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MWG April 18th tasting (3/9): Vermentinu times two

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Corse Calvi 2011, Clos Culombu ($23.10, 11902114)
The estate is in the process of converting to organic agriculture. 100% Vermentinu (aka Vermentino). Destemmed, crushed and cold-soaked on the skins for several hours, then pressed. Stirred after fermentation. Matured on the fine lees for five months. Lightly fined before bottling. 12.5% ABV. Part of the April 18th Cellier New Arrivals release.
Fragrant: peaches in syrup, quartz, white flowers. Dense and waxy in the mouth, peachy and soft-seeming at first, then turning lemony and harder. Long, mineral-tinged finish with a trenchant, almost fiery streak. Enjoyable but coming across as unpolished, even coarse next to the Faustine. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Ajaccio 2011, Faustine, Domaine Comte Abbatucci ($31.50, 11927792)
The Faustine cuvées are named after the winemaker’s daughter. This white is 100% biodynamically farmed Vermentinu from low-yielding, 40-year-old vines. Manually harvested. Following a brief cold soak, slow-fermented at 18ºC. Reportedly not allowed to undergo malolactic fermentation. Sees only stainless steel. 13% ABV.
Complex nose: “charcoal” in the words of one taster, minerals, lemon, wax, hints of clover blossom, orange peel and maquis. Rich but not heavy, mouth-filling yet elegant. Fine layers of fruit are wrapped around a solid mineral core aglow with acidity. Finishes on a saline note. Savoury, balanced and nuanced, a beautiful wine. What’s more, it’s $5 or $6 less expensive than the private import 2010 was. (Buy again? Absolutely.)

Food pairings? Corsican cheeses (Yannick is the best source in Montreal) and, of course, seafood in simple Mediterranean preparations, like the recipe for striped bass flambéed with thyme and Pernod that you’ll find after the jump.

Flambéed Striped Bass

This works best with a 1 to 2 kg (2 to 4 lb) whole striped bass. Have your fishmonger leave the scales on and, if possible, gut the fish through the gills. Brush the fish with olive oil and season it with salt and pepper. Place a bouquet of dried thyme in a shallow bowl and add 2 tablespoons Pernod. Grill the fish over a medium-hot fire, turning it once in the process (a grill basket makes turning and flambéing the fish infinitely easier). A few minutes before removing the fish from the grill, throw the thyme branches onto the coals under it and pour any Pernod and thyme leaves left in the bowl over it. (Look out for the flames.) Remove the fish to a warm platter, lift off the skin and remove the fillets. Serve with lemon wedges and a cruet of olive oil (flavoured with thyme and fennel, if you like).

Alternatively, you can roast the fish on a fireproof rack in a 200ºC (400ºF) oven. Place the thyme bouquet in the bottom of a broiler pan and moisten it with 2 tablespoons olive oil. In a bowl, combine 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves with 2 tablespoons Pernod. When the fish has finished cooking, set the rack over the broiler pan. Pour the Pernod mixture over the fish. Light the thyme under the fish with a match. Carefully lift the grill and move the fish back and forth over the flame. This is best done wearing flameproof mitts and, given the amount of smoke produced, either outdoors or under a range hood. When the flames have died, serve as described above.

Written by carswell

April 24, 2013 at 12:21

One Response

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  1. […] than the 2011. Though this worked surprisingly well as a aperitif, it’ll really sing with fish or Corsican cheeses. (Buy again? […]

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