From our Wine Expert!
Winter is in the rearview. Sort of. Except for a handful of days this month when you will be scrambling to find the winter coat you thought you wouldn’t need again until November. Get excited! We’re in the bizarre holding pattern of a month we call March. Let’s pop some bottles!
Since it’s pretty much impossible to figure out what we’re going to wear on a day-to-day basis during March, we might as well know what we’re going to put in our glass, right? Right. March 1st is pig day (apparently). We’ll start there.
One of my favorite dishes in the Cape Fear region happens to be a celebration of the pig. The dish: Crispy Buffalo Pig Ears which can be found and enjoyed at Rx Restaurant and Bar on Castle Street in Wilmington. If you’ve yet to visit this treasure, you should stop reading right now and make a reservation. The buffalo sauce lends a bit of heat to the pig ears, but that spice is brilliantly cut by the bleu cheese dressing that accompanies them. The medley of flavors plays nicely with one of my go to bottles of rosé – Love Drunk Rosé from Oregon. Love Drunk’s beautiful acidity and flavors of wild strawberry, watermelon rind, and kiwi make for the ideal mate. $18/bottle.
In the middle of March we get everyone’s favorite nerdy holiday, Pi Day. On March 14th, countless people on Facebook pretend to understand how math works, and remind us that at 1:59:26 (A.M. or P.M) we’re experiencing a numerological phenomenon (3.1415926,etc.). Fun enough, I’ll play. The only problem is that Pi makes me think of pie, which makes me think of two things. 1. My favorite pie, which is Peach Cobbler. 2. Pizza, because I’m a dirty Yankee. Since we’re a couple months away from prime peaches, let’s talk pizza. I’ll recommend the right wine for you.
There’s a lot of terrific pizza in this area. As a northern transplant, I like to pretend I’ve got some authority on the subject. Some of my favorite slices come from Pizzetta’s (locations in Wilmington and Leland). When you’re pairing to pizza, it’s all about the sauce. Its acidic and bold flavors compliment wines with similar characteristics. I typically like to pair lighter style red wines to pizza. Pinot Noir is incredibly versatile when it comes to pairing, so it should come as no surprise that O.P.P. (Other People’s Pinot) from Willamette Valley is a great option for pizza night. Earthy, spicy, floral, herb-framed flavors of cherry with gingery wood spice tones. $20/bottle.
Towards the end of the month, it’ll be Easter. Like with most holidays, its centerpiece is an elaborate meal, which I’m good with. Whether you’re spending it with family or friends, I’m here to help you get the right wine on your table.
Traditionally, Easter means that someone is making a glazed ham, or roasted lamb. It also means that someone slightly less traditional will be preparing a Braised Rabbit with Mustard and Fennel. While there is not a local restaurant currently featuring this dish, head to Caprice Bistro in Downtown Wilmington for some life-changing rabbit. Pair your meal to either O.P.P., Love Drunk Rosé, or perhaps more classically, the Knock on Wood Chardonnay. A very Burgundian Cote d’Or style Chardonnay; it showcases flavors of honeydew melon, pear and a beautiful minerality. $18/bottle.
All three of the March wines are from winemaker André Mack of Mouton Noir. He is a former Sommelier for Thomas Keller at Per Sé and French Laundry turned winemaker. His drive and focus are captivating, and his winemaking style is an ode to Old World winemaking. Close your eyes and taste Burgundy in your glass, every time for a fraction of the price. Stay tuned to the Cape Fear Living Magazine event calendar. Chien de Vin has teamed up with André for a dinner later this month. Cheers!
By Zak Kilson, Chien De Vin