Pair It Up! Mario Batali's Roasted Squash

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.

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