The Wines of Chile recently hosted an online tasting to promote Chile’s leading white wine varietals. This was another one of those virtual tastings I’ve talked about in the past and although this one was specifically hosted for bloggers, many events such as this showcase the value of social media to share opinions and tasting notes amongst enthusiasts and professionals alike.
When the Sauvignon blanc and Chardonnay showed up at the door, I knew that seafood pairings were in order. Many of the Chilean dishes fancy squid, albacore, hake, salmon, tuna, crab, shrimp, eel and lobster so we constructed our menu to accompany the wines; with Chile’s long coastline and close relationship to the sea, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for seafood to take center stage.
We selected a tuna ceviche, shrimp scampi, asparagus and corn risotto cakes as well as freshly grilled asparagus. That’s right, asparagus. I think this vegetable gets a bad rap when it comes to food pairings. On the contrary, it goes wonderfully with citrus, mineral, green melon and pear flavored white wines. Gruner Veltliner and Verdejo come to mind (check out a few unconventional pairings I recommend in Vegetarian Times) but many of the Chilean Sauvignon blancs carry similar characteristics, so I knew that many of these wines would pair equally well.
Out of the bunch I’d have to say we favored the Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Chardonnay, but what I appreciate the most about the flight is that they were all food friendly. Wine is meant to pair with food. Its something I harp on often, and hopefully, if I try hard enough and long enough, Americans will embrace a sense of place when combining food and wine. By that, I mean pairing foods from a specific region with the wines that are made there. Here are a few we tasted with a few food recommendations. Cheers!
2011 Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc
Spritzy orange pit flavors ending with herbaceous notes. Pairs well with grilled asparagus and risotto cakes. Drink now. Rating: Good | $14 | 13.5% ABV
2011 Cono Sur Single Vineyard Sauvignon blanc Colchagua Vall
Zippy, juicy, peachy, lively and round with a good burst of lemon-lime flavors. Pairs will with risotto cakes. Drink now. Rating: Good | $13 | 13.0% ABV
2011 Casablanca Nimbus Estate Sauvignon blanc Colchagua Valley
Honey water, key lime and lemon-lime flavors with a tinge of mineral, herbs and straw. Palate and pocket pleasing. Pairs well with tuna ceviche. Drink now. Rating: Good | $13 | 13.8% ABV
2011 Veramonte Ritual Sauvignon blanc Colchagua Valley
Grassy nose, grapefruit blast, lime, medium bodied, good acidity. Pairs perfectly with tuna ceviche and grilled asparagus. Drink now. Rating: Good | $14 | 13.5 % ABV
2010 Santa Rita Medalla Real Chardonnay Leyda Valley
Pear and apple, finishing clean and short. Pairs well with shrimp scampi and risotto cakes. Drink now. Rating: Good | $18 | 14.0% ABV
2009 Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Chardonnay Limari Valley
Luscious austere style with vivacious kumquat, apple and sage with a great mineral finish. Soft and feminine style. Pairs well with shrimp scampi and risotto cakes. Drink now. Rating: Excellent | $18 | 14.0% ABV