Perfect Pair

Thanks to Chef Jacob Sessoms’ fresh recipe (page 20), you definitely know what’s for dinner. The tricky part? What wine to pair with that cucumber, blackberry and stracciatella salad.

We turned to another Asheville expert to answer this ticklish query: David Hansen of Vaso de Vino. Hansen recommended a wine to pair with Sessoms’ recipe, and also offered a few pointers for future pairings.

This is an interesting dish to pair, but I would recommend an Italian Cortese from Gavi, a sparkling wine or an Austrian Gruner Veltliner. Any of these will have enough acidity to work with the fat in the cream and cheese, yet they’re light enough for the cucumber and blackberry to shine through. Sessoms’ recipe is a light, summery salad, so your wine choice should complement those airy flavors.

In general, I recommend pairing a wine from the region of the food. If, for example, you’re dining on a delicious Italian feast of pasta and creamy, herby sauce, pair the dish with a hearty Italian red. The flavors always match and meld for a truly striking pairing.

Here are a few other guidelines: 
• Pair earthy foods with earthy wines. 
• Open an unoaked white and pour it with anything you could squeeze citrus on (like fish, summer salads and even citrus desserts). 
• Rich red meats are made for full tannic reds. 
• For lighter meats, always pair the wine with the sauce. 
• Spicy foods pair well with lower alcohol wines with a bit of sweetness; the sweet punch combats the savory burn.