This pairing challenge requires a wine that will complement the delicate seafood components, while also possessing enough acidity to make short work of the mayo. Consider a “mountain wine” from the region of Savoie, in the French Alps on the border with Switzerland. White grapes are the most prevalent plantings, represented by such varietals as jacquère, roussanne, altesse, chasselas, and gringet. Jacquère is the most common of these, and is noted to have distinct aromas of white flowers and wet stone, followed by citrus and white stone fruits on the palate, with sometimes bracing acidity.
For a red wine to accompany the seafood roll, we will travel to Champagne. A small number of still wines are produced here under the name Coteaux Champenois. The area most likely to produce still red wines is the same one that specializes in the highest quality pinot noir, namely the Montagne de Reims. Amongst the villages rated grand cru here, Bouzy has the most examples of still reds, where it is known as Bouzy Rouge. From Burgundy in the south, pinot noir can deliver some of the most ageworthy and sought after wines in the world, but in the colder climate of Champagne, the wines tend to be lighter and of higher acidity, and destined for early drinking. This lightness and acidity both make it a great match for the seafood roll.
Complementary Pairing: Jacquère, Savoie, France
Try: Domaine Jean Masson Apremont Vieilles Vignes [du Sieclé]
Apremont is the largest of the many appellations within the Savoie region. Jean Masson has old vine plots high on the slopes of Mont Granier, on a noteworthy terroir of mixed chalk, limestone, and rock rubble from a landslide in the thirteenth century. This is made entirely from jacquère, which can make a lackluster wine unless it is produced at low yields as it is here.
Contrasting Pairing: Bouzy Rouge, Coteaux Champenois, France
Try: Jean Vesselle Bouzy Rouge
[www.champagnejeanvesselle.fr] This family-run winery represents the latest in three centuries of vignerons in Bouzy. All of the fruit comes from their estate, making this house a récoltant-manipulant, the sparkling product of which is a so-called “grower Champagne.” The still red wine is 100% pinot noir from vines of greater than 30 years of age.
|The author enjoying the seafood roll so much that he can’t stuff it in his mouth fast enough. “Could you please send the sommelier over to our table?”|