After reading about pairing wine with desserts on Vino in Love, I thought I’d post my first review on white wine. Years ago when I started drinking wine, I enjoyed sipping a glass of Chardonnay at parties as an aperitif with cheese and nibbles under the sun before the mains or super crisp and fruity Sauvignon Blanc with fish or spicy Asian dishes. Luckily, all that happened in New Zealand, the country of white wine. It didn’t realise how the style of white wine could be so different and it was interesting how I picked out New Zealand wine just from the smell in the blind tasting I did on the wine course. Though I’ve tasted some white along the way, I’ve put whites behind me and now I’m all for red wines. I simply find red wine grapes more interesting and capricious like me.
I’ve received three bottles of whites from different guests, one from Alsace, one from Jura, and the other from Württemberg.
The first to be opened and finished was Savagnin from Jura. It was perfect with my leftover fish improvised with potato and caper frits with garlic aioli and later with Comte cheese. I usually cook a whole fish instead of fillets and get my hands dirty by boning the fish on the first day, and then eat as much as I can and save the rest for another day and another weekday dinner. It is so easy, handy and economical that you will stop buying canned tuna for the sake of eating fish.
So, the wine…wow, wow, wow…. what can I say? Just full….full both on the nose and palate. The taste was totally unexpected and nothing like the wines I’d known up to that point. It was hard for me to say I had liked it instantly, being a non-white wine drink, but I was fascinated by its complexity. This dry, full-bodied white was so walnut-nutty and musty that I would have gone nuts if it hadn’t been for its acidity and fruit flavours of green apple, lemon custard, pear and apricot. The wine was very reminiscent of sherry, which is due to the oxidation method unique to the Jura wines. So I understood then why it paired well with the nutty, fruity cheese, Comté.
Comté is very special in my life. I still remember my first bite of Comte years years ago, which opened the door to the world of French cheese. I fell head over heels in love with French cheese and I’ve tried cheese from all over the world, but still Comté is high up on my hard cheese list. It is complex, fruity, nutty and delicious, and its flavour changes by ageing, just like wine.
Well, I finished the whole bottle that evening. On the contrary, the off-dry Baron de Schiele, Gewürztraminer, Alsace was full of honey, elderflower and lychee (syrup in canned fruit cocktail if you don’t know what lychee is) with medium acidity. It was a darn delicious cheerful wine for sure, especially as an aperitif or with desserts. However, it is quite difficult to match with food that I like and I couldn’t drink it but could only wet the lips.
That evening was all about wine so I helped Mr.O to make something to go with this wine and he produced this delicious Prawn Avocado Cocktail. He got much more excited by the food this time and also surprised and proud of the work he had just done. While tasting it with the wine, we complimented our own food, saying how much better it was compared to the salmon avocado tartare at Big Chefs, one of the fanciest brasseries in Istanbul that offers world cuisine.
The main to compliment the wine was Pan-fried Salmon with Thai Curry Sauce, which I chose because of the wine. As food influences the taste, more precisely our perception of the wine, I consider it very important to have the flexibility to alter cooking methods according to the wine I drink. Of course, it is just me because wine comes first, but if food is more important than choose the wine later according to your food. 🙂
Because the wine lacked the acidity, I added spiciness, acidity and bitterness to the food. What you see under the salmon is pink radish, which I love fresh. The dinner was such a vanity affair at the mere cost of around €15 excluding the wines. That makes you think why people eat out, when you can enjoy fresh, healthy and delicious meals at home. Therefore, my food and wine obsession continues…
The Gewürztraminer, Alsace lasted three more days, which I guess tells you that it wasn’t up to my liking because it was off-dry with 11.5% a/v. It was a gift but I wouldn’t have bought it for myself. Having said that, the wine tasted good with salty Roquefort cheese we had after the meal. Still, in my opinion, Dopoff au Moulin 2011 was much more interesting and enjoyable to drink with food. For the Savagnin, I want to try more Jura wines when I get back to France because I quite liked it.
Prawn Avocado Orange Cocktail
well, classic but a taste-bud teaser for sure.
1. Simply cook the prawn in white wine and conserve the liquid for the curry sauce for the salmon dish.
2. Chop up shallots or leek finely, and also 1 clove of garlic.
3. Chop up some fruit like orange, mango or pineapple, and avocado.
4. Chop up fresh herbs such as mint, coriander, parsley, basil, one or mix of two types.
5. Season with salt, pepper and grain mustard, perhaps with a hint of cayenne pepper.
6. Squeeze lemon juice and toss gently. Assemble in a ramekin dish and plate with a drizzle of lemon infused olive oil.
Pan-Grilled Salmon with Thai Curry Sauce
1. Cut the salmon steak or fillet into smaller chunks and marinate in salt, lemon and turmeric.
2. Grill the salmon in a pan for 4 mins each side and keep it warm in the oven while making the sauce.
3. In the same pan, add 2 tsp of Thai curry paste, prawn liquid, a little oil, coconut milk, white wine and simmer for 1-2 mins quickly. Pour over the salmon and serve.
So easy right? Sorry for the rather hurried recipe. If you can’t understand the recipe, I will give you more detailed version. 🙂
Jura wines are great, but very hard to get in US – they come here in a very small amounts. That Savagnin sounds very good. And I have to mention that Comte is one of my all time favorite cheeses – for me, it has such a perfect balance, I can eat it any time : ) . Thanks for the recipes – both prawn cocktail and Salmon sound delicious!
You might need a wine smuggler friend like me ;p İ am keen on trying more when İ get back to France this May. İ will write more on Jura wines and other French wines, İ hope. Thanks. Happy wining.
I have the exact same Opinel knife that you have! 😛 It’s a good knife.
The Salmon looks pretty delicious. Might have to try that soon.
Comté is one of my favorite cheeses but I haven’t paired with Jura yet. I will definitely do so though. I can see the two pairing very well together.
Yes, the knife! İ love it! İ want to give it to everyone as a present. İ hope to experience great İtalian wines with you one day. Do you hold any events?
Sometimes I hold wine tastings in a restaurant in Munich, Germany. They have a really nice cellar that is ideal for wine tastings. So should you ever be around send me a mail 🙂 Should I not hold an event during that time we could still meet and enjoy a good wine. I’d love to do that!
Sounds wonderful 🙂 For some reason, İ thought you were based in Italy! Whether it be Italy, Germany or France, we shall meet for sure.
I used to live in Bologna, Italy but I moved back to Germany around half a year ago 😉
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