Perfect white wines for an Irish summer of seafood
Importers come up with their favourite fish dish and wine matches
A quality selection of white wines to pair with all types of seafood dishes
My Irish summer is not complete without plenty of seafood; a crab salad, a bowl of mussels or simply freshly cooked fish and chips. With this in mind, I asked a dozen or so wine importers to come up with their favourite fish and wine matches.
Lynne Coyle, master of wine and wine director at O’Briens, came up with a simple but very delicious recipe for mussels. In New Zealand they would use green-lipped mussels, but Irish mussels would work equally well. She sautés crushed garlic in butter and olive oil, adds lemon juice and a glug of Insight Sauvignon, simmers for a few minutes, and then adds the mussels, leaving them to cook, covered, for four to five minutes. Serve them garnished with parsley.
Enrico Fantasia of importers Grape Circus (and partner in Piglet wine bar in Temple Bar), came up with a number of ideas, including fried sardines with Soave, and rosé with tuna and tomato bruschetta, but his suggestion of Zelen Burja with clams was simple yet delicious.
“I love all sorts of shellfish; clams and cockles are my two favourites. Simply sautéed with garlic, parsley and black pepper – and lots of bread – they are one of the best things in the world. The Zelen Burja is the perfect wine for the job. The streak of salinity and the gentle aromatic palate work wonderfully with the clams. You can add spaghetti too. If you do risotto, then you need a completely different wine, something richer.”
Avril Kirrane of Boutique Wines also went for clams, suggesting the classic vongole and linguine with a Picpoul de Pinet or an Albariño.
As befits a former sommelier in Michelin two-star Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, Charles Derain of Nomad Wines produced the most intricate suggestions, including halibut with sauce chasseur, and lobster with a mango and ginger salsa. I tried out his third suggestion, scallops with beurre Breton alongside the excellent Goisot Bourgogne Aligoté. “The acidity/minerality cuts through the sweetness of the scallop and the sauce,” he says.
For this you sauté scallops, and finish with finely chopped chives, lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice, and, Derain adds, “don’t forgot the butter, and more butter and the final touch – butter!”
From an anonymous food lover in Liberty Wines came the suggestion of prawn curry with Torrontés from Argentina. “Spicy foods and Asian flavours can be difficult to pair wine with, but Torrontés is a variety that works really well with this type of cuisine. The intense floral aromatics of Torrontés stand their ground against strong flavours, and the refreshing stone fruit character and silky texture of Colomé’s Torrontes enhance the flavours of lemongrass and ginger in the prawn curry and counter-balance the spiciness of chilli heat.”
Insight Sauvignon Blanc 2019, Marlborough, New Zealand
12.5%, €12.95 down from €18.95.
A classic Marlborough sauvignon with lip-smacking lime and grapefruit balanced by succulent canteloupe and passionfruit. Drink it as an aperitif, with mussels, certainly, or most light summery salads.
From: O’Briens, Obrienswine.ie
Bodega Colomé Estate Series, Salta Torrontés, 2018, Argentina
Light honeysuckle aromas, and succulent plump peach fruits cut through with a laser-like acidity. This handled prawns with ginger, chilli, lemongrass and Thai basil perfectly.
From: Avoca, Ballsbridge & Rathcoole, Avoca.com; Baggot Street Wines, Dublin 4, baggotstreetwines.com; Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock, blackrockcellar.com; The Corkscrew, Dublin 2, thecorkscrew.ie; Fresh Outlets, freshthegoodfoodmarket.ie; Martin’s Off Licence, Dublin 3, martinsofflicence.ie; wineonline.ie
Burja Zelen 2019, Slovenia (Organic)
An intriguing light wine with hedgerow aromas, soft apple and pear fruits with a briny, saline edge. Try it with clams with plenty of sourdough bread to mop up the juice. Or linguini with clams.
From: Mitchell & Son, Dublin 1, Sandycove, and Avoca, Kilmacanogue & Dunboyne, mitchellandson.com; Sheridan’s Cheesemongers, Dublin 2, Kells, Co Meath, Galway, sheridanscheesemongers.com; SIYPS.com; Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock, blackrockcellar.com; Green Man Wines, Dublin 6, greenmanwines.ie; Ely Wine Store, Maynooth; elywinebar.ie.
Bourgogne Aligoté 2018, Goisot (Biodynamic)
Apple blossom aromas, crisp waxy green apple fruits shot through with a mouth-watering citrus acidity. Great with scallops, as well as mussels, prawns and oysters.
From: Siyps.com; Beach House, Tramore, Beachhousetramore.ie; 64wine, Glasthule, 64wine.ie; Green Man Wines, Dublin 6, greenmanwines.ie; Ely Wine Store, Maynooth; elywinebar.ie.