A few weeks ago when we visited Villa Bellezza, we picked up two bottles of wine for the specific purpose of serving them with a specific meal. The Cotes Du Pepin 2017, winner of double gold at the San Francisco International Wine Competition, is a bright and acidic white wine with an undeniable burst of lemon on the palette. In fact, while I like many citrusy wines, this was the first wine that I sipped and immediately went LEMON! The flavor is naturally derived from the combination of grapes, and not the product of any additional fruit added to the fermenting process. But wow, was it distinct and prevalent. And we just knew we had to have a bottle on hand to serve with some grilled fish!
Two bottles and a giant slab of salmon later, we had our perfect end of summer dinner party assembled on the patio. We cooked the fish in tin foil pouches. Each piece of fish cooked with salt, pepper, fresh chopped garlic, and fresh slices of lemon. Wrap them in tin foil, place on the grill, and allow the fish to cook through. Additionally we served grilled potatoes, garlic bread, and asparagus, all served fresh off the grill. It was a great looking table-scape!
The bright acidity of the wine, and the pervasive notes of lemon were the perfect compliment to the buttery richness of the fish, and the smoky char flavor on the potatoes, bread, and veggies. We ended up finishing both bottles with our friends because we honestly couldn’t imagine an occasion that we’d enjoy more than this on a patio and fresh dinner off the grill. Fun fact, it was also National Smores Day, so we finished the evening with toasted marshmallows over a bonfire. Were the smores as good of a pairing as the fish? Probably not, but there was still something to be said for the brightness of the wine cutting through the rich heaviness of the marshmallow.
Not everyone will be able to able to make it up to Pepin for a bottle of Cotes Du Pepin (though they do ship extensively, so if you get curious, you can certainly check it out), so if you’re looking for something more local or widely distributed that still brings that citrusy, acidic bite, you’re in luck. It may take a bit of playing around and sampling what’s locally available to you, but a Pinot Grigio or Chenin Blanc is a good place to start seeking out that flavor profile. Both offer medium to high acidity and notes of citrus and green apple. Both can be found in a range of dry to sweet varieties, so play with labels and vintages to find something that fits your palette preferences.
Then fire up the grill and get your end of summer party going!