White Wine, Artichokes, & Fish for Dinner

I love eating fish. There are the local fish that we all know and enjoy like salmon, halibut, ling cod, and red snapper. But there are also fish brought across from South East Asia and Australia. Some fish you might want to try are Milkfish, Barramundi, or Tilapia.  There are many more fish.  Try visiting the T&T Supermarket.

I have a recipe that I like to use with a white fleshed fish. I use halibut, but cod, sole, and other fish can be used. I did mention other Asian fish, and I will in a future blog talk about a nice way to cook tilapia and a wine pairing for it.

Fish with Artichokes

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
2 cups sliced mushrooms (optional)
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup dry white wine (chardonnay, pinot grigio)
1/2 tsp salt
4-6 large fish fillets (halibut or rock cod)
1 18 oz can of marinated artichoke hearts (cut in half)
Saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil, then add the mushrooms and dried herbs.  After the mushrooms start to soften add the lemon juice, wine and salt.  Simmer for a few minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 deg F.  Place the fillets in an oiled wide Pyrex baking dish.  Do not put the fillets on top of each other.  Cover with the sauce you just made.  Then add the halved artichoke hearts.  Also pour a bit of the artichoke marinade on top, then partly cover the baking dish and put in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes (you may have to check if the fish is flaky).  Thicker fillets could take longer.

If you don’t like mushrooms, you can substitute with a small zucchini sliced into rounds.  Finally pour yourself a glass of the white wine that you used in the dish and relax.  Serve with some white rice and a salad.  Simple.

An unoaked or very lightly oaked chardonnay or a pinot grigio would work well.  Greata Ranch Chardonnay from BC, Errazuriz Chardonnay from Chile, Mission Hill Five Vineyards Pinot Grigio, or Dirty Laundry Pinot Gris from BC are some options for you.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and wine pairing.

Thinking about Thanksgiving?

It’s time that the harvest is coming in. I keep hearing tweets from various wineries that the grape harvest is well underway.

This coming Monday is Thanksgiving here in Canada. And of course, I am thinking of what bottle of wine to serve with my roast turkey. For many people, turkey or chicken means to open up a bottle of chardonnay, likely oaked, to make it a bit fuller bodied to balance out the heaviness of the bird with gravy. You can’t argue with that, but there are also some red wines too. Before getting into a few reds you might want to serve, here are a few white wine suggestions:

Therapy Vineyards Chardonnay (Okanagan) (the ’07 vintage was pale lemon. Vanilla, apple, and butterscotch aromas. Butterscotch, lees, citrus, and orange peel flavours. Round mouthfeel.)
Vina Errazuriz Wild Ferment Chardonnay (Chile) (the ’07 vintage is 100% barrel fermented in French oak for 9-10 months. 1/3 of wine goes through malolactic fermentation to add some extra body and butteriness. Uses native yeasts so it is always a gamble. Full lemony colour. Lots of vanilla, caramel and tropical fruit on the nose. Very aromatic. Medium-full body, with tropical fruit and vanilla flavour. Has some acidity and slight spiciness to balance the creaminess. An excellent wine.)
Matua Judd Estate Chardonnay (New Zealand) (This is a top tier chardonnay from Matua. This ’04 vintage had melon, pear, sweet spices, butter, oak and vanilla aromas. It had a round mouthfeel, with some spice, oak and apple flavours, and a long finish.)
Meyer Family Vineyards Tribute Series Chardonnay 2008, Old Main Road Vineyard (Okanagan) (This vintage is medium lemony gold in colour. Medium intensity nose with citrus, tropical and dried fruit, butter, yeast, vanilla and butter aromas. It is dry with medium acidity and medium plus body. Flavours are citrus, dried fruit, pear, yeast, oak, vanilla and butter. It has a medium length with a green apple finish. Quite elegant.)

Other chardonnays you might want to consider would be from California.  They tend to be more full bodied due to the warmer climate.

Maybe you are curious about trying some red wine with your Thanksgiving turkey. There are a few options. I personally like a slightly chilled pinot noir. Pinot noir has good acidity to cut through the fat in the gravy, but is not so strong with oaky tannins, or too full bodied with fruit flavours that it completely overpowers your turkey dinner. Pinot noir can have aromas and flavours of raspberries, strawberries, violets and some spice. There are many more descriptors possible, but these ones are quite common. I think the summery fruit flavours would be a nice complement to the turkey. Although I haven’t tried it yet, I’m wondering if a Sangiovese which has similar characteristics could also work. Something for me to try. Here are a few pinot noir options for you:
Mt. Difficulty Pinot Noir (New Zealand)(The ’05 vintage was medium ruby in appearance, and had smoky and strawberry aromas. On the palate one enjoyed strawberry and black cherry flavours with some spiciness.)
Greata Ranch Reserve Pinot Noir (Okanagan) (Single vineyard. Medium cherry in the glass. Nice colour. Raspberry and vanilla aromas. Raspberry, vanilla and cherry flavours. Full of flavour. Sweet flavour from ripe fruit yet dry.)
Voss Estate Pinot Noir (New Zealand) (The ’02 vintage had a wonderful bouquet with hints of violets, cherry and candy. On the palate there was nice acidity and smooth tannins. Cherry and strawberry flavours.)

Also to finish off this blog, maybe you are thinking bubbles? In Australia, they swear that a sparkling shiraz nicely chilled is good with roast turkey. I’ve tried it before and it did work. The sparkling shiraz took on a bit of sweetness with being chilled down before being served.

