Wine pairing for steamers! I was excited to read Jeff’s Wine Pairing Weekend post pairing steamed clams and mussels with Cava for a number of reasons.
I’m getting ready to head to Cape Cod next week, and I expect my Dad will make a batch of steamers at least once while there. This is typically a post-beach snack, an hour or two before dinner. Usually beers are cracked open to go with it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind a nice cold beer after the beach. But hey, I am more of a wine guy, especially when comes to what to drink along with food. So I’m glad to know that there’s a good bubbly option besides beer to go with the steamers.
Cava is a nice option when you want a sparkling wine at significantly less than Champagne prices. It sounds like Jeff, who blogs at foodwineclick, found a good one for his steamer pairing: Campos de Estrellas Estate Cava Brut ($15). It definitely met our #winePW 2 theme of “refreshing summer pairings”. Get on over to foodwineclick to get all the tasty details of the pairing.
Oh yes, there’s one more great thing to mention about Jeff’s post. The steamer and Cava pairing was enjoyed on his porch….what better way to enjoy a summer day!
Photo courtesy of Jeff Burrows, foodwineclick.com.
My first instinct for salmon is to serve a Pinot Noir, but sometimes the topping or sauce calls for a white. When I made some mango salsa for grilled salmon recently recently, a white definitely seemed to be the call to go with the tropical fruit. I had a white Burgundy I was eager to try, and thought it could potentially work. I wound up being pleasantly surprised at how wonderfully the pairing came together. Get all the recipe details over in my Wine Pairing Weekend 2 post on Cooking Chat: Grilled Salmon with Mango Salsa and a White Burgundy.
The Burgundy I chose was the 2012 Guffens-Heynen Macon-Pierreclos Le Chavigne. We got honey and clover on the nose. Nice fruit on the wine–cantaloupe perhaps? Also a touch of honey–the fruit and honey definitely made this taste like summer in a glass. Perhaps most notable was the depth of texture in this wine, providing a great mouthfeel and long finish. This really made the pairing work–the wine had just the right weight to go along with the salmon–not to light, not so big it would overwhelm. The flavors in the salsa flowed seamlessly with the fruit and honey taste of the wine.
I loved the wine, but it’s not the style I tend to expect and seek in a white Burgundy. I typically gravitate toward an austere style with lots of minerality, and don’t expect such ripe fruit as we had in this one. I guess this is just a reminder that great Burgundy can come in different styles! Our pairing worked great, but I would by no means make a general recommendation to pair Chardonnay with this dish–many chards would be too oaky and/or buttery to play nicely with the flavors in the mango salsa. For Chardonnay to work here, it needs to be one that really let’s the fruit shine as our choice did. For a Burgundy, this one from Guffens-Heynen is a good value and worth tracking down–it seems to be available for around $30ish.
I often go with pinot for substantial fish like swordfish and salmon. I sort of did that this time–served Grilled Swordfish and Garlic Soy Marinade with the 2013 Banshee Rosé of Pinot Noir from Sonoma County. My tasting tweet on this one simply said “yum!” but I suppose I should attempt to elaborate. This rosé has enough body to stand up to this substantial grilled swordfish, with plenty of good fruit flavor of its own. As you might suspect, it had a nice refreshing quality one appreciates when it’s finally warm enough to get the grill going. I’ve also enjoyed the Banshee Pinot Noir, and have another bottle on hand. But I’m glad I went with the rosé for this first night of grilling, and will save that pinot for a time I have chicken or pork on the grill.
Salmon and Pinot Noir is a great pairing, and would seem to be a pretty good match to mention in the first post on this site. But let’s not leave it at the basic pinot and salmon, this is a first post and all. The pairing gets even better when you make a mushroom sauce for pinto. The earthiness of the wine matches the similar characteristics of the mushroom for an awesome pairing!
My recipe for the salmon with mushroom sauce is over here on Cooking Chat. I made this version for a wine club dinner focused on Burgundy. The dish certainly was great with all the red Burgundies, but my favorite was the 2011 La Pousse d’Or Chambolle-Musigny. But you don’t have to stay in Burgundy for a good pinot for this dish, consider an Oregon pinot. I enjoyed this meal another time with the 2011 Soter North Valley Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley.