Monday, September 23, 2013

A Hard Pairing: Beets and Wine

It's harvest time again. The fall brings the last of the great produce for the year. We love restaurants that focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients, but we also love to cook those same ingredients at home. If you are looking to use up a lot of fresh vegetables, you have to be creative in your recipes, and even more creative with you wine pairings.

Of all the difficult ingredients, there may not be many more complicated than beets. Earthy, almost dirt flavored, but with a strong sweetness as well, there aren't many flavors like it. Shredded and mixed with a few other ingredients, like radishes, carrots and basil, beets can be used as a substitute for ground beef in things like meatballs. Served up with some beans and lettuce in a tortilla, and you have a hearty vegetarian burrito.

In this case, we really only had one option to drink with dinner. Searching for something "like for like" (the recommended way to pair wine with food), we needed something earthy, with a hint of fruitiness. So we went with a cold climate Pinot Noir that had a balance of ripe cherries and deep stone and earth flavors, with enough body to match the big flavors of the fresh vegetables. A perfect time for one of our favorites from the Finger Lakes. And it just emphasizes how you can create perfect pairings to match fresh, local produce with local wine.

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