Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Lobster Lover's Libations

We're back from Maine, a few pounds heavier but a whole lot more mellow and content. Resting, reading, walking on the beach and indulging a passion for lobster will do that. We ate a lot of lobster...for research purposes, of course.

As an east-coaster, I consider Maine lobster to be one of the ultimate summer foods, so I've been giving some extra thought lately to the subject of pairing wine with lobster. I have long been a fan of white burgundy with lobster, but the last thing I want to do is get stuck in a rut. So, I brought along a bunch of different whites and put my old formula to the test.

Just to be clear, we're not talking about pairing wine with different lobster dishes. The subject at hand is what wine really goes best with good ole boiled lobster with drawn butter. White, of course. You probably know that red really doesn't belong with lobster at all -- unless, perhaps, the lobster is in a fra diavolo.

I brought along four wines to try:

  • 2005 Trumpeter Torrontes (Argentina)
  • 2004 Gessami Gramona (Spain)
  • 2002 Verget Grand Elevage Bourgogne (Burgundy)
  • 2002 Chalone Vineyard Estate Chardonnay

I have to say the Chalone was the favorite of both my brother and my wife, with the lobster. The flavors worked quite well. The Chalone was complex with its vanilla and pear and spiced apple flavors, with a buttery finish. Very nice companion to the the lobster and butter -- except that I was a little concerned the finish on the wine overshadowed the food. It was not too aggressively oaked, but the 14.3 percent alcohol meant that the wine came on a bit strong at the end. To my taste buds, a little too strong.

The Tumpeter was an interesting experiment. The proprietor of one of my favorite wine shops recommended this as a nice lobster wine, one that would offer a acidic counterbalance to the fat of the lobster and butter. I did like the flavor pairing very much -- like having a bit of lemon in your butter. But there just wasn't enough body to carry it through to the end, shoulder to shoulder with the butter-drenched lobster.

The Gessami also was an interesting experiment. This muscat, sauvignon blanc blend from Spain has a rich, creamy texture and nice aromas of peaches and melon. It was closer in richness, but I didn't find the flavors a good match for the briny, buttery flavor of lobster. I would like to try this wine, however, with certain other foods -- maybe the lobster salad in mango dressing that I do.

Then there was the white Burgundy. Damn, if it didn't marry as good as ever with lobster. The pear and vanilla flavors mingle together so well with the butter, and the finish is crisper and cleaner than the California chardonnay. Yup, the winner and still reigning champ, Bourgogne, except for the small detail that I was outvoted. Oh well, they can get their own blogs.

However, we're not done. I'd like to do a Part 2 lobster/wine tasting before the summer's out. I'd like to try additional combinations, such as pinot gris and a nice Montrachet. Any other ideas?


Blogger Trish said...

A lobster tasting? I'm very jealous. My grandma's from Maine, and every time she goes back, she brings home (live!) lobsters. On the plane. I have no idea how she security to go along with that.

7:56 PM  
Anonymous Tony said...

The sacrifices one makes for science. Might I suggest a young Alsatian Pinot Gris or a Savennieres as part of your next sampling. Heck, I may file my own report as the I too hear the siren song of the "Land of Lobsta".

Sorry, I just had a Snuffles moment (For those who don't remember, Snuffles is Quickdraw McGraw's dog who floated ecstatically in the air when given a dog biscuit (or lobsta tail)).
Thanks JD.

6:52 AM  
Blogger JD said...

Trish, you've got to get out to Maine sometime to have the lobstah fresh -- my friend's place is next door to a loster fisherman so the lobster, just caught, was brought to our door as often as we wanted. But, I was pretty jealous of your western adventure, too.

Tony, I thought of bringing a pinot gris, I think it would be great. Next time, without a doubt. We had several big Snuffles moments, by the way. I have to confess that three of us consumed 20 lobsters in one week. When in Rome...

5:46 PM  
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Blogger mary said...

I need to choose wines for a lobster bake rehearsal dinner for 80 people in Bar Harbor. Since we're from Seattle we thought it would be fun to choose Northwest wines. The Oregon Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir seem like possibilities. Any ideas?

Mother of the Groom

4:03 PM  
Anonymous Wine Lover said...

Are you a wine lover? Check out this article for great tips on selecting the best wine gift! I also found there some interesting wine/food combinations.

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Blogger Taster A said...

I think a nice summertime Rosé will do nice. I recently had a real gem. Château Pesquié Terrasses. Another Chardonnay we had recently is Angeline Chardonnay 2006 If you are a Riesling fan, Kreuznacher Kronenberg Riesling.

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