Gasp! I’m still embracing my white wine side (I lead hard to Red) and pairing them with all sorts of things. Of course, when we think of pairing white wines, the food that often comes to mind is seafood. And there’s no shortage of it here whether from the Gulf of Mexico in my backyard or anywhere beyond. But I wanted to go a step further and try out different preparations of different types of seafood. So I cooked up a mess of seafood – skewered garlic pepper shrimp, crab cakes, fried soft shell crab, scallops, pan seared, Creole-seasoned halibut…you get the idea.
Sides included grilled corn on the cob, caprese salad, and fried okra.1 But then the fun part came, trying the wines with all the various dishes. With the exception of the Stina Pošip, all wines were provided as samples to try. So behold, a few seafood wines for your consideration.
2017 Tasca Regaleali Bianco, Sicilia, Italy ($15)
So y’all know how I feel about Sicily, its terroir, and its wines2, so I was thrilled to give this one a whirl. There are so many great things happening in Sicily these days, but the Tasca family has been part of Sicilian agriculture since the 1830s. The wine, the first produced on the Regaleali estate, is crafted of 39% Inzolia, 33% Grecanico, 19% Catarratto, and 9% Chardonnay3 and only saw stainless steel which ensured the fresh fruit flavors would be preserved. Clean and racy (almost seemed like a tinge of effervescence), the wine had flavors and aromas of tart green apple, lemon cream, vanilla, grapefruit, and mineral as well as an ever-present salinity. I seem to be picking up a lot of salinity in wines of late. Am I craving salt or is that what I really taste? Hmmm… We loved this one with the fried okra and soft-shell crab. That bright acidity was a great counterpuncher to the fried foods and worked to cleanse the palate. Tasca also produces a fantastic Rosé.
2017 Concha Y Toro Casillero del Diablo Sauvignon Blanc Reserva, Chile ($12)
Side Note: Patting myself on the back for my mad photography skills with this shot. Carry on now. All Sauvignon Blanc and produced by arguably Chile’s most famous producer, Conch Y Toro, who are known for producing consistent and affordable wines, this was probably the most versatile of all the wines. The wine was crafted using grapes form three of Chile’s coastal regions. You can click here for more on the origin of the Casillero del Diablo (“Devil’s Cellar”) name. Very pale straw lemon in the glass, with notes of lemon, lime, peach, and gooseberry. Medium+ acid and green, citrus flavors make this able to pair with many dishes. We enjoyed it most with the caprese salad, scallops, and grilled shrimp, but it paired with just about everything we threw at it. Great QPR on this one and a great all around seafood wine.
2015 Stina Pošip, Vinogorje Brač, Dalmatia, Croatia ($26)
Let’s dissect this one because you’re probably like what the heck is it. The white variety Pošip is an indigenous grape variety in Croatia. The grapes for this wine hail from the island of Brač which is known for its white stone called “Stina.” Wines made from grapes grown in soils such as this often have fantastic acidity and notes of minerality. I picked this one up from my friends at Topochines Vino (www.topochines.com) who are importing some really exciting wines.4 They import a great deal of Croatian wines which I’m so excited about since my trip there a few years ago. Showing a pale gold in the glass, it had notes of lemon-lime, peach, grapefruit, and a green herbaceousness along with some salinity and minerality. So yes, it’s a mouthful and provides a lot of complexity. While this was a seafood meal, I liked this one best with the vegetables, particularly the grilled corn. Rejoice vegetarians!
2017 Trivento White Orchid Reserve Torrontes, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina ($11)
How I love the aroma profile of Torrontes with its ever-present floral notes. Offering up some aromatic characteristics similar to Gewurztraminer, but not quite as sweet, Torrontes is a classic match for Asian, Indian, and other spicy fare. But don’t be fooled – while it smells sweet, Torrontes is usually made in a dry style. Crafted of 85% Torrontes and 15% Pinot Gris, this one had quite the floral nose with orchids, geraniums, and honeysuckle along with lots of tropical and stone fruits. Round and medium bodied in the mouth with flavors of peach, apricot, green melon, and a kiss of honey. Medium acid on this one in contrast to the others which had more pronounced acidity. It was fantastic with the Creole-seasoned halibut as well as the crab cake. OK, and since I always like to keep it real, I LOVED this the next day in the pool with chicharrones. Sorry, not sorry.
Do you have any favorite seafood wines? I would love to hear about them.