Time for another wine celebration! Saturday, July 18th is National Strawberry Rhubarb Wine Day. We’ve enjoyed the pairing of these sweet yet biting flavors for centuries, in desserts and wines.
Strawberries date back to ancient Roman times, while the first garden strawberries were grown in France in the late 1700s. Early Americans found a surplus of wild strawberry plants in the New World and began using them in simple pioneer foods.
The rhubarb plant has been cultivated for thousands of years. According to legend, a gardener carried the rootstock to New England in the early 1800s, but housewives didn’t accept the plant until it proved to make a good pie filling, hence its nickname “pie plant.” In the 1940s, rhubarb was ruled to be a fruit for the purposes of regulations and taxes since American cooks used it mainly to make into desserts
Strawberries, which come from the rose family, provide sweet, juicy flavors wrapped in a berry aroma. Mix that with the oh-so-tart taste of rhubarb, and a strawberry rhubarb wine should offer up sweetness with a burst of refreshing tartness.
This is a “drink when ready” wine; aging does it no favors. If you’re looking to pair it with food, opt for spicy pork or roasted chicken, spinach salad, and flan or shortcake for dessert. Or just chill a bottle and enjoy on a hot summer afternoon.