MacRostie 2015 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($25), our Wine of the Week, is suave, sophisticated and balanced, with layers of flavors that unfold pleasingly on the palate.
There’s a suggestion of cream in the wine’s foundation, with flavors of white pineapple, Ruby grapefruit, dried mango and honey rising above the cream. Aromas suggest an apple orchard in full spring bloom and, as if brought in from a distance on a light breeze, just a hint of smoky toast.
The wine is focused around these flavors and textures, with enough bright acidity to keep it from becoming ponderous or overblown. It is an uncommonly food friendly chardonnay, easy to enjoy with all the usual suspects: fresh corn, polenta, wild Pacific King salmon and the white meat of chicken. It is also an excellent choice with game hen — stuffed with polenta, for a spectacular pairing — and guinea hen, along with pork tenderloin, lightly flavored sausage, mild Thai curries and grilled zucchini spiked with ground cumin.
For today’s pairing, inspiration comes from good organic carrots at some of our markets recently. Combined with a just slightly sweet vinaigrette punctuated with pretty sherry vinegar and a bit of bacon, the match is as beautiful as it is unexpected. Vegetarians won’t want to use the bacon, of course; I suggest replacing it with smoked onions if Tierra Vegetables (651 Airport Blvd., Santa Rosa) has any right now.
Roasted Carrots with Warm Bacon Maple Vinaigrette
Makes 2 to 3 servings
6 medium carrots, about 8 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter, trimmed but not peeled
— Olive oil
1 shallot, minced
— Kosher salt
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 bacon slices, cut in half crosswise
4-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
— Black pepper in a mill
11/2 -2 cups cooked brown rice, farro or quinoa or shredded frisée
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
Preheat an over to 350 degrees. Set a rack in a small roasting pan. (If you have a toaster oven, it works perfectly for this dish.)
Rub the carrots with just enough olive oil to lightly lubricate them, set them on the rack and put them in the oven. Cook for 40 minutes or until the carrots are tender but not too soft. There should be some resistance when you press on one of them.
Meanwhile, put the shallot and garlic into a small bowl, season with salt and add the vinegar. Set aside.
In a medium sauté pan, cook the bacon over medium heat until it is completely crips. Transfer to absorbent paper to drain. When the bacon has cooled, crumble or chop it.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan, return the pan to low heat and add the shallot and vinegar mixture. Simmer for about 1 minute. Add 4 tablespoons of the olive oil and the maple syrup and heat through. Stir, season generously with black pepper, then taste and correct for salt, oil and acid. Remove from the heat.
When the carrots are done, remove them from the oven.