Learn how to pair wine with wild game using these tips.
There’s a great deal more to hunting than aiming a gun and pulling a trigger. Months can go into finding the perfect spot, honing your skill, practicing with your equipment, purchasing necessary gear, and the endless weekends spent out in nature searching for your game.
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When all is said and done, you want the reward to be the perfect trophy and the perfect meal. You want to really taste the rich flavors of the game you sank so much time and money into hunting.
By knowing the perfect wine to pair with your prize, you’re guaranteed to enjoy the success of your hunt to the fullest. Here are some tips:
Perhaps the most popular game meat for the casual hunter, venison is a rich, earthy meat that needs a wine that can equal it in flavor. Red wines are a safe route to take with this meat. Favor wines with earthy or smokey flavors, such as Mourvedre, Orange Muscat, Syrah, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, and Grenache.
These titans of the wild are large, tough, but call for a surprisingly sweet pairing. Any red wine featuring a fruity bouquet paired with rich spices is advisable for boar. Mourvedre is an excellent choice, but also try Dolcetto, Zinfandel, Cabernet, Sangiovese, and Barbera would also fit. If you favor a white wine, try Rousanne or Viognier.
Elk is similar to deer in taste, so many wines suitable for venison are also good choices for elk. Mourvedre, Syrah, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, and Grenache will pair nicely and bring out the best flavors of the meat.
Moose is another game meat that calls for a rich, sweet wine. Try a Syrah or Petite Sirah for their berry flavors, or Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Metlot, Petit Vertot, or Malbec.
When they aren’t the terrors of the coastal swamplands, alligators are exotic to most palates, and as such deserve to be made into a memorable meal. Because it is an aquatic reptile, it has a somewhat fishy flavor that demands careful consideration. Some wine enthusiasts recommend Jana Rose. Riesling, also, is versatile enough to pair nicely with this unique game.
Once an abundant food source across the nation, buffalo and bison have become a special delicacy. When considering how to pair these meats, remember that they are heavier than others. Try a heavy wine with a particularly sweet or savory edge. Merlot, with its flavors of dark cherry, chocolate, vanilla and cinnamon, is an excellent choice for the sweeter palate. For something more savory, try Mourvedre. If you don’t want a wine that could overpower the meat, try Zinfandel, Dolcetto, or Cabernet.
Rabbit is a dark meat, not too gamey in taste and just a little sweet. Because of this, and the fact that it is a naturally lean meat, it should be paired with a light wine that won’t overpower it. If the rabbit is prepared simply, try a Rhône, Pinot Noir, or a white wine such as a Pinot Grigio. However, because of its light flavor, keep a close eye on what sauce or herbs it’s prepared with. These could alter the taste and, thus, alter the wine choice.
One last note
A red Burgundy from France can always be relied upon in the case of any game. When in doubt, or if you just can’t make up your mind, go with the Burgundy.