Welcome to April’s edition of Wine Pairing Weekend, where we have sought out great wines to pair with vibrant spring vegetables. Our April challenge to pair wine with spring vegetables and meals is courtesy of A Day in the Life on the Farm; Wine Pairing Weekend is the brain child of Cooking Chat. There are many great recipes and wine pairings by my fellow participants so grab your pencil and wine glass and join in the fun this morning by following #WinePW at 10am CST on Twitter to plan your Saturday night dinner!
Spring is a great time for fresh, crisp vegetables. As soon as April’s theme was announced I put my thinking cap on and starting searching recipes. This group of friends are awesome cooks and always pair spectacular wines so I usually put a lot of thought into my monthly #WinePW articles.
My first thought was a deliciously light green pea, lettuce and fennel soup recipe I made last spring by Giada DeLaurentiis. It is a great soup for spring so give it a try. However, once I received my April edition of Cooking Light I knew I had to try the Green Pea and Asparagus Soup. The soup is crafted from leeks, asparagus and green peas but the kicker is the soup is topped with a poached egg. I really wanted to try this soup and since it was filled with so many delicious spring veggies and herbs I knew it was perfect for April’s Wine Pairing Weekend. The soup was quick and easy to make, it was light yet creamy and the added egg was really decadent and delicious. I recommend this soup! Additionally, when my 16 year old son said, “Mom this soup is really good;” I knew it was a keeper. I mean really, what teenage boy likes a soup made from green vegetables! Try it and let me know what you think about it.
Since this is Wine Pairing Weekend I could not just make a simple soup and be done; I would get Chopped! So along with the soup I added a ravioli dish I have been wanting to make for months: Ravioli with Sautéed Asparagus and Walnuts. Of course the asparagus provided continuity between the two dishes. I will confess I did not make the ravioli, it was goat cheese and herb and I bought it from Central Market. It was rich and creamy and bright. The ravioli was topped with sautéed asparagus, browned butter, fresh herbs and chopped walnuts; it too was decadent and delicious! Again it passed the 16 year old teenage boy test with flying colors. In my house when I can serve my family two meatless dishes and they are happy and the food is praised, you must know the recipes are winners!
After I decided what spring vegetable dishes I was going to prepare for Wine Pairing Weekend it was time to move on to the wine and I knew exactly which wine I was going to pair with the meal! This past January my husband and I were eating lunch at a really nice fish restaurant (I don’t recall the name) in Westlake Village, CA. I ordered a delicious and light fish dish that was a house specialty and paired with a Tablas Creek Grenache Blanc. It was the first time I had a wine from Tablas Creek and it was outstanding. I have not stopping thinking about that glass of wine. I searched locally for the wine but unfortunately no one in Dallas carries Tablas Creek so when April’s #WinePW theme was announced I knew I had to go to their web site and order this wine.
Tablas Creek 2012 Grenache Blanc: This wine poured a bright gold into the glass and opened with inviting aromas of crushed minerals with soft orchard fruit and tropical fruit. On the palate this wine delivers crisp acidity with a slight creamy texture. Flavors of quince, granny smith apples, sweet Asian pears and lemon curd are balanced with crushed stone and lanolin. It has a slight sweetness on the palate that leaves immediately as the wine cascades down the throat, leaving a lingering dry finish. If you have never had a 100% Grenache Blanc single varietal you have to try this wine; if you are already a fan of 100% Grenache Blanc single varietal you have to try this wine! The grapes were whole cluster pressed, fermented with native yeast in stainless steel tanks and one-two year old cask; 13.5% alcohol. SRP $27. Click here to purchase this wine.
