Friday, April 5, 2013

Oh Mio Pio!

Quick Quiz:  Name for me a DOCG wine that comes from Piemonte?   Go.
 
How many wines entered your mind after Barolo and Barbaresco? 
 
Now let's phrase the question a different way. 
 
Think of an Italian white wine.  Ready?  Go.  
 
How many wines popped into your head before Cortese di Gavi?   
 
Be honest....
 
Answer: Cortese di Gavi is a BOTH a white wine from Italy and a DOCG wine produced in Piedmont!  
 
Cortese di Gavi is produced in the Province of Alessandria Piedmont, close to the Ligurian border and must be made from vines within the commune of Gavi.   The name derives from Gavi itself, the town at the centre of its production zone, and Cortese, the local grape from which it is exclusively produced.  The wine was awarded DOCG status in 1998.
 
The wine flies under the radar, as I attempted to illustrate above, and that's a shame.  It's delicate flavors are the perfect foil for the dish below.  A great example is the 2011 Cortese di Gavi, by the noted producer, Pio Cesare.
 
In the glass, the wine is a pale gold color - you can see right through it.   The aromas are easily coaxed and lemon, lemon grass, wet stones and salinity mingle nicely.  In the mouth the wine is bright with lemony citrus and mineral notes.  There's nice concentration here and a slight herbaceous note.   Perhaps it's because Gavi is very near the coast, but this wine seems kissed by the sea, and to me, it's the perfect "white fish wine".  It was thoroughly enjoyed with the dish below and it's readily affordable.  89 points, about $15.


Pio Cesare's Cortese di Gavi - 2011


What's this about a perfect pairing?  With the rave reviews my Pan Roasted Tile Fish received, I thought I'd set out to replicate it.  However, I couldn't find Tile Fish, so instead, I bought fresh, wild Halibut.  I prepared the dish in exactly the same fashion and well, it was delicious.  This is now my "Go To" treatment for chunky white fleshed fish.  Since the process is the same,  this is simply a photo recipe.


Step 1: A simple sear.  These are done and resting while the pan sauce is made. Estimated cooking time was about 4 minutes per side. Skin side down first.


Step 2: The searing pan. 2 cloves garlic sauteed in butter and white wine.  Diced baby Arugula added at the last minute. Saute gently until the butter melts.


Step 3:  The plated fish.  Simply pour the sauce over and serve.  Simple, comforting, healthy and delicious. Total cooking time - 15 minutes tops.

Buon fine settimana!

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