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Abalone

What have you found to be the best match for Abalone?

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  1. Depends on the preparation ( spice, herbs, cooking, ... ) ?

    1. Depending on the preparation...and the type of abalone. If you are using dried abalone and braising it in a rich sauce then I would go for something like a New Zealand pinot noir. If you are using fresh abalone and cooking it quickly and topping it with a lighter sauce I would go with something effervescent but crisp - not very sweet, like an Argentinian sparkling chardonnay.

      1. Depends on how you prepare it, but fresh abalone, simply cooked evokes a lot of the same flavor profiles as chicken (at least to me).

        If you want to highlight the food, I would stay away from wines that evoke very vivid fruits/tropical fruits (e.g. New Zealand sauvignon blancs, california pinot noirs). Also, stay away from very heavily oaked or tannic wines. I'd say a French rose, sancerre, white burgandies or champagne (or california sparkling made in a champagne style).

        If you want to highlight the wine, the only thing to avoid is very heavy, tannic reds (for example shiraz or cabernets or malbecs) as there is probably not enough fat for the tannins.

        1. I am with the others - it depends greatly on the prep, and one the abalone.

          For fresh, and light prep, then I would probably go with a sparkler, or perhaps a Chablis (Chard).

          Let us know a bit more, please,

          Hunt

          1. I'm thinking something like pouilly fume.

            1. If one is having the braised premium Japanese 'Kippin dried Abalone from Yoshihama'. My suggestion is to eat it alone 'without wine'. For a dish that could cost US$3000 per 4 oz piece, I would savour the taste and texture of the morsel un-impeded!!

              1. I am going to a restaurant in Central Coast, California, in a town called Los Cayucos called Hoppe's. They prepare asauteed redabalone in mango butter. Sounds good to me but now you have the taste of abalone with the contrast of a compound mango butter.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Hughlipton

                  Im definitely thinking bubbly white...nothing sweet to drown out the mango, but the bubbles will help cut the richness of the butter. Do you have access to their wine list?

                  1. re: saucygalnyc

                    Yes. They have a great central coast selection which for the most part means drier syle Chardonnays. Good selection of California bubbly from Northern Cal.

                    1. re: Hughlipton

                      Hm-m, CA bubbles eh?

                      The two that spring to my mind are the Iron Horse Brut Rosé and the Shramsburg J Shram, or their 2004 Reserve, though either will be a bit on the young side. Domaine Chandon also has some lovely wines, that should pair well.

                      I could also see an Au Bon Climat Chard, or perhaps a Sanford (Bien Nacido perhaps), working well too, but the Iron Horse Rosé would be my first choice, and at a lower price-point than those two offerings from Shramsburg.

                      Most of all, enjoy!

                      Hunt

                2. It depends entirely on what kind of abalone, as well as how it is prepared. If you're a diver, and are cooking your own catch, just about any wine pairing that would go with squid prepared in a similar way is just about a sure thing. The texture and flavor of fresh caught California coastal abalone and squid are similar. If you're talking about squid prepared in a restaurant, if the restaurant has a sommeliere, s/he's the guy to talk to. At one point in my life, my husband was a research project scuba diver for Scripps Institute of Oceanography, UCSD, and the Pacific Ocean was our primary supermarket. I suspect I have prepared a couple of hundred pounds of abalone, if not more. Yeah, Probably much more!. There is no hard fast satisfying rule for all abs! But as others have said, champagne is safe with anything. But I wouldn't order any wine in a luxe TRADITIONAL Chinese restaurant. In such a case, I would stick with tea during my meal and soak up the booze and wines before and after. But if it's fusion Chinese, you're on your own unless they have a sommeliere to rescue you! What a fun problem! '-)

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Caroline1

                    For my "high-end" Chinese (have not had abalone at any Japanese restaurants), I have found that Rieslings, and Champagnes have been ideal, but those preps were pretty sparse, featuring the abalone, more than other elements.

                    I have tried to remember my Monterrey abalone wine pairings, and they were just too long ago, to be of any use now. Whatever they were (guessing Riesling, or Champagne), they worked. Wish that I had taken better notes!

                    Hunt

                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                      Well, it always boils down to personal preference. I find that abalone is a sweet critter, even sweeter than lobster, and I personally don't like a sweet wine with it. In champagne, I like a brut, in whites, it not only depends on the varietal, but where it was grown. BUT! I have (command performance, not my idea!) prepared abalone in an "ethnic" tomato sauce kind of thing, and the guest who requested that treatment brought a hearty red to go with it. I do believe that was the time I made abalone moussaka, with layers of eggplant, then layers of thin abalone steaks sandwiched in the traditional red sauce and finally topped with bechamel before baking. It got rave reviews, the red wine was lovely with the abalone prepared that way. For whatever reason, I don't recall ever making it again. I did a lot of experimenting, but my husband's favorite was "abalone schnitzel" with white wine. The average size of the abs he brought home in those days was at least 7 inches across with an occasional red abalone that was closer to 11 inches. They made "Hungry Man" steaks!! Another food to add to my bucket list... 1970s freshly harvested abalone! I'll drink to that.

                      1. re: Caroline1

                        I'll bet it had to be 7 inches across to be legal.

                        1. re: wally

                          Could be, but I tend to think it was 6" back then. Or maybe it depended on the type of abalone. Reds were the biggest, but he also brought home greens and blues. But hey, it was a loooooong time ago! I still have some of the shells that I cleaned with muriatic acid and use as wall decor in the powder room. If they were still crusty and had live abalone in them today, I could sell them for a bloody fortune to upscale sushi bars. Wheeeeeeee!!! Don't I wish! But I'd eat them myself.

                          1. re: Caroline1

                            And, I'll bet that you have to "shoo" the otters out of the powder room. Right?

                            Hunt

                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                              LOL! "Otters?" Isn't that an ice hockey team from Vancouver, or something? '-)

                  2. I have no argument with Champagne as a good pairing with abalone, but would like to suggest a good, acidic Japanese sake as a possibility for those of you who are into this drink.