If you are like me, I live for farmers markets where I can buy fresh, locally grown, organic vegetables and fruit, especially in the summer. Just last week, I filled my basket with tomatoes (small, large, heirloom, slicers, red, orange, and yellow), the sweetest corn, peppers, melons, herbs, cucumbers, and so much more! So what wines did I pair with my farmers market bounty? Crémant Brut Rosé, Pinot Blanc, and Riesling, all wines from Alsace.
This month I am joining the French Winophiles for a virtual tour of Alsace. I am tasting three Alsatian wines and pairing them with summer foods. Join our conversation on Twitter, Saturday, July 17th at 11:00 AM ET using hashtag #winophiles. Don’t miss more articles from the French Winophiles further down.
Why Pair Alsace Wines with summer foods
- Alsace produces 90% white wines, sparkling wines, and Pinot Noir. These wines are fresh, high in acidity, and often with a hint of minerality that pairs well with healthy lighter fare and summer vegetable-centered foods.
- Crémant d’ Alsace is a sparkling wine made in the méthode traditionalle like Champagne. Brut Rosé Crémant d’ Alsace has fruity notes with good acidity and cleansing bubbles, making it a wine that can pair with a range of summer foods, including slightly sweet ones.
- Alsace is geologically diverse with 13 different major soil types that result in wines with complexity and character that can pair with various foods.
- Buying locally grown organic summer produce has its health benefits. 25% of Alsace wine estates are either organic or biodynamic, resulting in cleaner wines.
My Tasting Notes
Disclosure: The wines were provided to me as media samples. All opinions are my own.
Dopff & Irion Brut Rosé Cremant d’Alsace
12.5% abv | $21.99 wine.com (sample) | 100% Pinot Noir
Vinification: The grapes are hand-harvested and pressed by whole clusters. The base wine is matured in temperature- controlled stainless-steel vats for six months before bottling and the addition of a tirage liqueur of yeast and sugar to induce a second fermentation. The wine is aged for 12 to 15 months before being disgorged. A liqueur de tirage of less than 15g/l of concentrated sugar is added to achieve a dry and elegant Brut style. The bottle is corked and topped with a wire cage.
Medium salmon in color. Aromas of red fruits, citrus, and herbs. On the palate, dry with medium body and acidity. Refreshing with a lively mousse and a creamy texture from lees aging. Flavors of strawberries, red currant, dried herbs, and lemon.
2018 Domaine Ostertag Les Jardins Pinot Blanc, Vin d’Alsace
12.5% abv | $32.99 wine.com (sample) | 100% Pinot Blanc
Vineyards and Vinification: The 20+ year-old vineyards are certified biodynamic. The soils are clay, limestone, and granite. The grapes are hand-harvested, undergo a gentle pressing followed by fermentation with indigenous yeasts. The wine was barrel-aged for nine months sur lie.
Pale straw in color. Aromas of citrus and pear. On the palate, dry with medium body and acidity. Nicely balanced with a smooth round texture. Flavor notes of pear, apple, lemon, and minerals.
2018 Domaine Paul Blanck Classique Riesling
12.5% abv | $22.00 wine.com (sample) | 100% Riesling
Vineyards and Vinification: The estate practices organic farming. Vineyard soils are sand and gravel. The grapes undergo a gentle pressing. The juice ferments with natural yeasts present in the juice in temperature-controlled stainless-steel vats.
Pale straw in color with a green hue. Aromas of citrus and honeysuckle. On the palate, dry with fresh, crisp acidity, medium body, and medium(+) acidity. Flavors of lemon, green apple, minerals, and a hint of pineapple.
Food Pairing Notes
These refreshing wines from Alsace are so food-friendly, you can’t go wrong with pairing any of the three wines with either the gazpacho or sweet corn with buttered shrimp. That said, I did have a few preferences.
The Rosé Brut Crément is a delightful aperitif wine before a meal and can lead right into a starter like the tomato-watermelon gazpacho. The crément easily handles the acidity from the tomatoes and the sweetness of the watermelon with its red fruit notes. The French bread in the gazpacho adds a creaminess that is echoed from the crémant lees aging. And the crémant’s bubbles cleanse and refresh the palate with each spoonful.
The Pinot Blanc was my other favorite pairing with the sweet corn buttered shrimp. The dish is richer with heavy cream and butter, but the Pinot Blanc also has a richness from barrel aging while still having good acidity. Both the wine and shrimp reflect mineral notes. Overall, the wine complements the dish’s rich textures and flavors and is a refreshing pairing.
Sweet Corn Buttered Shrimp
- 5 ears sweet corn, shucked
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup white onion, minced
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1-1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt
- 3/4 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 scant teaspoon sweet smoked paprika or sweet paprika
- 3 tablespoon fresh cilantro, parsley and chive, chopped
- Remove the corn kernels from the cobs by standing the ears over a baking sheet. Start at the top of the cob and cut down the sides with a sharp knife
- In a large cast-iron pan, heat 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Add the corn kernels and onion and sauté, stirring occasionally until the corn just starts to take on char marks, about 7-10 minutes. Add the cream and reduce for about 1 minute. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and stir to combine, remove from heat. Cover with foil to keep warm and set aside.
- Cut the shrimp into bite-size pieces and set aside.
- In a small sauce pan over low heat, add the wine, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 cup butter. Melt the butter and bring to a simmer. Add the shrimp and bay leaf and gently poach the shrimp for about 3-5 minutes or until the shrimp is cooked through. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon.
- To serve: Spoon the corn into a shallow serving bowl and top with the poached shrimp pieces. Garnish with a dusting of smoked paprika and a sprinkling of the fresh mixed herbs.
- 4-5 large red tomatoes, cut into chunks
- 1 cup seedless watermelon, cut into chunks
- 2-3 slices French bread soaked in 1 cup of water
- 2+ Persian cucumbers, trimmed and cut into chunks (extra finely chopped for garnish)
- 1/2+ large red bell pepper, cut into small pieces (extra finely chopped for garnish)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher sea salt, or to taste
- In a high powered blender (I used a Vitamix) combine all the ingredients and purée until smooth. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
- Serve in small glasses and garnish with chopped cucumber and red pepper.
More on Alsace Wines from the French Winophiles
- 3 Riesling from Alsace by Wine Predator…Gwendolyn Alley
- All About the Wines of Alsace by Vino Travels
- Alsace Wine and Cold Poached Salmon with Sauce Verte (Green Mayonnaise) by Our Good Life
- Alsace Wines’ Heart and Soul – Land Sustainability, Family Tradition and Food Compatibility by Chinese Food and Wine Pairings
- Alsace Wines Shine with Summer’s Bounty Risotto by Food Wine Click!
- Blending Innovation and Tradition with Wines of Alsace by L’Occasion
- Butternut Squash Chickpea Curry with Wine from Alsace by Cooking Chat
- Domaines Schlumberger 2018 Pinot Blanc: A Delectable Grape Mutation + Criques de Pommes de Terre by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Five Winemaking Women of Alsace by My Full Wine Glass
- Once Upon a Wine in Alsace by Wining With Mel
- Shrimp Louis Sandwiches paired with an Alsace Pinot Blanc by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Summer Food Pairings with Alsace Wines by Always Ravenous
- Wines of Alsace Bring the Wow Every Time by What’s in that Bottle?
- Women of Alsace – Conversations with 4 Women on their Family Wineries in Alsace by Crushed Grape Chronicles
- Zind Humbrecht Pinot Blanc with a Leek & Bacon Tart by Somm’s Table