Wine & Food

Snooth User: napagirl68

Food pairing ?... Whiskey Pepper tri tip... creative wine choices? Help, my friends!

Posted by napagirl68, Aug 23, 2012.

So I did not marinade this myself.  It comes from the Freedom Meat Locker in Watsonville, CA.  I am cooking the behemoth up on Friday for a gathering.  I wanted to stick to "southern comfort" as far as sides (was thinking maple mashed sweet potatoes or chipolte queso yams, collard greens/bacon), but I have guests who do not like the sweet potato/yam/collard green thing... sigh.

Starters are, a low carb artichoke/green olive dip and caprese salad with my own garden-grown heirloom tomatoes and Genovese Basil (my fav basil variety)..  We'll muddle through with a pinot gris from oregon, as neither dish is super wine-friendly.

Anyhoo, I am doing a potato dish all my guests will love.... klondike rose potatoes, smashed with a bit of potato boiling water, a tiny, tiny smidge of milk, black truffle oil, ~1/2 cup shredded fontina, and when warm and smashed, I throw in ~ 2-4 cups of arugula, mix to wilt, and season.    YUM.  I love this dish, and I will also serve prolly simple green beans with rosemary olive oil, sea salt and white pepper.  We are a low carb group, and the potatoes are stretching it for us, hence a more simple menu.  

Here, in my neck of the woods, dessert is not frequent at dinner parties.  Yes it happens, and I do it occasionally, but our wine is typically our dessert.  Ports, muscats, or sherries are typically opened for "dessert", sans a food companion.

Recommended wine pairings?  Of course cab and tri tip come to mind, but I want to pair with the marinade... whiskey/pepper.  And no, we are not going to drink whiskey.  My first thought for beef in general is, of course, cab sauv, cab franc, or merlot.  But I am thinking of the marinade.  I need special Snooth help on this one...


Reply by outthere, Aug 23, 2012.

When I grill beef I drink Zinfandel. I drink Cab with Filet or a steak but with a marinated roast like a tri-tip a nice spicy Zin aways works for us.

Reply by EMark, Aug 23, 2012.

I'm with OT and will vote for Zinfandel.  It's an easy choice for grilled tri-tip, and if your marinade is as peppery as I am hoping it is, that absolutely seals the deal for Zinfandel.

Possibly a slightly more "creative" suggestion would be Petite Sirah.  "Creative" only because PS does not get a lot of attention. 

Reply by shsim, Aug 23, 2012.

That sounds yummmy! mmm black truffle oil. I agree with Emark on the petite sirah actually. and Cab Franc sounds fun if you can find a good one! 

Reply by GregT, Aug 23, 2012.

So NG - I'm curious. Southern Comfort is actually a pretty good idea and I never thought of it. Is that in any way involved in the marinade? 

And how big is the tri-tip? How are you cooking it - grill or long and slow?

I've only done it quick and hot and come to think of it, never marinated it, although that's going to change.

As for pairing, I just drink what I like.

But for the meat, the marinade is sweet and the meat of course is savory and then you have smoke. I'm drinking St Siffrein CdP right now and that seems just about right. It's a bit more restrained than some of the Cambie wines or the 16+ wines, but it's still CdP with the ripe cherry fruit. There's some backbone and tannin on the finish that make it a lot more than a ripe, fruity wine. Actually pretty good stuff. Maybe if you can get a CdP that's got some structure, you're OK? And an Australian wine that has some structure, staying away from Cab but maybe a Shiraz or Grenache. 

Problem with Cab/Merlot/CF is that the "Southern Comfort" marinade, if indeed that's what you have, has a sweetness that will make those wines seem rough. And a big ripe wine won't do justice either - it won't be as sweet and won't really compliment your food, so that may also be a reason to go with a good Zin, or even a good PS, as suggested above.

The other way to go might be a really good white, like a Riesling w some RS. 

Yes, it is good with red meat.

If you come here and cook tri-tip, we'll find something I'm sure.

Reply by napagirl68, Aug 24, 2012.

Thanks all for the suggestions! 

I am thinking Zin for now... I am not a big zin fan, especially jammy, big zins.  I do have this zin on hand, and like it:     

I don't have any CdP on hand, but I have several of this Mourvedre I love- lots of white pepper (can you tell I really LOVE Anglim winery??)

Any thoughts on these two wines?

GREGT, my little tarsier,  I do not know what type of whiskey is used in this marinade from Freedom Meat locker.  If I were making the side of sweet potatoes, I would have definitely added a bit of SoCo to those recipes.   Why does my whole family and several friends hate sweet potatoes?  I love them. 

