Though some believe wearing white after Labor Day is a no-no, drinking whites is more than acceptable – especially when it comes to the always-versatile Vinho Verde. As the weather cools down, late-harvest vegetables start to enjoy their time in the sun as the table favorites everyone wants to get their hands on. So ditch the linen, but keep the Vinho Verde close to pair with the almighty kale and friends as they start to appear in the farmer’s markets this fall.
From kale, carrots and collards to brussel sprouts, beets and turnips, Vinho Verde’s fruity and floral aromas enhance vegetable-based dishes because they are light enough not to overwhelm natural flavors but lively enough to add a kick of crisp, thirst-quenching refreshment. Their trademark acidity adds the right amount of zing to balance bitter vegetables with some minerality and a touch of sugar. At this point you may have realized that “verde” means green in Portuguese, so the wine is basically begging you to pair it with greens and other veggies!
Because late-harvest vegetables are not as weighty as winter options, matching the weight of the food to the wine – in this case light to bright – is particularly apropos when it comes to Vinho Verde. Many autumn vegetable recipes feature citrus-based dressings and sauces that pair particularly well with the youthful versions of the varietals Alvarinho and Trajadura, while many herb-inspired dishes desire the minerality of Arinto and Avesso. Vegetables featuring fruit flavors tend to favor the florally aromatic Loureiro as well as the fruity, sometimes fuller-bodied Azal. Late-harvest veggies are also amazing braised, which definitely works in Vinho Verde’s favor. These wines can stand up to the weight of more substantial sauces, such as endive braised in crème fraiche. Even lightly roasted favorites for early fall barbecues, such as sweet late summer squash, offer a delectable density that Vinho Verde has no problem handling.
Here is one suggested pairing to inspire you this season:
Blogger Wendy Polisi of CookingQuinoa is a master of the tiny little super-seed, which is why we were excited to receive a quinoa cooking book with recipes we can’t wait to make, including (and maybe especially) this hearty fall salad with lots of healthy garlic and fresh roasted cranberries, perfect for a Thanksgiving first course.
Reprinted with permission from The Gluten-Free Quintessential Quinoa Cookbook
2 cups fresh cranberries
12 cloves garlic (more or less to taste), unpeeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon chia seeds, mixed with 1/4 cup water or olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons maple syrup
4 cups kale, chopped
2 cups quinoa, cooked
1 small fennel bulb, shaved
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup red pepper, diced
1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Line a rimmed baking pan with parchment paper. Place cranberries and garlic on pan and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until cranberries are wrinkled. Cool slightly.
- Peel and chop garlic. Combine chia seeds and water and set aside for 10 minutes. (Skip this step if you are using olive oil for the dressing.)
- In a medium jar combine chia gel or olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, maple syrup, mustard, salt and pepper. Shake well. Pour dressing over kale and massage. Allow kale to sit for 10 minutes.
- Add quinoa, fennel, walnuts, red pepper, onion, cranberries and chopped garlic. Toss. Taste. If your cranberries are extremely tart, drizzle with another teaspoon or two of maple syrup and toss again. (You don’t want the salad to be sweet; this is just to cut the tartness.)
Here are a few producers to consider that are available stateside: Vera, Aveleda Casal Garcia, Arca Nova, Quinta das Arcas Conde Villar and Adega de Monçao Branco.