Saturday, August 19, 2006

Wines 101 – Fagottino Salmone and Indivia

I recently published the recipe for a puff pastry log filled with Salmon steaks, spiked with the Belgium salad Endive. At the same time I invited several people in the industry to suggest the most appropriate wine to accompany this delicate entrée. This exercise, which I hope to reproduce once a week, can be a great way for everyone to learn a little about the balance between food and wine. Choosing the right wine can turn a great meal into an unforgettable experience.

One of the things most people do not immediately realize when they begin tasting wine is that, in most cases, the wine is a compliment to a meal and is not something to be consumed alone. Exceptions to this are Prosecco and most white wines as before dinner drinks. So saying, “I drink only Sassicaia,” usually means that the individual is trying to impress and has not arrived at an understanding of wine and the passion of wine. The Italian Wine Guy has been promoting this idea for many years. I call him “John the Baptist” of wines. He tirelessly preaches, with over 20 years in the wine business, the gospel of quality wines, not expensive, and the importance of choosing the appropriate wines for the occasion.

I was particularly impressed with the suggestions of Shelley Lindgren. She is the wine maiden (that means director) at A16, a restaurant in San Francisco. Her choices indicated that she was able to identify the flavors of the recipe and propose an heirloom wine of Friuli that would accentuate the natural flavors of the Salmon and mitigate the bitter of the Indivia without overpowering the entrée. I have never been to A16, but any restaurant that can count on this type of professional passion and competence has to be good.

Shelley’s Suggestion:
The recipe sounds delightful and is making me very hungry. It is a segue from the shark pairing to this delicate preparation of salmon. Although there was some thoughts of medium bodied reds with vibrant acidity like the Moccagata's Barbaresco style, I recently tasted the wonderful wines from Damijan and imagine the bitterness of the endive, richness of both the salmon and puff pastry would be suited for the Ribolla Gialla from Damijan, Venezia Giulia IGT 2003. It would offer a similar body to the dish and allow all the intricate flavors to not go unnoticed.

Italian Wine Guy's Suggestion:
1) Planeta Cerasuolo di Vittoria would be nice. Light red with a liveliness and body that will hold up to the salmon.
2) Prosecco - either the Cartizze from Bisol or the Vigna Paradiso from Montesel. Creamy and delicate, the bubbles would be nice with the puff pastry and the endive.

Guy Stout, Master Sommelier and owner of Stout Vineyards in the Texas Hill Country, is a Certified Wine Educator (CWE), and on the Board of Directors of the Society of Wine Educators. He suggests:

I would go with something to down play the endive but match up with the marinated salmon and the rich protein , GravLoks style?

Like a Prosecco from Mionetto "Sergio Mo", or Rotari Brut Rose from Trentino, a Feluga Pinot Grigio or Cerasuolo di Vittoria from Planeta.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge and passion with us.


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Blogger Dianne said...

Hi David

What a brilliant idea! To tag the wine to the food on your blog. I love wine, but know very little about it, tending to stick to the same wines. I went wine tasting in the Hunter Valley once .... arrrggghhhh, my wine palatte is very European!


2:54 AM

Blogger RennyBA said...

I do agree with you: wine should always emphezise the wine. A good guide is to drink wine from the country the food comes from.
Friday we had a lovely bridge evening with friends and had Spanish wine - sorry, but we didn't have Italian food:-)
I always enjoy reading your guidens in the wine world and your thoughts. Thanks for sharing and have a great week ahead!

9:27 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Dianne Thank you. It is all about balance. I try, with everything I write, to present a different way of thinking about our everyday environment. A meal should be pleasureful experience, an opportunity to exchange thougts and ideas with those around us and not just a way to fill our stomachs.

I think what you identified in the Hunter Valley wines was the mass production mentality. They believe it is better to produce a consistent mediocre wine than to risk to have great wines one year and poor wines the next. Wines are pushed to the extremes adding things that have nothing to do with wine just to create some fad.

This is not to say that all producers are doing this, but most are. It should also not be confused with the capability to make good wine, I know a few and they make, for their own consumption, some fantastic wines.

Renny You are on the right track. Spanish wine with Spanish food is the way to go. Your thoughts indicate a true understanding of the passion of food and wine.

The artisan wine industry is under attack from the big producers. I have seen over the last few months many bloggers and traditional journalists move away from the concept of quality wine to strongly supporting industrial processes for the production of wine.

Hopefully, as the general public returns to the healthier foods they will understand that wine can be manipulated as easily as industrial packaged foods.

10:13 AM

Blogger Italian Wine Guy® said...

Thank you, Davide....looks like you be doing ok with your own baptizing going on....


11:11 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

IWG C'mon Gianni, be nice to me...

VV Quality over Quantity!

11:30 AM

Blogger Expat Traveler said...

That's good info. We learned a lot in July and really want to go back and learn more. For sure our new fav is dessert wine, but we need to go somewhere to actually afford a taste ($70 is the norm here) and that's way too much for my taste buds!

7:33 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Expat While I do not know the taxes on wines in Canada, 70$ is still too much for a dessert wine.

Let me know one that you like and I will put together some similar suggestions that may be less expensive.

7:44 AM


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