, Wine Ambassador, and Wine Consultant specializing in pairings, parties, entertaining and education.

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