Italian Bubbles & Artichokes
Katie Parla and Kristina Gill recently came out with Tasting Rome, a cookbook that dives deep into the cuisine of Italy’s capital. Some of their most interesting findings are the recipes from the old Jewish quarter, like the Insalata di Carciofi Crudi. In it, the artichokes aren’t even cooked—just sliced paper thin, dressed in olive oil, crushed black pepper and sea salt and showered with slivers of Parmigiano-Reggiano. It’s a terrific trick, and sparkling wines— especially super dry Italian ones with zero dosage—are some of the few that can manage it. Murgo’s 2008 Extra Brut Metodo Classico from Sicily is a favorite at W&S, as are Edi Kante’s sparklers, like the Metodo Classico Dosaggio Zero.
Spanish Sparkling & Poke
Restaurateurs across the US have recently caught onto the delicious possibilities of poke, Hawaii’s raw fish salad with seaweed, turning it into an updated tartare for the millennial set. One of our favorites comes from Noreetuh, where chef Chung Chow builds off of thick cubes of bigeye tuna loin, adding thin slices of red onion, crushed macadamia nuts, pickled jalapenos and dried seaweed in a soy dressing. Go with one of the sparkling wines from owner Jin Ahn’s list: He heads to Spain, with Raventós i Blanc 2013 Conca del Riu Anoia Brut Rosé since it has body enough to stand up to the bowl. But most any fruit-forward Cava will mirror the creaminess of rich fish, rosé or not.
Sparkling Chenin & Grains
I’ve thoroughly dog-eared my copy of Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty, and if there’s one recipe I return to most, it’s his quinoa salad. His involves avocado, breakfast radishes and fresh favas in a lemony dressing, but it’s easily adaptable to whatever is in season. I often trade out his cumin and Aleppo pepper for sumac, coriander, red pepper flakes or just extra cracked black pepper. Bitter baby greens like cress or kale are a welcome addition, too. When it comes to wine, sparkling chenin is the way to go, as it’s as earthy and crisp as the flavors in the bowl. You could go classic, with a wine like Domaine Carême’s 2013 Vouvray Ancestrale, or funky and beyond France—check out the Jauma 2014 Pét-Nat Chenin Blanc from Blewitt Springs in South Australia.
Riffing off of caldo verde, Portugal’s kale-potato-sausage soup, Manuel Azevado gives the ubiquitous kale salad an inspired makeover at Tasca Tasca, his Portuguese restaurant just off Sonoma’s town square. He starts with an anchovy vinaigrette, rubbed into the dark green leaves so they’ll soften a little bit, then sautés chunks of potato and linguiça or chouriço in a little olive oil, and pours them on top. Sprinkled with some São Jorge cheese, it’s a meal in a bowl, and delicious with a glass of Portuguese sparkling, like the spicy, dry bruto from Luis Pato in Beiras or Aphros Loureiro Reserva Bruto from Vinho Verde.illustrations by Amy Schimler-Safford