Wine & Food Pairings
“Saint Jacob’s Smooth Spice”
Note: Scallops in Europe are called St Jacob’s Mussel
Recipe for 4 Servings:
8 Medium sized potatoes - cook and mash - season with kosher salt, and butter to taste
2 Teaspoon of Wasabi powder – blend with mashed potatoes
Sear the 8 Scallops, until they have a nice golden brown crust
Layer the seared scallops onto the wasabi mashed potatoes, top with smoked caviar or trout caviar and a cilantro leaf. Voila!
Marco strolled into my office, after I had been on vacation for two weeks. The first day back to work is always rough, so I was apt to decline the invitation to taste wine. But since he had travelled thousands of miles, I thought I should oblige. I was happy I did, for he introduced me and my staff to some unique varietals and traditional wine making styles of Italy. Marco is an interesting fellow – a young man, but he likes old style wine, he appears shy, but once he started talking ( and didn’t stop) , it was obvious he was proud - especially of the wines.
Recently, I have had the pleasure of meeting several Italian wine-makers, and tasting a lot of Italian wine. At a recent dinner, one highly recognized maker touted that the only wine to drink was that of Piedmonte, namely the great Barolo. But Marco was just the opposite – his wines are from the unknown area of Piave in North East Italy, and many are made with relatively unknown varietals – like our featured wine of Manzoni Bianco.
Italy is unique in that it has literally hundreds of native grape varietals, although about 20 red wine varietals and 17 white wine varietals compose most of their major varieties. Manzoni Bianco was created from cross pollination between Pinot Bianco and Riesling Renaro and has a light straw colour. The vine is named after the illustrious Professor Luigi Manzoni, eminent viticulture scholar and Headmaster of the Viticulture and Enology School of Conegliano, who created it through different experimentations made between 1930 and 1935, by crossing Pinot bianco and Rhine Riesling vines. The wine has the unique elegance of Pinot Bianco and the exquisite aromatic notes of Rhine Riesling. Excellent as an aperitif, exceptional with hors-d'oeuvres, soups, delicate risottos, hearty fish courses, white meats.
Vigna Dogarina is a young label, that was established in the 1970’s. All the grapes are grown on 70 hectares clayey-magnesia from the estate and on slopes or hillsides that produce smaller berries, and more concentrated grapes. When I asked Marco about his growing practices he scoffed that although he could grow grapes organically, maybe his neighbor wouldn’t – why go through all the hassle and expense of an organic label? He admitted that in general he farms organically without pesticides or herbicides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers or synthetic chemicals. Having an official “organic” label would add several dollars to each bottle.
Marco definitely bucks trends and systems. He sells unknown wines, low in alcohol with a traditional style crisp with acidity. In response to the US requirement that wine bottles must have a “sulfite” warning label, he labeled his “Contains suphites for the last 2,000 years” – until the government made him remove that disclaimer. It is no surprise how Marco has chosen his wines – he originally trained as a chef and was the Sommelier of a 3 star restaurant in Italy. Wine should go with food and he matched all the components of this wine with the components of the food.
Make this simple recipe and savor the meld of flavors with the Vigna Dogarina Manzoni Bianco. This wine is available at Joy Wine and Spirits, 1302 E. 6th Avenue.