Wine and Charcuterie with Karen Bonarrigo


Karen Wine Pairing Messina Hof

Each harvest Messina Hof offers a wine and food pairing experience.  Karen Bonarrigo, our resident wine and food pairing expert, selects a theme.  2015 features wine and charcuterie.  Charcuterie is defined as the art of making sausages and other cured, smoked, and preserved meats or the products sold in a delicatessen specializing in dressed meats and meat dishes.

One of Karen’s personal entertainment signatures is a platter of cheeses, charcuterie (usually Italian in nature), and appropriate condiments.  Most Italian families offer something like this called antipasti before each meal.

This year’s selection included a traditional salted and cured pork Capicola paired with the Messina Hof Rose of Sharon 2013.  The dry style rose’ made with a bold Syrah shots red raspberry, red cherry flavors with a floral aroma and crisp acidity.  It was a great balance for the salt, spice and slight heat of the meat.

My personal favorite was from my German heritage.  Sautéed pork sausage with Messina Hof Riesling Spicy German Mustard was served with the Messina Hof Riesling 2014.  The delicate white wine smells like apple blossoms in spring.  With its hint of sweetness it perfectly complemented the salt, smoke and spice of the sausage and mustard.

The most European wine pairing was the Paulo Merlot 2011 with the cognac pate on a toasted crostini topped with Messina Hof Shiraz Cranberry Jam.   I love edgy pairings and Karen created a very new twist on French tradition.  Not only does the smooth tannin wine with smoky fragrance cut through the gamey character of the pate’ but the jam softens the tannins and brings out the fruitiness of the wine.  Karen calls this wine “suede on the palate”.

What could be a better dessert than the Private Reserve Papa Paulo Port 2012?  It is liquid chocolate in a glass expressing black raspberry and cocoa notes.  Karen paired it with the Applewood smoked bacon dipped in Papa Paulo Port Fudge Sauce – entrée and dessert in one!

For more wine and food fun, join us at Messina Hof.  Check the website calendar at for upcoming wine and food experiences or follow us on twitter. #MHFoodie.