The Cellar: Wines for Summer Seafood
Friday, August 10, 2012
Muscadet is a perfect complement to fresh oysters, and that's an indulgence that's tailor-made for summer nights.
This edition of ‘The Cellar’ features two great wines that are as unusual as they are delicious. Both make for great companions with light summer dishes, including salads and lightly prepared fish dishes. Start your dinner off with this kosher Prosecco and move on to a Muscadet made with the help of dead yeast cells. Intrigued? Well, then keep on reading.
2010 Notte Italiana Prosecco, Italy ($15)
I recently tasted a really good Prosecco. I have written about Prosecco before, so I will spare you all the nerdy details about the grape and the regions famous for producing this great sparkling wine. One thing that I thought was especially interesting about this Prosecco is the fact that this one is kosher! In the past, good kosher wines have been far in between. While there has but an uptick in the overall quality in the past decade or so, really good kosher wine is still hard to find, especially in Rhode Island and especially for under $20.
In order for a wine to be considered kosher a wine must be produced following the strict Jewish dietary laws. Among other things, Sabbath-observant Jews must be involved in the entire winemaking process and all the ingredients, including those that filter and fine the wine must be kosher. Finally, all kosher wines must receive the ‘Hechsher’ seal of approval before they can hit the shelves - quite the process. The 2010 Notte Italiana Prosecco is made from grapes sourced vineyards located in Valdobbiadene just north of Treviso. It has a wonderful medium-plus body, fine bubbles and concentrated flavors of yellow apples and peaches. Finally, it has an unbelievable long finish.
2010 Domaine Trois Frères, Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine Sur Lie, France ($15)
I have tasted a lot of good wine in preparation of next weeks Evening with Wine event featuring the wines of France’s Loire Valley and Alsace. One of the wines that didn’t make it to the final list of wines poured at the event, but that I still feel needs to be promoted, is the 2010 Muscadet Sur Lie from Domaine Trois Frères. The wine region of Muscadet is located in the western part of France’s cool Loire Valley. The grape that makes this wine, called Melon de Bourgogne, was brought to the region by 17th century Dutch merchants who were looking for a base grape to make their traditional brandy called ‘brennevin’.
In terms of natural flavors Melon de Bourgogne is one of the more neutral tasting grapes. This makes vineyard and winery practices extra important when looking to make something special out of it. The practice of leaving portions of the wine on the dead yeast cells after fermentation is called ‘Sur Lie’. This adds complexity and body to an otherwise often bland and featureless wine. The area most famous for making this style of Muscadet is located around the rivers Sevre and Marne southeast of Nantes. The small family owned Domaine Trois Frères is operated by the Couillaud brothers, Bernard, Michel and François, who joined together in 1979 to make Muscadet and Chardonnay. Famed wine writer Robert Parker called this Domaine a ‘value pick…offering good quality for bargain hunters’ and I can see why. This $15 gem is filled with slightly under-ripe green apples and backed by steely minerality and vibrant acidity that zings well into the long finish.
Steffen Rasch CSW is ready to answer any wine-related questions, comments or concerns you may have. Feel free to email him at email@example.com. And as always, don’t forget to follow GoLocalProv’s Wine Cellar on Facebook and sign up for one of his tastings through the Providence Wine Academy.
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