From the Tablas Creek Winery web site: Tablas Creek Vineyard is the result of a decades-long friendship between the Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel and Robert Haas, longtime importer and founder of Vineyard Brands. The families created a partnership in 1985 and in 1989 purchased a 120-acre property in the hilly Las Tablas district of west Paso Robles for its similarities to Châteauneuf du Pape: limestone soils, a favorable climate, and rugged terrain. The partners imported the traditional varietals grown on the Perrins’ celebrated estate, including Mourvèdre, Grenache Noir, Syrah, and Counoise for reds, and Roussanne, Viognier, Marsanne, and Grenache Blanc for whites. These imported vines passed a rigorous 3-year USDA testing program, were propagated and grafted in our on-site nursery, and used to plant our organic estate vineyard. Those of us French wine lovers know the Perrin family and Château de Beaucastel, one of the finest Chateau Neuf de Pape wines on the market, very well!
Tablas Creek’s wine production is centered around our limestone-rich 120-acre organic estate vineyard. The warm days and cool nights allow our vines to gracefully ripen the Rhône varietals we grow. Our vineyard practices emphasize dry farming and seek to maximize the expression of our terroir. We farm organically, and received our organic certification in January 2003. More recently, we have converted much of the vineyard to use Biodynamic techniques, including our dedicated herd of sheep, alpacas and donkeys who eat down our winter cover crop, fertilize the vineyard with their manure and mix it into the soil with their hooves.
Tablas Creek has a great winemaking philosophy that translates into the high quality wines they produce: We believe that minimum human intervention in our winemaking process preserves the wine’s link to its place of origin. Winemaker Neil Collins, along with the Haas and Perrin families, look to keep our fingerprints off the young wines. At harvest, each vineyard block is hand-harvested selectively, and we typically make 2-4 passes through each vineyard block at harvest. All Tablas Creek wines are fermented using only native yeasts. White grapes are whole cluster pressed, and the juice is fermented in small and large French oak barrels, mostly neutral, and stainless steel. Red grapes are sorted and destemmed after harvest, and the juice and whole berries moved to stainless steel or 1500-gallon wooden upright fermenters. During fermentation, the must is pumped over, punched down or otherwise inundated twice a day. After fermentation, the red wines are pressed, then blended and aged for one year in 1200-gallon French oak foudres (right). As is traditional in Châteauneuf du Pape, we blend our Rhône varietals to produce wines that are more complex, better balanced, and richer than single varietal wines.
I encourage you to visit the Tablas Creek web site to learn more about the winery, view their expensive portfolio of wines and order this wine!
Make sure you check out all the other great spring food and wine pairings by my fellow #WinePW bloggers:
Spring Pea Risotto with Picpoul de Pinet by Curious Cuisiniere
Spring-Kissed Seafood Chowder with Pelerin 2011 Les Tournesols by Cooking Adventures with Camilla
Wine and Dine: Las Lilas Vinho Verde 2013 and Chilled Cucumber with Mint Soup by Grape Experiences.
Creamy Mushroom Pasta with Spring Peas and Westrey Pinot Noir by Pull That Cork
Red Wine with Asparagus and Mushrooms by Cooking Chat
Spring Hopes: Asparagus and Rosé by Food Wine Click
Leap into Spring with Pasta Primavera by Vino Travels
Spring Fling with Greek Pizza and Wine by Confessions of a Culinary Diva
Spring Flavors with Hungarian Pinot Grigio by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Winter’s Hill Pinot Blanc and Warm Arugula, Bacon and Asparagus Salad by Tasting Pour
Roasted Halibut with Potatoes and Lemon and Tablas Creek Cotes de Tablas by Enofylz Wine Blog
My Song Selection: The song I have chosen to pair with the delicious soup, ravioli and Tablas Creek 2012 Grenache Blance is one of my all-time favorite songs that just sounds like spring to me. I remember being in high school and each time I would see the music video for this song, when MTV used to play music videos, it always took me away to California. I have been saving this song for just the right wine pairing, that time has finally come: Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears.
Make these delicious recipes and pair with your own bottle of Tablas Creek 2012 Grenache Blanc and let me know what song you would pair with it. Cheers!