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What’s My Wine? Garlic Grilled Black Tiger Shrimp From Emeril’s Tchoup Chop

Written By Scott Joseph On February 1, 2010

Today we initiate a new column — What’s My Wine?


Jeff Kundinger; photo by Kevin Kroczynski

Part of the enjoyment of a fine restaurant meal is pairing the food with the perfect wine, one that will complement the flavors and spices of the dish. Food can taste good on its own, and a wine can be enjoyable if you sip it alone. But when you put the two together in the right combination you take them to new sensorial levels. Finding that right combination without expert guidance can be daunting when faced with a thick wine list.

I’m at Emeril’s Tchoup Chop eating chef Greg Richie’s Garlic Grilled Black Tiger Shrimp, a new addition to the menu that features big, fat juicy shrimp served on a Chinese-style crispy noodle cake with a lemongrass infused wild mushroom crema.

There’s a lot going on there, so to find the right wine among all the cuvees on the restaurant’s wine list, I turn to general manager and resident wine expert Jeff Kundinger to ask, “What’s My Wine?”

“If I were sitting down and eating that dish tonight,” says Kundinger (shown in a photo by Kevin Kolczynski), “ I’d have the Qupe Marsanne from the Santa Ynez Valley.”

Marsanne is one of the white grapes of the Rhone, and wines made primarily from the grape tend to have a rich earthiness. Kundinger says he likes this wine and food pairing because a Marsanne is a bit more subdued and it’s not going to overpower the flavors of the dish. “Not that the shrimp is delicate,” he says, “but Marsanne is definitely going to make the food sing.” Other wines, such as chardonnay or even riesling, run the risk of overpowering the dish with too much oakiness.

Kundinger says Qupe’s winemaker is “not someone who likes to spend a whole lot of money on barrels.” He uses a little bit of oak to give the wine some rich notes but not so much as to stifle the fruit.

Marsanne, says Kundinger, is the nonchardonnay drinker’s chardonnay. “When done right it’s a really sexy grape.”

We hope you find our reviews and news articles useful and entertaining. It has always been our goal to assist you in making informed decisions when spending your dining dollars. If we’ve helped you in any way, please consider making a contribution to help us continue our journalism. Thank you.

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