Penne with Tuna and Tomato … Served with a Sparkling Limoux

Pairing: Penne with Fresh Tuna, Tomato, and Herbs Paired with J. L. Denois Lune Vielle de Mars Limoux

Food: Garganelli con Tonna Fresco is chef Cesare Casella’s wonderfully simple but elegant dish that highlights fresh tuna steak with fresh oregano, parsley, garlic, and tomato all tossed with pasta (we like penne). Lightly brown the garlic and herbs in some olive oil. Toss in a generous cup of halved cherry tomatoes and saute them briefly until the tomatoes just begin to soften. Add 1/2 inch cubes of fresh tuna steak and brown them being careful not to overcook the tuna. Deglaze pan with a splash of white wine. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Toss the cooked pasta in the pan with the tuna, and serve.

We never tire of this dish and have been enjoying it frequently for many years. Serve it with a crusty country bread.

Penne with Tuna, Tomato, Garlic, Oregano, Parsley, and Red Pepper Flakes

Wine: The town of Limoux is located in the Languedoc-Roussillon wine region of South West France in the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains. It is most famous for its sparkling wines; some would say these wines rival the better known sparklers from the Champagne wine region in France … in most every way except price ($15 a bottle is rarely seen in Champagne, but quite common in Limoux). This Blanquette de Limoux is made from a blend of Mauzac, Chenin Blanc, and Chardonnay grapes. And the sparkling wines produced in the Limoux area use the same methode champagnoise or traditionale process by which vintners in the Champagne region make their sparkling wines.

Tasting Notes: The color of beautiful clean straw. It smells of yeasty biscuits almost ready to come out of the oven. On the palate, “fresh” is the best descriptor. Surprising depth for a sparkler with nice minerality. A delicate hint of honeydew melon, and a light touch of salt. As mentioned, this is one of our favorite meals that we have enjoyed many times, but never with a sparkler … always a still, Italian white wine. In a way, this is something like a sparkling version of a Soave or Grechetto or Verdicchio. All are excellent pairings with this fabulous pasta, but the Limoux bubbles add a special little intangible.

Other Wines That Pair Well with Pasta, Tuna and Tomato: Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand), Chardonnay (Italy), Soave Classico (Italy), Chablis (France)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Limoux: Oysters, Sushi, Smoked Salmon, Popcorn, Seared Scallops

Photos and Maps of the Limoux Wine Region:  Limoux

A Source:  www. klwines.com

Brandade de Morue … Perfect Paired with Cremant d’Alsace Rose

Pairing: Brandade de Morue Paired with a NV Lucien Albrecht Crément D’Alsace Brut Rosé

Food: For 500 years, Salt Cod  has played an integral role in the migration, settlement and economies of the countries whose coastlines border the North Atlantic, including Portugal, Spain, Norway, Iceland, and Newfoundland. Drying fish to preserve it can be traced back to the 9th Century. Cod, however, has a high water content. That reality combined with the humid wet weather of Newfoundland that made it unsuitable for drying was the catalyst for salting to remove much of the moisture in the fish, then drying it. The development of this process was the birth of the salt cod industry about 500 years ago. Although the development of refrigeration aboard steamships in the early 20th Century drastically reduced the demand for salt cod.

In France, salt cod is the principal element, the centerpiece, of Brandade de Morue, which is often served as an appetizer or first course, but here we enjoy it as a light dinner meal. The dishé combines well-rinsed salt cod, mashed potatoes, olive oil, cream, garlic, thyme, bay, cloves, and pepper. The Brandade is most often served spread on fresh slices of baguette as an appetizer. But here we have spread it over sliced tomato and basil, accompanied by rye crisps, as light summer fare.

