When it comes to summertime wine and food pairing, the obvious choice is to reach for a crisp, refreshing white wine. Sauvignon Blanc is an excellent choice and in fact, has even been referred to as “summertime in a glass.” To keep in line with the theme of summertime, choosing a dish with light, fresh flavors is the way to go when pairing with Sauvignon Blanc. Weighty white fish, such as halibut, is a natural choice.
In this month’s Perfect Pairs, Vina Robles Vineyards & Winery—located on the Eastside of Paso Robles—brings together the refreshing flavors of their 2014 Sauvignon Blanc Estate with Chef Julie’s pan seared halibut. This recipe features fresh ingredients of Kalamata olives, an array of culinary herbs, pistachios and preserved lemons, and is quite simple to prepare.
In its final form, the pan seared halibut is served on top of a bed of pistachio cilantro pesto, then topped with the preserved lemon Kalamata relish—delightfully fresh, zesty and flavorful. Both the pesto and relish work beautifully to enhance the flavors and textures of Vina Robles’ 2014 Sauvignon Blanc Estate.
Halibut, being the robust white fish that it is, really works well with Sauvignon Blanc—especially one that is fermented on lees. Fermenting the wine on lees brings a fuller body and rounder texture, which really complements the rich texture of the halibut. On the other hand, this Sauvignon Blanc still retains a lot of nice crispness and acidity, which works very well with the zesty flavor of the preserved lemons, brininess of the Kalamata olives, and fresh parsley and mint.
As for the pistachio cilantro pesto, additional texture is brought to the dish with the crunchy pistachios, while the cilantro dances with the gentle minerality and fruit flavors in the wine. Guava, pear and hints of grapefruit in the Sauvignon Blanc mingle with the complex flavors of this dish and make for a perfect summertime pairing.
For more summertime pairings, and dishes appropriate for all year long, visit www.vinarobles.com. With recommendations like beef bourguignon and their Suendero blend, or braised short ribs and their Cabernet Sauvignon, there are boundless pairings for every season and occasion.
For a taste of the Vina Robles collection, visit the tasting room daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at 3700 Mill Road in Paso Robles. For further information, call (805) 227-4812 or visit their website at www.vinarobles.com.
Chef Julie’s Pan Seared Halibut
Enjoy with Vina Robles 2014 Sauvignon Blanc Estate.
MAIN DISH INGREDIENTS | (Serves 4)
• 4 portions of halibut, 6-8 oz. each
• 1/4 cup preserved lemon, chopped into 1/2” pieces
• 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, cut in half lengthwise
• 1/4 cup olive oil plus 1 Tb for cooking the halibut
• 1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
• 1 Tb fresh mint, chiffonade
• 1 Tb shallots, chopped
• salt & pepper to taste
PISTACHIO CILANTRO PESTO INGREDIENTS | (Makes 1 cup)
• 1 cup pistachios, shelled
• 1/2 cup cilantro, cleaned and dried, leaves and stems
• 1/4 cup pistachio oil
• 1 cup olive oil
• 3 garlic cloves, blanched in boiling water for 1 minute
• salt & pepper to taste
*Originally published in Wine Country This Month magazine.