Food is necessary for nourishment, a part of everyday life. But when raised to an art form, it can be pure magic; and, when paired with the proper wine, downright toe-curling.

Take, for example, a smoked kassler dish paired with the 2015 Novelty Hill Roussanne from Novelty Hill-Januik, a winery that just received mention as one of “30 Wineries to Discover” in the latest issue of Wine Spectator. The making of this particular white wine is overseen by acclaimed Washington winemaker Mike Januik; the kassler dish, by Novelty Hill Januik’s in-house chef, Chef Seth Fernald, who joined the winery in 2014. Seth comes from a rich, two decades-long culinary background in New England and now loves to pair these wines with local, fresh ingredients.

Kassler – or Kasseler – is a traditional German dish, traditionally made with cured (i.e., salted) and slightly smoked pork. Chef Seth describes it (and his choice of wine pairing) as follows:

“[W]e’re pairing with our 2015 Roussanne, Stillwater Creek Vineyard, kassler, which is a cured smoked-fried ham … in a German-style … it has a bacon fat aioli, a little bit of cabbage/slaw, a little bit of radish and kohlrabi, and then there’s a little bit of pickled elderberry to go along with this, and it’s just been smoked with a little bit of alder wood, and some madrona bark.”

How did he come up with this dish, this pairing?

“It’s a culmination of many different things – my love of Swedish and German food (you know, my wife’s from there and I’ve just recently re-discovered a lot of stuff so I’m really excited about that) and the fact that everything was made here … with … excitement and love for Januik and Novelty Hill wines that we do here…. Whenever we use anything, we start thinking about the wine and how it’s going to pair with our food. So, we make a dish, and it’s based on the wine. The wine comes first, and then we think about all of the things that will bring another level just to make the food more exciting, which we all love here, obviously.”

(The true magic, of course, is always in the pairing, how the food and the wine interact.)

“The kassler is a real fatty dish – it’s a pork that’s been smoked, so it has a lot of nuances of just heavy meat and just rich qualities that’ll totally cover your palate and so the Roussanne wine is really nice – it has a little bit of acidity, enough sweetness and just a general … mineral-quality note that you get in there, really takes just that cleanness of the cabbage and … the vinegar and all that but brings up along with the fatness of the pork that has been seared and smoked…. So it just cuts through and … adds a whole other level of excitement to that.”

(It WAS a pretty perfect pairing.)

The 2015 Novelty Hill Roussanne is a wine that taste likes both spring and autumn, with combined notes of honeysuckle, pear, citrus, and wet stone. It sells for $23 a bottle and will be available at the Woodinville Wines Under $25 event on February 16th, 2017 at Willows Lodge, starting at 6:30 p.m.

Come on out and join us!