Radishes are found in abundance on market stalls as of early March. Round or long, red, pink, yellow, purple or white, even black, radishes have varying degrees of pungency and taste. Black radishes have the most character. Radishes are low in carbohydrates and efficiently rid the body of toxins. They are also known to be effective against liver disorders.
In France, food lovers delight in the crunchiness of red radishes and enjoy eating them with a bit of salted butter and a slice of crusty bread. Radishes have an earthy rooty taste and a touch of spiciness; they call out for an incisive, sharp wine. With radishes, I recommend white wines with good tension and high acidity.
Melon, Chenin, Sylvaner, Aligoté
The Melon, Chenin, Sylvaner and Aligoté varietals are sharp and crisp. I recommend them highly, with a suggestion for the 2019 Les Chagniots 2019 Burgundy Aligoté, from the maison Chanterêves. Tomoko Kuriyama and Guillaume Bott run the house and propose an Aligoté from hundred-year-old vines they own. The 2019 vintage offers total balance on the palate, with both full mouthfeel and great tension – just the right match for radishes and butter…
Delicate bubbles and carpaccio
To go with a carpaccio of cod marinated with dill and raw radishes, where the fish is enhanced by the crunchiness and the taste persistency of the radish, I recommend a superb saké from the Toyama prefecture in the Hokuriku region. This saké, Haneya Junmai Ginjo, made by the brasserie Fumigiku Shuzo, is a pure crystalline Nihonshu made with the Tominoka variety of rice. It stands up to the fish, and beautifully envelops the crunchy radish with its superb persistency.
Another option, from France, would be to pair this carpaccio with a Champagne. My example is the 2012 vintage of the cuvée Lieu-dit Brisefer, in Mareuil-le-Port, made by Jérôme Dehours. 2012 is an excellent year, and this wine has not undergone malolactic fermentation and retains formidable energy. It is a delicate Chardonnay, with subdued subtle texture that goes perfectly with the fish.
Hungarian pure blend and black radish
Black radish steps up the pungency. With the recipe for remoulade of black radish and crab, from culinary columnist Laurent Mariotte, where fresh coriander and lime underscore the flavours, I would like to suggest you turn to a lovely, highly elegant wine with sublime acidity: the splendid blend of Hungarian Hárslevelü, Furmint and Olaszrizling, from the Somló appellation, co-created by Kis Tamás and the Moric estate, named Project Nr 2 2019. The vineyards in Somló are planted on volcanic soil, and the wine exudes its terroir with crystalline juice that is both mineral and saline. This wine is tall and pure, and goes beautifully with the iodine flesh of the crab and the persistency of the radish. An especially successful food and wine pairing.
La Revue des Vins de France June 2021
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