Quinoa Salad & Rosé

Mediterranean quinoa salad is a refreshingly satisfying meal. While an aromatic, crisp Moschfilero from Greece would work wonders with this dish, a dry, crisp rosé is just as amazing.  Contrary to popular belief, many rosés are actually dry and make a great companion for many foods from picnic fare to salads to fried chicken and deli sandwiches.

I used Bobby Flay’s Greek Quinoa Salad basic recipe, but added fresh mint and extra feta.

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Salmon Salad & Sancerre

In general, veggies can be quite challenging to pair with wine. However; the crisp, clean and refreshing nature of a Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most reliable pairings with an array of salads and cooked vegetables.  Although, there are some variations on the flavor profile of the varietal depending on where it comes from, stylistically speaking. Sauvignon Blancs have abundant citrus notes of grapefruit with lemon and lime, lots of fresh cut grassy aromas and vibrant acidity that make it a perfect companion with green salads, mild guacamole and hummus with crudités.

Since we are adding a deliciously fatty piece of salmon to the mix, a Sancerre is the absolute perfect choice! Sancerre is a region in the Loire Valley of France that produces intense mineral driven wines with piercing acidity made from the  Sauvignon Blanc grape.This version tends to be a little more mineral driven, austere, steely and grassy than it’s New Zealand counterparts.  The vibrant acidity in Sancerre is the perfect counterpoint to the rich seared salmon. In general, Sancerre tends to be more expensive than Sauvignon Blancs from other regions in the world. Average prices range from $20-$40.

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Butternut Squash Soup & Torrontes

Butternut squash soup with toasted sage and crabmeat is a classic fall dish. When it comes to wine for this hearty, decadent and creamy soup, I  typically reach for a nice Chardonnay aged in french oak to accentuate the baking spices in the dish, but I always like to mix things up a little with a great little sipper from South America.  Torrontes is Argentina’s signature white grape. It’s an aromatic varietal boasting beautiful floral notes of jasmine and roses,  stone fruit aromas, vibrant citrus along with a hint of honey, white pepper and sometimes herbs.

Depending on the producer, this wine can be a bit reminiscent of a Viognier or Gewurtztraminer.  The wine is light to medium-bodied with vibrant acidity similar to a Sauvignon Blanc that make it a great match with this soup. The acidity leaves your palate feeling refreshed in between bites and the brininess in the crab meat makes the wine’s fruit flavors come to life. You can serve this as a traditional soup or you can use it for an intriguing appetizer for guests as I have illustrated with this image. And of course, if you’re feeling a bit more traditional, you can grab your favorite bottle of Chardonnay for this dish.

Recommended Producers

Susana Balbo “Crios” Torrontes, Mendoza, Argentina (SRP: $12) 
Kaiken Torrontes, Salta, Argentina(SRP: $14)

Recipe: Butternut Squash w/Toasted Sage & Crabmeat 


1/4 cup olive oil
2 butternut squash
2 apples (Gala or MacIntosh)
1 onion
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. clove
1 tbsp. sea salt
1 tsp. white pepper
8 oz crabmeat
10 sage leaves (julienned)


Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut ends off squash and slice down the middle. Drizzle with olive oil, a pinch of salt & pepper and place upside down in large roasting pan. Pierce some holes in skin. Peel apples and slice in 4, add to the pan, peel and cut onions in quarters and add to pan. Add one cup of chicken stock to the pan and roast for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Let cool slightly and scoop squash out of the skins and place in food processor along with onion and apple. Pulse ingredients for about 30 seconds. Add 1 cup chicken stock and pulse until smooth. Transfer to a medium-large saucepan. Add coconut milk, salt, pepper, nutmeg & clove and heat over low heat until warmed through.

In a small saute pan, add 2 tbsp. olive oil, sage & crabmeat and cook for about 2-3 minutes over low-medium heat until crab is warm.

Spoon soup into a bowl and top with crab & sage mixture. Add diced apples for garnish and texture.  Serves 4.