A match made in belly

Local wine-and-food experts pair libations with fall favorites

Most of you have a favorite wine or beer—that one dependable drink, whether dining out or eating at home. You could be enjoying pizza or baked-salmon roulade, but always opt for a cabernet sauvignon or Hefeweizen.

Such habitual pairings, however, cancel out some of the hidden flavors in food and drinks. “There are certain complements of food and wine that, when done properly, will make the meal so exciting,” notes Chad Seaburg, wine director of Enotria Café & Wine Bar (1431 Del Paso Boulevard).

So whether you’re a wino or love a good brewski, try these delectable pairings with some fall favorites.


Beer: Eye of the Hawk

Something hoppy is essential for this Thanksgiving staple, according to Travis Koffler, bar manager for Yager’s Taphouse and Grill (727 Trader Lane in Folsom). Brews such as an Octoberfest or, one of his favorites, Eye of the Hawk, would pair with the classic meal.

Wine: pinot noir, Allan Scott (Marlborough, New Zealand, 2007)

“Any wine guy is going to say that pinot noir goes with turkey,” admits Enotria’s Seaburg. He describes the Allan Scott vintage as jammy, with sweet hints that add to turkey sides, such as cranberry sauce. “It’s not a sweet wine, don’t get me wrong,” he explains. “But it’s light enough it can go with turkey and not over power.”

Butternut squash

Beer: Widmer Hefewiezen

Koffler suggests Widmer Hefewiezen, but says Blue Moon would pair nicely as well.

Wine: grenache blanc, Epiphany (Santa Barbara, 2007)

If you’re searching for a full, velvety mouth feel to enhance your squash, the grenache blanc is your wine. “[It] is a very, very full-bodied white wine, but it also has an official end in the finish that would complement that butternut squash very nice,” Seaburg says.

Chili and cornbread

Beer: Obsidian Stout

“I would definitely go with a stout. My favorite would be the Obsidian Stout,” Koffler recommends.

Wine: merlot, Keenan Spring Mountain (Napa, 2004)

“The reason I chose that is because it’s a merlot that wants to be a cab,” Seaburg says. “It has a little spice, but not too big to blow the chili out of the water.”

Pumpkin pie

Beer: Wyder’s hard apple cider

“Hmm, dessert and beer. It’s possible,” says Koffler. “Maybe try a fruity beer, maybe something with flavor. Maybe even a cider, a hard cider.” He suggests Wyder’s hard apple cider, but adds flavors such as pear and raspberry also would be tasty.

Wine: Husch Late Harvest Gewürztraminer (Anderson Valley, 2007)

Matthew Parker, retail manager for 58 Degrees and Holding (1217 18th Street) recommends the aromatic Mendocino County wine.

Chicken soup

Beer: Corona

“I would probably just say anything light,” says Koffler. “Maybe just like a light ale, just to wash it down. I wouldn’t want to recommend domestic, but you might want to go there. Something that’s smooth and original is Corona.”

Wine: Domaine De Mouscaillo Chardonnay (Limoux, France, 2005) or Domaine de la Citidelle “Le Chataignier” (Cotes du Luberon, France, 2005)


Beer: Stella Artois

Koffler suggests going with a lighter beer when eating ham, such as a Pilsner.

Wine: Owen Roe “Sharecropper’s” Pinot Noir (Oregon, 2007) or Emile Boeckel Gewürztraminer (Alsace, France, 2006)


Beer: Deschutes Black Butte Porter

A dark porter or stout is the best pairing to bring out the flavors of this meal, says Koffler.

Wine: Fisticuffs Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley, 2005) or Dehesa de Rubiales “Alaia” (Spain, 2005)