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2000 Labégorce, Margaux $39.99

A great value in Bordeaux! This bottle is mature enough to drink now, but has time in hand if you want to keep it in the cellar for the future. We love it for its laid back elegance and classic balance. A must try for your next nice steak dinner.

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We host regular weekly and Saturday wine tastings in each K&L location.

For the complete calendar, including lineups and additional details related to our events, visit our K&L Local Events on KLWines.com or follow us on Facebook.  

 

Free Spirits Tastings at K&L! Now that we have our license for spirits tastings in Redwood City and San Francisco, we’re excited to host regular free spirits tastings in those locations.  Check the Spirits Journal for an updated tasting schedule.

All tastings will feature different products from the Spirits Department and take place on Wednesdays in Redwood City and San Francisco. Visit our events page on Facebook or the K&L Spirits Journal for more information.

>>Upcoming Special Events, Dinners, and Tastings

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Friday
Feb252011

Food-Pairing Friday: White Beans

Cannellini beans, which are Italian white kidney beans, hold their shape well and lend a creamy texture to soups and stews.The meteorologists are forcasting snow across California this weekend, and not just in Tahoe and Big Bear, but in Noe Valley and Napa, maybe even a dusting in the hills around L.A.'s iconic Hollywood sign. It gives me a twinge of sympathy for the starlets who'll be strutting across the red carpet before Sunday's Oscars in next to nothing, but since many of them will be wearing dresses that constitute a down-payment on a house in some states, my sympathy is limited. 

White beans, my favorite of which are the Italian kidney-shaped cannellini bean, are an ideal foundation for cold-weather cooking. (If you can't find cannellini, Great Northern and Navy beans are great, too.) I prefer them dry, so you can salt them as you wish, but you generally have to soak them. If you're pressed for time, look for low-sodium canned beans. If you're feeling ambitious, try making cassoulet, the traditional Southern French white bean-based stew. Its combination of creamy, protein-rich beans, savory pork shoulder, luxurious and a touch gamy duck confit and Provençal herbs might even make you glad it's cold outside.

For something simpler, I love white bean soups. Onions, a little Parmigiano cheese rind, rosemary and lacinato kale add depth to this recipe from Gourmet magazine, whereas Michael Chiarello's Super-Tuscan white bean soup recipe doesn't require much more than you probably have in your fridge. (Prosciutto is a staple at my house--you may need to pick some up). If you need an easy-but-sophisticated appetizer to serve at your Oscar party, mash up or puree some cooked white beans with roasted garlic, chopped rosemary and chile flakes, season to taste and slather across grilled artisan bread like Pugliese or pane integrale. 

Keep wine pairings simple. All of the aforementioned dishes, except the cassoulet, are inspired by Tuscan cooking, so why not drink Tuscan wine? Sangiovese is the flagship grape of the region, and its high-toned cherry notes, grippy tannins, vibrant acidity and spice notes will complement and elevate even the most rustic of white bean dishes. And you don't need to splurge on a Brunello or refined Chianti Classico, a more youthful, forward Rosso di Montalcino won't come across like sandpaper next to the smooth texture of the beans. I love the 2007 Ferrero Rosso di Montalcino ($17.99), which has a dollop of tobacco spice to ground the sweet black cherry fruit. The 2008 Canalicchio di Sopra Rosso di Montalcino ($21.99) is a little wilder, with roasted meat notes and mineral lift that would make it a fun cross-cultural pairing for the cassoulet. And if you need more than one bottle, there's no better bargain in Rosso di Montalcino right now than the 2008 La Velona Rosso di Montalcino ($11.99), which is rich and savory, but still balanced.

Enjoy your weekend, and most of all: stay warm!

Leah Greenstein

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Reader Comments (3)

i love white beans and it's been such a long time since i've had some. The cassoulet recipe you shared looked so fabulous. Thanks for the reminder and for the list of pairings. Now, to make the time to prepare the dish!
February 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdiane
This is so uncanny! I literally made cassoulet for the first time in my life just days before this post specifically because I had a bunch of southern french wine i wanted to pair. I'm semi vegetarian and couldn't really justify adding the pork shoulder and duck confit for my weekday dinners on my own so I just used some smoked turkey sausage and turkey bacon to get a denser flavor and added some fried sage to the bouquet garni. It was the best cold weather food/wine combo imaginable ... for those of us struggling with 50-degree temps and rain in LA. Truthfully the one I had at Church and State avec rendered duck fat was a whole lot better!
February 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMeghan
We like the way you think, Meghan! (And we love Church & State). What wines did you pair with your cassoulet?
February 28, 2011 | Registered CommenterUncorked Blog Administrator

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