Bentley’s Wine Steward, Brian Kemmerle regularly offers his insight and experience to help select the perfect wine to accompany Chef Derek Ridgway’s dishes. Here is Brian’s recommended food and wine pairing for this week!
This week’s featured pairing comes from a rare place on the dinner menu, the Salad Course. Salads are notoriously hard to pair with wine due to the fact that the dressings can overpower or often combine to create “odd” flavors in wine.
There are two things you can do to make your salads more “wine friendly”:
First, you can use a citrus fruit, instead of vinegar for your acid. Secondly, add some cheese. Most cheeses, a grating of Parmesan, a quenelle of fresh goat or a wedge of Gruyere will do nicely to cut some of the sharpness off a salad dressing that can create those “odd” flavors in your wine.
All that being said, this week’s salad is Baby Spinach, Oranges, Dried Cranberries and Feta Cheese tossed with a Lemon Dressing. I’ve paired it with the 2008 Willamette Valley Vineyards Riesling. The wine is semi-sweet with apricot, tangerine, pineapple fruits, a touch of a stone/slate mineral quality and a healthy dose of acidity to balance the sweetness. Off-dry or semi-sweet wines like this one are my top choices for pairing with “wine friendly” salads. Cheers!