Wine Food Pairings

Sensoria Food and Wine Festival 2018

Sensoria Food and Wine Festival 2018

We recently were invited to attend the Sensoria Food and Wine Festival.  This festival was a one day event to conclude “Sensoria:  A Celebration of Literature and the Arts” at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte.  The food and wine festival was presented by the Piedmont Culinary Guild with sponsorships from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture’s #GotToBeNC Program and Springer Mountain Farms.

The day featured classes ranging from Riedel glass seminars to turning wine into vinegar to blind tastings just to name a few.  Another part of the event was a food and wine pairing.  Food from Charlotte area chefs was paired with North Carolina wine!

Below are photos from the event.  We hope this event is held again next year!  We also appreciate the complimentary tickets for this event!

From Wine to Vinegar Class – We learned about the science behind how vinegar is made.  We also got to taste a variety of wines and vinegars made by the instructor.  The fennel vinegar and carrot wine were very interesting!

Wine Line Up / A Blind Tasting – We blind tasted Chardonnays and Cabernet Franc.  This lineup included the Jones von Drehle‘s Steel Chardonnay and Dover Vineyards‘ Cabernet Franc!

The highlight of the festival was food and wine pairing featuring Charlotte area chefs and North Carolina wines!  Photos below show all over the beautiful and tasty creations!

Our first pairing turned out to be the winner of the votes for best pairing.  It featured Chef Greg Collier of the The Yolk in Rock Hill, SC paired with Biltmore Estate.  Chef Greg’s cornbread toast, smoked trout and apple salad, meyer lemon hollandaise, and charred strawberry espelette spice was paired with Biltmore’s 2015 North Carolina Blanc de Blancs Brut Sparkling.

Next up was Chef Chris Coleman of Stoke.  His smoked and fried chicken wing with spicy peach and jalapeño chow-chow was paired with Laurel Gray Vineyards‘ 2015 Viognier!

Duck pâté en croûte from Chef David Quintana of dot dot dot was our next bite.  This was paired with Shelton Vineyards‘ 2016 Reisling.

Chef Justin Solomon from Foxcroft Wine Company paired cured salmon with celeriac remoulade, fennel chutney and duqqa with Shelton Vineyards‘ 2016 Bin 17 Unoaked Chardonnay.

Surry Cellars‘ debut Albariño was paired with beef heart carpaccio, apricot mustard, pickled green strawberries, beet and petite greens from Chef Matthew Krenz of The Asbury.

Chef Joe Kindred of Kindred was next on our list.  His pasta with green garlic, spring greens and lamb was paired with the 2016 Rosé from Dover Vineyards.

Jones von Drehle‘s 2014 Cabernet Franc was our first red.  It was paired with rabbit-mushroom bolognese, grits and green garlic from Chef Clark Barlowe of Heirloom.

Chef Bruce Moffett of Stagioni was next up with his prosecro-battered crab-stuffed squash blossom, ramp aioli and red pepper agro-dolce paired with Piccione Vineyards‘ 2014 red blend, L’Ottimo.

Fahrenheit Chef Dave Feimster paired his kalua pork and pickled cabbage slider with RayLen Vineyards‘ 2016 Category 5 red blend.

RayLen was up again with their 2016 Petit Verdot paired with a cherry-smoked chicken thigh croquette with green chili mole, spring asparagus, and aji amarillo from Chef Blake Hartwick of Bonterra Dining and Wine Room.

Last but not least was Childress Vineyards‘ 2012 Finish Line Cabernet Sauvignon port-style wine paired with dark chocolate crémeux, coffee crunch, hibiscus and port gelée from Chef Ashley Boyd of 300 East!

This event was a fantastic way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

Posted by Joe Brock in Wine, 0 comments
North Carolina Wines for Your 2016 Holiday Table

North Carolina Wines for Your 2016 Holiday Table

The holidays are here! It’s a time for celebration with family and friends which often means good food and good drink. With a growing industry and higher quality of wines, it is time to consider adding North Carolina wine to your holiday table. But where do you start? What should you pair with classic holiday foods? Well, we have some suggestions!

