Avocado …

Though avocadoes can now be found all year long, the best season for using them is between fall and spring. Avocadoes are very good for you and are rich in fatty acid and vitamins. In France, avocadoes are most often enjoyed raw, plain or in the beloved salad that adds shrimp and mayonnaise to the avocado.

Prepared sweet or savory, avocado prefers white wine

In Madagascar and in Brazil, avocadoes star in many sweet recipes and are often served as dessert. The traditional Mexican dish of guacamole is frequently on the hors d’œuvres table at cocktail time. Blended with chili pepper, fresh coriander and lime juice, this dish goes well with aromatic white wine. To work with the spice and stand up to the rich fleshy texture of the avocado, you have to go for a good dry and lively white wine Here I recommend a superb expression of Chilean Sauvignon from the Ventolera estate in the Leyda Valley area, in the village of San Juan, just 12 km from the Pacific Ocean. The winds and the range of temperatures are very conducive to slow ripening of the grapes. The 2013 Ventolera made by Stefano Gandolini is simply one of the very best that I have tasted in Chile because it isn’t only about the Sauvignon. In South America it is all too rare to find a Sauvignon that lets the terroir take pride of place! The vines grow on altered granites, producing wine whose exuberance is nicely controlled. The wine is full of nuance and has tense, pure texture.

Meanwhile, back in France, I recommend the 2014 Sancerre Nuance from Domaine Vincent Pinard. The finely chiselled and tightly-woven harmony of this white has never let me down. Chef at Ze Kitchen Galerie and the cheerful KGB in Paris, William Ledeuil has put together a very tempting soup of avocado and green apple, with crab salad. There is no temperature clash between this dish, served chilled, and the serving temperature of the wine. The soup also has a bit of lemon grass, and the crab salad is lightly seasoned with Thai basil and fresh coriander. So the wine has to go with all these flavours and still respect the iodine flesh of the crab. Here I propose the subtle, elegant 2014 Muscat Grand Cru Saering from Domaine Dirler-Cadé. Fine aromatics with notes of fennel and menthol, crystalline mouth feel and outstanding persistency all are hallmarks of this great wine. You can also try the 2014 Muscat Grand Cru Kirchberg de Ribeauvillé from the Domaine Kientzler, which also reveals great finesse and freshness.

Alain Passard (L’Arpège, Paris) works with avocado to make a soufflé with bits of chocolate. To go with the foaminess of the soufflé, reinforced with the flavours and bitterness of the cocoa, I suggest an aged, Koshu type Junmai Ginjo Kimoto sake, and recommend the 1997 Kinoene Kyuko. This sake, with its amber robe, gives up notes of roasted sesame and milk chocolate with hints of dried fruit. It is produced by a small family estate specialized in preparing this type of sake. They work east of Tokyo, in the Chiba prefecture. Kampai!

La Revue du Vin de France, octobre 2016