Napa Valley wines are among the most highly regarded in the world. And we know that in the greatest city in the world, no one settles for anything but the best. So why are New Yorkers obsessing over Napa Valley wine?
1. Napa Valley wines pair perfectly with every type of international cuisine.
One of the best things about New York City - the sheer variety of international food. The city is home to some of the best ethnic restaurants in the country. In Manhattan alone, you can eat your way through all seven continents without ever leaving the island.
One of the best things about Napa Valley wine - it pairs effortlessly with any type of cuisine. From bold, elegant reds to crisp, fruity whites, there's a perfect variety from America's most iconic wine region for your favorite international fare.
Going out for Italian? It's pretty much a given that you're going to need some wine. For any tomato-based pasta sauce, a medium-bodied Napa Valley red is your go-to. The acidity in a Napa Valley Cabernet Franc matches the high acidity of the tomatoes in the sauce. The subtle flavors of violet and bell pepper are the perfect complement for a classic marinara or bolognese.
Ordering Chinese take-out? Try a lighter red like a Napa Valley Barbera or Pinot Noir to pair with the umami found in shellfish, mushroom and soy-based dishes. Both wines have low tannin and high acidity with fruit flavors of cherry and aromas of vanilla, making them an ideal pairing for chow fun, stir fry or wonton soup.
For spicier Chinese dishes, try a Napa Valley Riesling. Mary Gorman-McAdams of The Kitchn calls fruity, aromatic whites like Napa Valley Riesling "well-recognized allies at the Asian table." Try an off-dry, medium-sweet style that will cut the spice and accentuate the saltiness of the food.
Satisfying your craving for Pakistani food? You need a white wine with medium acidity to cut the spice and just the right amount of creaminess to coat your palate. A Napa Valley Viognier will delight your taste buds when paired with biryani, kebabs or curries. This full-bodied white has floral notes and flavors of tangerine, mango and nutmeg.
2. $1 pizza? Yeah, Napa Valley wines pair great with that too.
$1 pizza is a staple of every New Yorker's diet. As wine blogger Wine Folly states, "Wine with pizza is like beer with fish and chips...it's just meant to be." So what's the perfect pairing for your beloved dollar slice? With any tomato-based food, you need a wine with high acidity to match the acidity in the tomatoes. Acidity is also needed to cut the fat in the melted cheese.
Napa Valley Zinfandel is hands down the best wine to pair with pizza. With intense flavors of black cherry, black currant and raisin, Zinfandel is great with a giant, thin, cheesy slice - no matter how you dress it.
3. Wine & brunch. Need we say more?
By 1939, The New York Times declared Sunday a two-meal day. It's pretty safe to say that New Yorkers started the brunch revolution. We all know brunch just isn't brunch without a little bubbly! Napa Valley is home to some of the finest sparkling wine producers in the country.
Drawing on knowledge gained from Old World Champagne and sparkling winemakers as well as the methode champenoise technique (where the last stage of fermentation happens in the bottle), Napa Valley's small grower-producers create the kind of quality sparkling wines fit for the most decadent brunch.
There's nothing quite like the bright acid and bubbles of a Napa Valley sparkling wine to tantalize your palate between bites of rich eggs and buttery hollandaise sauce.
4. Pastrami sandwiches with wine - the new black.
Eric Asimov once said, "Some people with narrow views of the possibilities ask, 'Why would you drink wine with a sandwich?' I say, 'Why on earth wouldn't you? Bread and wine are a foundation of civilization. A sandwich simply adds other flavors to the equation, and very few foods won't be improved by wine'."
The crispness of a Napa Valley Chenin Blanc accentuates the tang of the mustard and the saltiness of the cured, smoked meat, while the fruitiness of the wine (think melon and quince) balances the slight sourness of the rye bread. Pair a Chenin Blanc from Napa with a pastrami sandwich from your favorite deli for the perfect flavor combination.
5. Wine & burgers.
The first hamburgers ever served were dished up along the docks on the Lower West Side. Since then, the hamburger has become an American phenomenon. From plain, no frills burgers to wagyu beef patties topped with foie gras and truffles - there's something for everyone.
Sommelier Madeline Puckette of Wine Folly stated, "Some would argue that these two culinary classics are simply not in the same class: street food vs. sophistication. But if you believe that, you're really not paying attention to how versatile these two products really are."
It's what you put on the meat itself that plays a big part in determining what you'll want to drink with it. If you're going for a classic style burger with onion, lettuce and tomato, try a Napa Valley Grenache. The elements of spice (think white pepper) and sweetness (think fruit flavors like raspberry and strawberry) in the wine play homage to a classic brown soda pairing.
Can't have a burger without cheese? Go for a Napa Valley Cabernet. The more savory flavors of this wine (black pepper and bell pepper) are the perfect complement to a juicy cheeseburger. Napa Cabs are full-bodied but also well-balanced, which allows them to stand up against a multitude of different cheeses - from cheddar to jack to American and more.
If you're swapping out the beef patty for a portobello mushroom (or topping your burger with mushrooms and swiss!), a Napa Valley Merlot is an exquisite pairing for the umami in the burger. This wine is generally softer and fleshier than a Cabernet and responds very well to deeply savory foods. Adding caramelized onions? The sweet tannins and fruit flavors of raspberry and cherry of a Napa Merlot will highlight them flawlessly.
For big and bold burgers like a bacon cheeseburger or a blue cheese and truffle burger, you'll want to reach for a bottle of Napa Valley Syrah. You need a big, bold wine to hold up to the intensity of the flavors in the burger and these two varietals will not disappoint. Napa Syrahs are often full-bodied wines with medium tannin and feature flavors of blackberry, blueberry, vanilla and clove.