When I was a young mom in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood (hands up if you are from Chicago) the place to be seen with your family was John’s Place for brunch on the weekends. It was a right of passage, you were now adult enough to be up before noon, but were young enough that your kiddos still sat in buggies and baskets. As I’ve grown older, brunch has come to symbolize other special family times — but those early days of discovering brunch stand out…maybe because Chicago is the original home of the American brunch…
Brunch in Chicago, Dinner in Hollywood
Brunch means sleeping late, or at least a delay in routine. Come hungry, because it is an abundant meal, meant to stretch through til later, when the evening meal is served. My hubby recently made a comment, however, that revealed a flaw in the typical brunch service: if it is a buffet, you’ll get a mimosa. If ordered from a menu, probably a Bloody. But, as my husband pointed out, where is the wine? Great question.
From the Smithsonian Magazine: “What does seem certain is that the word “brunch”—that playful blend of “breakfast” and “lunch”— first appeared in print in an 1895 Hunter’s Weekly article. In “Brunch: A Plea,” British author Guy Beringer suggested an alternative to the heavy, post-church Sunday meals in favor of lighter fare served late in the morning. ”Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting,”
Beringer says. ”It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”
I couldn’t agree more. And as wine is also talk-compelling, puts you in a good temper, makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, and sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week I give you these suggestions to serve with your next brunch.
Why an all-American lineup? Also from The Smithsonian Magazine: “But wherever the initial spark of genius came from, the tradition definitely seems to have caught on in the United States in the 1930s, supposedly because Hollywood stars making transcontinental train trips frequently stopped off in Chicago to enjoy a late morning meal. It was a meal championed by hotels since most restaurants were closed on Sundays and, with church attendance flagging after World War II, people were looking for a new social outlet that also let them sleep in a bit. Restaurants soon hopped on the bandwagon and began offering the decadent spreads of food and signature morning cocktails, such as Bloody Marys, Bellinis and Mimosas.”
Fresh American Wines to Try at Brunch
From the Tuscowallame Estate in the Chehalem Mountains, this wine has a name that screams Pacific Northwest terroir. I’ve chosen this bottle because it would taste excellent with smoked salmon with a dash of garden-fresh dill. Raptor Ridge is doing some very cool things (they make an Auxerrois, which I find fascinating) and this fresh and tasting Grüner is a new-world beauty. $20 from the winery
And why the hell not: a gorgeous Carneros Pinot Noir…a new world Pinot that has a significant spicy tickle, with a red fruit dance. I’ve chosen this bottle because I love those fantastic brown sugar + cinnamon roll oven-baked casseroles and I’m certain this would taste excellent with a big serving, perhaps with some berries, warmed until they pop, dolloped all over. $38 from the winery
I’ve included this wine for several reasons, not the least of which is that it is from Mendocino, a spot that has me engaged for their sustainable and sensible farming pratices. This rosé is made from organic grapes, well-done. A dry, fresh wine with balanced acidity and low alcohol is perfect for an apero before brunch (a br’apero, I’ve coined this term and made it a thing, everyone thank me later). A beautiful wine from beautiful roots. Good with fresh fruit and a croissant. $16 from the winery
I’m really excited about this one, because it is the first Long Island wine ever featured on L’occasion! I’m still learning about this beautiful area, but this graceful bottle is a great place to start my lesson. This Cab Franc is co-fermented with Malbec (called Côt in Cahors, in southern Franc) and comes out with medium body brightness. My husband loves making omelettes with forest mushrooms, and I’d love to taste this wine with such a dish. Around $21 retail
From Oregon’s Willamette Valley, where it seems you can’t go wrong, the cool folks at Van Duzer whip up a small batch of traditionally crafted Grenache rosé. I’ve chosen this bottle, Salmon Safe and Live Certified, because of the unique flavor of Oregon Grenache, where a Pinot Noir rosé might be expected. And with our brunch, this wine wine would be darling with asparagus eggs Benedict. $20 from the winery
Another fascinating growing region, Arroyo Seco in Monterey, produced the Pinot Noir grapes in the wind of the area. This wine leans towards Burgundy and has a slightly herbal, toasted composition. J. Lohr uses solar power to run their facility in Paso Robles, and posseses a Certified California Sustainable Wine Growing distinction. Imagine this wine with crispy, thick-cut bacon and a fresh garden tomato. $35 from the winery
I’m a big fan of King Estate wines, another gem from the Willamette Valley in Oregon. It’s not just the high-quality, terroir-driven peace and beauty that is their wine…it is also their sense of peace and beauty for their little plot in the world. Demeter USA certified Biodynamic®, they call themselves “Pinot Artists”. I’ve been in touch with King Estate for some time now, and I always learn something from them. This is a fresh, fruit-forward Pinot Gris, a charmer with a delicate citrus strudel or even some poppy seed muffins. $28 from the winery
Now, here’s the thing. I also love coffee with my brunch and I’m certain that coffee and wine haven’t made a pairing yet….but I’m willing, oh-so-willing, to give it a try. Cheers!
Wine Pairing Weekend
Thanks to Gwendolyn, Wine Predator, for hosting and incredible meeting of the wine minds this weekend with the Wine Pairing Weekend (#WinePW) nod to brunch! Join a twitter conversation on Saturday, May 13th at 10 am central…find the hashtag and pop into the chat. Here is what our wine writing group has planned:
Cindy from Grape Experiences is posting “Let’s Do Brunch with Blinis and Bellinis”
Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla is pairing “Blueberries and Bubbles: Mustikkakeitto + Elderflower-Prosecco Cocktail“
Michelle of Rockin’ Red Blog asks “Bubbles for Breakfast? It Must Be Brunch!“
Here on L’occasion we have a few “Fresh American Wines for Brunch”
David from Cooking Chat has “Kale Pesto Grilled Cheese with a Rosé”
Jeff of Food Wine Click suggests you “Add a Little Sparkle to Your Brunch”
Lauren the Swirling Dervish has “Three Brunch Salads with Wines to Match”
On Wine Predator, Sue and Gwendolyn have “May There Be Bubbles for Brunch! Plus Negronis, Strata for #WinePW”
Next month is “Wine Pairings for Grilled Meat” on June 10 hosted by Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla. (#winePW 37). You can get a list of all the past and upcoming #winePW events by visiting the Wine Pairing Weekend page.