Besides being with your mother, what is the first thing you think of when celebrating Mother’s Day? The answer: Where are we going out to eat? You know every restaurant this Sunday will be packed and the wait for a table will be a minimum of 2 hours! Yes, it’s such a hassle but this what you have to do to treat the most important parental unit in the household. If you are taking out your mother this weekend, you have to take them to my favorite neighborhood restaurant: The Cheesecake Factory!
I recently took my wife to the Summerlin location in northwest Las Vegas while doing some errands. We always try the Thai Lettuce Wraps with chicken, sprouts, cabbage, and peanut sauce. This appetizer is Alana’s favorite! After our meal, I realized that I hadn’t even seen the wine list. I grabbed the menu again and began to consider the many possible wine pairings to go with what seems like hundreds of menu items. I just had to make a wine pairing guide before Mother’s Day!
The Mother’s Day Cheesecake Factory Wine Pairing Guide
Below you’ll find The Cheesecake Factory’s wine list broken up into six styles, each with a few varietals and my input as to the best food pairing.
(Note: MarioLunaSomm is not affiliated with Cheesecake Factory. The opinions below are solely those of MarioLunaSomm. The wine selections and menu items may differ from location to location. All photos were taken by MarioLunaSomm for blogs on www.mariolunasomm.com and not for monetary means. He’s just a big fan of The Cheesecake Factory.)
Slightly Sweet Wines
Slightly sweet wines like Moscato, White Zinfandel, and Riesling tend to pair well with spicy items, chilled seafood, and cream sauces:
- Moscato, with its orange peel, grape, and sweet bubbly finish, is a great match for Tex Mex Egg Rolls. The spicy chicken, avocado, and spiced vegetables will need the carbonation and sweetness for the perfect match. A great beginning as an appetizer for Mother’s Day!
- White Zinfandel has strawberry, cherry, and a sweet finish that pairs with Bang-Bang Chicken and Shrimp. The Thai dish’s spicy curry, coconut, and rice need a soft, fruity wine to tame the heat.
- Riesling, with its grapefruit, lime, slate, slightly sweet, and tangy finish, screams out for Orange Chicken. The tangy orange-coated fried chicken needs the Riesling’s sharp acidity and tangy flavor to cut into the food’s fatty richness.
Sparkling wines are the universal pairings. These wines can go with anything fried or spicy, meats, salads, and tomato and cream sauces:
- Prosecco is known for peaches, limes, earth, and slightly sweet sparkling finish. The red chile sauce and melted cheese in the Chicken Enchiladas needs both the wine’s carbonation and slightly sweet finish to cut throw the spice and heaviness.
- USA Sparkling Wine is full of pear, apple, lime, Meyer lemon, and brioche, and has crisp and full finish – all of which pairs well with Farfalle Pasta with Chicken and Roasted Garlic. I like pairing roasted garlic with bubbles with a brioche flavor. These flavors cancels each other out, which let the wine’s full mouth-feel mingle beautifully with the chicken and pasta.
- French Champagne, with its pear, apple, lime, brioche, minerals, and crisp, dry finish, pairs with Chicken Parmesan “Pizza Style”. The chicken and its bread crumbs matches the brioche and dry finish while the acid from the tomatoes tames the wine’s fruit flavors.
Lighter-Bodied White and Rose Wine
Lighter-bodied white wines and roses pairs with salads, pasta dishes, lemony dishes, and fish dishes:
- Rose, with its lush cranberry, strawberry, raspberry, and bright finish, pairs with Grilled Chicken and Avocado Club Sandwich. Roses are the rare type of wine that can handle both the saltiness from the bacon and the avocado’s creamy texture.
- Pinot Grigio has the almond, lemon, pear, and bright finish you want with some juicy Chicken Piccata. The brightness from the chicken’s capers and lemon sauce will need a very light wine with bright acidity to handle the slightly sour dish of pasta.
- New Zealand Sauvignon’s grapefruit, lime, asparagus, and extremely tart finish is the perfect pairing with Thai Coconut-Lime Chicken. The tartness of the wine will enhance the fresh herbs and lime flavors of the dish.
Fuller Bodied White Wines
Chardonnays pairs with seafood, salads, sandwiches, and creamy pasta dishes:
- Chardonnay, with its pear, lemon, apples, dill, vanilla, and a toasty and full finish, pairs with the Monte Cristo Sandwich. This brunch item’s toasted bread, melted swiss cheese, eggs, and bacon will match the wine’s finish so well you’ll need a bottle just for yourself. This is my favorite pairing to recommend this Mother’s Day!
Light to Medium Bodied Red Wines
Medium-bodied red wines pairs with lighter meats, pizza, steaks, and burgers:
- Pinot Noir is known for qualities like tart raspberry, cherry, earthy, and a light finish. The Pinot will cut through a hearty Grilled Pork Chop while uniting wonderfully with the house-made apple sauce.
- Chianti, with its tart cherry, olive, sage, and a warm finish, pairs with all appetizers and entrees that includes tomato sauce. Both the tomato sauce and wine share like-qualities of both searing acidity and herbaceous notes, which creates a softer and creamier flavor.
- Merlot is ripe with blackberry, chocolate, vanilla, tobacco, and a lush, full finish, and it pairs nicely with Steak Diane. After eating the dish’s mushroom sauce, peppercorns, and steak medallions, the wine’s tannins taste juicier and richer.
- Malbec, with its red fruit, black fruit, pepper, and a hot, full finish, is always a great steak pairing. Try it with the Chargrilled Bone-In New York Strip. The wine’s dry tannins are softer than Cabernet Sauvignon’s and will work better with the lighter marbling of a New York Strip.
Fuller Bodied Red Wines
Pair Cabernet Sauvignon and blends with steaks and burgers:
- Cabernet Sauvignon is lush with blackberry, cassis, currants, bell pepper, and a full and dry finish. Pair your Cab with a Bone-In Ribeye. The wine’s dry tannins match the heavily marbled steak cut to perfection.
For all the mothers out there, have a wonderful weekend with your loved ones! I hope you enjoy the guide even if you are not able to go to The Cheesecake Factory – and if you do head to TCF this Mother’s Day, well, you’ll have plenty of time reading this blog while you are waiting for your table.