By Robert Paul.
At first glance, any recipe that includes a savory cole slaw and baked beans cries out for beer, not wine. My preference would be for a beer that is not too heavy and has what, to my taste, is a flavor that works well during the Summer, something like a Blue Moon Belgian wheat beer. It clearly has a citrus component. I would not recommend a summer brew with (sweet) fruit added. Porters and stouts or a Sam Adams’ Lager seem altogether too heavy this time of year although a Corona, with a twist of lime, might do nicely.
But, if you are determined to offer your guest the option wine, the key to a choice lies in the pork chops and the tangy sweetness of the maple-orange glaze.
A Riesling is my first choice. Just as it works well with many Asian fusion dishes, it also pairs with pork in a variety of presentations. Of course, Rieslings are available in a couple of basic formats: the bone-dry minerally Alsatian approach (West of the Rhine) or the somewhat sweeter German product (East of the Rhine). Trimbach, Weinbach, or Zind-Humbrecht consistently produce fine examples of this style.
If you prefer the German style, look for the designation kabinett on the label. It tells you that it was part of the normal harvest, and that it is likely to be low in alcohol and generally food-friendly. Ask a knowledgeable clerk at you local wine shop for a recommendation.
Although there are a number of American (and Australian) producers, few work as hard on their Rieslings as does Chateau Ste. Michelle. They produce about five different Rieslings, one of them their Eroica Riesling, is a collaboration between their chief winemaker Bob Bertheau and Ernst Loosen, who has been making fine Rieslings for a famous Mosel (German) winery for years. Chateau Ste Michelle has some very economical Rieslings for less than $10 that reference “Columbia Valley” on their label, one is listed as “Dry,” the other simply as “Riesling.”
For those who consider white wines as less winely and always try to drink real wine, i.e. “reds,” the best “go-to” or all-purpose wine is probably a cotes du Rhone. One of this most consistent producers of that wine is Guigal.
Whatever you choose, you know that Judi’s brined and glazed pork chops will provide scrumptious fare, which these suggested libations hope to complement.
-Flavors And More Magazine: June 2009