Sausage. Links. Get it? Sorry, I can never resist a food-related pun. The gist of this article is the pairing of wine with an often overlooked menu protein – sausage. There are many articles about steak and wine, so why not meat in its tubular form? I’m up to the task since, if you were ever going to pair a hot dog with a wine, it would need to be a Chabernet – a wine with no pretense.
The first pairing, and one we enjoy quite often at home, is Italian sausage accompanied with a Chianti Classico wine. I’d recommend the sweet Italian sausage, but the hot links will not overpower the Sangiovese grapes in this Super Tuscan wine. For preparation, we start the sausage in a dry saute pan and add a little wine, water, or chicken stock (why not all three?). Don’t prick the sausage casing. Cover the pan and simmer very slowly for about 15 minutes. Remove the lid and brown the sausage by boiling the liquid until the links are golden brown. Alternatively, grill the Italian sausage briefly after simmering being careful not to burn them.
Let the sausage cool and then slice them into 3/4 inch slices on the diagonal.
They make a yummy appetizer when served with a little cheese and tomato as in this Caprese version.
We regularly drink the Tuscan wines from Villa Antinori. A true Chianti Classico must be from this region near Florence, Italy, and contain at least 80% Sangiovese grapes. I think you’ll agree that sausage and Chianti is the new next big thing to serve to your friends and neighbors.
On a recent stay in the Napa region, we drove to the idyllic wine-country town of Healdsburg. To our delight, one of our favorite winery families, Seghesio, had plans to open a food outlet in downtown Healdsburg. The Healdsburg Meat Company is to feature cured meats and sausages like salumi paired with the local wines. Since the operation was not yet open, we had no choice but to make our own pairing when back in the town of Napa.
What a great combo! Zinfandel with unctuous cured sausage.
For our final sausage and wine menu, we return to the memory of a long-ago trip to Austria. We dined at a traditional “Heuriger” with our Austrian friends. It looked like a beer garden, but served cold white wine in beer mugs. “The no-brainer pairing for sausages is, of course, riesling.”
A detached kitchen was in the middle of the garden and we ordered platters of cured meat like smoked pork and grilled bratwurst. We’ve had beer and brats all over Germany and the US. The wine and brats was a first, and one food pairing we will never forget. Crisp white wine, served frosty cold, will make your next brats party the bombdiggity.