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Fallbrook Winery's Chardonnay

[San Diego Fine Living]

Tips for Food Local Food and Wine Pairing

by Chef Jenn Felmley

Wine pairing can seem overwhelming for many people. If you are hosting a dinner party don’t let the wines scare you. All you need is a few basic guidelines about wine to create a harmony of flavors at your next gathering. Even though wine enthusiasts and experts have spent years mastering the ability to pair a particular dish with a particular wine; in reality wine pairing is not rocket science. Enjoy these wine pairing tips!

Wine Pairing Tip 1: Find a wine you enjoy drinking. When pairing wines with a meal, it is easier if you already enjoy drinking (and are familiar with) a wine. Don’t worry about the quality of a wine or how it was rated; you should be the one to enjoy drinking the wine.

Wine Pairing Tip 2: When cooking regional fare, pair wines from the same region. The wines of a certain region go well with the foods of a certain region; year of feasting on these combinations can’t be wrong; climate and culture also work together to create these combinations.

Wine Pairing Tip 3: Finding a balance in food and wine flavors. Match a rich, strongly flavored dish with an equally rich, powerful wine. Avoid matching strong wines to delicate flavors.

Wine Pairing Tip 4: Acidity is your friend. People tend to be wary of wines described as “high acid; but there’s isn’t a better wine for matching rich, creamy or cheesy sauces, deep-fried foods or fish dishes; in addition, tart wines go better with tart foods, such as vinaigrette on a salad.

Cedar Plank Local Fish

Serves 4

1 ½ cups
1 cup(or as needed)

1 ½ lb
Skin-on local fish (Rock Cod, Yellowtail, etc.)
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp
Coconut oil, solid
2 Lemons, sliced

Chardonnay*
Water

Orange, sliced

Place 2 cedar planks into a large Ziploc bag; add Chardonnay and enough water to cover. Soak for 25 minutes to an hour. Remove any bones from fish and cut into 4 equal portions. Preheat oven to 325° F. Place cedar planks onto a cookie sheet and shingle lemon and orange slices onto planks. Heat a small non-stick skillet over medium- high heat. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Add ½ to 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat the pan with oil. When oil shimmers (but does not smoke) and runs in the pan like water, add 2 fish fillet, flesh side down. Cook, without moving fish, until brown crust forms, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and place salmon onto citrus slices on cedar plank, skin side down. Repeat with remaining salmon. Place cookie sheet into the oven and cook for 8 to 10 minutes for thin pieces or fish and 10 to 15 for thicker pieces of fish. Serve with a Chardonnay with oak flavors and a balanced of crisp acidity, like Fallbrook Winery’s.

* This is the one time you want to use cheap Chardonnay; a chance to get rid of any junk wine that friends or family have been kind enough to give as a gift. The cheaper wines will have a stronger oak flavor.

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