McEvoy Ranch's recent Summer Launch of 2017 Bonfiglio White Blend, 2016 Il Poggio Montepulciano and 2018 Rosebud Rose inspired me to consider pairings for each of these delightful offerings.
I wondered how you could take one simple dish and tailor it to pair with each of these wines. These exceptional Summer Launch wines and the emergence of Spring and Summer vegetables were my inspiration.
In mild climates, fava beans are planted in Fall, grow slowly during the Winter and are harvested in Spring. They are an ancient food and are also planted to replenish nitrogen in the soil and prevent erosion.
Fava Beans are showing up at Farmers Markets now in abundant supply. Be sure to note that you can eat the leaves and flowers as well as the beans. The preparation for the beans is a little involved but their bright flavor and limited availability beckon.
Because Fava beans are a short season offering, it seemed appropriate to use their fresh, clean flavors to take on a wine pairing journey. Their flavor has been compared to edamame - delicate and green and their crisp but tender texture is ideal for salads. We should enjoy all these opportunities while we can.
Here's how to do it at home.
In general, one pound of fava beans in the pod will yield a cup of peeled beans. Break open the pods - tear off the end, pull the string and open along the seam of the pod. Pop the beans out with your thumb. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil and blanch the beans for 1 minute. Drain the beans and dump them into a bowl full of ice water. When drained, peel off the thick outer skin by squeezing or opening with your thumb. You can then freeze the beans or store in an airtight container until you are ready to use them.
When pairing wine with food, consider the dominant flavor, character, and intensity of the dish and the comparative level of fats to acids.
2017 Bonfiglio White Blend would pair beautifully with fava beans, shaved fennel, chervil, Aleppo pepper, McEvoy Champagne Vinegar and Lemon Olive Oil. Some of the leaves and flowers would be a lovely addition. This pairing optimizes the food friendliness of this blend. It also plays to the natural sweetness and anise flavors in fennel and chervil.
The 2018 Rosebud Rosé would welcome the addition of roasted Maitake Mushrooms and fresh goat cheese to the fava bean base. Next, let's splash in a little McEvoy Ranch Pinot Noir Vinegar, drizzle liberally with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and enjoy the earthy flavors with our crisp, bright rosé. Rosé, the eminently drinkable summer wine, showcases the acidity of white wine with the fruit of a red. The earthy flavors of mushrooms and goat cheese are a perfect match.
2016 Il Poggio Montepulciano begs for bolder, wilder flavors. Let's bring in some Prosciutto and rosemary and toss the fava beans with McEvoy Ranch Aged Balsamic Vinegar and Extra Virgin Olive Oil and perhaps a few shavings of Vella Dry Jack Cheese. The tannins and herbal flavors in this wine stand up to and shine with rich, fatty foods and the rich balsamic undertone. By the way - this is a great pizza wine as well for those summer pizza grillers out there.
It's fun to play with flavors to bring food and wine together, so please remember the word fun. Don't get too hung up on rules. Finally, learn what you like and your options are limitless.