Gone are the days when all the pairing rules would prevent (or embarrass) one attempting to have a memorable dining experience. In today’s food scene, the focus has shifted from strict rules and pairings to sharing, trying and experimenting. While we love experimenting, we don’t want to go too far as wine WILL transform the taste of the food. This interaction will be noticed, whether you are a wine enthusiast or someone who (like most guests) want to have a pleasant and enjoyable experience while dining out. There are many guides out there when it comes to tips for pairing seafood and wine, and especially raw seafood and we could write pages and pages about the meticulous details of pairing. That’s not our goal. Our goal is to provide our guests with a great dining experience – they can choose whether dive in into deep pairings with our experienced staff or ask for suggestions for wines that will make their experience more enjoyable, or simply try on their own.
To give the guests the best experience possible, we have a worldly wine program, featuring small and large producers, known and obscure wine regions as well as quaffable seasonal wines to pair with… the weather.
We have also partnered with Jack Rabbit Hill, a winery from Hotchkiss, CO to create two signature blends: the WILD white and WILD red. These two blends were designed based on our menus and offerings and they are extremely versatile wines that will pair with a lot of our dishes. They also offer a great value for our guests, as a component of our rotating tap wine program – an effort to keep the wine always fresh (no oxidation), affordable (no bottles) and offer more choices by the glass.
The dishes that are the hardest to pair are the ones with high acidity and high heat. For these dishes, the wrong wine will actually make the food taste pretty bad – it will also burn your mouth if the wine has a higher acidity content. For briny oysters, you also want to avoid high tannins (mostly present in red wines), and this sometimes unpleasant element will be highlighted by the salt content of the oysters. So here’s what we do recommend:
WILD STANDARD’S WHEELHOUSE
[6 east coast oysters, 6 west coast oysters, 1 lb. shrimp, 1 lb. WILD Alaskan king crab, halibut ceviche, octopus escabeche, taro chips]
- Grab a bottle of the ’15 DOMAINE PICHOT VOUVRAY. This wine is made with the not so well known Chenin Blanc grapes grown in the beloved Loire Valley in France. It is incredibly balanced and has a smooth, slightly sweet, juicy with baked apple, spice, anise and hints of honey. It will offset the saltiness of the oysters, go extremely well with the spicy ceviche, as the sweetness and the lower acidity will make the spices taste beautifully.
- If you are not a fan of the sweeter wines, but still want to explore, the Hermann Moser Karmelitberg [Gruner Veltliner] still has enough sweetness to pair with the spices of the ceviche, but it is more crisp and refreshing.
RAW BAR EXPLORATIONS
If you feel like taking a tour of our menu but don’t want to commit to a bottle – that works, too! Here are some of our suggestions for a Raw Bar & Wine tour of Wild Standard
- Start off with an creamy kumamoto oyster and a glass of Raptor Ridge Rose. The heavier with considerable acidity will go well with the creamy and mild flavor of the kumamotos.
- If you like brinier oysters, typically East Coast, the Malpeques will taste delicious with the Jackeline Brut Champagne. The higher brine ask for lighter wines and brighter acidity.
- Moving on to the Alaskan King Crab legs if you want to add that luscious clarified butter, the Schmitt Sohne “Relax” Riesling will be a refreshing pair. If you like your crab legs with only a touch of lemon, an slightly oaky chardonnay will be a great call, like the Parducci Small lot blend chardonnay. The roundness that the oak provides will coat your mouth nicely to receive the acidity of the lemon and make the texture of the crab meat more pleasant as well.
- The Octopus Escabeche falls into the spicy, high acidity category that will go extremely well with a Riesling. It will cool your mouth while allowing the spices and flavors to shine through.
- Shrimp Cocktail: the salty-sweet combo that taste buds love, plus cocktail sauce heat and tanginess. The Wild Red, our proprietary blend features vivid fruit flavors and balanced acidity to wash across the palate. It is a delectable pairing to naked shrimp, or a well-matched counterpoint to tomato and horseradish.