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Wine a perfect match for Hawaiian poke fish

The moment I tried our Wine of the Week, Ellipsis 2010 Russian River Valley Ros?of Pinot Noir ($15), I began thinking of Hawaiian poke, a traditional dish of impeccably fresh ahi tuna cut into cubes and tossed with a little soy sauce, a little sesame oil, some red pepper flakes and, if you are lucky enough to have some on hand, inamona (crushed and roasted kukui nut).

As I sipped a glass of this lovely wine, I continued to think about it; poke is the absolutely best pairing I can imagine, a match made in heaven.

The wine is bright and refreshing, with gentle, subtle notes of spice and suggestions of cool red berries, picked early in the morning before the sugars rise.

In the glass, the wine shows just the slightest blush, like the skin of a white peach.

Remarkably, there is still widespread bias against so-called pink wines, an assumption that they are all sweet and cloying.

It's not accurate, but in America the opinion persists, thanks in part to the widespread popularity of white zinfandel in the 1980s and 1990s.

Yet this wine is elegant and sophisticated, with an appealing restraint and balance and no sweetness. It can be enjoyed with a wide range of foods, though I think it is at its best when enjoyed with either raw or chilled fish and shellfish.

The fruit is subtle enough that it works beautifully with oysters on the half shell. It is fabulous with sashimi and sushi. The spicy bass notes allow it to engage well with traditional crab and shrimp Louis.

For today's recipe, I've turned to the tradition of escabeche, which can describe a huge array of dishes, from simple pickled jalape?s to pan-fried fish in a sweet-and-sour vinaigrette.

I've taken inspiration from two sources, Mexican-style escabeche and the fabulous Gulf prawns that Dave Legros sells at the Sebastopol Farmers Market, which I happened to have on hand when I was tasting the wine.


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