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With the new year starting, resolutions are taken to follow an healthier lifestyle. A glass of wine to accompany a healthy meal once in a while will help you stick to the resolutions without affecting them. For this month, I have chosen to make a creamy broccoli soup from “The Love & Lemons” Cookbook. The recipe is dairy free but you can replace the coconut milk with a dairy option, such as milk or cream. The recipe serves 3 or 4.
1 medium head broccoli, chopped
1 large leek, sliced and rinsed
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons of white or apple vinegar
2 cups of vegetable broth
1 cup of coconut milk, plus 1/4 cup for garnish
2 to 3 cups of fresh spinach
Salt and ground pepper, as needed
Juice of 1 small lemon
Directions: Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the leek, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir and cook until the leek is soft (about 5 minutes). Add the chopped broccoli. Stir and cook until softened (about 3 minutes). Then add the vinegar, vegetable broth and coconut milk. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. After the soup has slightly cooled off, transfer it to a blender. Add the spinach. Blend the soup until smooth. Adjust the seasonings and add some lemon juice to brighten up the soup. Garnish with a drizzle of coconut milk and olive oil.
Broccoli soups can be difficult to pair with wines if you don’t know many white wine grape varieties. However floral, savory and saline white wines make fantastic pairings. Think of Grüner Vetliner, Marsanne, Rousanne, Albillo, Chasselas, Vermentino, Sylvaner, Fiano, Arneis, Greco, Grenache Gris and Verdejo. These wines will also work with other green vegetable soups such as spinach, asparagus, zucchini, leek, and collard greens soups.
For this creamy broccoli soup, my wine was a 2014 Ruth Lewandowski "Naomi" Gibson Ranch Grenache Gris. Its light medium body, waxy feel and great minerality worked beautifully with the creaminess of the soup and its pretty honeysuckle floral notes and saline undertones showed off the flavors of the soup.
Below is a list of wines that we currently have in stock that will pair wonderfully with this soup. I hope you will enjoy these pairings! Caroline Coursant
Chiesa’s Arneis comes from a parcel of old vines that were planted in the early 1960s in sandy soil on a steep south-eastern exposure. The grapes are hand harvested, very gently pressed to avoid over-extraction, and fermented with ambient yeast in stainless steel. The wine shows a gold straw hue in the glass with rich notes of spiced pears, white peach, mandarin orange with pleasant hints of chlorophyll and a just a touch of almond flowers on the nose. The wine is full bodied, with a soft creamy texture brightened by focused acidity, drawing a delicate balance of ripe fruit without being perfumed or cloying. I think it would suit soft cheeses or rich egg dishes especially well, but Arneis can be paired widely; try it with everything from light vegetable dishes to pork chops or grilled chicken. Of course, Arneis is a pleasure to drink all on its own. Andy Paynter
Bettigna Vermentino is a classic example of the grape from a region known for Vermentino (or is it known for Pigato?): the Colli di Luni straddling the border of Liguria and Tuscany. Fairly deep and golden in the glass, the nose is dense with ripe stone fruit and golden apples with subtle notes of honeysuckle and thyme and a whiff of zesty citrus. Medium weight on the palate with real focus, the acidity and mineral tones of the wine make the fruit seem leaner but in a refreshing way with a saline and slightly bitter finish. Fairly bracing by itself, the wine shines with food; it would suit flounder simply fried, skate with pesto, or any delicate fish quite well. Andy Paynter
The 2014 Sant’Erasmo Bianco is a striking wine grown on the island of San Erasmo within the lagoon of Venice. Premised on Malvasia Istriana but comprised of a number of other local cultivars all planted on its own root stock, the wine is deeply colored in the glass, with a nose reminiscent of ripe golden apples and honeysuckle undercut by a salty tone. The palate is bold, with an initial attack of juicy orchard fruit and rich texture, followed by a honeyed note giving way to a long savory finish. More than anything else, the Orto shows a stern backbone of minerality bracing its mellow acidity and weight on the palate. I served it with shrimp cooked with their own stock and butter, but this wine would pair beautifully with anything out of the sea, soft cheese, or rich vegetable dishes. Open early and serve slightly chilled. Andy Paynter
Am Berg is back! Younger vines grown on loess soils closer to the village of Feuersbrunn. A fantastic entry-level Grüner, fresh and fruity, but not at all flabby; creamy but with a saline cut; with waves of white flowers, young ginger, lemon zest, mango and apricot. Cari Bernard
Terraced vineyards on Gfoehler gneiss and mica-schist covered by loess, this is the highest altitude vineyard that Alwin and Stephanie Jurtschitsch farm (organically certified since 2009). Although the vineyard has a southeast orientation, the omnipresent winds at this altitude help to cool the vines, helping to preserve acidity and fruity aromas in the grapes. After fermentation with natural yeasts, the wine ages in old 2,000L Austrian oak casks on the lees for at least six months. Seville orange oil, marjoram, jasmine blossom are effusive on the nose; the palate is lush and dense, but kept bright with acidity. Exotic flavors of pineapple and asian pear mingle with candied orange peel and white peach fruitiness on the lengthy finish. Cari Bernard
What a delicious wine from Evan Lewandowski. 100% Grenache gris from 105-year old vines, this vibrant natural wine is whole clustered pressed and fermented without skin in tank. After full malolactic fermentation, the wine is bottled unfiltered and unfined with minimal addition of sulfur. On the nose, the wine smells of orange zest, peach yogurt, vanilla, saline and gravel notes with some white flowers undertones. On the palate, the wine shows a beautiful velvety texture with apricot, clementine, crème fraîche, chamomile leaves, saline and light floral notes. With good acidity, bright mineral notes and yeasty undertones, this wine is exciting. Drink it alone or with vegetable curries, creamy vegetable soups, or Asian dishes. This is surely a fun addition to your wine collection.
