Pairing with Summer Salads and a note on wine for the Tropics
Pairing a wine with a salad can be challenging. It really depends on the salad dressing, as vinaigrette will create a very different overall flavour to something like a Caesar dressing. Are you drizzling something slightly sweet like honey mustard or something creamy like blue cheese?
In general, try to look for a wine with savoury qualities (aka ‘earthy’ notes) as opposed to very ‘fruit forward’ vino, because the grassy or herbaceous notes in a wine will pair well with the vegetables and leaves. If in doubt, go for a lighter wine and let the salad speak for itself.
If you’re looking for a light and fresh wine to pair with a healthy salad you can’t go wrong with a Pinot Grigio. The dry character will complement the flavours of the salad without being overpowering.
I’d also recommend choosing a ‘healthy’ wine (from a winery focussed on organic farming and viniculture). We have a great organic white called PECORINO by an Abruzzo winery that won awards for its biological approach to winemaking. It’s fruitier than the Pinot Grigio so ideal if you’re making a salad with some spicy notes (like rocket or chilli) as it will counter the heat.
Staying with the healthy theme, for red wine lovers you can still enjoy a glass of vino with a salad. Try CATA by the Calabrian estate iGreco. Again, this small-production winery focuses on minimal chemicals from farm to cellar. The wine itself is special too as its 100% Gaglioppo – an ancient grape that very few people have heard of and is only grown in a few area of Calabria (down at the very southern ‘toe’ of the Italian boot). CATA is reminiscent of a Pinot Nero/Noir with a light to medium character and a pleasant dry palate. It was made with the help of Italy’s most famous oenologist – Riccardo Cotarella – who journeyed down to the iGreco vineyard to explore the possibilities of this rare endemic grape and partner with the iGreco family who have farmed the land for many generations.
You can also try a Barbera with most salad dishes as the savoury notes work so well with greens. DODICI DODICI by the historic Castello Di Cigognola estate is a tasty, modern-style Barbera with a great balance between berry and oak/spicy notes.
The above wine ideas will also be a great starting point for those new to Singapore who need time to adjust to the heat and humidity. A lighter, savoury wine will be more enjoyable as you acclimatise to the weather. Grab the more alcoholic or fruity wines if you’re eating indoors with some air-con. It can take a while to get used to the feeling of dehydration here, so don’t forget to sip water with your vino too!
A great recommendation for newbies to SG is a light bottle of bubbles. Choose something with a slightly more fresh quality, like a Champagne-style wine. Don’t worry; it doesn’t have to break the bank – just look for sparkling made in the Champagne method (‘metedo classico’ for Italian). Sparkling from the far north-east of Italy, in Friuli, is a superb choice, or something from the Dolomite mountains of Trentino - such as BRUT ROSE by the innovative winemaking duo Pojer & Sandri.
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