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Wine assignment


Mano
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My wine assignment for a dinner on Saturday is to find a match for Seared diver scallop and crispy sweetbread, favas and peas, shaved lomo, Spanish paprika and 25 year old sherry vinegar.

3-4 bottles and I'd like to keep the price around $100-125.

It seems to be a pretty rich dish. White seems obvious, but my knowledge of whites is limited. I was thinking of a Grand Cru Chablis, which is flinty and may be a counterpoint to the sweetness of the 25 year old sherry.

Or maybe a Vouvray Loir Valley?

Bottom line is, I'm just guessing here. Any help would be appreciated.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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My wine assignment for a dinner on Saturday is to find a match for Seared diver scallop and crispy sweetbread, favas and peas, shaved lomo, Spanish paprika and 25 year old sherry vinegar.

3-4 bottles and I'd like to keep the price around $100-125.

It seems to be a pretty rich dish.  White seems obvious, but  my knowledge of whites is limited.  I was thinking of a Grand Cru Chablis, which is flinty and may be a counterpoint to the sweetness of the 25 year old sherry. 

Or maybe a Vouvray Loir Valley?

Bottom line is, I'm just guessing here.  Any help would be appreciated.

It is the paprika and sherry vinegar that makes the matching more difficult. I'd go with Champagne or a fino Sherry. If you could find a good aged white Rioja that would do, but they would cost more than you want to spend. You might also go with a Chablis.

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If you are looking to furnish 3-4 bottles, I suggest mixing it up a bit and educating yourself and the others. While it may be nice to offer 3-4 of the same wine, 3-4 different wines can generate some fun discussion. Here are some candidates that will get you 4 wines instead of 3:

Spain

Bodegas Palacios Remondo "Placet," Rioja Blanca

Do Ferreiro Albarino, Rias Baixas

Italy

Giacosa Roero Arneis

Taburno Falanghina

France

Chabils Premier Cru of your choice (Grand Cru may threaten your budget)

Savennieres (Baumard or Domaine du Closel)

Germany

Riesling Trocken or Halbtrocken from the Pfalz (Muller-Catoir, Basserman-Jordan, Koehler-Rupprecht)

Bubbles

Baumard Cremant de Loire Carte Turquoise

Charles Baur Cremant d'Alsace

Champagne of your choice

Someone else will have to add wines from the U.S., Australia, or New Zealand to this list.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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Thanks for all the great suggestions; it's exactly what I was hoping for.

Perhaps I should've given some brief background and parameters:

There are 15 of us so all 4 bottles have to be the same.

My wife is not a fan of champage.

The wine group is comprised of some educated and discerning drinkers/collectors, along with some people who enjoy good wine, but are mostly along for the ride.

Although we strive to have wines match the food, some of our dinners have been "big red" blowouts. Fun, but we certainly could've done better justice to both the wine and the food.

All of our dinners have great wine and food, but this is a particularly special event. Clearly, this is a tough dish to match with wine, but it deserves my best effort, knowing it's unlikely a perfect match exists.

I PM'd our own Katie Loeb, who lives here in PA and is familiar with our State Store system for selling wine and liquor. I got her PM this a.m. and Katie recommended the R PICHLER GRUNER VELTLINER SMARAGD HOCHRIAN 01, from Austria. I'm completely unfamiliar with this wine, but trust Katie's judgement. She's been in the wine business at some terrific restaurants and knows her stuff. It's about $37 and I'll have to drive about 45 minutes to the nearest store that carries four bottles. I'm willing to spend more and drive a bit if it's that good a wine.

I can also buy SIMONNET FEBVRE CHABLIS 1ER CRU MONT DE MILLIEU 04 that's now on sale for $20, which is $24 off the regular price here in PA. I drank this wine last Friday with Vietnamese food. It was not a great match so I can't say I really know what this wine tastes like. Moreover, my experience with white burgundies is not extensive. There's plenty available 10 minutes away.

So, what do youse think?

Edited by Mano (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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Mano,

I think Rudi Pichler makes great Gruner Veltliner. I'm not sure it's the first wine I'd think of for your dish, however. Especially at $37, which seems a tad high to me. Give the choice between that and the Chablis, I'd lean toward the Chablis. But you might be able to do two of each and let others decide -- that should still give decent-enough pour sizes.

I looked on the PLCB web site. The Palacios Placet is not available. The Do Ferreiro (but they misspell it as Ferreirro) Albarino is $21.59 (fair price). The Giacosa Roero Arneis is $29.99 (a tiny bit high, but not outrageously so). The Taburno Falanghina is not availabe, but I'd go with Mastroberardino as a back up. For Savennieres, Baumard is availabe at $22.99 (the Clos du Papillon is priced slightly high at $30.99), and Joly is available at $32.99.

