Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Wine >
Feb 23, 2012 04:43 PM

Tuna agrodolce wine pairing - urgent help needed

I am making tuna agrodolce tomorrow and am agonising over the wine to pair with it. The dish is fairly acidic (tomato, vinegar, capers) and I am not sure what to go for, especially as for various reasons some obvious choices are out: I do NOT want to go down the Sauvignon Blanc road, also not Pinot Gris or Gruner Veltliner (I love the latter but my wife doesn't). What reds would work (ignoring Sangiovese and Loire reds)? Pinot Noir? Maybe new world pinot noir as Burgundy may be too delicate? What else?

Thanks in advance!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Madiran wines (e.g., Chateau Montus) for red. Savennieres for white. Fuller-bodied rose Champagne.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Brad Ballinger

      The fuller-bodied rose champagne is a great idea, thank you!

      A Chateau Montus would work great with the agrodolce sauce, but I'll skip it this time because it would slightly overpower the tuna I think.

    2. I think I'd probably like it all with the Rose Champagne... although a Pinot Noir from Alsace might be nice, as well.

      1. Depending on which time zone you are in, you could very well be experiencing the pairing right now. But I am really interested in what you picked and how it worked. Thanks!

        7 Replies
        1. re: ellaystingray

          I'm in Japan and won't experience it for another 10 hours or so, but will definitely report back... ChefJune - PN from Alsace sounds good, or even from the Savoie (nicely spicy). Or even a Columella Syrah blend, which is lean and cold climate enough to work I think. Decisions...

          While I'm at it, I might as well ask about the rest of the meal (though the agrodolce is giving me the biggest headache) - perhaps someone has some interesting / unusual suggestions. My problem is often that there are too many options - I have a very democratic wine cellar with lots of good stuff from all the major wine regions in the world as I love all wine that is well made rather than being particularly biased in favour of specific regions to the exclusion of others. This makes choosing quite difficult a lot of the time.

          It's my wife's birthday so I will be making a four course meal:

          grilled green asparagus with sauce bernaise, poached egg, prosciutto, parmiggiano

          My first choice would be Gruner Veltliner or Loire Sauv Blanc (probably PF) but as mentioned my wife is not a massive fan, so I am considering alternatives. Blanc de Blanc champagne perhaps, or a Campania white (Fiano or Falanghina, possibly Greco di Tufo). Or a white Tuscan Paleo (chardonnay / sauv blanc blend). Or even a top shelf burgundy - I am thinking, Corton Charlemagne. The latter may sound like a mismatch because of the asparagus, but given some of the other ingredients it may still work and the wine itself is spectacular. What do you think? Any good alternatives I have completely omitted? (I don't have any great Pinot Gris at the moment so that's not an option unfortunately.)

          Selection of terrines (foie gras, meat, potato and truffle, coarse French countryside pork terrine)

          I am thinking Condrieu. Or a Vouvray (Huet, demi-sec - come to think of it, a dry Huet Vouvray would work with the Agrodolce). Or perhaps a white Bordeaux or the same Corton Charlemagne. Don't want to go down the sweet road - with pan-fried foie gras, a sauternes would be nice, but with the terrines I prefer something less sweet. The sweetest I would go for is Ratafia de Champagne.

          Does anyone have any other suggestions that work well with the non-foie gras terrines as well? The slight concern is that the above would work great with the foie gras and the truffle terrine, but with the coarse pork terrine a red like a French Pinot (maybe a spicy Alsatian one, or even Burgundy) would work. Can you think of a good wine that would work with all three?

          Dessert: just a sorbet made of Burgundy Pinot Noir and raspberries. Slightly at a loss there. Nice port with that? Boring?

          Any recommendations would be very gratefully appreciated.

          1. re: Asomaniac

            If you are planning on a Huet Vouvray Sec, that will work just fine. Or, as I suggested above, a Savennieres. Same grape, same dryness level. It would work with all three. Ditto rose Champange.

