Have either of us ever mentioned that Grape Envy Guy loves to gill? We have? Well, let me reiterate it again. GEG loves to grill. Because of that, whenever the weather allows some of our menu planning centers around what can be grilled. This sometimes lead to some great meals, but the grilled/smoked flavors can be tricky when it comes to wine pairings (at least with white wines). I have had some success with a few, however, so I thought I’d share two of these triumphs with you.
First, I want to talk about what we paired with the bottle of Atwater Vineyards Riesling Bubble we picked up when we were in the Finger Lakes in July. As soon as I tasted this wine, I wanted to pair it with fish tacos. Sometimes one of us gets instant food pairing inspiration when we taste a wine. We usually try these pairings out, but they don’t always work. In this case, however, I was fairly pleased with the results.
GEG cobbled together a fish taco recipe from a few sources since we both have some very specific ideas about what should be included with them after years of living in the southwest. He also made a nectarine salsa to go with them. The fruit for the salsa could have been riper, and the taco recipe needs a bit more tweaking, but it was still a satisfying meal.
As for the wine, it offered lots of fruit on the nose, mostly white stone fruit, along with a light hint of yeast. On the palate, apple and peach flavors dominated, and the lightly fizzy nature of the wine was just what I was looking for. It was fun and refreshing, and the peach flavors in the wine worked really well with the fruit salsa we paired with the tacos. Score 1 for me!
Now, that first pairing probably doesn’t surprise you, but this second one might: beer can grill smoked chicken with the ’08 Naked Mountain Winery barrel fermented chardonnay.
So here was my thought process – I knew the bird would be a bit smoky given the cooking method. I also knew the flavors wouldn’t really hold up to a red wine (and we’re also short on light reds in our house anyway). Given that, I started thinking of chardonnays. When I perused our inventory, and saw this bottle from our last visit to Naked Mountain, I thought I’d take a risk – and it worked! Score 2 for me.
The wine offered crisp apple and some butter notes on the nose which was joined by some sweet vanilla on the palate. It worked surprisingly well because there was a hint of smoke in the wine. I love it when things work out – now if only it could happen more often.
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