Pair fresh summer foods with lighter-bodied wines

August 27, 2018

Barbara and I spent this past weekend in Boston at my nephew’s wedding. If you visit the area, check out Harvest in Cambridge, Mass., near Harvard Square, and Gaslight in South Boston for brunch. Both were delightful, and have extensive, fair-value wine lists with by the glass and half-bottle menus. When I do brunch, I normally order a poached egg rendition to start. A perfect poached egg is a great clue to the ability of the kitchen staff. This starter at Gaslight was perfect with a very firm albumen and a warm, runny center. There were eight of us, and all thought their other selections were perfect as well. The breads were freshly made, superior and diverse. I was amazed that “Southie” is no longer the slum it was in the ‘60s, when my ship Willis A. Lee DL4 was in the Charlestown Yard for refit. It’s gentrified, yuppiefied or millenialized, reminding me of the Greenwich Village or Baltimore Inner Harbor of the ‘60s or more recently certain Brooklyn-area rejuvenations in NYC.

Just around the corner from Gaslight was a four-city-block farmers market called SoWa for South of Washington, the city area it’s in. The variety of fruit ciders, squash, apples and root vegetables was remarkable. There were 14 varieties I had never seen or tried before. However, only one type of corn named “butter and sugar” was available. Delicious. Possibly a nickname. I asked one of the purveyors, “Why the lack of diversity in the corn selection?” She claimed that Beantowners will only buy B&S when it is in season. She had enjoyed our local shoepeg and silver queen, and several vendors in the market tried to sell some but had few takers.

Those in the know will realize corn doesn’t travel well. The sugar converts to starch quite rapidly, especially when not refrigerated properly.

Marques de Caceres Rosado is a fairly priced Spanish Rioja Tempranillo Rosé that’s wonderful with seared scallops, corn and fresh herb butter sauce, or tomato dishes, or piquant goat cheeses. A very versatile food wine, this dry blush is dark watermelon-colored with floral, strawberry and raspberry aromas.

The palate follows with firm acidity to support. It finishes with raspberry, 89 points under $12. Another good choice here is a NV Cali sparkler made from 100 percent Chardonnay. Avoid tannic wine, as it smothers the delicate scallops. If it’s just corn with any type butter sauce, older-style Chardonnay fills the bill perfectly. There are few meals that surpass steamed lobster, corn and buttered new potatoes with a well-chosen chardonnay.

Wish to buy USA. I prefer Martinelli Three Sisters Vineyard Chardonnay Sonoma 2013, 94 points under $60. One ubiquitous Chard you can find under $30 is Louis Jadot Pouilly Fuissé. The 2012-16 are 88-90 points. The window is usually 4-5 years. The 2016 won silver at IWC in 2018. 

Looking ahead, October is Maine Lobster Month. Make sure the lobster you choose is hard-shelled. Then just follow the directions. They are truly easy to cook. Please steam, don’t boil, and if you choose wine, pass on the lemon. Many will also enjoy Spanish Albarino or Oregon Pinot Gris mentioned here a few weeks back. Some recommend California Chardonnay, and I’m OK with that, but I prefer white Burgundy because in most cases the acidity is slightly higher due to a normally cooler climate and less ripening. If your budget allows, go upscale to a 2013 Domaine Faiveley Meursault Blagny Premier Cru Cote de Beaune, France. These will set you back about $90 and rate 93 points. Killer! If you prefer cold lobster salad, especially if made with an aioli or light mayonnaise, look to Chablis, Sancerre or Pouilly Fumé. An inexpensive choice is the 90-point Mionetto NV Cartizze Prosecco (Prosecco Superiore di Cartizze), $24. Finally on lobster, a very famous Alsatian chef, Jean Joho, makes a lobster dish cooked with ginger and Gewurztraminer – now, don’t say Gewurztraminer, yuck!

This takes a bit of work but it is worthwhile and most can successfully accomplish the task. It is wonderful!

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