Pairing wines with spring salads

Stoneleigh Vineyards 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, left, and Jean Boutari & Fils 2012 Moschofilero....

Stoneleigh Vineyards 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, left, and Jean Boutari & Fils 2012 Moschofilero. (Supplied)

Christopher Waters, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:54 AM ET

Local produce and homegrown vegetable gardens enter the spotlight in May as early season varieties start turning up at markets and gardeners get outside to flex their green thumbs.

At this time of year, even those who tend to turn their noses up at the prospect of salad for dinner or serving helpings of green veggies alongside their protein and potatoes might be encouraged to make healthier choices since they’re no longer able to “disappear” beneath layers and layers of winter clothing.

The right wine could be the carrot on a stick to lead those who aren’t fond of all things green and leafy to the discovery that the right salad can be a feast.

In general, the trick with matching a wine with vegetable dishes is to identify the most powerful ingredient and find wine that either complements or contrasts that dominant flavour. Something with a blue cheese or mustard dressing has a stronger flavour than a salad dressed with milder vinaigrette.

Comprised of mostly light and uncooked ingredients, salads tend to work best with white wines or rosés. Refreshingly crisp styles of wine, notably Sauvignon Blancs, dry Rieslings and Grüner Veltliner, are often described as being “food-friendly” by sommeliers and other wine experts.

The term doesn’t mean to suggest that there’s a legion of wines that are somehow anti-food — it’s not like your dinner could be ruined by your wine choice. Rather food-friendly speaks to a selection of wines whose tangy and tart personality cast them in a great supporting role.

In her enjoyable and educational book, Great Wine Made Simple, American wine expert Andrea Immer Robinson declares that wine is the beverage for food.

“Wine is a love letter to food, largely because of its acidity,” she writes. “Quite simply, acidity is like a turbocharger for flavour. It makes your mouth water, and when your mouth waters, food tastes better.”

Better tasting equals more enjoyment no matter what’s for dinner.

Wines of the Week:

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Jean Boutari & Fils 2012 Moschofilero

Mantinia, Greece

BC $16.99 (177154) | AB $16 | MB $13.88 (011143) | ON $11.95 (172387)

The name of the grape responsible for this citrusy and crisp white might be a tongue-twister, but the delicious style of this striking white is super easy to appreciate. A bright and sunny personality makes this a stunning patio or poolside sipper or a fast friend for salads or lighter fare.

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Stoneleigh Vineyards 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

Marlborough, New Zealand

BC $16.99 (293043) | MB $17.99 (293043) | ON $17.55 (293043)

Made in the ripe, pungent and mouthwatering style associated with Marlborough, this flavourful white is brimming with zesty citrus flavours. It’s vibrant acidity make it a natural for salads as well as seafood, fish or shellfish dishes.


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