Enjoy and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

BC Chardonnay for Summer Sips

Chardonnay. Some people love it; others are not too crazy about it. From my speaking with people, I think it is mainly the heavily oaked chardonnays that are not as enjoyable for many people. But the good news is that there are many unoaked chardonnays which are lighter in body and show more fruit character. Mission Hill brought worldwide attention to Okanagan wines when their 1992 Mission Hill Grand Reserve Chardonnay was awarded the Avery Trophy for the Best Chardonnay at the International Wine & Spirit Competition.

Chardonnay can show a wide range of character including peach, pear, apple or tropical fruits, mineral notes and rich full-bodied buttery, toasty flavours if aged in oak. It can be a heavy white wine with oaking, and can be a replacement for some red wines. Try with a bbq’d steak.

Checking the www.EverythingWine.ca website, for $15-$25 BC Chardonnay, I came up with 33 wines:

Arrowleaf Chardonnay 750 mL Chardonnay $17.99 More information about Arrowleaf  Chardonnay 750 mL
Blasted Church Chardonnay Musque 750 mL Chardonnay $21.99 More information about Blasted Church  Chardonnay Musque 750 mL
Cassini Cellars Chardonnay 750mL Chardonnay $23.99 More information about Cassini Cellars  Chardonnay 750mL
Cedar Creek Estate Chardonnay Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $15.99 More information about Cedar Creek Estate Chardonnay Chardonnay 750ml
Cedar Creek Platinum Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $23.99 More information about Cedar Creek Platinum Chardonnay 750ml
Crowsnest Vineyards Stahltank Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $21.99 More information about Crowsnest Vineyards Stahltank Chardonnay 750ml
Desert Hills Unoaked Chard 750 mL Chardonnay $18.99 More information about Desert Hills  Unoaked Chard 750 mL
Dirty Laundry Chardonnay unoaked 750ml Chardonnay $23.99 More information about Dirty Laundry Chardonnay unoaked 750ml
Dragonfly Hill Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $19.99 More information about Dragonfly Hill Chardonnay 750ml
Gray Monk Unwooded Chardonnay 750 mL Chardonnay $16.99 More information about Gray Monk Unwooded  Chardonnay 750 mL
Herder Vineyards Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $23.99 More information about Herder Vineyards Chardonnay 750ml
Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Chardonnay 750 mL Chardonnay $17.99 More information about Jackson-Triggs  Grand Reserve  Chardonnay 750 mL
Kettle Valley Chardonnay 750 mL Chardonnay $21.99 More information about Kettle Valley Chardonnay 750 mL
Mike Weir Chardonnay 750 mL Chardonnay $16.99 More information about Mike Weir Chardonnay 750 mL
Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $18.99 More information about Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve  Chardonnay 750ml
Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $19.99 More information about Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve Chardonnay 750ml
Mt Boucherie Summit Reserve Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $23.99 More information about Mt Boucherie Summit Reserve Chardonnay 750ml
Mt Boucherie Unoaked Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $17.99 More information about Mt Boucherie Unoaked Chardonnay 750ml
Nk’Mip Cellars Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $15.99 More information about Nk'Mip Cellars Chardonnay 750ml
Pacific Breeze Winery Sangiacomo Vineyards Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $22.99 More information about Pacific Breeze Winery Sangiacomo Vineyards Chardonnay 750ml
Peller Proprietor’s Reserve Chardonnay 1.5 L Chardonnay $15.99 More information about Peller Proprietor's Reserve Chardonnay 1.5 L
Quails’ Gate Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $18.99 More information about Quails' Gate Chardonnay 750ml
Quinta Ferreira Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $24.99 More information about Quinta Ferreira  Chardonnay 750ml
Robin Ridge Chardonnay 750 mL Chardonnay $22.99 More information about Robin Ridge Chardonnay 750 mL
Sandhill Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $17.99 More information about Sandhill Chardonnay 750ml
See Ya Later Ranch Unleashed Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $19.99 More information about See Ya Later Ranch Unleashed Chardonnay 750ml
See Ya Later Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $19.99 More information about See Ya Later Chardonnay 750ml
Sonora Ranch Chardonnay 1.5 L Chardonnay $17.99 More information about Sonora Ranch Chardonnay 1.5 L
Summerhill Estate Winery Chardonnay, Organic 750 mL Chardonnay $24.99 More information about Summerhill Estate Winery  Chardonnay, Organic 750 mL
Thornhaven Chardonnay 750 mL Chardonnay $18.99 More information about Thornhaven  Chardonnay 750 mL
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $19.99 More information about Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Chardonnay 750ml
Township 7 Semillon 750mL Chardonnay $19.97 | $22.99 More information about Township 7 Semillon 750mL
Township 7 un-oaked Chardonnay 750mL Chardonnay $21.99 More information about Township 7 un-oaked Chardonnay 750mL

Chardonnay is quite a popular grape amongst BC wineries. Some chardonnay’s in my tasting notes are:

  • Therapy Vineyards Chardonnay, 2007 – Pale lemon. Vanilla, apple, and butterscotch aromas. Butterscoth, leees, citrus, and orange peel flavours. Round mouthfeel.
  • Dirty Laundry Vineyard Unoaked Chardonnay, 2007 – Light lemon colour. Tropical fruit, lemon, and honey on the nose. Some roundness in the mouth. Vanilla, apple and pear flavours.
  • Greata Ranch Reserve Chardonnay, 2006 – Single vineyard. Slight oaky aroma and lime. Topical fruit flavour with a vanilla finish. Medium body, some roundness on the palate.
  • Greata Ranch Chardonnay, 2006 – Pale straw coloured. Oak, vanilla, and pineapple aromas. Oak, apple and citrus flavours. Light acidity, but very fruity.

Cheers!