Summer Wine Pairing Series with Master Sommelier Craig Collins – Filet Mignon, Sea Bass and Apple Tartlets
Today is the day we put everything we have discussed over the past several weeks together as we pair specific wines with my favorite Omaha Steaks selections: the Private Reserve Filet Mignon, Chilean Sea Bass and the Carmel Apple Tartlets. Each of these delicious selections offer endless wine partners, but I thought I would share a few of my favorites.
The Chilean Sea Bass is a rich, buttery fish that I let sit in an olive oil, lemon and herb marinade before I pan sear the fillet. This fish has a beautiful buttery texture and flavor and I look for a clean, crisp, high acid white to cut through richness of this dish. Try an Italian white wine from Piedmont such as the 2011 Vietti Roero Arneis. Arneis is a grape that is indigenous to this region in northern Italy and was pioneered by Vietti winery in the late 60′s. There are balanced floral and citrus note in this wine that complements the flavors of the marinade well and the acid in this wine will keep the fish light on your palate.
Nothing goes with red meat like a great red wine and that is exactly what I enjoy pairing the Private Reserve Filet Mignon with after I have grilled it to the perfect medium rare. As always, there are a lot of directions to go here, but I find myself leaning toward Italy. Staying in the Piedmont region, I enjoy the 2009 Boroli ‘Quattro Fratelli’ Barbera d’Alba. Barbera is a wonderfully fruity, high acid red wine from the town of Alba. The tannin in this wine works well with the marbling in this dish and the terroir, or the expression of the land, which this Barbera demonstrates enhances the flavors of this grilled filet mignon.
And who can forget about the Carmel Apple Tartlets! The fruit and nut flavors wrapped in a crispy puffed pastry go very well with the 2005 Badia a Coltibuono Vin Santo. Badia a Coltibuono is one of the oldest wineries in the world and their experience shows as they create this deliciously balanced dessert wine from Tuscany. The grapes to make vin santo are actually left to dry on straw mats, concentrating their sugars and the creation of caramelized fruit flavors highlight the apple and carmel in this dessert.
As we have discussed throughout this series, there are several guidelines to think about when pairing food and wine and there are no real right or wrong answers. These are a few of the wines I find myself consistently reaching for from my cellar, but let me know what you enjoy with each of these selections – I would love to hear! Cheers!
Craig Collins, Master Sommerlier