St Patrick’s Day is coming up faster than I’d realized, and that’s got me thinking about what to consume on our annual “drinking with impunity” day. Countless pubs and bars around the US will be pouring green-hued pints of beer for enthusiastic Irish and Irish-for-the-day patrons, but I say RED is the new green! Red wine, that is.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve drunk my share of emerald colored ales in celebration of the Saint of the Emerald Isles in the past, but now that I’m older and a bit more health conscious, my celebratory libation of choice is wine. And why not? Even though Guinness is (quite rightly) the national drink of Ireland, they have a growing number of vineyards there as well.
In my search for Irish wines, I found Thomas Walk Vineyard, which makes sexy organic wines. Since I’m building on an Irish theme here, I’d love to get my hands on a bottle of their Ruby 2010 vintage, which looks like it would pair magnificently with everything from Bangers and Mash or Shepherd’s Pie to Corned beef & cabbage. Oh, look – cabbage is green. Boom! We’ve got it covered.
Something I was especially amused by on my search was this: when you Google “Irish wines” you get pages and pages of Whiskey! Give it a try and you’ll see what I mean.
I also came across a lovely Lusca Cabernet/Merlot blend from Llewellyns Orchard in Lusk, which is described as a “Light, fruity, slightly oaked , dry red wine made in Lusk from our grapes grown on Lusk soil with flavours that are similar to the aromas…some strawberry/raspberry fruit, cranberry, and a touch of creamy vanilla. A light and soft red which is quite Burgundian in character.” YUM!
While it’s nice to daydream about sipping fine wines from around the globe, it appears as though there isn’t enough wine currently produced in Ireland to export in any kind of quantity so IF you manage to find it chances are it will be quite expensive.
The good news is your wine doesn’t need to be from Ireland to enjoy it with traditional St. Patty’s Day fare – in fact, most pub-goers will wash it down with a pint of Guinness anyway.
For those of us hosting parties of our own, however, I say leave the Guinness at the pub, and save the green for food, decorations, and (my favorite) sweaters, and serve red to your guests. Ok, some of you might have that random friend who won’t drink red wine, so have some chilled Chardonnay on hand for them. It’ll pair better than any other white with the hearty dishes that are customary for the day.
Remember: red is the new green! Wines such as Syrah, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet pair beautifully with hearty Irish foods. If you must serve a white wine I strongly recommend Chardonnay – preferably unoaked which pairs with more foods than oaked.
May the road rise to meet you. Cheers!