Pairing food with wine is about taking your taste buds on a journey where each sip between bites creates an explosive burst of flavor. So many times the wine you choose is an afterthought. You came out to dine at your favorite seafood restaurant perhaps already knowing what you will order for your main course. The only decision you expect to contemplate is which appetizer to enjoy first. Before you order the wine, consider each course. In some cases, one type of wine can carry the whole meal, but that is rare even though it is customary to order this way here in the U.S. The objective is to make the most out of each course. Take this three course dinner for example, you decide that clams on the half shell is the perfect appetizer for a hot summer evening and you’ve been craving our broiled Florida Lobster tail for two weeks! You might even have room for dessert. Choosing the right wine is an investment in your dining experience.
Clams have a mineral, salty taste that calls for a crisp, full-bodied white wine that will bring out those specific flavors. Something rich and buttery like a Chardonnay isn’t a bad choice, but a Pinot Blanc like Domaine Mittnacht, is an even better option. For decades the Pinot Blanc was often mistaken for Chardonnay because of its weight and color. Although there is a Pinot Blanc grape, most wines by this name are blended with other pinot grape varieties. This particular brand is from Alsace France, making it slightly tart with a hint of orange blossom and mild mineral notes. It starts off strong with the tartness, evens out, and then lingers on the palate. Expect it to set off a contrast in flavors at first ending in with a complimentary taste.
Moving on to your main course, with the broiled Florida Lobster Tail, you can either choose a robust Chardonnay like Ferrari Carano Reserve or an adventurous Albarino from Mar de Frades, Rias Baixas. Ferrari Carano Reserve consists of buttery vanilla and toasted oak flavors with hints of hazelnut, peach, and crème brûlée. The richness of this wine is a nice complement to the briny, sweetness of the broiled lobster tail. If you’re feeling a little daring, the Albarino delivers an unexpectedly delightful contrast. Apricots, pineapple, and passion fruit flavors make up the bold fruity flavors of this Spanish white while balsamic notes give it a tangy finish. You may want to abandon all your tightly-held wine traditions after tasting this amazing combination.
No dinner is really ever complete without dessert and dinner on the waterfront calls for Key Lime Pie! You might be surprised at our choice of wines, but Chateau Ste. Michelle, “Cold Creek Vineyard” Riesling has just the right balance of sweetness so that it does not compete with the sugary aspects of the pie, but allows the taste of the sour limes to rise to the surface beautifully. If you had chosen a wine haphazardly or stuck with the Chardonnay throughout the meal, you would have missed out on the subtleties in each course.