What do you pair with a $79 Chardonnay? I asked, Joe, who does nearly all of the cooking for us here at Another Wine Blog? Fish Stew, he says.
Now I am not a big fan of stew, fish or otherwise. It is probably a completely irrational bias from my childhood. Stew was what you had when you either did not have anything in the house to make a proper meal, or could not afford the higher cuts of meat. Why would one pair an award-winning high-end Chardonnay with stew? (Hint: Because I am silly and because it works!)
What else? I asked.
I need the flavor profile, says Joe. To be exact he did not actually say this, but via Google Hang out text. I was working at home, he was at work, and I was tasked with the grocery shopping. Besides, we have a President who tweets at 3 a.m. instead of holding press conferences - so it seems that conversation is passé.
As I had not yet tasted the wine, I did a quick search and found this from the incomparable Wilfred Wong of Wine.com: "The 2010 Arínzano Gran Vino White is very complex. Showing an expressive combination of ripe citrus, aromatic flowers and delicate creaminess, this wine could be a fine match with roast turkey. Drinking very well now. (Tasted: May 9, 2016, San Francisco, CA)"
Why was this particular Chardonnay in need of tasting right this very minute? Because the Arinzano Gran Vino White 2010 is the Grand Champion Best of Show at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition 2017, and debuted at the sold out Rodeo Uncorked! Roundup and Best Bites Competition. as Grand Champion Best of Show, this Spanish white earned a Saddle, presented at the Rodeo Uncorked! Champion Wine Auction.
Arínzano Gran Vino Blanco, Pago de Arinzano D.O., 2010
Arínzano Gran Vino Blanco is a Vino de Pago, a Spanish wine classification applied to individual vineyards or wine estates. The classification, which augments the wine region Denominación de Origen (DO) or Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOCa), was introduced in 2003, requires the wine estates to be subject to specific requirements. Located in Navarro, in the Northeast of Spain between Rioja and Bordeaux, Propiedad de Arínzano is one of the few estates in all of Spain to be recognized with the Pago status, and the first Pago in the North of Spain.
This golden-straw hued complex and stunning 100% Chardonnay aged 11 months in French oak, 50% new and 50% second year. Sunshine and citrus in a bottle, Joe says it reminds him of Limoncello, with creaminess of lemon meringue pie, but without the sweetness. I find notes of vanilla, lemon zest and fresh pineapple.
My friend Deborah Touchy, a long-time member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Wine Committee says she had two bottles before opening day of the Rodeo, and "did think it Grand. I had a Spanish Chard in Spain last year and this was better than anything I drank then."
We paired it with a roasted chicken, green beans and potatoes cooked in chicken fat. Joe made a marvelous chicken pâté from the gizzards, adding onion, garlic, herbs, a bit of sherry and heavy cream. He added cornichons to provide just a hint of sweetness. The pâté was the best pairing, but everything was tasty! Joe was right about the stew, I could taste the beach and fresh seafood. With reports from our youngest that his Florida Spring Break would be better if it were not 50 degrees, I bet fish stew with this would hit the spot.
Deborah tells me that they are selling the Arínzano Gran Vino Blanco is a Vino de Pago, 2010, in the Rodeo Uncorked! Champion Wine Garden by the bottle only. I might suggest skipping the St. Patrick's Day green beer nonsense, and dropping the kids off at Fifth Harmony concert Friday, then walking right across the street to Carruth Plaza at NRG Park. Or stop in before seeing Willie Nelson on Saturday, March 18, Texas' own ZZ Top on Tuesday, March 21, or Blink-182 on Thursday, March 25th. For you "new country" or Latin music fans, do not wait too long to visit, or the wine may be sold out.
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a Section 501(c)(3) charity that benefits youth, supports education, and facilitates better agricultural practices through exhibitions and presentation. Since its beginning in 1932, the Show has committed more than $430 million to the youth of Texas.