            1. re: Brad Ballinger

              Sounds good! I love a good Savennieres as I am a big chenin blanc fan. I think the Savennieres would 'feel' a bit dryer, even if it is the same dryness level. Somehow even Huet's secs manage to convey a certain level of sweetness, at least to my taste.

              I really like your rose champagne idea though, and it would not have occurred to me by myself (once I read your post and imagined the combination, it made a lot of sense, so thanks again). Not sure if we end up doing it if my wife opts for the blanc de blancs with the asparagus, which knowing her she might. We'll see.

              What do you think about a dry furmint with the agrodolce? That might stand up to it quite well.

              1. re: Asomaniac

                Dry furmint would be great--you're making a fairly rustic and assertive dish (something like a tonna alla ghiotta, but heightened w sweet/sour caponata flavors), and wonder about overmatching with a Loire. I'd vote for an Etna (rosato, rosso, or even bianco) or in line a little with your Loire choices, a Fiano d'Avellino, Insolia, or a Vermentino di Gallura. A Corbieres vin gris, Picpoul de Pinet, or a Gaillac rouge maybe, too.

                1. re: bob96

                  bob96, I'm a massive Italian wine fan so really liked your suggestions. I did not have them in the house, but had I done I would have gone with a nice Sicilian Insolia or an Etna rossato.

                  In the end, these were my choices:

                  My wife was in a real champagne mood to start with (a shame as she did not then want a pink champagne with the agrodolce a well, and I prefer champagne as a food wine rather than an aperitiv - but it was her birthday so I didn't argue) so we had a half bottle of NV Krug to start with.

                  I decided to pair the asparagus starter with a Paleo Bianco 2008. The Sauv Blanc aspects were sufficient to make this work very well with the food, the chardonnay aspects altered the SB characteristics sufficiently for my wife to enjoy the wine (she is not an SB fan, not even Sancerre, Puilly Fume or a Bordeaux blend where the classical SB characteristics are strong). The Paleo has just about enough acidity to make it work (though I'd prefer more pronounced acidity), and while the oak influence is substantial, it was just about on the right soide of not too excessive.

                  We then paired the terrines with two half bottles of Riesling: 1999 Johannes Prum Gracher Himmelreich and 1976 Johannes Pruhm Wehlener Sonnenuhr. Incredible stuff.

                  For the agrodolce, we went with the Huet sec. However, I decided to also try some powerful, full-bodied Gruner Veltliner (Hirsch, Lamm 2008). My wife is normally not a massive GV fan but as I (and she) learned last night, that seems to be limited to the classical low alcohol, fresh, peppery and herbacious offerings. I love those as well, but am also a big fan of more complex, full-bodied and multifacetted GVs. She tried one sip out of curiosity and then stopped drinking the Huet (which up to then she had enjoyed a lot). Both of these wines were very good with the agrodolce, but the Veltliner was just an incredible wine and I still have a smile on my face when I recall it.

                  1. re: Asomaniac

                    EDIT: In case any Riesling lover reads the above post - it is of course "Prum" both times; no idea how I managed to insert an errant "h" into the 1976.

                    1. re: Asomaniac

                      Thanks so much for your recap. I too will often default to Italian wines but love the choices of Huet, Krug, and Prum...dinner for two? Sounds like my kind of wine night. :) Also, it seems interesting to me that the Italians seem to blend Chardonnay more deftly than any other country--the Antinori Cervaro Della Sala is one of my all time favorite wines (usually around 15% grechetto). La Macchiole is a Bolgheri hitter these days and the Paleo Bianco (though somewhat oddly riffing on a tradition from Siena by naming itself after the famous horse race there--as a Toscana IGT maybe the grapes are coming from further inland) is one of the better white blends of two "non-Italian" grapes to come out of Italy.

                      Interesting that your wife ended up liking the GV over the Vouvray.

                      Again, thanks.