In addition to perfectly elegant, age-worthy reds, Steve Edmunds produces one of California's lightest, purest white wines from Vermentino and Grenache Blanc. Heart of Gold exudes fresh white florals, mineral water, and tingly orchard fruit aromas; flavors are bright and defined, graceful and deeply mineral, with gentle rays of citrus pith and crisp pear, golden apple, and yellow peach. Acidity is abundant and well-integated. Ariana Rolich
Ismael Gozalo of MicroBio is a force of nature. His importer's amusing introduction to his wine is, "Welcome to the República Independiente del Verdejo under President Ismael Gozalo." Ismael's range is dizzying, while his production is tiny, all wines benefiting from uncompromising standards and depth of experience with the Verdejo grape. The Rack cuvée comes from Ismael’s old, own-rooted vines, aptly named because it combines the lees from multiple fermentations, for an deep and textural snapshot of the terroir and vintage as a whole . Every wine from Ismael feels like a new experience of Verdejo. This one is rich and intense with Verdejo's blazing natural acidity, phenolic intensity, and earthy, mineral complexity. Ariana Rolich
The Espelt family has been growing grapes for centuries on the sandy granite, limestone, and slate soils of Empordà. In the early 2000s, they began bottling under their own name, resulting in some of the best values coming out of Catalonia. Espelt's vineyards are certified organic and dedicated primarily to native varieties like Lledoner (Catalan Grenache) and Carinyena. This wine is 100% Garnatxa Blanca from 50 year-old vines, fermented and aged for 3 months in neutral French oak barrels. Medium bodied, with pure, fluid flavors of white peach, lemon-lime, tropical fruit, and golden apple, flecked with white pepper and silky florals, anchored by a firm mineral spine. Fresh and versatile. Ariana Rolich
A fresh and pretty entree into the world of RuBor Viticultores, our good friends Ruben Diaz and Orly Lumbreras, this is 100% Chasselas from two small plots of 70+ year-old vines on decomposed granite soils in Cebreros, the heart of the Sierra de Gredos. With 5-6 days of skin contact, then raised entirely in stainless steel with occasional batonnage, this is a new experience of Chasselas. Dry and minerally, textured and complex, with subtle flavors of crisp apple and pear, dewy green melon, orange pith, beeswax, and sea salt, with a tickle of tannin from time on the skins. An irresistible choice for adventurous apéritifs, poultry, and seafood! Ariana Rolich
Albillo Real is the great white grape of the Sierra de Gredos, a massive mountain range west of Madrid, where Garnacha reigns supreme. Albillo is expressive, earthy and versatile among styles of wine, from crisp whites to orange wines, to historic sweet and rancio styles. The grapes for Sade are picked quite ripe and given a 40 day maceration on the skins, resulting in velvety tannin, deep apricot and earthy mineral flavors. Terrific with a roasted chicken, roasted fish with citrus, or charcuterie.
