It’s time for another edition of the DC Omnivore 100, where we explore the top one hundred foods every good omnivore should try at least once in their lives.
“Fruit wine made with something other than grapes,” to be precise. Tom and I were kicking around which part of the Omnivore 100 list we wanted to try, and remembered that our CSA farm, Great Country Farms, has an affiliated vineyard run by the same family just across the street. We remembered seeing on their tasting list some wines made with fruit from the farm. And since we’re out there picking up our CSA share every week, it would be pretty easy to just drop by and grab a couple of bottles to try.
So we did. We picked up “The Peach,” a 50/50 blend of peach wine and vidal blanc, and “The Strawberry,” a sweet dessert wine made with 90% strawberry wine and 10% red wine. We brought them along on our trip out of town this weekend so that we could share them around with family. You know, in the name of Science™.
We broke these out on a Sunday night with dinner. Dinner was pork roast, salad, and roasted potatoes, but really, we weren’t thinking that hard about food pairings- we had no idea how to pair these wines anyway. Our panel was made of a whole range of tasters, from amateur wine enthusiasts, to people who enjoy a glass now and then, to the sailor who prefers beer or rum, to the guy who admittedly can’t tell the difference between Ray’s Hellburger and McDonald’s.
The Peach was universally well received. It was light, fruity, and the peach flavor was noticeable, but not overpowering or sugary. One taster described it as “cheerful,” which is about as apt an adjective as I’m likely to come up with. I think I could probably come up with a better choice from more traditional bottles for pairing with most foods, but I would gladly serve this at a summer dinner party while I was still trying to get the food on the table. It’s very refreshing, and probably would go well with sitting in the backyard. Not something I would drink every day, but very summery and appealing, and a good choice for when I want something different and not too dry. Most tasters had seconds, agreeing that it would be a pity to waste any of it.
After the plates were cleared and the dishwasher started, it was time to try The Strawberry, which is a dessert wine. When I smelled it, I expected it to taste practically like strawberry jam- overly sweet and rich- but was pleasantly surprised. The red wine added to the blend seems to cut the sweetness just enough to make it more complex and dry. The wine had sort of an unusual finish that I didn’t have a chance to get used to, but I bet it would be terrific with a little cheese plate, particularly with creamier cheeses. But I’m no expert, and I’m sure one of you will have better suggestions. There weren’t requests for seconds of this, but it wasn’t for lack of enthusiasm- one taster remarked that strawberry wine must only be unusual because it’s not traditional, because it’s delicious and he couldn’t imagine people not wanting to drink it.
So I recommend checking it out- I think a more traditional grape wine will still be my go-to beverage for serving with meals, but this is definitely the kind of thing I’d pull out before or after dinner when I want to try something new with my friends, and I’d certainly give it as a host(ess) gift when invited to someone else’s home.