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Comfort Food

April 14, 2015

Lisa Boissier, Events Supervisor at J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, recommends the following food and wine pairings for a little Tax Day relief.

Macaroni & Cheese


The key to thinking about wine pairing with Macaroni and Cheese is texture and your choice of cheese. This dish is creamy and weighty, and you’ll want to have a wine with the heft to match it. Paso Robles Viognier and White Rhone Blends have the perfect silky rich texture to go with a cheese sauce. However, in this day and age, we no longer need to settle with yellow cheddar on our Macaroni. Try making your macaroni and cheese with something new that pairs even better with your Viognier. One of my favorites is Abbaye de Belloc, a creamy, dense, firm cheese made from cow and sheep milk that pairs perfectly with Paso Robles Viognier.
Chicken Pot Pie


Paso Robles is fortunate to have many unique microclimates, steep rolling hills and higher elevation vineyards, which contribute a few pockets of cool climate growing conditions favorable to Chardonnay. Typically the wine pairing for a chicken dish will be driven by the sauces and cooking style. Chicken Pot Pie typically has a light cream sauce and a mix of vegetables, which would be overrun by heavier wines, but aren’t light enough for a crisp, acidic wine such as Sauvignon Blanc. The restrained fruit but broad mouth feel of a well-ripened Chardonnay from Paso Robles match the flavor profile and weight of the rich filling of this dish. The flaky crust of a Pot Pie is also a source of fat that will bind with any oak tannins in a Chardonnay.


This hearty rich dark dish made with beef, peppers, and tomato needs a full-bodied red wine. A rich Paso Robles Bordeaux-style Blend that’s juicy, tannic, delicious is a perfect pairing, heavy enough to hold up to hearty beef. While full, the soft, mature, approachable tannins of red wines grown in Paso Robles will not clash with a little spice. The diurnal temperature swings in Paso Robles also guarantee that the Bordeaux-style Blend will have enough acidity to stand up to the tomato.
Beef Stew


My favorite comfort food is a very easy to make Beef Stew straight out of Better Homes & Gardens, which uses cubes of beef, onions, garlic, carrot, potato, celery, basil and thyme, all cooked up in a vegetable cocktail (V8 Juice) straight out of the jar. The perfect Paso Robles wine for this is a Syrah, especially one from the western districts, which have a slightly cooler climate and a little altitude. Syrah is always my first thought with tomato based meat dishes. The Syrah has enough tannin to match up to the protein and fat of the beef, and the stew really brings out the initially understated dark fruit flavors of the Syrah.