Wine | Hatch Chile Pairing: Trefethen Dry Riesling
If you’ve been browsing the grocery stores this month you may have noticed that the Hatch Chiles are back! This has become a regular thing as summer ends, especially the pre-roasted ones at AJs. And one of the “wine things” we do annually is to find this year’s choice for a white wine that pairs with the spicy Hatch as nicely as the ever-classic Margarita.
After going through this exercise quite a few times, it has become a foregone conclusion that wines made with the Riesling varietal simply work the best when it comes to pairing with spicy Chile dishes. This is especially true when it comes to low meat recipes such as a Chile Relleno Casserole.
You can try other varietals, but after a few comparisons, I think you will agree that the acidic, but slightly sweet, Rieslings are the closest match to an expertly mixed Margarita. So, for pairing with a fully potent Hatch Chile Relleno casserole, Riesling is the champ!
This year we stepped away from the German Rieslings (they do reliably work for spicy pairings) and ventured back to the Napa Valley. It is not easy to find a Napa Riesling that is not too sweet but still has enough tart character to compliment the Chiles. Quite on a lark, we opened one selection racked from Trefethen Family Vineyards a few years ago (unlike many other white wines, these age well). It is their 2016 Dry Riesling.
This is their standard $26 Dry Riesling and was totally up to the challenge. The spice and vegetable flavors of the Hatch Chilies, combined with the wine along with, is a total compliment, just like a Margarita. The wine did not intensify the spice; it simply cooled it a little and expanded the taste. A nice one.
Now it’s off to a couple of Trefethen’s later vintages to see if they can do as well as the 2016. Of course, since there are still so many Hatch Chilies available right now, it’s also calling for a taste of Dutton-Goldfield’s Riesling too, which is very consistent.
The North Coast Rieslings may move to “German levels” yet!