Holiday White Wines from North Carolina

  • Ham – Ham is a classic main course for any holiday. Riesling is a classic pairing with any ham. We recommend the new 2015 Estate Grown Dry Riesling from Dobbins Creek Vineyards ( This wine is the signature white at Dobbins Creek. It is one of the best in the state for Riesling. The nose has notes of pear and honey. It is classic Riesling. The palate continues with pear and honey before moving to a slight mineral note. The finish is crisp. The acidity is pleasing. You will not be disappointed with this pairing!
  • Turkey – Roast turkey is versatile. You can pair with a white wine or a lighter red wine.
    • For a white wine, pairing we recommend the 2014 Traminette from Misty Creek Vineyards ( Traminette is typically very floral with a nice spicy finish. This traminette is just that. The nose is almost perfumey. The palate has melon and good fruit. There are those hints of spice that you would expect as well.
    • For a red wine, we recommend the 2014 Cabernet Franc from Divine Llama Vineyards ( This wine has a nose of cherry and vanilla that carries through to the palate. There a good oaky note as well. It would be perfect with Cranberry Sauce!

Holiday Red Wines from North Carolina

  • Duck – Ah, duck! It is poultry that has the umph of a steak! Classically you would pair duck with a Pinot Noir. But, if you can’t find Pinot Noir, Chambourcin is a great substitute! We recommend the 2012 Chambourcin from Dover Vineyards ( This wine is made in same style as a New Zealand Pinot Noir. The nose has dark fruits with hints of spice. The palate is light cherry and hints of vanilla. The acidity of this wine is the perfect balance to the fattiness of duck.
  • Roast Beef – Roast beef is another holiday classic. Of course, this calls for a hearty red wine! We recommend 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon from Mountain Brook Vineyards ( The nose is herbaceous with notes of cherries. This wine is big and bold with fruity notes along with hints of vanilla. It is perfect with roast beef or any red meat.
  • Lamb – Lamb is one meat where you either love it or hate it. We happen to love it. A classic pairing with lamb is a wine from the Rhône Valley of France. These wines are classically earthy. The recommended pairing of the 2013 Mourvèdre from Hanover Park Vineyard ( is just that! From the nose to the palate, there is an earthy quality throughout. There are also notes of cherry. This wine is velvety, but light. It is perfect with lamb, mushrooms or manchego cheese!
  • Roasted Vegetables – We don’t want all of our pairings to be wine and meat. Vegetables should be a big part of any holiday table. Some of our favorites are roasted carrots, parsnips, celery root, garlic, onion, sweet potato and/or butter number squash. This calls for a full-bodied white wine. We suggest the 2014 Barrel Aged Chardonnay from Baker Buffalo Creek Vineyard & Winery ( The nose gives nice notes of oak with hints of butter. The butter carries through to the palate with notes of apples and pears as well. It also pairs well with any winter squash soup!

Holiday Dessert Wines from North Carolina

  • Palate Cleanser – Sometimes, it’s good to take a break from heavy food and cleanse the palate. A classic palate cleanser is lemon granita, but that can a lot of work. Continuously taking the granita out of the freezer, scraping the crystals with a fork, returning it to the freezer and the repeating the process for hours. Why not go with an easier route? We recommend chilling a bottle of Vino Limone from Elkin Creek Vineyards ( in your freezer. Take it out and give your guests a small serving to cleanse their palates. Or use this wine as dessert itself. It’s lemon wine fortified with brandy. The nose has notes of charred lemons. The palate is tart lemon with a slight sweetness. The lemon allows it to maintain a nice acidity. It’s perfect to cleanse the palate or just enjoy with dessert!
  • Chocolate Desserts – Decadent chocolate desserts call for port-style wines. They are perfect with rich chocolate or just by themselves on a cold night. We recommend the Midnight Run from Windsor Run Cellars ( This wine is made from Chambourcin and Petit Verdot and then fortified. There are notes of chocolate on the nose. The palate is warming with notes of cocoa and dark fruit. It’s the perfect way to end any holiday celebration!

Let us know your thoughts on these pairings! We’d love to hear what you think and what pairings you’ve come up on your own. For other food and North Carolina wine pairings, please see an earlier article on our blog. You can find it here:

Whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year, may it be merry, bright and filled with North Carolina wine!


Posted by Joe Brock in Food, Wine, 0 comments