As the days get longer and warmer, it’s not just our wardrobe that gets lighter. Our food also gets lighter. The earth wakes up and soon mother natures give us a bounty of vegetables. But what do you eat with your greens? As I mentioned in my article on Tomatoes & Wine, acidity is key. Choosing a zesty thirst-quenching wine is vital.
I am a vegetable and salad addict. But no matter how much green I consume in a week, wine is always near by. Over the years, I’ve done a lot of experimenting with finding the best match. Here are some of my favourites.
The classic match that everyone talks about with asparagus is Sauvignon Blanc. Especially those from the Loire Valley (in Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé) or the more flamboyant examples coming out of New Zealand. It does work like a charm. The acidity is there and the grassy and herbaceous notes of the wines echo the strong flavours of asparagus. If you want to stick with this classic, try the Perseus Sauvignon Blanc 2011. A nice Canadian twist. One of my revelations with asparagus though was not Sauvignon Blanc but rather Cabernet Franc. The magic happened with a bottle of Chinon (Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley). The nice green leaves and earthy notes worked surprisingly well with asparagus! Tawse Winery has embraced this grape and offers a nice selection. Try out something new and go for it!
Fennel and Celery Root
Two of my favourite vegetables! You can roast them but in the Spring and Summer, I prefer to slice them thinly with my mandoline and just serve with fresh squeezed lemon juice, top-notch olive oil and a dash of sea salt. Simple yet so flavourful! I love Verdicchio from the Marche region with this combo. One of Italy’s best white grapes, it has nice vibrant lemon and fennel notes. If you’re lucky enough to find one that has a bit of age on it, they develop lovely almond flavours, which nicely complement the nutty notes of celery root. In our own backyard, I like to go with a BC Pinot Gris. The Unsworth Vineyards 2013 Pinot Gris is a good pick.
Yes, I eat it every day, with everything. This nice spicy green goes well with a wine that has a bite. Known for its white pepper notes, Austria’s Grüner Veltliner is a natural. There has been some exploration in Canada with this grape, especially in British Columbia. At Culmina Family Estate Winery, Donald Triggs has recently committed to this grape. The early result of ‘Unicus’ is showing wonderful potential. In the meantime, Riesling is a great option; explore these gorgeous styles from veterans 13th Street Winery, JoieFarm, and Tawse Winery at My Wine Canada.
Remember, it’s all about balance. Wine should never be too far away when you're eating your greens. Santé!
Michelle Bouffard is a wine educator and journalist who splits her time between Montréal & Vancouver. She co-owns the Vancouver-based company ‘house wine’ and is the president of the BC Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers. She Tweets @michellebwine and Instagrams @michellebouffard.