Peas, Mint, and the Importance of Sniffing Your Glass

Some groups of coworkers discuss their fantasy football teams, the latest episode of Dance Moms, the weather, or each other.  We tend to talk almost exclusively about food – what restaurant we went to or plan on going to, what we served to our friends on Saturday night and what we drank with it, what we drank with nachos while watching the new Arrested Development episodes – it’s all fair game.

Before he left Saturday afternoon, Randy said that he was in the mood for Chablis.  Though rose is often our default wine this time of year, Dom Louis Michel’s delicious, unoaked Chablis sounded perfect for the warm summer evening we were about to have.

Farmers-Market-Snap-Peas

He chose an unexpected, but very seasonally appropriate accompaniment: farmers’ market peas with mint and spring onions in a cream sauce.  The peas and spring onions were braised until just tender, with heavy cream, mint and lemon zest added at the last minute.  It’s a combination that hits all the wine pairing high notes.  The rich cream sauce is cut by the tart, flinty wine – a wonderful contrast of textures and flavors.  At the same time, the bright, clean flavors of all that fresh produce are complemented by the bracing citrus flavors in the wine.  Chablis can also have a wonderful mossy, almost vegetal aroma and flavor on the finish, so pairing it with green vegetables makes perfect sense.

One thing you’ll often notice wine geeks doing is sniffing their empty glass after tasting.  The scent left behind by a wine can give you yet another dimension of its aromas.  In great Burgundy, that ghost of an aroma often smells like the soft herbs we love so much in summer: tarragon or mint.  The mint in this dish did a great job of pulling out that quality in the Chablis.  Though Dom Louis Michel’s 2011 village Chablis was a great pairing with this dish, Dom Vincent Dampt’s slightly rounder style would be great with a farmers’ market meal like this as well.

So, how about you?  What are you pairing with summers’ bounty?

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