At last, Spring is in the air and our waking hours are now graced with extended daylight. Very soon asparagus and rhubarb will be popping up in vegetable gardens around the country, and our desire to relax with a glass or two of a crisp wine with racy acidity and semi complex favors will be the perfect match for almost all of our Spring and Summer dining adventures. Of course you know I’m describing Rose wines…..and for those that know me well, Rose is my number one go to beverage of choice for food pairing……next to bubbles of course.
Rose compliments a wide range of flavors and dishes, and believe it or not can play nicely with artichokes and asparagus, two vegetables that are notoriously difficult to pair with wine.
Artichokes are problematic for food and wine pairing because they contain an ester ( Cynara cardunculus….an ester formed from quinic acid, think of the flavors in cinchona bark or coffee beans, and two units of caffeic acid, unrelated to caffeine, more like the aroma of eucalyptus, thyme, sage and spearmint), which can sometimes amplify the sweetness in wine when consuming artichokes. So typically artichokes are not a great pairing with a Cabernet or Syrah, but delicious with a Rhone style rose that shows off characteristics of richness and spiciness.
As mentioned earlier, springtime brings us fresh asparagus which is always a treat and is an incredibly easy ingredient to cook with. Growing up in North Central Ohio near the Shores & Islands of Lake Erie I have fond memories of harvesting spring asparagus with my Mom in my grandparents asparagus patch. Creamed Asparagus on homemade toast is a food memory that has remained with me for decades, but simply grilling it, or as an addition in a pasta recipe or as a standalone in a soup, it’s simply delicious and remains a favorite vegetable of mine. However, like artichokes, it’s a more challenging ingredient to pair with wine. Asparagus contains high levels of sulfurous acids which when consumed with most wine varietals unleashes a harsh and often funky taste in your mouth. Coincidentally, Rose wines that are crisp, low in tannins and vibrant work quite nicely with asparagus. I particularly enjoy Grenache based Rose offerings from Central Coast, California.
I look forward to toasting with you this Spring at Sandy Ridge Vineyards & Mercantile and encourage you to give Rose a try with different food combinations…..you will be Deliciously pleased!
Think Pink & Entertain Deliciously