The old adage of white wine with seafood, though still applicable, is not the only way to go. One can also readily have red wine with seafood, too. And this is THAT opportunity. We have created this special dinner for pure enjoyment AND because we want to always add a new dimension to learning a thing about wine. This is the next episode in our quest to shed light on what pairing wines and foods can be. The culinary world has greatly changed during my professional career and this is my opportunity to show another dimension to it all. Nothing fancy……..just plain good!
Just as a reminder, “country” styled wines typically are those that are served at cafes and neighborhood eateries with their casual fare. They are so very different from the “trophy” wines that win all of the awards, high scores and accolades and need to spend years in the cellar before consuming. They are more for tastiness and enjoyment NOT for swirling, analyzing and taking notes. They unpretentiously and deliciously wash down the foods and freshen the palate between bites.
The challenge is finding the “good” ones, as not all café styled wines are created equal. We will feature three very tasty, interesting and unique renditions for this evening. We have worked hard to get these wines because they are so different and each provides a glimpse of their respective region, their indigenous grape variety and each done in a VERY different style. Chef Keith Endo created dishes for each and we hope the wines and the pairings will not only taste good, but will shed light on what can be.
WINE: Domaine du Salvard Cheverny Rouge–It was pure joy when we first ran across this Loire Valley family owned and run estate back in the 1990’s. Just to give you some perspective, this general area is where Joan of Arc did her crusades. Yes, lots of history. While we first fell for this estate’s wonderfully delicious, vivacious white wines, more recently, we also have been quite taken by their especially delicious, light as can be, pretty, thirst-quenching red wine blend (Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir & a tiny bit of Cot). This “country” style red wine brings such joy when taking a big gulp after an especially hard day’s work, especially when served well chilled. This family has been growing and making their wines since 1898. I would also venture, over the years, they’ve drank more than their fair share of their own irresistible wines, like this charmer.
Mushroom Crusted Scallop— mushroom ravioli & red wine sauce
WINE: Col des Vents Corbieres–Another French “country” styled red wine, but this one is from Corbieres, down in southern France near the Mediterranean. Yes, it is really the style of red wine served in neighborhood cafes and small” hole in the walls”. This wine is typically blended with a large chunk of Carignane, with smaller bits of Grenache and Syrah “seasoning”. These kinds of wines are a way of life in this neck of the woods. Yup, delicious, light, food friendly and completely gulpable.
Braised Spanish Octopus—charred vegetable ratatouille with balsamic, red wine and black pepper reduction
WINE: Luigi Giusti Lacrima di Morro d’Alba–Lacrima is the name of the grape variety in this case. Never heard of it? It is only now making a tiny comeback, after nearly going extinct. In fact, when the Italian government recognized this appellation in 1985, I was told there were but only two people still growing it. Thank goodness. This delightful, fresh, wonderfully perfumed, vivacious Italian “country” red deserves a “voice”. It’s aromatics make it such a captivating wine and food experience. Here is that pairing.
Seared Swordfish—squid ink pasta, roasted vegetables and rustic San Marzano tomato sauce
WINE: Filippo Gallino Birbet–here is a very refreshing, slightly sweet, FIZZY, uplifting reddish wine produced from the Brachetto grape variety in the Roero, Piemonte. I find versions such as this one to be lighter, friskier, more vivacious & uplifting than their Brachetto d’Acqui (& more famous) counterparts.
Strawberry Tiramisu—with mango sorbet