Pumpkin soup and gewürztraminer: A Halloween pairing, Wine Country style
Once you’ve carved your spooky pumpkins and set them on your front stoop, it’s time to celebrate Halloween with your palate.
The best way to drink in the deliciousness of the holiday is to make pumpkin soup and marry it with a gewürztraminer.
If you’re enjoying this scrumptious pairing on Halloween night, when the super heroes and princesses come in droves, you won’t be tempted to gorge on Butterfingers and Almond Joys.
Yes, this delectable food and wine match trumps chocolate in all of its incarnations.
Here’s the skinny on why this is such a tasty twosome.
In the world of pairing, you either pick a wine that mirrors the flavors of a dish or one that contrasts with it.
With this duo, the flavors in the pumpkin soup are echoed by gewürztraminer, which is heavy on spice notes. They are, in fact, fraternal twins because the spices of cinnamon, ginger and allspice often show up in both.
In this buddy system, the best style of gewürztraminer to match with a rich, creamy pumpkin soup, is one that’s dry and complex.
Here are several gewürztraminers that fit this profile:
Gundlach Bundschu, 2017 Sonoma Coast Gewurztraminer, $25.Navarro Vineyards, 2016 Anderson Valley Gewurztraminer, $13.Joseph Swan Vineyards, 2017 Saralees, Russian River Valley Gewurztraminer, $30.Mill Creek, 2017 Estate Dry Creek Valley Gewurztraminer, $25.Husch Vineyards, 2017 Anderson Valley Dry Gewurztraminer, $15.
To set you up with a tasty soup recipe, here is one from the Minimalist Baker.
2 sugar pumpkins (or 2¼ cups pumpkin puree)
2 medium shallots , diced
3 cloves garlic, minced (1½ tablespoon)
2 cups vegetable broth (homemade or store-bought)
1 cup light coconut milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar (or honey if not vegan)
1/4 teaspoons each sea salt, black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Using a sharp knife, cut off the tops of the sugar pumpkins and then halve them.
Use a sharp spoon to scrape out all of the seeds and strings (see notes for a link to roasting seeds).
Brush the flesh with oil and place face down on the baking sheet. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a fork easily pierces the skin.
Remove from the oven, let cool for 10 minutes, then peel away skin and set pumpkin aside.
To a large saucepan over medium heat add 1 tablespoon olive oil, shallot and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until slightly browned and translucent. Turn down heat if cooking too quickly.
Add remaining ingredients, including the pumpkin, and bring to a simmer.
Transfer soup mixture to a blender or use an immersion blender to puree the soup.
If using a blender, place a towel over the top of the lid before mixing to avoid any accidents. Pour mixture back into pot.
Continue cooking over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes and taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Wine writer Peg Melnik can be reached at 707-521-5310.