This month, MacRostie is releasing both the Arrow Block Pinot Noir and Sangiacomo Chardonnay. Now that I am creating wine pairings for MacRostie’s wines, Heidi and I have a great excuse for even more phone calls. Since she’s the one with all the wine knowledge and a wonderful cook in her own right, I wanted her input on what pairs well and what should be on the menu. As we discussed how many meals I’d need to create to cover both of MacRostie’s May releases, an idea struck. Frequently at a dinner party I have guests who are only interested in red or white wine, but not both. How fun to have a dish that would pair well with both wines? The white drinkers could have the chardonnay and the red drinkers the pinot. But what to pair? That’s where versatile salmon saves the day. This month Heidi and I made more formal our process of working together on a food and wine pairing. It all starts with the wine. Heidi sent me her tasting notes on the two wines and I started building the skeleton of a menu. I was feeling inspired by our Scandinavian heritage this month and the lingonberry BBQ butter on the salmon came to be. The whole grain mustard on the potato salad (which we tested with both sweet potatoes and redskin potatoes) and the caraway seeds on the salad all nod to Sweden while the sprouts, sunflower seeds, kale and grilling early in the spring point towards California sensibilities and wine. The next step was Heidi mailing me the wine and me emailing Heidi an ingredient list. We set up our ipads in our kitchens and cooked like we were in the same room rather than thousands of miles away. We opened the wine. We cooked. We tasted. We adjusted. We rinsed the dressing off the kale. We made a new one. We laughed. We sat down and ate and discussed how well the food complemented the wine and how it rounded out various characteristics of the wine. It was a really special day that we both look forward to repeating. The result is this versatile meal that suits both wines well.