Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Perfect Pair: Summer Salad

Tuesdays are all about pairing food and wine.  Here's some summer suggestions to get you going.  My summer salad pairs perfectly with a Pinot Grigio.  Check out my recommendations below.  There's also some other fun varietals that complement the dish.  Have fun mixing and matching.

Take the pairing up a notch and plan a party to taste all of the wines with the dish.  Let me know which one you like best. 

The Dish: Summer Salad

The Recipe:

1 cucumber, diced

1 avocado, diced

2 cups of cherry tomatoes, halved

2 cups watermelon, diced

1/2 cup of feta cheese

1/2 cup fresh mozzarella

2 tablespoons basil, chopped

Barrel aged balsamic vinegar (I like J.D. Gourmet)

Combine all ingredients together and top with vinegar. Serve. 

The Pairing:

Pinot Grigio:
Summer salads are light and refreshing, so chilled white wines with those same characteristics are ideal for pairing. The Attems Pinot Grigio ($19) has fresh fruit and floral notes, accentuating the watermelon, cucumber and cherry tomatoes, and the minerality on the finish complements the earthy tones of the spinach, avocado and basil. 
Ruffino Lumina Pinot Grigio ($10) is a medium bodied, fragrant and elegant Pinot Grigio from the most sought-after vine growing regions of Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto in Italy. This approachable wine offers notes of apple, pear and citrus that complement the sweetness of the watermelon in the fresh summer salad. The wine’s acidity and light hints of sage pair exceptionally well with the mozzarella and feta cheese (it essentially “cuts through” the creaminess of the feta), bringing out the flavors in the salad to create a balanced flavor profile.

Chloe Wine Collection 2013 Pinot Grigio ($17):  Created by veteran winemaker Georgetta Dane, the Chloe Wine Collection offers elegance and style inside and outside the glass in a classic black and white label that is sure to make you feel like a million bucks. From Northern Italy’s Valdadige region, this D.O.C. Pinot Grigio is held to the highest standards and is a classic expression of this timeless varietal. On the palate, Chloe’s Pinot Grigio displays flavors of juicy white peach, soft melon, crisp apple and floral honeysuckle with a subtle undertone of Meyer lemon; a perfect combination of flavors for the Summer Salad.

Other Varietals:

Chasing Venus 2013 Sauvignon Blanc ($16):  New Zealand’s cooler than normal growing season shows up as crisp, pungent gooseberry flavors in the 2012 Chasing Venus Sauvignon Blanc. Aggressive aromas of fresh mowed grass and bright lemon jump from the glass. Flavors of zesty lime mingle with stony minerals and herbs with just a hint of the classic bright grapefruit flavors in the background. The finish is tangy and juicy with bright acidity. A classic poolside quaff, Chasing Venus Sauvignon Blanc is delicious with summer fruits, salty cheeses and fresh herbs, all key components in the Summer Salad.

The Arnaldo Caprai Grecante Grechetto ($20) is a bit firmer and more complex--better suited for cheeses--so it would do well to bring out the feta and mozzarella. It's full of grapefruit and citrus flavors, which pair well with the dressing's acidity, and its steel fermentation also yields a fresh mineral quality to highlight the salad's greens.  I'm a huge fan of this wine.  It is one of my summer favorites!! 

Banfi Tuscany Centine Bianco:  This fruit forward blend pairs well with many summer salads... including this one.  Give it a try!

Lasseter Family Winery 2013 Enjoué Rosé ($24):  The 2013 Lasseter Enjoué, meaning ‘joyful’ in French, is a blend of Sonoma Valley estate-grown Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache grapes that you will crave all the time. Crafted in the style of the dry rosé wines Proprietress Nancy and husband John Lasseter enjoyed al fresco in cafés throughout France, this wine is sure to remind you that you are certainly off the clock. Crisp and refreshing, Enjoué tops the charts for food friendly versatility, offering endless pairing possibilities that please even the most skeptical red wine drinker. When a white wine is not enough and red wine sometimes too much, dry rosés such as Enjoué are the perfect choice. Structured, but fun-loving, Enjoué suggests a welcome change of flavors, as we transition to a season full of newness and freshness.
Calamares Vinho Verde ($8):  This light crisp wine is perfect for summer salads and sipping.  Very easy drinking.

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