Many of us — including this Irish gal — celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Irish dishes, and we usually pair those dishes with beer, sometimes green beer (yuck).
But, these foods can just as easily be paired with wine. I asked for suggestions from New Jersey wineries, and they had some perfect pairings for those of us who want to switch out our beer for wine on March 17.
Irish Beef Stew
Four Sisters Winery in North Caldwell recommends their Leon Millot Reserve. It has just a bit of oak and will enhance the flavors of the meat while not overpowering the vegetables added to the stew.
Old York Cellars in Ringoes would pair the stew with their 2015 Malbec. It's a nice, fruity wine with mild acidity that cuts through any fattiness in the meat.
Auburn Road in Pilesgrove recommends their red Cabernet Franc blend, Gaia, that has spice and a savory, earthy quality that make it perfect for a hearty beef stew.
Southwind Vineyard and Winery in Millville makes an Irish beef stew with “copious amounts” of their Hunter Pace Cabernet Sauvignon in it. The boldness of the Cab Sauv and the tannins work well in breaking down the meat causing it to be nice and tender and fall apart in your mouth. You can drink the Cab Sauv with the stew or open up a bottle of their Merlot that would pair well, too.
Corned Beef Cabbage
The cabbage in this dish makes it tricky to pair, says Willow Creek Winery in West Cape May, but they think that their semi-dry Malvasia Bianca can rise to the challenge.
Bellview Winery in Landisville recommends their Syrah because it’s peppery and nutty with hints of marjoram that will stand up to the flavors of both corned beef and cabbage.
Cava Winery in Hamburg approaches this pairing by recommending their Vini di Riccio Pinot Noir.
Sharrott Winery in Blue Anchor thinks Dublin Coddle, a bacon, sausage and potato dish with a chicken stock base, would do well with their Barrel Reserve Chardonnay because it will stand up well to the bacon and sausage but not clash with the chicken stock.
Auburn Road Winery likes the idea of Chardonnay with this, too, and recommends a White Burgundy style Chardonnay, like their White Bottle.
Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery in Rio Grande goes with a red for this dish and suggests their 2014 Signature Series Syrah because it goes well with rich pork dishes. The rich tannins and velvety texture “aid in elevating the flavor of the dish while simultaneously cleansing the palate and uplifting the appetite.”
This mashed potatoes with cabbage or kale dish makes good use of the Irish staple, potatoes. Villa Milagro Vineyards in Phillipsburg would serve colcannon with ham or corned beef and pair the meal with a glass of their Rosita, a blush wine with floral and fruity notes. Rosita would add a flavor dimension to this combo to make a delightful St. Patrick’s Day food and wine pairing.
Guinness Cupcakes with Bailey’s Frosting
Sharrott recommends Wicked, a port-style wine. A port would complement the chocolate and contributes coffee, cocoa and chocolate flavors to the dessert.
Old York Cellars seconds the port-style wine and recommends their Southpaw Red dessert wine.
Bellview agrees with both Sharrott and Old York Cellars saying their port-style wine with notes of butterscotch and fig would pair well with the creaminess of Bailey's frosting and accentuate the deep flavors of the chocolate.
Willow Creek says they have a Blackberry Merlot that would absolutely blend perfectly with these cupcakes.
Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at the wineries
St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday this year, and many of the wineries will be celebrating the holiday in their tasting rooms.
Cava will host a Grapes and Shamrocks dinner on March 18 with a four course pairing menu and live music. $30/ticket.
Old York Cellars will have an “All Things Green” specialty tastings on March 18 and 19 at 2 p.m. that will highlight how wine can enhance some of the naturally green ingredients coming this spring season. Advance reservations are required.
Auburn Road will feature a night of great traditional Irish music performed by The Baloney Brothers on March 18 from 7 to 9 p.m. Reservations are encouraged.
And, if you must have some beer on St. Patrick’s day, Renault Winery in Egg Harbor City is having a pairing dinner with Irish beers on March 17, but I imagine you could get a little wine there, too, if you really wanted it.
See individual winery’s websites for more details on their events, and go to newjersewines.com to find other New Jersey wineries that are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.
Robin Shreeves is the food and drinks writer for the environmental news site Mother Nature Network, and a frequent contributor to Edible Jersey Magazine and Drink Philly. She's also the co-author of “The One Year Women in Christian History’’ (Tyndale, 2014). On the Wine Trail is a weekly look at New Jersey's wineries, wines and wine enthusiasts, trends and news.