The Art of Food and Wine Pairing

Here at City Winery Chicago, it’s imperative that we perfectly pair food and wine. I work hand-in-hand with our sommelier, Rachel Speckan, to taste our wines and look for flavors and notes that I can pair with food. This spring, I’ve been working closely with Rachel to pair new menu items with her selection of new seasonal wines. As you may have noticed, our menu is laid out as a guide for food and wine pairing—starting with sparkling and whites working on down to reds—to make it easier for guests to make selections.

One new wine we are offering is a sparking wine called Jane Ventura, which is a Cava from Spain. After tasting the Cava, I knew what dish on our new spring menu to pair with it—fried smoked chicken served with a pickled watermelon salad. The effervescence of the sparkling wine stands up to the smokiness of the chicken while the sweetness of the wine goes nicely with watermelon.

We also tasted another new wine, Mercouri, which is a Chardonnay from Greece. It is briny like the sea, so I wanted to pair it with our new scallop dish, which is a pan-seared scallop with celery root and apple puree. The wine complements the natural sweetness of the scallops.

One new red we’re offering is The Loop, which is a Cabernet Sauvignon from California. We have a new lamb offering for spring that we’re really excited about, and I knew I had to match it with the wine’s deep red berry flavors. The homemade lamb merguez is a slightly spicy sausage served with cous cous, toasted Marcona almonds and a roasted red pepper yogurt sauce.

If you want a “sneak peak” of these dishes, we’re currently running them as specials to try them out, so come on in and let us know what you think!

– Chef Andres Barrera