When it comes to getting inspiration for a good meal there is no place better to go than the Farmers Market. I am lucky enough to frequent the Downtown 3rd Farmers Market in Las Vegas, yes, Las Vegas and yes, Downtown. This market is in the gorgeous old (well old in Vegas terms) Downtown Bus Station. This is an all organic market with local farmers (yes…there are farms in Las Vegas!) as well as some from further north in the state as well as Kerry Clasby, The Intuitive Forager, who brings in gorgeous produce from small organic farms in California. Kerry started coming to town to bring her amazing finds to the fine chefs all over our fair city. Luckily, she started a Farmers Market so all of us foodies could get our hands on some of those fine ingredients.
With all the amazing things you can find at this market (micro greens, fresh eggs, maitake mushrooms, baby artichokes, sorrel, purple cauliflower….the list just goes on and on) sometimes it can be a little overwhelming to try to figure out what to get to make a meal. Luckily Chef Stu is always there at the market and it ready with a recipe for anything you can find. On this occasion he inspired me with a recipe for Sweet Potato Gnocchi with spring vegetables. You can read our 4farm2mrkt blog post with the recipe here!
So of course I needed a wine to pair with this great gnocchi. Asparagus is notoriously difficult to pair with and the sweet potato gnocchi added a twist that I wasn’t sure what to do with. So I did some research.
I was leaning toward an Alsace Riesling or a Gruner Veltliner from Austria with back up plans of a Sancerre or Pouilly Fume from the Loire Valley (as recommended by Food and Wine).
So we headed to Marché Bacchus, which is a wonderful little wine shop and bistro here in Las Vegas. They were very busy with lunch, but Jeff Wyatt, the owner was kind enough to take a couple of minutes to help me and make a recommendation. With the asparagus he recommended something with good acid but also a heavier viscosity and directed us to a Schieferkopf Riesling from Alsace. It was a perfect pairing.
The Riesling was a 2010 by M. Chapoutier who is better known for the wines he produces in the Rhone. He and 5 friends decided to try their hand at Alsace Rieslings in 2009, so this was only their 2nd vintage. This wine is biodynamic and the grapes are grown on one of the highest vineyards in Alsace. Schieferkopf means “slate topped”. They handpick and gently press this wine and mature it on lees for several months in traditional Foudres. The maturing on lees is evident in the viscosity. This wine is a deep golden color and you get that note of petrol on the nose. When you put it in your mouth it has charming acid. Charming? You say. Yep, that’s what I say. It’s acid that is tempered by the thickness of the wine which balances both beautifully.
So the acid was lovely cutting through the warmth of the gnocchi and pairing well with the spring vegetables, but then this extra viscosity in the wine wrapped everything up. I think in the 4farm2mrkt post I waxed poetic on the gnocchi describing it: “Like the feel of a brisk spring morning wrapped in your favorite sweater” Which is actually applicable to this wine also.
Did this post make you hungry and thirsty? Well click on the video and see how to make it yourself!