By Danny Brody
Two Chefs and Two Chefs Too restaurants beg the question: what wines pair well with meatloaf?
A $19 barbecued meatloaf with black bean BBQ sauce and griddled mashed potatoes, that is. Perhaps we should start, as always, with a sparkling wine, which seems to go with everything, and work our way back to the meatloaf. The Rotari Brut Riserva ($35) is from Trentino-Alto Adige on Italy's northeastern border with Austria. It's dry but forgiving and pairs nicely with the crab cakes as well as the crisp fried artisanal camembert small plate.
Another nice way to start the meal is with a light white wine to enhance the appetite. Normally, I wouldn't recommend a Pinot Grigio, most of which are blended to be bland, but here they have the amazing 'Riff' from Alois Lageder, also from Northern Italy, with grapes coming from the 'Tre Venezie' (Alto Adige, Trentino and Veneto). The wine has a minerally tantalizing body -- the result of fossil deposits, or reefs, of an ancient ocean that covered the area millions of years ago ('riff' is German for reef). Unfortunately, the affordable bottle, at $10 retail, is priced here at a whopping $43. Even at $10.50/glass, you're talking about the customer paying more for a single glass than the whole bottle cost at wholesale (probably around $8). That's almost felonious.
But the list does hold some bargains. The Tablas Creek Roussanne ($57), has something for everyone. This Paso Robles, California native, made from a French white Rhone varietal, is less-than-obvious. So ordering it with the diver scallop oak roasted oyster mushroom ravioli, for example, makes one feel a lot smarter and sexier than one might actually be. And at about $25 retail, it's a cute smoothie that'll carry you through anything on the menu, including the vaunted coq au vin. Of course, many would call that a sin, as a Burgundy red is called for when it comes to that lush chicken classic. But alas, the Dominique Laurent, Pommard 1er Cru-Les Rugiens, France, is $189; so perhaps take a step down to Napa's Turnbull 'Old Bull,' a Merlot-heavy meritage blend (rhymes with 'heritage'-- it's not French), that, at $44, may not work so well with the chicken but will soar with the Hereford beef New York strip as well as tumble right into the arms of the (dare I say?), barbequed meatloaf.
Two Chefs, 8287 S. Dixie Hwy., South Miami; 305-663-2100; Two Chefs Too, 2286 NE 123rd St, North Miami; 305-895-5155
Rotari Brut Riserva ($35; pairs well with crab cakes & crisp fried artisanal camembert)
Tablas Creek Roussanne ($57; pairs well with diver scallop oak roasted oyster mushroom ravioli)
Turnbull Old Bull ($44; pairs well with Hereford beef New York strip & barbequed meatloaf)
Nothing here worth spitting out.
Dominique Laurent ($189; pairs well with coq au vin)
'Riff' from Alois Lageder ($43; nice pre-meal choice)
Wine list: 101. Graphic: Sam Riepe