Food and Wine Challenge 8: French white classics vs Brazil for our seafood party
It is a marvellous summer in the UK and we want something light and refreshing for a Sunday treat.
A quick stroll to a farmer’s market and there we have it - octopus, squid, clams, king prawns, Scottish langoustines, sardines and monkfish.
We also decided to try different styles of whites for this party and bought some French classic wines - Sancerre and Burgundy to battle out with Brazilian Chardonnay for a top place at the seafood party.
We have a selected Waitrose Sancerre (partnership series) - La Franchotte 2013 and Chapelle aux Loups Macon-Villages (Louis Jadot), both ranging from £11 to £15. Casa Valguga Leopoldina from Vale dos Vinhedos is the Brazilian white that already made a mark by having been displayed at Waitrose fine wine counter - we were promised a treat, but the question of whether it would successfully compete with French white classics still stands.
First of all about Sancerre - ample fruit and touch of sharp acidity was something we were looking for this hot day, it was elegant yet very crisp, very pleasant fruit and citrus aromatics. It is typical Sauvignon Blanc of an outstanding quality.
Burgundy (read, Chardonnay) was smooth, subtle white, which was pleasant with lighter seafood like prawns and langoustines, but will be lost with the meaty monkfish or intensely flavoured clams. If you like much less acidity and a very delicate flavours of peach and apricots together with just a touch of lemon to make it refreshing then it is going to be a match.
Finally, our Brazilian contestant is making the stage and we were surprised how well balanced it was. You can expect brighter and bolder flavours from this Chardonnay as it was matured and oaked slightly. Yet you won’t have buttery creaminess so typical for oaked Chardonnays (which we do not like at all, so it is a massive plus for us!).
It has both crisp acidity and lemon and lime flavours coupled with tropical flavours and just some hints of nuts (coming from oak) - overall it is more refreshing than French Burgundy, but quite bold and in your face to be just overstaged by quality Sancerre for the fruitiness and crisp citrussy and apple flavours.
Surely, depending on your style of cooking and dressing your fish you can select different white wines, but with the simple way of grilling fish and serving it with roasted (or grilled) vegetables and fresh salad we thought Sancerre was a clear winner. Brazil is getting there though, well done!
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