Wine Pairing Dinner Recipe: Wild Bear Roast

It’s official: fall has arrived, along with lots of opportunities to celebrate with family, gather around the table with loved ones, and appreciate our kin. One of us at the Wine Dispensary has roots in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, so today’s wine pairing dinner recipe is a tribute to her old stomping ground and comes from a cookbook called Cataloochee Cooking by Judy Alexander Coker. It features a delicious bear roast recipe born of wild game hunting traditions and food from the woods of the gorgeous Appalachian Mountains.



1 large bear roast

¼ c. oil

1 clove of garlic, crushed

1 medium onion, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 small dried red pepper

½ bay leaf

2 Tb catsup

2 t. Worcestershire sauce

½ t. celery salt

½ t. dry mustard

3-4 needles of rosemary

salt & pepper



Remove all of the fat from the bear roast and rub generously with salt & pepper. Sear the meat on all sides in a large pot with a small amount of oil. Add water a quarter of the way up the roast, and put in the remaining ingredients. Cover tightly and simmer for about 3 hours, adding water if necessary. When the roast is very tender, remove it and set aside. For gravy, add flour-and-water paste into the drippings, and stir to your desired thickness. Adjust the seasonings to taste and strain the gravy. Slice the roast very thin and top with gravy. Excellent served with wild rice.


Wine lovers often try to make wine compete with the food they are serving, such as looking at a brawny and gamey dish and immediately reaching for a big and thick CA Cabernet, but when the wine and food are in combat, both get killed. The key with wild game, as with any dish, is to achieve balance. One way to do this is to look to classic regions whose cuisine is founded on wild game for a natural affinity. The 2011 Castillo de Perelada Ex Ex 9 is made from a coupage of Nero d’Avola and Sangiovese.  It was aged in French oak barrels, which gives it a nice complexity. The nose of blackberry, balsamic freshness and some subtle spicy touches greatly compliment the earthy and somewhat gamey taste of bear.


The rich meat and herby gravy with Autard Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2007, a 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah from the Rhone, would also be a marriage made in heaven. It’s ready to drink for the next 4-7 years, tactilely elegant and plump with smoky herbs, black cherry, and a bit of mocha, licorice, earth and mineral notes. And despite the over 14% alcohol content, it doesn’t leave a hot impression, but is rather beautifully balanced.


If you'd prefer to have someone else take care of pairing wines for your family’s seasonal dinners, you're in luck. The Wine Dispensary offers the expertise of Executive Sommelier and Master Candidate Rob MacKenzie, who is committed to providing clients with well-informed wine & food pairings and entertaining wine tastings that are sure to bring excellence and enjoyment to your holiday events. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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Comments: 1
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