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Pairing food and wine from O'Vineyards

Updated on March 26, 2008

Wine Paired with Food

Great food and great wine have a special relationship. They can make eachother exponentially better like two ingredients that were always destined to meet.

This article will go over some of the pairings I make with my favorite wines. Those are, of course, the wines my family and I make in the south of France at O'Vineyards.

I'm gonna go against a lot of the conventional wisdom, but even the conventional wisdom is contradictory sometimes. Ultimately, you can't just take anybody's word for granted. You have to go out and spend a few hard-earned bucks on some wine and a sweaty hour in the kitchen and then eat and drink like royalty! Find out what pairings work best for you through trial and error!

O'Syrah - Mediterranean varietal

The 2005 O'Syrah from O'Vineyards is a really spicy, peppery wine. This is a quality you can find in a lot of the richer, more extracted Mediterranean varietals like Syrah. Grenache is similar but gets a more mature pruny flavor that can cover a lot of that spice.

When you put my Syrah in your mouth, you can feel pinpricks on the tip of your tongue where the spice in the wine is burning your tongue! It's the definition of a peppery wine.

Peppery wines are perfect for pairing with very flavorful foods. A lot of nice red wines (in the $15-35 range) get denatured easily by spicy foods, or they just can't stand up next to really big flavors without feeling thin and flimsy. A spicy, peppery wine doesn't have these problems.

I went to school in New Orleans and I made hot sauce there with a local church. My mom was really proud of the sauce and she'd use it on everything as often as possible, so I was really glad we had the O'Syrah.

Another dish I like to make over there is Rosemary Porkloin. Fresh rosemary grows all over the vineyard so I just run out and pick out whole sprigs of rosemary about four inches long. I twist the sprig branch-and-all around a pork loin a few ounces in weight. I'll tie off the rosemary and throw it on the grill just like that. No other preparation needed.

Flip it when it's ready and eat it when it's cooked. The rosemary spreads evenly across the whole piece of meat like magic and (I'm not sure if this is true or scientifically verifiable but it seems like) the plant helps absorb some of the fat to make the cut of meat less greasy while keeping it flavorful.

My parents and their friends are out enjoying a barbecue on the vineyard.
My parents and their friends are out enjoying a barbecue on the vineyard.

O'Cabernet - Dark Fruit and Earth

What on earth do people mean when they say a wine has earth or dirt in it? What do you pair with dirt? Worms? No need to stoop to Dennis the Menace sandbox recipes.

The O'Cabernet, with its dark fruit velour and earthy undertones, is perfect for some of the tangier, bitter foods that usually don't go with red wine. You put some dark baker's chocolate in your mouth and it will be bitter. But if you combine a dark chocolate with a dark fruit wine, you'll unlock an amazing array of flavors in each! Ask your local chocolatier for some Cabernet truffles to drink with a solid dark Cabernet Sauvignon.

I regularly have to do wine dinner pairings and chefs love doing orange chocolate desserts. Now this is a similar problem. Tangy foods like citrus can totally rip apart even a very solid red wine. You need something a little coarse like the O'Cabernet to complement the acidity and bitter flavors of orange.

Pizza Sandwich


The O'Merlot is a solid, big-shouldered wine. I call it the vineyard linebacker. It's got a lot of flavor and you need to put it next to big, fun foods. It's got a lot of fruit on the nose and it also has sort of bready notes. Sometimes, you open a bottle and smells like a bakery. Anyway, I don't know what the typical wine rulebook says but I pop this open with a good homemade pizza.

Here's a youtube video of the last wild pizza project my friends and I made. This is the perfect treat for a glass of O'Merlot!


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    • Blogger Mom profile image

      Blogger Mom 9 years ago from Northeast, US

      Wow, I've never had peppery wine before! Thanks for answering my request, this is excellent info. Oh, and I checked out your website and your FAQ is awesome - totally funny.