Get your Irish up with fruity, spicy red wines

Pair fruitier red wines, like Zinfandel and Pinot Noir, with corned beef and cabbage plates.

Several friends have asked me for wine recommendations to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.


Even I drink a beer or two on St. Patrick’s Day, which is Friday, March 17.

Still, a female friend insisted. She said she’d been invited to St. Patrick’s Day party where the traditional corned beef and cabbage plate would be served and she wanted to bring a bottle of wine.

Also, she said she prefers red wine.

In pairing red wines with corned beef, which is a tasty and salty dish, the main objective is to find balance on the palate so that one taste doesn’t overwhelm the other. You don’t want a sour wine, acidic wine or a mineral one that adds saltiness. You’d be puckering up over the table!

A fruity or spicy wine is the best option.

That’s why a nice, ripe Zinfandel or a fruity-styled Pinot Noir are good matches for corned beef.

Here are a few good ones that are full of zest, energy and fruity flavors to enrich the corned beef and all the trimmings.


The Federalist 1776 Zinfandel, $15.99 – Dark cherry fruit and soft frame.

Freakshow Zinfandel Lodi, $19.99 – From the Michael David Winery (CA) where Zin is “sin-fully” made in a plush, sweet, elegant style.

Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel (Lodi), $15.99 – From a consistently top-notch Zin house.

Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel Contra Costa County, $16.99 – Juicy, robust flavors and a soft texture make it a good party drink.


Eluoan Pinot Noir, $18.99 – Winemaker Joe Wagner’s lush Oregon-style comes through on this easy-drinking red.

Murphy-Goode Pinot Noir, $12.99 – Three Irish partners started this California winery over a game of liar’s dice. What’s not to like?

Willamette Valley Whole Cluster Pinot Noir, $21.99 – Full and rich on the palate, with a velvety texture.

La Crema Pinot Noir (Monterrey), $16.99 – Good strawberry and cherry flavors hit home on this easy-drinking red.

Meiomi Pinot Noir, CA, $17 – It’s become an absolute fruit bomb over the past couple of years since Joe Wagner sold the brand to Constellation.

If you must drink a white wine on St. Patrick’s Day, it’s got to be a racy, spicy, fruity Gewurzstraminer. La Belle Winery of Amherst, N.H., as a sweet one for $17.99 that will do the trick. Others names to consider are Pacific Rim from Washington State ($11.99), and Ravines Wine Cellars of Fingers Lakes, N.Y. ($21.99).