What wine pairs with beets?

What wine pairs with beets is my post for this month’s Wine Pairing Weekend. Assignment: Seasonal cooking.

I love beets. A lot.

I want to take a moment to thank my friend Liz for convincing me to try them. Back in my biz travel days Liz was my favorite road warrior. And, she does love a good beet dish. I was young and naive (it was only about four years ago, but drama helps the story, right?); I didn’t think the red veg had any place in my meal. Then, one day at a restaurant in Columbus, Ohio she got so excited about the beet salad on the menu I decided to give it a go. I have never looked back.What wine pairs with beets?

In my ‘hood beet season runs late spring through winter.

In Italy we are spoiled with seasonal cooking opportunities. Every Saturday we hit the mercato to buy our weekly veg. I was so excited in late winter when I came across a bin of beetroot. Finally, I could introduce Il Marito to the beauty that is the beet (he’d never had it!)

Being a beet lover is not without its struggles.

Of course, trying to convince people of the virtues of the beet can be hard work. And, the red stains, problematic. But, I firmly believe that the most difficult part of being a beet advocate is in answering the question What wine pairs with beets?  What wine pairs with beets? Let's find out. It may or may not surprise you, but there isn’t a ton written on the subject. I mean, there is of course the default wine that goes with just about everything, Riesling. I adore Riesling. In a pinch you can almost always count on its tantalizing acidity to enhance your meal. An extra bonus for Beet Lover Liz, as she also covets Riesling. Woo hoo!

What wine pairings with beets: the options.

I was excited to find recommendations for a red from one of my favorite regions, The Jura. As it happens, we had a bottle of said wine from our January trip. It’s called Ploussard. I decided to also try some experimenting. My recent Etna Wine post got me all excited to taste an Etna Bianco. I found one bottle in one of our local wine shops. With its high acidity I hoped it might have a shot as a wine and beet pairing winner. We had Franciacorta left over from aperitivo — sparkling metodo classico is always a good go-to, so I threw ‘er in the mix. Find my recipe for a beet salad with gorgonzola and hazelnuts below.What wine pairs with beets? Let's find out.

What Wine Pairs with Beets – The Results:

Wine #1: Domaine de la Tournelle Ploussard (red), 2013, The Jura, FranceWhat wine pairs with beets? Let's find out.

Ploussard generally serves as an aperitif wine. It’s light in body so it shows well slightly chilled. On the palate you get lighter red fruits like red currant, rhubarb, and red orange. It had some minerality going on, as well as some more earthy notes, which made it a good compliment to the beet salad.

Read more about the Jura: Romancing the Jura

Wine #2: Casa delle Colonne Riserva Zero (Zero is for ‘no dosage’, which means no sugar is added), 2005 (sparkling, metodo classico), Franciacorta, Italy  What Wine Pairs with Beets?

Franciacorta metodo classico (champagne method) sparkling wines tend to be richer given the area’s warm climate, which yield grapes with more sugar and lower acidity. This was an 80 percent Chardonnay blend and the extra age gave it toastiness. The 2005 vintage added a fresh, crisp acidity so it stood up to the earthy beet flavor well. The 2006 is pictured because I forgot to snap the ’05. Sorry, folks!

Read more about Franciacorta: Italian Sparkling Wine

Wine #3: Tenuta delle Terre Nere (white), 2013, Etna Bianco – Sicily, ItalyWhat wine pairs with beets? Let's find out.

My Etna expert and pal Benjamin Spencer with the Etna Wine School was not anti my pairing attempt, though he did caution me to be wary of balsamic. So, we did a salad with and a salad without. With balsamic the white tasted watered down. With out, it still fell flat. Though Sicily is warm and dry, Etna vineyards tend to be high up on very poor soils, giving surprisingly delicate, fresh wines. The beets were just too overpowering a taste for the light and lovely Etna Bianco. Happy to troubleshoot it for you!

Read more about Etna: Etna Wine: Sicily’s volcanic wines that don’t taste like ash!

When all was said and done the wine and beet pairing adventure went in the order above (favorite #1):

  1. Ploussard
  2. Franciacorta
  3. Etna Biacno

I’m accepting any and all contenders in the quest to find what wine pairs with beets!? Drop us a line below with your suggestions.

Wine Pairing Weekend Round-up: Seasonal Cooking Recipes

Roasted Beet Salad with hazelnuts and gorgonzola

Servings 2 to 4 people Prep Time 30 minutes Cook Time 1:00 hour Passive Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

1 Large Beetroot
4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/4 cup gorgonzola cheese dolce
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
2 tbsp parsley chopped
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F / 175C. Toss beetroot in olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil, roasting until a knife slides through with little resistance. Depending on the size of your beet(s) this can take 45 to 1.5 hours.
  2. When the beet is roasted, let it cool and remove the skin. The skin should peel easily. If it doesn’t it may need to cook a bit longer. What wine pairs with beets? Let's find out.
  3. Cut the beets into 1-inch cubes. Toss with two tablespoons olive oil, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Mix beets together with nuts, cheese, parsley, and drizzle with vinegar.
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