This time of year the winter begins to drag, and while many of us are wishing for warmer weather, it's nice to take advantage of winter cooking while we can. I love roasting vegetables in the oven—an appliance that's rarely touched when it's sweltering out.
I just stumbled upon one of Mario Batali's archived recipes in Food & Wine Magazine that suits February cooking: Roasted Squash with Red Onion, Oregano and Mint. This is the kind of dish that would be a great side to roast chicken or sausages.
Squash tends to work best with white wines that are rich with butter or spice notes. I think the texture is really important; wines with a creamy palate or those fattened with a touch of sweetness, work well with the softer texture of cooked squash. The right wines made from Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Viognier, or oaked Chardonnay are all good picks.
I think we can all agree that Gewürztraminer doesn't get a lot of love. The grape usually has a natural rosewater note and baking or pumpkin spice characters. It's those spice notes that work well to complement the flavours in roasted squash. I don't always enjoy drinking Alsatian Gewürztraminer as it can become so intense and perfumed that it's hard to stomach more than a half a glass. The best Canadian Gewürztraminers balance fragrance, cool-climate acidity and sweetness. They are the kind of wines you can easily drink a second glass of. Meyer Family Vineyards 2012 Gewürztraminer and Thornhaven Estates 2013 Gewürztraminer are two from the Okanagan that epitomize this style.
I've mentioned before how much I like the Tawse 2013 Gewürztraminer ‘Quarry Road,' a subtle mix of rosewater, grapefruit rind and spice with a hint of sweetness. The Flat Rock Cellars 2012 Twisted, a juicy blend of Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Chard, is a Niagara white in this style that offers good value.
Jake Skakun is a writer and sommelier from Vancouver, currently living in Toronto. He can be found most days pulling corks and twisting caps at the Black Hoof. He Tweets and Instagrams @jakeskakun.