This salad has lots of contrasting flavors — from bright citrus to sweet, smoky vegetables, to tangy cheese — and a good wine pairing will find a way to tie them all together. Here are two chardonnays — from South Africa and Sonoma — and a pinot noir from New Zealand that can do just that.
Make this: Grapefruit, Roasted Pepper and Grain Salad
Heat 1 cup water and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat; stir in 1/2 cup quinoa, well-rinsed. Cover; lower heat and simmer until quinoa is tender, 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons grapefruit juice, 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1 clove garlic, minced, and salt to taste. Stir into the cooked quinoa. Add 3 jarred roasted bell peppers, rinsed, sliced in 1/2-inch strips; 2 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola; 1 ounce pistachios; and segments from 2 red grapefruits. Garnish with chopped basil. Makes: 2 servings
Pairings by Nate Redner, beverage director of Booth One, as told to Michael Austin:
2016 Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, South Africa: This wine shows notes of white peach, nectarine and lemon zest, all of which will complement the grapefruit and the red-pepper sweetness. The wine’s acidity will cut through the dish’s richness, but the wine is also round enough to keep the Gorgonzola from becoming tart. ?
2013 Kistler Sonoma Mountain Chardonnay, Sonoma County, California: Ripe and full, this wine has notes of tangerine and almond. That nuttiness will conspire with the grains in the dish to create richness. The wine’s weight and texture, and acidity to back it up, will ensure that it doesn’t get lost behind pungent and fatty Gorgonzola.
2013 Peregrine Pinot Noir, Central Otago, New Zealand: This wine shows dark fruit character, including blackberry, which will keep the Gorgonzola’s tartness in check. Also, the wine’s subtle herbaceous character will complement the roasted bell peppers’ slight sweetness and smoky notes. Finally, the wine’s very fine tannins and bright finish will wrap everything up nicely.?