Master Sommelier Sur Lucero commands any room he enters, and that includes the dining room. After more than two decades in the restaurant industry, completing culinary school, and earning the prestigious title of Master Sommelier, Sur has dedicated his life to advancing the understanding of wine and food across the country and around the world.
Though he cut his teeth (literally and figuratively) at some of California’s finest white tablecloth, Michelin-starred eateries including the French Laundry and The Restaurant at Meadowood, Sur’s pairings are anything but buttoned up.
Mushrooms and Champagne? Heck yeah. Heirloom tomatoes and rosé? You bet. This season, we’re tackling classic fall pairings, centered around the late-summer bounty at farmers markets coast to coast.
Read on and pair like a pro.
My Favorite Fall Meal: Wild Mushrooms & Roasted Chicken + Anything in the Cellar
“As the seasons begin to shift and the mornings become cool and crisp, I begin to think about all of the bounty that can be consumed during the fall—which is my favorite season to eat! There is usually a bounty of mushrooms available, with root vegetables that lend themselves to roasting under a whole chicken.
I love the Zuni Cafe roasted chicken recipe. And what I love about a perfectly roasted chicken that has crisp skin, and tender juicy meat, is that it spans that entire cellar as what goes well with it.
Love medium-bodied, mineral-driven White Burgundy? No problem. Try adding a deep, gravelly Bordeaux rouge to the mix? Yes please, and toss extra roasted mushrooms and dark meat onto my plate. Honestly, even if my brother’s picky girlfriend stops by when this is on the table (and she only drinks Grand Cru Brut Champagne… I’m not even knocking her for it), serve her the crispy skin and chicken oyster mushrooms. There is something for everyone this time of year, drink what you like!”
Last-of-the-Season Tomatoes + Rosé
The sweet and savory components of great tomatoes this time of year, have me scrambling to enjoy them until the very last minute in the season every year! When it turns crisp and cool outside, and days get shorter, I always wished I had enjoyed more of heirloom tomatoes, and drank more rosé. Well, at least I always have my go-to rosé on hand—Domaine de Triennes, as its value and quality delivers well past the time when my garden gives its all, and the beautiful heirloom tomatoes are no longer at the grocery store.
Mussels & Oysters + Bourgogne Blanc
“It is not always easy to find a wine that pairs well with not just oysters, but mussels as well. I believe the clean and transparent style of white Burgundy, especially simple Bourgognes Blancs like Domaine Matrot, matches both very well. With the salinity of both, especially the oysters, you really need an acidic, mineral counterpoint to offset that salty component—this check the box!
With the body and creaminess of fresh mussels, especially done in the classic styles with chorizo and garlic, or white wine and saffron cream, you actually want something with a little more body than everyone’s go-to (Champagne), and this Bourgogne really hits home with both, while not hitting your budget like Grand Cru Chablis or Champagnes so often do.
Fall Squashes + Côtes du Rhône Blends
“Deep, earthy and sweet-fleshed squashes like kabocha, butternut, and delicata take to roasting so well when the season turns to fall. I love hearty, spicy wines this time of year and with this type of comforting food after consuming so many lighter and lifted styles during the long summer days. Côtes du Rhônes are perfect because they have awesome earthy tones but aren’t too full. The 2017 Stephane Ogier Le Temps Est Venu Côtes du Rhône drives home a really polished spicy wine with plenty of warm dark plum, savory herbs, and cracked pepper. It’s the perfect complement to the hearty richness of these fall treasures.”