Wines to Satisfy Your Inner Leprechaun

Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day. While I'm not Irish, I've always enjoyed this particular holiday. There's no pressure to buy presents, no unnecessary decorating involved, and no expensive preparations required to celebrate Ireland's Patron Saint. And, as long as you wear a bit of green and appear to be cheery and festive, you are generally safe from the guilt ridden holiday stress that comes with so many of our American holidays. (Besides, it's an excuse to drink!)

But from a wine pairing point of view, it can be rather confusing figuring out what goes best with corned beef and cabbage. First a disclaimer: I actually like corned beef and cabbage. While boiling isn't my first choice for meal prep, the fact that I can throw a bunch of ingredients into a deep pot of boiling water and end up with a simple but filling meal is appealing. And, who isn't happy with only one pot to clean up afterward?

But wine selection can be awkward. Corned beef is salty and often rather fatty, while the boiled veggies are well, boiled veggies. In other words, they're bland. Choosing a typical red wine with moderate tannins and a good acid structure, like Pinot Noir or Cabernet, is not my first choice. All that salt and acid is way too much. Instead, think opposites, because in this case they really do attract. In other words, what is opposite a salty piece of meat? Something with a hint of sweetness such as an off dry white wine like Riesling or Chenin Blanc. Or, you could go with a Sauvignon Blanc as long as it isn't too aggressive and herbaceous. Think sweet lemons, figs, peaches and floral elements instead of the grassier herbal spectrum. A lovely Rosé would also be very nice. If you're stuck on red wine with meat, try a fruity spicier variety like Zinfandel or Grenache. I would definitely avoid wines with high acid, high alcohol, and big tannins. In other words, no Napa Cabs!

This is your opportunity to experiment, so try something different. Maybe a sparkling Rosé from the Loire Valley? Or, an Alsatian bottling your Great Aunt Gertrude gave you? Of course, if you're a Dry Creek Vineyard fan, our Dry Chenin Blanc, Petite Zin (Rosé of Zinfandel) or Taylor's Vineyard Sauvignon Musqué would do the trick.

If you really want to get in the mood, throw a tiny bit of green food coloring into your glass. Unconventional yes, but a fun way to add a touch O' Irish. (I do this with my kid's milk...why not wine?)

If all else fails, there's always a pint of Guinness. This nutty brown ale is the most traditional beverage of choice which, come to think of it, is probably what those leprechauns prefer to drink anyway!  

| | Comments (7)


Leslie Author Profile Page said:
March 17, 2010 7:54 AM

I love this post! I was planning to send The Husband to the liquor store for more Bushmills and some kinda of wine for me to drink (I don't want to imbibe in the home-made Irish Cream... trying to pretend to watch my weight!). I ended up throwing two corned beef briskets in my melenine roasting pan with 3 bottles of Guinness and a cup of Irish whiskey. Two hours before it's time to eat, I'm going to add the carrots and diced potatoes. About 45 minutes before it's time to eat, I'm going to add the cabbage. you still get a one pot meal, but it is a bit more flavorful than boiling it! Just a recipe idea :)

Kim (aka Wilma) Author Profile Page said:
March 17, 2010 10:27 PM

That sounds delicious Leslie. I'm going to have to remember the recipe for next year--much better than the plain old boiling technique I'm used to. Besides the added Guinness and Irish Whiskey will help kill any bugs I'm fighting!

Happy St. Patty's Day!

Leslie Author Profile Page said:
March 18, 2010 6:28 PM

hehe There's a reason they say Whiskey will cure what ails you :)

Karri Author Profile Page said:
March 21, 2010 9:28 AM


Sounds fab. Can't wait to try this. I will have to start out with some Dry Creek Dry Chenin Blanc for apps and go from there.

Leslie Author Profile Page said:
March 21, 2010 11:44 AM

I can honestly say it come out deliciously and that Dry Creeks Dry Chenin Blanc paired pretty well with it. And I refused to share the wine with anyone :)

Bill Smart said:
March 22, 2010 2:24 PM

Hey Leslie,

Would you mind sharing your recipe in full for all of us to see?

It's sounds fab and I'd love to try it. Even though we are well past St. Patty's day, I can pretty much eat this meal anytime of year. Plus, it's another excuse to drink Guiness.


Leslie Author Profile Page said:
March 24, 2010 3:23 AM

Sure! I'll post the full recipe for the corned beef and a link to the Irish Cream recipe on my website tomorrow. The URL is

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This page contains a single entry by Kim published on March 16, 2010 1:01 PM.

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