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Five Spring Wine Pairings That Aren’t All Just Rosé

Well, one is.

The 2016 Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Monterey County Riesling plays well with peach tart.

Like the weather—our recent atmospheric river washout notwithstanding—food and wine pairings are getting lighter and brighter now that spring has arrived. And while there’s always a place for the heavy cabernets that kept you company over winter, now is the time to swap them out for refreshing, crisp whites and subtle reds that will shine alongside less-hearty cooking. Here, a few springtime suggestions. 

Dish: Fresh spring pea soup (or salad)

Wine: Heitz Cellar Sauvignon Blanc, $23
This refreshing, crisp wine features flavors of stone fruit and citrus that can enhance the green liveliness of a spring pea soup or salad. It’ll even play nicely with Dungeness crab, if you’re looking for a quick way to punch up the soup dish. And, speaking of pea season, consider topping toast with a pea puree and a burrata for a surprisingly bright snack.

Dish: Spring risotto

Wine: 2015 Seghesio Family Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel, $40
The old-vine zin (meaning it comes from vines that are at least 50 years old) is subtle and smooth with lingering flavors of raspberry and spice. It’s complex, but not as pushy as most reds, so you can pair it with all kinds of hearty spring dishes, especially spring risottos with salty cheeses and greens like asparagus. At the winery, Seghesio pairs it with risi e besi (rice and peas), a staple in Italian spring cuisine that features English snap peas. At Seghesio they also add pancetta, so don’t be afraid to add some flair of your own. 

Dish: BLTA
Wine: Ladera Malbec Rosé, $30
This refreshing and dry—read: not sweet—rosé offers subtle flavors of watermelon and nectarine, making it seem practically destined to be paired with a rich, salty club sandwich or BLTA. The minerality of the rosé complements the richness of the avocado and cuts the saltiness of the bacon. This wine will do wonders for a sandwich that is a little dry or salty, so be generous with the bacon. And since May through July is soft-shell crab season, consider pairing this wine with soft-shell crab or just throwing some into the sandwich: a BLTAC… or BLTASSC… whatever, just try it! 

Dish: Grilled fish tacos

Wine: Mi Sueño Chardonnay, $42
Normally when it comes to fish tacos, I’d look for the nearest sauvignon blanc (try Acumen) or rosé (try GunBun). But lately I’ve noticed more and more thick sauces topping my tacos—crema, guac, and the like—making a creamy chardonnay a nice changeup. Mi Sueño’s well-balanced chard, with its hints of vanilla and honeysuckle and light citrus notes of lemon and grapefruit, is fits the bill. Definitely reach for this chardonnay if your taco comes with a blended guacamole instead of sliced avocado. 

Dish: Peach tart

Wine: 2016 Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Monterey County Riesling, $13

Some people prefer dessert wines with their plated post-meal sweets, and I can get on board if the dish is simple or savory. But for something like a peach tart, try a wine with a kiss of sweetness and similar flavors to your treat. This riesling is the right price, and its flavor profile—the delicate taste of apricot and pear—will accentuate the tart’s peach and crust. Just one, though!

 

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