A delicious introduction to orange wine and Rubor Viticultores, made of 100% Albillo Real, the great white grape of the mighty Gredos Mountains, west of Madrid. Rubén and Orly explore a wide range of expressions between their two old-vine Albillo parcels planted on granitic soils - La Peguera and SADE - through strategic harvest dates, skin contact, and vinification style. Protocolo Zero allows them to marry the fresh, youthful, and bright wines with rich, spicy, and aromatic ones, in proportions of their choosing. This succulent white explodes with exciting granitic texture and length, with flavors of musky peaches, Bosc pear, butterscotch, chamomile, and a hint of fresh ginger. Pair with roasted poultry, seafood, pâtés and cheeses. Seriously delicious on its own as well, for lovers of white wines with a little skin contact! Ariana Rolich
Bergweingarten is a vineyard of brown limestone, with South-East exposition in the middle of a hill. Pierre says there's a touch of sandstone influence, which dons a type of crystalline freshness and structure to the wines from this site. There's some stone fruit here, and a nice level of ripeness, with hints of mandarin orange, almond, and spice. Aged on the lees for 11 months in large 100 year old barrels, with 19g S02 total. I wouldn't call this a completely dry Sylvaner - even though the residual sugar is only 1.4g, it's ripe and flavorful and has some lingering fruit in the finish. A very tasty wine, and quite versatile with a variety of foods. Eben Lillie
This is a lovely expression of pure Roussanne from our friend Jean-Pierre Monier in Saint-Joseph. The aromas are delicate and complex, showing green tea, mint, hay, citrus and apricot/peach fruit. The palate is pure and stony with citrus, hay, quince and pear with a smoky, mineral hint at the finish.This is a lovely aperitif or serve with fish in sauce, goat cheeses, mild Asian foods. DL
The Barou family makes delicious wines, and grows cherries and apricots on their mixed-use organic estate in the hills around Saint-Joseph and Condrieu. Their 2016 "Rendez-Vous" is 100% Marsanne grown in granite soils. The grapes are 80% de-stemmed and then macerated on the skins for 10 to 12 hours. The fermentation is in barrels at low temperature followed by nine months of aging in 4 to 5 year-old barriques. The wine shows a pale gold color and pretty aromas of citrus, lime-flower, spiced pear, almond and hay. The palate shows nice freshness with ripe pear, quince, almond and citrus fruits supported by firm acidity, finishing with refreshing fruit and mineral flavors. This is a well-balanced and food friendly Marsanne that will pair with fish in sauce, Asian foods and chicken and pork dishes. It's a nice aperitif as well and a sensational value! David Lillie
Since its inception in 1992, Philippe and Véronique Grenier have practiced organic farming on their tiny estate in Chavanay, in the AOC Saint-Joseph just south of Condrieu. Their 2015 "Altitude 300" is a beautiful white Saint-Joseph made from 80% Roussanne and 20% Marsanne. The lovely aromas show the Roussanne, with hay, stone, pear, almond, brown spice and lime-flower. The palate is ripe, round and balanced showing stone, peach, apricot, citrus and dried herbs — really pretty, with saline acidity and white fruits lingering in the finish. This is an outstanding northern Rhone white to drink over the next 5 to 8 years and a superb value!
Clos Ste. Magdeleine is located on the slopes of the dramatic Cap Canaille just east of Cassis, where vineyards date back to the ancient Greeks, and the vines grow on stony limestone soils. The current estate was founded in the late 19th century and has been in the same family since 1920 - the estate is certified organic. The Cassis Blanc is made up of 40% Marsanne, 30% Ugni blanc, 25% Clairette and 5% Bourboulenc. The 2015 shows lovely aromas of dried pear, almond and stone with floral and herbal hints, with a bit of candied citrus and exotic fruit. The palate is round and supple and quite elegant with ripe pear, apricot and almond, citrus peel and marzipan. The finish is long and balanced with firm acidity and mineral flavors. (This would be a great option for Thanksgiving dinner, being elegant and dry but with enough weight and fruit to pair well with turkey and all the sides. A crowd pleasing choice...)
50% Clairette, 25% Roussanne, 25% Viognier, always organically farmed, wild yeast fermentation, aged in enamel vat. Subtle aromas of dried pear, lime-flower and stone. Ripe pear, peach, stone, herbal and citrus flavors on the palate. This is a bit brighter and more balanced than the 2015 - really a delicious "food" wine that will pair with a wide variety of full-flavored fish and shellfish dishes, white meats, Asian cuisines and goat cheeses.
Eric Laguerre's "Le Ciste," (named after a flowering bush in and around his vineyards) is certainly one of the most distinctive whites of the Roussillon. Grown in Eric's high-elevation vineyards on acidic soils of decomposed granite, the wine is made from Marsanne, Roussanne, Rolle (Vermentino), Grenache Blanc and Maccabeu. Yields are about 20 Hl/Ha, harvesting is by hand in small baskets, fermentation (wild yeasts) and aging is in small barrels. Complex aromas of lemon oil, thyme, hay and white fruits—a lovely melange with contributions from each variety and especially showing the Marsanne and Roussanne in 2015. The palate is dense, stony and saline with herbal, citrus, almond and white fruit flavors. The finish is long with mineral acids and white fruits that linger on the palate. Complex and distinctive as a young wine, this will accompany grilled fish as well as fish and chicken in sauce and goat cheeses, and should develop nicely with a few years of cellaring. Really a Grand Cru of the Roussillon and a great value! DL
The Cuvée Aubigue Blanc from Les Fouques is made from 80% Rolle (Vermentino) with 10% Clairette and 10% Ugni Blanc. It's a delicious, full-flavored Provençal white with complex aromas of apple and pear liqueur and hints of dried flowers, almond and herbs. The palate is round and ripe with white fruits, candied citrus and dense mineral and stone flavors with good acidity. A great aperitf or accompaniment to full-flavored fish dishes and asian foods. Certified biodynamic (Demeter), wild-yeast fermentation. (The wine received a well-deserved gold medal at the 2017 Concours des Vignerons Independants)