I attacked a simple Farfalle recipe with salmon, mint and peas. Fortunately we live in San Diego, where fresh herbs and citrus still grow in mid-March, so I sent Nicole into the garden to pick some Meyer lemons and fresh peppermint. There were no extravagant preparations. I quickly sauteed the salmon in Meyer lemon juice, added some peas and pearl onions, and then covered everything to steam. I threw everything in the pot with the Farfalle and fresh peppermint, and Voila; an easy and delicious meal, not to mention healthy!
It is a custom in our house for our guests to choose the wine to drink with dinner. Nicole said she would drink anything, but her favorite was a good cabernet. I had to intervene at this point in order to salvage the food pairing. “A cabernet will be a lovely choice for after dinner,” I said, “and we will absolutely wrap the evening up with a nice Napa Cabernet from Provenance Vineyards, but for dinner...I think we want something bright, with nice acidity to pair with the fleshy salmon.”
I went on to explain to Nicole the old trick of pairing wine with the color of the food you are eating. If you are eating red meat, then you most likely will want to pair it with a red wine, whereas if you’re having white fish, then you will probably want to pair it with white wine. And if you’re eating salmon…..then pair it with salmon colored rosé!!!!
I noticed Nicole cringe a bit as I mentioned the rose, and I immediately realized that she was probably picturing us having some god-awful White Zinfandel and ruining this delicious meal.
This brings me to the sadness and ridiculousness that is the American intervention into the fabulous world of rose wine. We’ve destroyed the image most Americans have of rose wine. Rose was actually the original way that wine was made in Greecian times. It wasn’t until the Romans conquered the Greeks, that they created the rich red wines we know and love today. That being said, the Romans loved the rose of Provence so much that they didn’t force them to change their winemaking practice. Thus, we have the most beautiful expression of rose in the world still being made in Provence to this day. This same practice has obviously passed onto many world renowned wine makers and one can find delicious, dry roses all over the world. It wasn’t until the Americans created White Zin, (I cringe even typing those words), that the image of rose became tarnished.
At any rate, I quickly re-assured Nicole by putting my money where my mouth was, and cracking a bottle of Verdad--a Grenache rose from Edna Valley in California. We clinked our glasses “Salut” in honor of our old Cabaret days and then she took her first sip….
“WOW! I actually like it! “, she said.
That’s right folks--another convert!!!
Nicole learned that she actually likes rose, and we all learned that pairing wine and food by color does work, and can be a lot of fun.