Brandade Tomato Plate

Wine:  Many people mistakenly refer to any sparkling wine as Champagne. Still others think any sparkling wine that is made in France is Champagne. Well, we’re getting closer. The fact of the matter is that a sparkling wine produced only in the wine region of Champagne can legally be labelled Champagne. It can only be made using Pinot Noir, Chardonnay or Pinot Meunier grapes. And … it can be produced only by employing the technique called méthode champenoise (or traditional). So, for a sparkling wine to be called Champagne, three conditions must be met … (1) location = only from the Champagne wine region, (2) grapes = only Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and/ or Pinot Meunier, and (3) winemaking technique = only méthode champenoise. But … there is another sparkling wine made in France that is not widely known outside of France. And … it is becoming more and more available in a growing number of countries. The wine … Crémant.

Crémant is a sparkling wine made anywhere in France, except in Champagne. Indeed, it is made in eight different French wine regions, still utilizing the méthode traditionnelle to create it, and using only grapes specific to each of eight regions. For this meal, we have selected Crémant d’Alsace – Brut Rosé, the sparkling wine that comes from the Alsace wine region. AOC regulations in that region demand that the Rosé from Alsace can be made from only 100% Pinot Noir grapes.

Cremant d'Alsace Rose

Tasting Notes: What an amazing color … somewhere between a pink and a copper. Very persistent bubbles. Aroma of strawberry scones fresh out of the oven. Many “sparklers” have a nose best described as “yeasty” or “biscuity”. This wine has the more refined fragrance (in my mind) of scones. Strawberry flavors really emerge on the palate. And the bubbles make the strawberries dance in your mouth. Despite the preponderance of strawberry, this is a dry wine, not at all sweet. Maybe a hint of apple, too. A wonderful pairing! Couldn’t have a better companion for the salt cod in the brandade. And did I mention that Crémant is much less expensive than Champagne? Less than $20!

Other Wines That Pair Well with Brandade de Morue:  Albarino (Spain), Rosé (Provence), Roussanne (Rhone, France), Chablis (Burgundy, France)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Cremant d’Alsace:  Roast or Grilled Lamb (cooked medium rare), Strawberries, Grilled Salmon, Lobster

Maps and Views of Alsace Wine Region:  Alsace Wine Region

A Source:  www.klwines.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Broiled Oysters with Sparkling Wine

Pairing: Broiled Oysters with NV Benjamin Bridge Méthode Classique

Food: We are most fortunate to be on Prince Edward Island in Canada where some of the best oysters on the planet are harvested. And, we have easy access to three of the best of the best … Colville Bay, South Lake, and Malpeque oysters. Generally, we subscribe to the school of thought that says the only way to eat oysters is raw and without any kind of adornment. We do, on occasion, break those rules. This is one of those times. For two people, shuck 18 oysters keeping in the shell as much of the “liquor” as possible. Sprinkle each with some Saltine cracker crumbs, add 1 or 2 tsp of goat cheese, and top with a bit more cracker crumbs. Place the oysters on a pan under the broiler for 5 minutes. We’ve served it with marinated cucumbers. Enjoy!

Baked Oyster with Cheese

WineNV Benjamin Bridge Méthode Classique continues our advocacy of local wines and wines from unexpected locales. The Benjamin Bridge winery is located in the Gaspereau Valley of northwestern Nova Scotia, a beautiful agricultural region adjacent to the Annapolis Valley. The grapes used are L’Acadie, Vidal, Seyval, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. Méthode Classique refers to the traditional method of natural fermentation in the bottle, that produces nice persistent bubbles. NV (non-vintage) means that the wine is made from multiple vintages, in this case dating back to 2002.

Benjamin Bridge Sparkler

Tasting: The aromas are yeasty and citrusy, reminiscent of a lovely Champagne. The flavor is delicate, crisp green apple, with a nice touch of acidity. The overall experience is intensely clean like a cool mountain stream, but with a hint of salinity … a perfect complement to the briny oysters.

More Pairings for Oysters:  Muscadet, Sauvignon Blanc, most any dry Sparkling Wine (Cava, Prosecco, Champagne, etc.), Chablis

More Pairings for Sparkling Wines: Spicy Asian Food, Seafood, Smoked Salmon, Egg Dishes (quiche, soufflé, etc.), Salty Foods

Read More: www.benjaminbridge.com, www.oysterguide.com