Seafood Etouffee at Emeril's 

Seafood Etouffee at Emeril's 

By Sommelier Ray Gumpert

There are more than a few things I love about being in New Orleans as a city. You could begin with the endless amount of restaurants. It’s almost impossible to keep up with! As soon as you think you’re caught up, there’s another opening or another suggested to you that you have to try. Also (obviously) seafood-seafood- seafood! I absolutely love seafood and not only the availability of fresh products from stores and shops, but the fact that you can take a short trip, catch a chest full of speckled trout, flounder, and redfish, and then eat those fresh fish that day. There’s nothing like it. If you can make friends with someone who owns a boat, you’ll be in great shape!

Pairing Wines with Cajun & Creole Cuisine

When pairing with our cuisine at Emeril's I think there is a wide array of wines that can be utilized. As a rule of thumb, wines with high acidity and low alcohol work the best. And although a lot of people are scared of wines with a little sugar, always remember sweet and spicy complement each other well. However, food and wine pairing is very subjective and what’s really important is for people to enjoy the experience. It’s okay to sometimes experiment and think outside the box. If you’re a red wine fan, there is no shortage of dishes you could pair with. Believe it or not, Pinot Noir with grilled redfish is awesome! You just want to stay away from reds with tannin when pairing with seafood. If you want to go with a little more weight, Andouille stuffed quail or any number of pork focused dishes will go awesome with Syrah. The bacon, smoke, and peppery notes of Guigal Crozes Hermitage from the Northern Rhone Valley for example would be perfect!

Photograph courtesy of Herbsaint

Photograph courtesy of Herbsaint

Ray's recs for where to drink wine in New Orleans


Small but awesome list and great food and service.

701 St Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130
T: 504.524.4114 |

The Delachaise

A comfortable bar ambiance with great wine program.

3442 St Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70115
T: 504.895.0858 |

Commander's Palace | Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Commander's Palace | Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Commander's Palace

Wine Spectator Grand Award Program. Enough said.

1403 Washington Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130
T: 504.899.8221 |


Small pours available of so many awesome wines. A great place to taste and to learn.

610 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
T: 504.324.8000 |

Photograph courtesy of Domenica

Photograph courtesy of Domenica


A complete Italian experience with a thorough Italian wine selection, great charcuterie, and homemade pizzas.

123 Baronne Street, New Orleans, LA 70112
T: 504.648.6020 |

Menu Pairing Suggestions at Emeril's

Emeril's Wine Room | Photo Credit: J_Stephen_Young

Emeril's Wine Room | Photo Credit: J_Stephen_Young

Two Run Farms Carpaccio with Bollinger Special Cuvée Brut

Charred Local Kale Salad | Photo courtesy of Emeril's

Charred Local Kale Salad | Photo courtesy of Emeril's

This paring is a perfect way to start a meal. The dish is Crème Fraiche, Choupique Caviar, Soft Egg, Ice wine Vinegar, and Crisp Potato Chives. Salty caviar and good champagne work perfectly. Also the texture of the thin meat is complemented well by the creamy textured Champagne.

Charred Local Kale Salad with 2013 Karl Lagler Grüner Veltliner Federspiel Burberg

It's Blue Crab, Pickled Fresno Chilis, Boiled Peanuts, Watermelon Radish, Parmesan, Crisp Sweet Onion, with Citrus-Buttermilk Dressing. Grüner Veltliner is a perfect match with a wide array of leafy greens or vegetal dishes. This particular Grüner is fresh and clean with peach notes that pair with the crab meat and great acidity to cut through the buttermilk dressing.

Char Grilled Ribeye of Beef with 2011 Post Parade Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

This delicious entrée is nowhere short on richness and deserves a wine that can stand up to it. This Cab does! Made with Romano Potatoes, Roasted Marrow, Skillet Broccoli, Vermouth Mushrooms, Fennel Preserves, Chimichurri, and Sauce Au Poivre.  Made by Thomas Brown, this new winery is doing outstanding work. Blackberry, chocolate, vanilla, and cassis notes showcase this fantastic new Napa Cabernet Sauvignon.

Gulf Swordfish Benedict with 2010 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot by Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard

This is house Ciabatta, Back Bacon, Farm Greens & Beans, Soft Egg, and Hollandaise Niçoise. This dish showcases fresh swordfish done almost brunch style for dinner. It requires a fuller white wine to stand up to all of the rich egg product, as well as the steakiness of the fish. The Chassagne-Montrachet also has a smoky nose that enhances the smoky bacon on the dish.

South Texas Wild Boar Ragu with 2009 Barbaresco “Vigneto Bordini” by La Spinetta

This dish is a combination of Northern Italy meets local wild boar. It is Dan’s Local Green Fettuccini, Spiced Marinara, Butternut Squash, Pecorino Fonduta, Rapini Pesto, and Pine Nuts. It's very much a stick to your ribs comfort food that just makes you feel good. With this, a Northern Italian wine from Piemonte works well. The weight of the wine matches the braised meat perfectly as the soft tannin cuts the richness. The red is feminine and floral with very food friendly characteristics.

Ray Gumpert

Growing up just outside New Orleans in Metairie, Ray Gumpert’s first exposure to the restaurant world came in the fall of 2000, when he joined chef Emeril Lagasse’s restaurant NOLA in the French Quarter as a bus boy. 

Inspired by working with NOLA Sommelier John Hoff, Ray often stayed late to learn about wine after service hours and was soon promoted to Captain.

In September 2002, he moved to Miami and assisted with the opening of Emeril’s Miami Beach restaurant. He soon became assistant sommelier at Emeril’s Miami, and in April 2008, Ray was promoted tosommelier at Emeril’s Delmonico in New Orleans. In November 2008, he became the sommelier at Emeril’s New Orleans, where he presides over the restaurant’s nearly 1,900 selections and 10,000 bottles. Ray holds a first-level Court of Master Sommelier’s certification. 

800 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
T: 504.528.9393 |

Discover 24-Hour Guides for New Orleans


New Orleans Feature Stories