Pairing Wine With A Crockpot Chili Recipe

slow cooker crockpot chili and wine pairing

Easy to make slow cooker chili

As the weather gets cooler, people are looking for easy, hearty meals for fall. I’ve seen a lot of people searching for chili recipes, and the wine to pair with them. Chili in our house is a very hot topic, no pun intended. Robin used to make this interesting “tomato soup” that she called chili. I didn’t love it. I was given an award winning chili recipe that I loved, but it made most people cry from the heat. So, when I found this slow cooker chili recipe, I had to make it. And, of course, pair wine.

During my trip to Oregon with Harry & David, I had the chance to meet 12 awesome bloggers. The 11 women and 1 other guy were all super talented at both writing and photography, and have inspired me to amp up my blog! I decided a fun way to do that would be to take their recipes, make them myself, and pair wines with them. This is the first of such projects, and I hope you enjoy it. Brenda’s crockpot (slow cooker) chili recipe on A Farmgirl’s Dabbles is fairly easy to follow and make. She found it in a magazine, played around to make it her own, and it’s been her “Ole Faithful” ever since.

When making her recipe, for the chili powder, I went with 3 Tablespoons from her 3-6 TBS range. I also went 2 chili powder and 1 chipotle powder, since I wanted some smoke and depth to the flavors. I’d probably use 3 TBS of chili powder and 1 TBS of chipotle powder next time. Other than that, the recipe is pretty easy to follow. So, lets talk wine and chili pairing!

clean slate 2009 riesling mosel germany

The Clean Slate 2009 riesling from Mosel, Germany

I know you’re saying “Matt, wine with chili? No way! It’s beer!” I assure you that while a nice craft beer goes well with chili, wine can go equally as well. There are a few wine option for chili pairing, and in general they are zinfandel, shiraz or syrah, riesling, malbec and tempranillo.

The first wine I paired with the chili was the 2009 Clean Slate riesling from Mosel, Germany. This wine was a sample I received over a year ago. It had a screw cap, and I was concerned that after a year, it would be “done.” However, many German rieslings can age for quite some time, and still taste fantastic. This $10 white wine is actually two vintages old now, and was crisp and fresh and full of flavor. The bouquet had feint petrol and river rock scents, and the palate shows nice stone fruit (apricot and nectarines), with really nice acidity. Acidity comes across sometimes as citrus flavors in white wines, and this German riesling had a hint of lime that turned immediatly into peach nectar. However, the finish was a flinty minerality that kept it from being too sweet or syrupy. Well done at $10, definitely a buy, and available in grocery stores (at least in Florida).

Penfolds Thomas Hyland 2010 Shiraz

Penfolds Thomas Hyland 2010 Shiraz

People often ask “How can I tell a wine is good just by looking at it?” This wine answers that question, “You can’t.” While you can form general ideas about a wine if you know the grape, the area, and the producer, there’s NEVER a guarantee that you’ll have a good wine in the bottle. Forget the fact that wine can be cooked, corked, or dead, it’s a fact that the same grape, from the same area, even in vineyards separated by only a road, can taste completely different. When I grabbed this $22 bottle of Penfolds Thomas Hyland 2010 Shiraz at the grocery store, I figured I’d be ok. Penfolds is a fairly big name, Shiraz is a grape that Australia does well, and I’m a sommelier. I know my stuff. Right? Well, sort of. I know my stuff because I taste a lot of wines, and this was one I hadn’t had before.

The Penfolds Thomas Hyland 2010 Shiraz nose was sweet spice from the oak, more than any fruit notes. What fruit was there was dark, blackberry and plum. The approach was just dry, sweet wood, without much else to it. Frankly, this wine is a disappointment. Too much oak, not enough fruit, and no spice to speak of. Definitely not what I expect from an Australian shiraz. I pressed on.

Gnarly Head 2010 Old Vine Zin

Gnarly Head 2010 Old Vine Zin

The third wine I had with my chili was the Gnarly Head 2010 Old Vine Zin. This is a grocery store wine I often have on hand. I was turned on to it in 2008 by a twitter friend, Duane, while I was doing an event of 5 other grocery store zinfandels. For the price, which is $10, it offers great fruit, nice spice, and has not disappointed me in four years. Sure enough, this red wine and chili pairing was perfect. The wine had plum, prunes and blackberries with a sweet spice element to it. The finish was a hearty burst of black pepper, and all in all it stood up very well to the chili.

A Farmgirl's Dabbles crockpot chili hit the spot

A Farmgirl’s Dabbles crockpot chili hit the spot

Happily, this chili and wine pairing was a success. Even though one wine disappointed, two of the wines absolutely rocked, especially at $10. Brenda’s slow cooker chili is a cool weather meal we can make fairly easily, and enjoy for a few days. And, of course, pair wine with.

What is your favorite beverage to drink with chili? Let me know below!

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  • Brenda @ a farmgirl’s dabbles

    And whaddaya know, I’ve got a couple Gnarly Head Old Vine Zins on the rack…just picked them up on a BOGO sale last week. It’s one of my “Ole Faithful” wines. I usually grab a beer or a big cold glass of milk with my chili, but next time, I’ll be reaching for that Zin! Thanks for featuring my chili, Matt, and wine to pair it with!

  • Kim Bee

    Okay this needs to get in my belly asap.

  • http://twitter.com/JeanettesHealth Jeanette Chen

    I love chipotle in my chili – I’ve been enjoying your wine pairings – I’d never think to pair wine with chili either.

  • Michelle @ Eat Move Balance

    Hi Matthew . . . I saw your comment on Melissa’s post about whiskey the other day, and I came to your site. Very cool! I can’t wait to start reading. Good call on the Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin. Have you had Gnarly Head Authentic Red? That’s a great one as well.

  • Barbara | Creative Culinary

    Like others I might not have considered wine with chili…but now it seems a done deal; I’ve got some of the Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin in my wine rack now. Seem a bit prophetic cause it sure is chilly weather…I mean chili weather!

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  • 30A EATS Susan

    Finding you after your Triberr post in our group, and enjoying your website. Glad to see you were on the H&D trip with some of my friends like Heather! Liking the wine pairing tips, especially for this chili!

  • http://agoodtimewithwine.com mmwine

    Susan
    Thanks for the kind words, and taking the time to comment! I really had an amazing time in Oregon! Everyone was so nice, and Heather really helped spice up the site with the banner!

    I love pairing food and wine, and look forward to looking at some of your recipes and pairing them with wines :)

    Dont be a stranger!

  • Aggie

    What a fun post, I love this Matt! And I love how you went through 3 different wines with this…I’m actually pretty familiar with the Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin. I started picking that one up quite frequently after my first trip from Napa where I was introduced to old vine zins…
    Your chili looks delicious and I love your little chef timer and friends up in the first picture :)

  • http://twitter.com/LaPhemmePhoodie Wendy Kirby

    I love the idea of pairing wine with chili. I don’t drink beer so I’m all for unconventional pairings. The pairing tips are great!

  • http://twitter.com/parsleynsage Lisa

    With Pinterest and the millions of crockpot recipes all over the net..I think pairing wine with some of them is brilliant..especially chili..which most all usually ‘pair’ with beer. I prefer wine..so I’ll try this next time.