Wines well suited for Island foods

Thankfully there is a whole world to explore and enjoy in one’s search for good wine. Many wine lovers naturally gravitate to the award winners and specifically those which garner high scores and accolades from the major wine media.   There is always a time and a place to enjoy these, especially when sharing with some friends, co-workers or fellow wine lovers. I am sure most can recall at least one such really special wine ah-ha moment.

My question then is, have you also had that kind of ah-ha moment enjoying a mind blowing wine and food pairing?

In the “Old World” , France, Italy and Spain for instance, wine served with food is typically part of their lifestyle. Wine is regularly served at the dinner table, rather than only on special occasions.  Furthermore, each region typically has their own slant on regional foods AND what kinds of wines to serve with each. They have, after all, had a long history working out what works and what doesn’t.

We, in the U.S., have only recently really started down this road.

One of the interesting observations that I have learned over the years, is that different kinds of foods, more often than not, work with different kinds of wines .   How can the same wine, then, work with the same fish cooked with just salt and pepper, a teriyaki sauce and a Italian tomato sauce?

Since we have a wonderful selection of fresh fish here in the Islands, here are 4 wines which can work with a wide range of flavors and cooking preparations for you to experiment with.  Hopefully, the goal would be to find wines you could serve with fish at home.

2013 Rudolf Fürst Muller Thurgau “Pur Mineral”–I love this wine, because it is so amazingly light, minerally and ethereal with a crisp, refreshing edge.   You can therefore have this wine with all kinds of fresh fish preparations from simply sautéed with salt & pepper to lightly oriental in style to Mediterranean. Furthermore, because winemaker/owner Paul Fürst was selected as “2003 Gault Millau Winemaker of the Year” one is getting a stellar white wine at a reasonable price.

2013 Birichino Malvasia Bianca–The grape variety here is Malvasia Bianca and is grown in the cooler Monterey appellation of California. This wine has profuse perfume (lychee & grapefruit nuances), which in most cases will make the taster think the wine is sweet.  It is not. It is medium dry to dry depending on the vintage, with a lightness on the palate and a real, freshly squeezed lime edge, which is sure to keep your palate fresh and alert between bites.  Furthermore, we love how these kinds of “aromatic” wines uplift foods just as fresh herbs innate do.  You can fun with this wine at all kinds of Asian restaurants—especially Thai & Chinese—or even with Mexican or Mediterranean. This is really a quintessential “food” white wine, if there ever is such a thing.

2013 Champalou Vouvray Sec–This minerally, riveting white wine comes from France’s Loire Valley. Yes, this is the same general area where Joan of Arc did her crusades and where Leonardo Da Vinci chose to be buried. (the point being it has lots of history).  With my first sip, I am always re-amazed at how effortlessly light and ethereal it really is. Furthermore, this is yet another “aromatic” white wine, which is greatly butressed by the wine’s truly mesmerizing, prominent minerality which just enhances its food friendliness.  Besides the wide range of ethnic foods one could pair with this wine, it also really is an ideal wine just to sip on those especially hot days or after coming home from a hard day at work.

2014 Dr F Weins Prum Riesling “Estate”–The 2012 has just arrived here in the Islands. Cheryle and I were in the vineyards tasting these grapes with the winemaker/owner, Bert Selbach. (Cheryle was in total awe how impossibly steep and rocky they really are.)  Still, many of Germany’s top sites are also just as steep and rocky. In this case, it really is the masterful skills of Bert which separate him from his peers. His resulting wines are so remarkably light, ethereal, airy and delicious.  This would be the first wine I would grab for oriental foods. As you will see, it really is like biting into a cold apple and will help cool and soothe your palate between bites of spicy or salty foods.

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