You asked how I cook the tri tip:  I always let it come to room temp first... may take awhile with a very large piece.  Get grill nice and hot at ~med high, put tri tip on (if there is some fat, that side goes up), I do use a digital meat thermometer, as it avoids surprises and burnt outer area. I typically cook entire time with lid up, direct heat, but if I am having problems raising temp in center, and starting to burn the outside, of course I will reduce heat to med, and go slightly indirect with closed lid.  this is why I like that damned thermometer so much!    If the tri tip is small, I only flip once, midway through. I like to get to a temp of ~145F before I pull it off.  If the meat doesn't start off uniformly the same temp (why I leave it out for awhile before cooking), you can burn the outside to get the inside properly cooked. With the larger cut I am doing tomorrow, I will prolly turn it a few more times for sure.  I always let the meat rest ~20-30min before slicing.


Reply by EMark, Aug 24, 2012.

NG I don't know that Zin at all, but reading the spec sheet at the link you provided, it is exactly the type that I would like.

I know that these sheets are mostly marketing gobbledygook, and they are trying to describe their product to attract as many buyers as they can.  However, the winery's description makes it sound like a "jammy, big Zin." 


Since you have tried it and like it, I am going to look askance at their description.

I don't know enough about Mourvedre to make any kind of definitive comment other than the description seems to fit will with your planned meal, but, again, I think they're trying to cut a wide swathe.  I'm sorry, but the proposed match with seared tuna does not connect with me at all.

Your preparation of the tri-tip sounds terrific.  I wish I was there even if I am one of those who is not a big fan of sweet potatoes.  I don't hate them, but they are not very high on my list of favorites. ;-)

Reply by napagirl68, Aug 24, 2012.

Thanks, EMark!  I am going with the zin. Should be a great time tonight!

Reply by EMark, Aug 26, 2012.

Well, NapaGirl, you inspired me.  I bought a Tri-tip roast yesterday and it has been marinating in my never-duplicated (because it's never made the same) wine-based marinade for the last 28 hours or so.  It is now on the counter coming up from refrigerator temp.  In about an hour or so we'll fire up the grill and really get this program rolling.

Since I was such an enthusiastic booster of Zinfandel for you (and, by the way, how was your meal?), there is no way that I could not pick one for myself.


Seghesio Family Vineyards 2003 Cortina Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley.

Interestingly enough from my inventory notes for this wine, it seems that Wine Spectator rated this on at 85 and the Connoisseur's Guide to California Wines rated it 93.  That seems like an unusually large disparity.  We'll see


Reply by napagirl68, Aug 26, 2012.

Emark!  That sounds great!   Yummers... wish I was at your house tonight!

Everything went great.... I served the anglim zin to start. everyone loved it.  Next was a very soft lush red blend from Occasio Winery called Sotto Voce.  The blend is not advertised, but tastes syrah-heavy to me.  Was very good with the dinner.  AFter that... wine got opened willy-nilly.... cabs, merlots, stuff others had brought, stuff pulled off my rack, etc.   Was a fun, LATE night!

Reply by outthere, Aug 27, 2012.

The Sotto Voce is a quasi Bdx blend. Cab, Petite Verdot and Zinfandel. Sounds  soft and lush.

EMark, how was the Cortina? I really like Seghesio SVDs but admittedly have not cracked one open in quite some time.

On an unrelated note I saw the Seghesio Sonoma County Zin on sale at Bottle Barn for only $16.99 the other day. Hasn't been that low in almost 10 years. I think it's a clearance sale with the new releases hitting the shelves soon.

Reply by EMark, Aug 27, 2012.

Well, NG, it sounds like your meal turned into an enduro.  What fun. 

OT, the Seghesio started out very disjoint--fruity sweet on the tip of the tongue, minty herbaceous mid-palate, bitter on the back of the throat, but, then, a very pleasant, again minty, finish.  It seemed to me the wine was all over the place.  An hour later, when I sat down for our meal, it was like a completely different wine--harmoniously integrated and very elegant, not really what I expect from a Dry Creek Zin, but a wonderful experience.

Wow, I agree that $16.99 sounds like a very good deal.  Any Seghesio I've bought in the last few years (and that includes "Sonoma County") has been in the upper twenties.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Aug 28, 2012.

Tarsier!  That's what it is.  I have to read every darn post by NG to find that out!  Explains the rounder face and smaller ears--unless it was a bushbaby with the ears pinned back, I couldn't figure it.  I did get the prosimian part right, at least.

Now, NG, can we have some photos of the food and wine?  OT has raised the stakes here while you were gone.

I've seen the Seghesio for just under $20 on occasion, but then it disappears.  It's a huge deal at that price, no doubt.  But here's what I broke down and bought a case of today in the Zin mold:

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