Now for the bad news -- They are all either SLO or Specialty. Looks like you're drinking Chablis and/or GruVe.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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Mano,

I think Rudi Pichler makes great Gruner Veltliner.  I'm not sure it's the first wine I'd think of for your dish, however.  Especially at $37, which seems a tad high to me.  Give the choice between that and the Chablis, I'd lean toward the Chablis.  But you might be able to do two of each and let others decide -- that should still give decent-enough pour sizes.

I looked on the PLCB web site.  The Palacios Placet is not available.  The Do Ferreiro (but they misspell it as Ferreirro) Albarino is $21.59 (fair price).  The Giacosa Roero Arneis is $29.99 (a tiny bit high, but not outrageously so).  The Taburno Falanghina is not availabe, but I'd go with Mastroberardino as a back up.  For Savennieres, Baumard is availabe at $22.99 (the Clos du Papillon is priced slightly high at $30.99), and Joly is available at $32.99.

Now for the bad news -- They are all either SLO or Specialty.  Looks like you're drinking Chablis and/or GruVe.

If that's the worst news I get today (or any day), all I can say is, life is good in America. :smile:

Katie emailed me again and also recommended a 2/2 split of the Chablis and R PICHLER GRUNER VELTLINER SMARAGD HOCHRIAN 01 or the JAMEK GRUNER VELTLINER STEIN AMRAIN FEDERSPIEL 03 $20.

The Jamek is available closer by than the Pichler, but I'll probably take a road trip and buy the more expensive wine.

Thanks again for all your help.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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The Gruner recommendation is bang on the money. I'd also look at a Coteaux du Layon from a top producer such as Baumard if you want to really enhance the inherent sweetness of the scallops.

Stephen Bonner

Vancouver

"who needs a wine list when you can get pissed on dessert" Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nightmares 2005

MY BLOG

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I think the sherry vinegar is throwing a curve. The question really is: to what degree does that sherry predominate in the dish. If it is subtle then you have a pairing of scallops and sweet breads which present earthy and gamy flavors (some nuttiness as well).

I think this calls for an earthy red that is not too "big."

Pinot Noir (in that style) or perhaps a Loire red (Cab Franc) and a Pomerol would also be very nice. (I had a wonderful sea scallop and foie gras dish at Susannah Foo and a Pomerol went very well with it (the spices were on the Asian side --of course--and I forget which Pomerol I had).

If the sherry is pretty assertive in the dish then a white would be a better choice. It should be a darker, complex white with earthy notes. (a dry sherry would work well also).

I know this is late and borders on wine geeky obscurity (perhaps for the next dinner) but a white from the Jura comes to mind as maybe a great match. These wines are often made in an oxidative style providing a nutty note and they are also often very complex and earthy.

Tissot is a good producer.

Their Arbois Savignin has a nutty salty (mates nicely with the diver scallop and the sweetbreads) tangy earthy quality.

I admit these wines are not too easy to find (they are out there though) but should be tried if one has the chance.

I also think a nice Meursault would work-- a basic villages effort with a few years age--2003 would be fine.

A riesling or gewurtztraminer from Alsace would also do well--one with a touch of residual sugar.

The whites of Jermann from Northern Italy are a possibility. Lot's of character and assertiveness.

A white rioja would be ok.

again--all depends on how prevalent that vinegar is!

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I think the sherry vinegar is throwing a curve. The question really is: to what degree does that sherry predominate in the dish. If it is subtle then you have a pairing of scallops and sweet breads which present earthy and gamy  flavors (some nuttiness as well).

I think this calls for an earthy red that is not too "big."

I know this is late and borders on wine geeky obscurity (perhaps for the next dinner) but a white from the Jura comes to mind as maybe a great match. These wines are often made in an oxidative style providing a nutty note and they are also often very complex and earthy.

You're right about the sherry vinegar. The paprika is also an unusual spice to add to scallops and sweetbreads. The dinner is catered so I don't know how pronounced the sherry will be.

This a.m. I bought the Chablis and Gruner Veltliner, and as luck would have it, a store 30 minutes closer just received a few bottles of the Gruner.

The fellow at the store was far more knowledgeable about wine than any PA wine and spirits employee I've ever met. He tried to talk me out of the Chablis and also recommended a Pinot Noir. His point of view was informative, and along the lines of your recommendation. After some discussion, I decided to stay the course.

