Scallops and Linguine … Paired with a SB/ Semillon Blend from Western Australia

Pairing: Pan Seared Scallops on Linguine Paired with a 2018 Cape Mentelle Sauvignon Blanc/ Semillon Blend (from Margaret River in Western Australia)

Food: We love scallops … cooked very, very simply. Pan searing them in a hot pan coated with barely a sheen of olive oil, for our money, is the only way to prepare them. We are quite content to just add a little seasoning, brown them for maybe two minutes on a side (Note: first halve the raw scallops along its equator, then pat dry). Take them out of the pan, keep them warm, deglaze the pan with a bit of the wine, add a touch of butter, pour over the scallops, and … voila … perfect scallops. For this dish, however, we’ve taken a few more steps. Cook up some linguine (whole wheat is best). Whip up a simple sauce made of milk, flour, grated Romano cheese, salt and pepper. Mix together the cooked linguine (that you first tossed around in the pan that you cooked the scallops in), the sauce that you heated and thickened a bit … and, of course, the scallops. Serve adding some more of the grated Romano and some peas. This is good stuff!! Once in a while it’s nice to gussy up the scallops like this. Even for a purist like me.

Of course our son will only eat scallops raw … that he plucked himself from the seafloor … fresh out of the bay. Now that’s a purist!!

Wine: The wines of the Margaret River wine region in Western Australia are perhaps best known for their European style. The Cape Mentelle wine showcased here could be the twin sister of a White Bordeaux wine in France with the same Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grape composition, and they also share similar terroir. We would be hard pressed to discern the differences between the two wines in a tasting. But there is a decidedly different price point; the Australian wine being much more economical.

Tasting Notes: A pretty pale gold color. The wine has a fresh clean bouquet with hints of honeydew melon and green apple. Light and crisp with flavors of green apple, ripe melon and grapefruit. This dry, crisp wine complements nicely the light, creamy sauce on the linguine and scallops.

Other Wines That Pair Well with Scallops and Linguine: Chablis (France), Meursault (Burgundy), Soave Classico (Italy), Chardonnay (Oregon)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Sauvignon Blanc/ Semillon Blend: Roast Chicken, Grilled Fish (Halibut, Swordfish), Jambalaya

View the Margaret River Vineyards : Margaret River Wine Region

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Thai Shrimp Soup … with an Australian “White Bordeaux”(!?)

Pairing:  Thai Shrimp and Noodle Soup Paired with a 2014 Cape Mentelle Sauvignon Blanc/ Semillon (White Bordeaux-Style Blend)

Food:  This soup is my wife’s creation, having adapted parts of it from a few different recipes. It is made with 2 oz of rice vermicelli, 4 chopped scallions, 2 cups of chicken stock, 1 T fish sauce, 2 T fresh lime juice, 2 tsp sugar, 6 oz raw shrimp coarsely chopped, 4 oz grated carrot, 2 cups raw spinach (coarsely chopped), and 2 tsp Green Curry Paste. Serves two generously. Spicy, complex, healthy!

Thai Soup

Wine:  For this meal, we return to one of my favorite wine regions, Western Australia, for another of their terrific wines … this time we’ll try a white blend of Sauvignon Blanc (55%) and Semillon (45%). Some refer to this wine as a “White Bordeaux-style” or SSB wine because its composition mimics the legendary white wine of the Bordeaux wine region of France. The Cape Mentelle winery was one of the first to be established in the Margaret River region of Western Australia, and is widely regarded as one of the best.

Cape Mentelle

Tasting Notes:  A lovely color of pale straw with a hint of green. Clean and fresh aromas of linen drying in a spring breeze, along with green melon and white flowers. The palate continues the tastes of green melon, along with clover and honeysuckle. Absolutely delicious! The cool, clean, crisp qualities of the wine complement beautifully the warm flavor of the Green Curry Paste and the cool, fresh spiciness of the lime juice and fish sauce in the soup. Yet another great example of pairing something spicy with a clean, fresh-tasting wine. Bravo!

Other Wines That Pair Well with Thai Shrimp Soup:  Gewürztraminer (Alsace), Riesling (Germany), Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand), Chenin Blanc (South Africa)

Other Food That Pairs Well with a White Bordeaux-style Wine:  Grilled White Fish, Scallops, Lobster, Goat Cheese, Oysters, Crab Cakes

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Leftover Pheasant … with a Shiraz from Western Australia

Pairing:  Pheasant and Wild Mushrooms paired with 2011 Frankland Estate Rocky Gully Shiraz

Food:  It’s nearing the dining time. Well … time to dive into the freezer to see what delectable leftovers we can uncover. Ah … some leftover roast pheasant (doesn’t everyone have that buried in their freezer?) and a bag of assorted wild mushrooms gathered late last summer  (chanterelles, fairy ring mushrooms, meadow mushrooms). Yum … surely there is something to be done with such special ingredients. Sauté the thawed, partially cooked mushrooms in some butter, add a little red wine (the wine we are drinking, of course) and brown stock/ sauce/ gravy. Cook down until the desired consistency. Warm the boneless pieces of the pheasant in the sauce, season with salt and pepper, and pour it all over some noodles. Perfect!  Wine?  Hmmm …

Leftover Pheasant over Noodles

Wine:  When we think of Shiraz, our thoughts frequently go to Australia … often to the Barossa Valley region of South Australia. But … not today. We’re going to travel further west on that beautiful continent, about a thousand miles, to the appropriately named Western Australia. Those clever Aussies! Clever indeed to grow their beloved Shiraz grapes in a wine region known more for Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling. The Frankland Estate winery is located near the Frankland River about 50 miles inland from the ocean, giving a Mediterranean-type climate to the area. The making of their Rocky Gully Shiraz follows the principles born in the Northern Rhone region of France, where winemakers add a teeny bit (about 5%) of white Viognier wine to the red Syrah (what they call Shiraz) to make their renowned Hermitage wine. So, Rocky Gully tastes a lot like Hermitage, but way less inexpensive (about $15).

Rocky Gully Shuraz

Tasting Notes:  You’re standing by the stove making a black currant/ black cherry jam. The kitchen takes on the aromas of the cooking  jam. That’s the nose of this deep, dark reddish-purple wine. Dip a spoon into the cooling jam and taste it. That black currant and black cherry jam is the dominant flavor you get on the palate … along with a touch of pepper. What a nice warm sensation you get in your mouth as you sip this wine. And what a nice lingering finish … delicious!

Other Food that Pairs Well with This Shiraz:  Venison, Duck, Mushrooms, Grilled Sausage, Barbecue Ribs

Other Wine that Pairs Well with Pheasant: Red Bordeaux (Saint-Émilion), Red Burgundy, Pinot Noir (Oregon), Chardonnay (big and oaky from California), Barolo

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