You might ask, salads with wine pairings? Seriously?
Yes, I’m here to tell you that it not only works, but it works really well.
When I was working at a winery in the Sierras, we had a chef that worked there every day. It was he who turned me on to the fact that we can enjoy a wine with a leafy salad. I have to admit that I wouldn’t have believed it, if I hadn’t tried it. It works.
This chef’s salad was very basic, in fact; making it simply delicious.
I’ve adapted what he created to my own very basic recipe. The trick is to balance the vinegar’s acid in your dressing with a sweetness from honey and your wine. Then be sure that you have something sweet in your salad, too, like mandarin oranges, cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, etc..
- Boston Lettuce
- Edible flower, if in season (nasturtiums, violet, star flower, cucumber blossoms, etc.)
- Endives (in a circle around your bowl)
- Mandarin orange slices (dried cranberries or blueberries would also work well, too)
- Green onions (or chives)
- Toasted almonds (walnuts or pecans would also work)
- 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
- A pinch of freshly crushed sea salt
- Dash of pepper
- 2 teaspoons of honey
- 3 teaspoons of wine (that you’ll also be having with this salad)
- 1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar
- 1 cup light extra virgin olive oil
For your choice of wines… Think about wines that a bit of residual sugar in them, so that their floral characteristics remain. Some have more than others, so you’ll have to experiment. These wines all tend to be floral, like any the following. Every one would work well in your dressing. You’ll just have to decided which is your favorite:
- Symphony grape (a crossing of Muscat Canelli and Grenache Gris)
- American Concord
- Müller-Thurgau (a crossing of Riesling with Madeleine Royale)
- Chardonnay (with residual sugar)
And, don’t forget, if you find a wine variety that has residual sugar, like a Chenin Blanc or even a Chardonnay, like the 2013 Pam’s Un-Oaked Chardonnay, from The Rubin Family of Wines*, you won’t have to go too far to find your wine. If you don’t have a favorite brand that has a white wine with residual sugar, an option for you is to order a wine from Oak Knoll Winery*, located in Willamette Valley, Oregon.
*I offer these examples, because I work with these brands and know what they taste like. If I had other samples sent to me, I’d be offering those too. I freely offer what I know.