Mini meatball meals make perfect party pairings possible
By Dave DeSimone
Published: Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, 8:53 p.m.
Admit it. You love them.
American holiday partygoers just can't gobble up enough savory little meatballs. Served with countless variations on sauces, these tasty morsels create terrific opportunities for wine pairings.
Making mini meatballs from scratch can produce great results. But to save time in preparation, don't fret over serving precooked, frozen meatballs from your favorite grocery store or deli. Pre-cooked meatballs do the trick nicely — especially when the sauces dominate the flavors anyway. Just have the toothpicks handy for guests and forge ahead.
For Polynesian meatballs, also known as Hawaiian meatballs, mix a bottle of store-bought sweet-and-sour sauce with a little freshly grated ginger, minced garlic and a pinch of cayenne red pepper. Heat the sauce and meatballs together and serve with the tasty 2011 Chateau Ste Michelle, Riesling, Columbia Valley, Washington State (8656; on sale: $8.99).
As Washington State's oldest and most acclaimed winery, Chateau Ste Michelle built its reputation on making terrific Rieslings. Unlike many cloyingly sweet and flabby domestic Rieslings, this wine has just a hint of well-balanced sweetness with only 11 percent alcohol.
Classic apple and brown spice aromas greet the nose. Crisp apple, fruity peach and subtle grapefruit flavors unfold in the glass. Bright, firm acidity balances the fruity, elegant finish. The relatively low alcohol makes for a perfect party wine. Highly Recommended.
For meatballs with white wine, lemon and bay leaves, heat the two dozen mini-meatballs with a cup of dry white wine. Bring to a gentle boil. When the wine reduces a bit, add a cup of water, four bay leaves and again boil gently until the sauce thickens. Then, add a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice and a teaspoon of grated lemon peel and boil briefly.
Remove the bay leaves, and serve the meatballs and sauce topped with grated Pecorino Romano cheese. The dish pairs nicely with the 2010 Chateau de Chantegrive, Graves, France (Luxury 33027; Chairman's Selection on sale: $13.99).
The Bordeaux-based Lévêque family crafts this tasty, crisp wine with equal parts Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc. Growing the grapes near the village of Podensac in gravelly soils with cool nighttime temperatures allows the fruit to balance ripeness with refreshing acidity.
After hand picking and sorting the grapes, fermentation in stainless-steel tanks captures the fruit's innate freshness. Aging the wine sur lies — that is, on spent yeast cells — with periodic stirring adds subtle creaminess to soften the final wine.
Aromas of lemons, pears and honeysuckle open to ripe grapefruit and lime flavors. Stony mineral notes and firm acidity add freshness and backbone through the lively dry finish. Recommended.
For mini meatballs with barbeque sauce, simply heat your favorite store-bought sauce with the meatballs. Pair the dish with the 2010 Michel Chapoutier, La Croix de Bila-Haut, Côtes Catalanes, France (Luxury 33119; Chairman's Selection on sale: $8.99).
The Côtes Catalanes appellation lies in southwestern France's Roussillon region, also known as French Catalonia. The ruggedly beautiful region sprawls before snow-capped Mt. Canigou's looming presence in the Pyrénées along the Spanish border.
Stony soils, brilliantly sunny days and cool nights allow Syrah, Grenache and Carignan grapes to ripen with lively personality. With this wine, aromas of spicy, dark fruit interplay with ripe raspberry notes. Flavors of raspberries greet the palate with pleasant earthiness. Bright acidity and well structured, ripe tannins carry the fruity, refreshing finish. Highly Recommended.
Mini meatballs with marinara sauce can evoke southern Italy. Pair them with the delicious 2009 Azienda Agricola Conti Zecca, “Donna Marzia” Negroamaro, Salento, Italy (Luxury 46071; $12.99), a red that originates in southern Italy's Puglia province in the heel of the famous Italian “boot.”
The native Negroamaro grapes grow extensively in Puglia's sand and limestone soils where tomatoes also grow in profusion. The conditions enable the grapes and tomatoes to ripen beautifully with terrific flavors and freshness.
This wine is fermented in stainless steel and then aged in concrete vats, rather than oak barrels, to preserve fruitiness. The dark-ruby color exudes dark black cherry and plum aromas. Ripe, fruity black cherry flavors with brown spice accents balance with fresh acidity and soft tannins. Highly Recommended.
Dave DeSimone writes about wine for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Garden Q&A: Firecracker vine OK for trellis?
- Starkey: Penguins’ arrogance astounding
- Matt Calvert’s goal in double OT evens series for Blue Jackets
- Penguins’ Gibbons scores twice but leaves with apparent injury
- Pair of Braun homers spells defeat for Pirates
- 1 dead, 1 wounded in shooting at Chartiers party
- NFL notebook: Pryor will be cut if he’s not traded
- Draftees’ longevity key for NFL success
- Biertempfel: Kendall’s book offers inside look at life in majors
- North Versailles, Murrysville families still waiting for report on 2011 chopper crash that killed couple
- Patients denied as donor organs discarded