When I invited a new friend to dinner last week and asked her to bring a wine, she asked about the menu. And evidently she listened, because she came up with the most brilliant match for the Hungarian goulash: this St. Laurent, a close relative of Pinot Noir, from one of Austria's best wine estates. Soft and earthy, with a brilliant cherry color and just the slightest hint of strawberries and plums in the nose, it held its own against the smoky paprika in the sauce.
It's hard to find a red this subtle and evolved anywhere for less than $25. But not many wine drinkers are curious enough to try a red from Austria.
Where do you go from a perfect match like this one? I could also see this wine with a simple roast chicken like I'm going to have tonight at Farmshop in Brentwood, chicken pot pie, sautéed calf's liver or braised lamb shanks.
Region: Kamptal, Austria
Price: About $23
Style: Silky and elegant
What it goes with: Goulash, braised lamb shanks, roast chicken
Where to find it: Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, (949) 650-8463, http://www.hitimewine.net; and Silver Lake Wine in Los Angeles, (323) 662-9024, http://www.silverlakewine.com.