Your choice of a Pomerol with scallops and foie gras makes sense as the foie gras is far richer and will coat the mouth compared to sweetbreads, which are the most mild of organ meats. Also, you're not alone in your recommendation of a Jura, another wine I know nothing about. Someone on Chowhound wine gave a wonderful description of Rijckaert's 2004 Arbois «Grand Élevage» Vielles Vignes Savagnin from the Jura. It's not available here in PA and a Google search turned up nothing for NJ or DE.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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Too much is being made of the sherry vinegar, I don't care how old it is. Unless it is greatly reduced and sweetened, treat it as any acid -- like lemon juice. I'm also guessing there are a small amount of sweetbreads, and they are mixed together with the veggies.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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A key to finding wine that pairs with food is to identify the flavors that predominate in the dish.

Sea scallops pair very nicely with some red wines as do sweetbreads (in any form--even if "mixed with the veggies").

Any vinegar can impart very assertive flavor to a dish. There are distinct flavor differences between lemon juice and vinegar, in fact, lemon juice is often recommended as a replacement for wine vinegar in salads--lemon juice is more wine friendly generally speaking. Lemon juice is also less assertive in any dish as it provides acid and a mild citrus flavor. Vinegars are also acidic but their flavor is definitely stronger. I believe it is more about the flavor and less the acid.

The ideal situation would be to actually taste the dish and then decide on a wine.

If the vinegar is very assertive in the dish then this would preclude most red wines IMOP and point to whites.

If, on the other hand, the flavor of the vinegar is subtle then a red wine would work nicely.

I found it interesting that with this dish there seemed to be an assumption that only white wine should be considered. I am not sure why. (could it have been the vinegar? or more likely the white wine with seafood rule?)

Anyway--

Reds like pinot noir are IMOP simply wonderful with scallops and sweet breads especially in a dish as earthy as the one under consideration--paprika has a dark and smoky quality (especially if it is smoked--of course) that cries out for red wine.

How the dish is constructed is also important.

Again.

Ideally, one would simply taste the dish and then make a wine choice. Pretty simple.

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First I’d like to apologize for not posting right after the wine dinner to thank everyone for their input. I was waiting to get emails for all the wine/course matching and some people are taking their time in responding.

The dinner was a potential disaster, which turned into a great success. The chef, who is chef/owner of one of Philadelphia’s best BYOB’s was supposed to arrive at 4:30 and guests arrived at 7:00. His car broke down on the highway and he and his staff of a sous chef and server didn’t get there until 7:30. No food was served until 8:30. The 15 of us are a happy and patient bunch so we drank pinot noir and champagne. The chef was focused but frazzled and the food was fantastic.

As you can see, there was an enormous amount of food; six appetizers and seven courses and three of the courses had foie gras!

We were all pretty full after the appetizers, and we didn’t know there was another seven courses to come. On average, there was 30 minutes between courses and at one point about 10 of us took a 20 minute walk and a few of us smoked cigars. Two people ran up and down the stairs to get their bodies going.

By midnight, we realized we wouldn’t be able to fit all the courses in, unless we planned on staying over, so the fifth course (beef) was 86’d. Also, the port for dessert wasn’t served.

We didn’t finish until 1:15 and left soon after.

As soon as I get the information, I’ll fill in the wines with ?

Appetizers

Baby Lamb Chop with feta and ratatouille

Fresh shucked oyster shooter with spicy ginger broth, quail yolk and salmon caviar

Prime beef slider with fried onions and gruyere cheese

Petite Dungeness crab cake with grain mustard remoulade

Baby octopus with chorizo, olives and chickpea puree

Sweet corn arepa with spicy pork verde

Moet White Star NV

1st

Seared diver scallop and crispy sweetbread, favas and peas, shaved lomo, Spanish paprika and 25 year old sherry vinegar

R PICHLER GRUNER VELTLINER SMARAGD HOCHRIAN 01

SIMONNET FEBVRE CHABLIS 1ER CRU MONT DE MILLIEU 04

2nd

Seared foie gras with bing cherry beignent and cherry gastrique _

Château d'Yquem 1990 Sauterne

? Sauterne

3rd

Pan roasted Long Island duck breast, tender organic greens, verjus macerated berries and duck liver mousse and cocoa nib crostini

WesMar Sonoma Coast, Balletto Vineyard Pinot Noir 2004

4th

“surf and Turf”: Veal tenderloin, butter poached lobster, sweet potato puree and sea

Pinot Noir?

5th

Barrel cut prime rib or strip steak (you choose), Braised beef shortrib, and creamy potato gratan

Cabernet ?

Cheese

Django’s artisan cheeses served with crostini, madelines and home made jams and confitures

Bordeaux/Graves?

Dessert

Chocolate terrine and almond semmifreddo

1997 Port?

Del Dotto Chardotto Port (blend of zinfadel syrah)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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