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Dec 29, 2010 01:12 PM

Wine Pairing with a Shellfish Stew

The recipe for this stew, as I'll be preparing it, has lobster, shrimp and clams which are cooked in a sauce that consists of fennel, onions, orange zest, saffron, garlic and thyme simmered in a base of crushed plum tomatoes, lobster stock and white wine. There will be a bit of heat from the addition of crushed red peppers. The notes which accompany this recipe suggest "Scarpetta, a graceful, pear-scented Tocai Friulano..." which I'm totally unfamiliar with. As an alternative, it suggests a Vernaccia di San Gimignano, which I happen to have on hand. I'm wondering if the Vernaccia can really stand up to the intense flavors of this dish. I'm using the Vernaccia di San Gimignano for the cooking wine. What other wines might pair well with this dish? Thanks!

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  1. A new world, old vines Sauvignon Blanc would be great (I'm thinking like a Merry Edwards' whose vines are over 30 years old and her SB has real depth) ...

    1. I can think of nothing better than Grenache Blanc. Look around the Languedoc whites, Rene Rostaing makes some good examples. Also, white Priorat; I've had 2007 Cal Pla and 2004 Mas d'en Compte recently and they would work great if you can get your hands on them!

      Failing that, a Greco di Tuffo or Falanghina.

      1. One general rule is to pair simple with complex and complex with simple. Obviously this dish has a lot going on so where I understand choosing a wine to "stand up" to it I wouldn't pair a wine as challenging as the dish. I'd choose something basically to cleanse the palate allowing the meal to shine. White Bordeaux

        1. sounds remarkably similar to Bouillabaisse in flavors. I'd choose a Provençal Rosé.

          3 Replies
            1. re: ChefJune

              +2 exactly what I was thinking, great call.

            2. Thanks to all of you. I think I was thrown off a bit by the tomatoes in the sauce, and that's what had me thinking that the Vernaccia wouldn't work. Of course, now that I've read your recs, a white or rose from southern France, or a white Bordeaux makes perfect sense. Thanks again -- I'm off to the wine store!