CSA Box Pairings: March 17, 2016
For this week's CSA pairings:
1. Drink wine made from grapes named after sneaky sheep
2. Defy the monopoly that Rieslings hold over "Chinese food"
Recipe: Tuscan Bean and Swiss Chard Soup from Epicurious
Pair with: Tiberio Pecorino Colline Pescaresi 2014 ($23)
Pecorino! This grape is named after sheep (pecora) because our furry friends love to snack on them in the vineyard when no one is watching. Fortunately, sibling duo Cristiana and Antonio of Tiberio have enough grapes left to make delicious wine. Their vines and cellar are scenically located 350 meters above sea level, near a coastal town called Pescara. Gentle ocean breezes cool down the vines so that Pecorino doesn't over-ripen despite being an early-ripening grape. Aside from maintaining a bit of acidity, these grapes pick up some seaside minerality that's great for springtime drinking with a simple soup that gets its richness from parmesan cheese rind and creaminess from softened Tuscan beans. Replace Swiss chard with your rainbow chard and you'll have some colorful bites to dress up an otherwise drab weeknight.
Recipe: Sichuan-Style Asparagus Tofu Salad from Serious Eats
Pair with: Ampeleia Un Litro Costa Tuscany 2014 ($17)
It's pretty silly that Riesling and Gewurztraminer are the only grapes paired with "Chinese food" considering the country boasts (at least) eight distinctive cuisine styles. That's like saying Pinot Noir is great for "European food"...which doesn't mean much. But you're more creative than that! So when you decide you don't wanna do another roasted/sauteed asparagus dish, take a lesson from Sichuan, a central China province known for its use of numbing-spice peppercorns and chili oils. Your poor Western taste buds might wanna freak out about the spice, so you'll want a wine that's got enough fruitiness and not crazy dry full of tannins. For the vinaigrette fashioned from Chinkiang vinegar and soy sauce, you'll need a wine that's zippy with acid yet a little savory.
We turn to Ampeleia's Un Litro for its these attributes: light-bodied, casually awesome, tart red fruit, savory herbs, shareable quantity without compromising quality, etc. Did we also mention that the grapes Alicante, Carignano, and Alicante Bouchet are sourced from biodynamic vineyards? If that's not enough, badass winemaker, Elisabetta Foradori is part of this project, too. Don't be shy, and get creative!