Wine Pairings by Charlie Broder

Terzo Wine bar
Photos by TJ Turner

Minnesota Monthly food critic Jason DeRusha chose Terzo Wine Bar as one of his favorite restaurants for the best wine pairings. Charlie Broder, general manager at Terzo, explains how to pair wine with your favorite dishes and suggests pairings for three of Terzo’s menu items.

Many people think that pairing a wine to a dish is challenging—something to be left to the professionals and that takes years of study, but it’s actually quite simple when preparing meals at home.

I always start with a few basic components:

What is the weight of this dish? Is it heavy, rich, light, fresh? This will guide you to the weight of the wine. You never want a huge high alcohol wine with a light, refreshing salad or complex crudo. You also don’t want to pair a light delicate wine with a big rich piece of meat or rich stew for that matter.

Flavor. The flavor style of your dish should also fall in harmony with the flavor style of your wine. Similar to paring according to weight, mild, delicate flavored dishes call for mild, delicate wines. Big powerful dishes call for big flavorful wines.

Fat is important. Different types of fat can play with different types of wine. Fatty red meats need full, tannic reds. Chicken fats or cream sauces play well with full-bodied whites. High acid also does well cutting through fats and richness.

What type and intensity of acid comes into play with the dish? Acid levels in food should match the acid of the wine. If you overpower your acid in wine, the dish will be silent, and vice versa.

Spice. Spicy dishes call for off-dry or sweeter wines. Don’t be afraid! A Kabinett or Spätlese Riesling with your Thai or Chinese dishes will be more enjoyable than a bone dry Sauvignon Blanc. Always. Sweeter wines come in to temper the flames and clean up your palate in the best way.

Balance is key when pairing wines with dishes, but what really matters is that you drink what you enjoy. If you hate Zinfandel, don’t drink it. If you love Sauvignon Blanc with your Thai, go for it. But don’t be afraid to try something new. 

Wine Pairings at Terzo Wine Bar

Dish: Antipasti Misti

Prosciutto di Parma, Red Table Meat Co.’s Big Chet, Mozzarella di Bufala, roasted red pepper, fennel, pickled grapes, fruit mostarda, pineapple, balsamic reduction, salsa verde

Antipasti Misti at Terzo

Wine 1 (rosé): Lini 910 ‘Labrusca’ Lambrusco Rosé (non vintage)

Wine 2 (orange): Costadilà Prosecco 2014

Terzo Wine Bar

Dish: Capesante

Seared sea scallops, cauliflower brandade, roasted cauliflower, Brussels sprouts leaves, walnut gremolata, agrumato

Capesante at Terzo

Wine 1 (orange): Paraschos ‘Kai’ Bianco 2011

Wine 2 (red dry): Punta Crena Rossese di Dolceacqua ‘Vigneto Isasco’ 2012

Terzo wine bar

Dish: Quaglia

Herb roasted quail, radicchio, endive, fennel, farro, speck

Quaglia at Terzo

Wine 1 (red): Elio Sandri Cascina Disa Langhe Nebbiolo 2012 

Wine 2 (red): Baricci Brunello di Montalcino 2008

Terzo wine bar

Terzo Wine Bar, 2221 W. 50th St., Minneapolis, 612-925-0330,