2020 Viognier + Almond Fish Pairing
Jeff’s Corner 10-15-21
Hey, Hey, Hey,
Today is Viognier day!
That’s right, today we’ll take a look at our exciting new 2020 Viognier. Our best-selling, signature dry white wine also has one of the most difficult monikers in the wine world to pronounce. Let’s toss out phonetics and make it easy, like a football cheer: “Vee-Own-Yay!”
We’ll check out this stunning wine in a moment, but first a little history (and legend) about a very ancient grape. How it got to the Condrieu region of the northern Rhone Valley in France is shrouded in mystery, but some say it was brought there from Croatia by the Roman emperor Probus in 281 AD. Others say it was hijacked by pirates on the Rhone River near Condrieu on its way south to Beaujolais, hidden among some Syrah.
The origin of its curious name is foggy as well. One theory has the grape being named after the French city Vienne, which served as a Roman outpost. Much more fun, however, is that it took its name from the “Via Gehennae” or “Road of the Valley of Hell” which was an allusion to the difficulty of growing these finicky grapes.
Following the footsteps of the 2019’s Double Gold at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, the ’20 is a very pale, yellow/straw with a hint of chartreuse. Extremely aromatic, complex aromas of grapefruit, Mandarin orange, peach, and kumquat are layered with lemongrass, honeysuckle, vanilla, and a touch of ginger. Aromas continue to evolve as the wine opens up in the glass.
Full-bodied and multidimensional, the palate is creamy and richly textured with a bit of oak that adds further sophistication to this intriguing wine. Brisk acidity helps transition the fruit and floral notes to a long, delightful finish. The ABV is 12.8%, and would be best served around 50*.
For a food pairing, let’s journey back to the early days of my 26 year tenure at Jay’s Seafood and Spaghetti Works in Port Aransas. This dish is rich, elegant, delicious, and super easy. This is also great prepared with a thinly sliced chicken breast.
- 2- 6 to 8 oz fresh Flounder or Red Snapper filets
- 2 oz package slivered (not sliced) almonds
- 1/2 cup grated Romano, 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs, mixed
- 4 Tbs butter
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 1 box Zatarain’s Long Grain and Wild Rice prepared as directed
- Rinse the fish, lightly pat dry, and dredge in the Romano/bread crumb mixture until well-coated on both sides and set aside.
- Heat the butter in a large skillet on medium/high heat. Sauté the almonds, stirring constantly, until they are golden brown but not burnt. Remove the almonds from the pan and keep warm.
- Add the olive oil to the browned butter and bring back up to temp.
- Pan-fry and brown the fish on each side until it releases from the pan, about 4 minutes per side.
- Serve the fish and rice on a hot plate and top the fish with the toasted almonds and brown butter. Garnish with lemon wedges.