Richness and smoke sum up this dish, so any wine paired with it has to have something to say about those things. A white from France and two reds, from Italy and Spain, have their own ways of cutting through or matching the dish’s big flavors. The key here is contrasting and complementing.
Make this: Beans and Rice with Andouille
Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a saucepan; add 4 cloves chopped garlic and 1 chopped onion. Cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add 1 1/4 cups long-grain rice; cook, stirring, until rice is lightly colored. Pour in 1 cup chicken broth and 1/2 cup water; stir in 1 teaspoon thyme. Heat to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer; cook until rice is tender, 15 minutes. Meanwhile, brown 12 ounces sliced andouille sausage in a skillet. Add 1 can (16 ounces) chili beans, a pinch cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste; cook until hot. Serve over rice, sprinkled with chopped cilantro. Makes: 6 servings
Pairings by sommelier Rachael Lowe of Spiaggia, as told to Michael Austin:
2014 Trimbach Pinot Gris, Alsace, France: This wine was aged in stainless steel tanks and offers aromas of apricot preserves, honeysuckle, peach and golden pear. They come together on the palate with a viscous acidity and luxurious texture. The andouille’s spice will be offset by the wine’s fruit, while the acidity will work well with the dish’s richness.
2014 Sono Montenidoli Toscana Rosso IGT, Tuscany, Italy: This 100 percent sangiovese has notes of dried red cherry, cranberry, strawberry, dried herbs and a touch of smoke. The structure of the wine’s tannins and acid will go well with the meat, while the smoke and herbal notes will complement the thyme and natural smokiness of the dish.
2008 Maetierra Dominum QP Rioja Reserva, Rioja, Spain: Mainly tempranillo with a touch of graciano and garnacha, this wine was aged for 15 to 18 months in French oak, and throws notes of black cherry, cassis, licorice, dried sage and smoked meats. It will perfectly contrast the cilantro while nicely complementing the sausage’s richness.