Seafood

Jukes Wine And Food Scallops

Muscadet, Cheverny, Menetou-Salon, Sauvignon de Touraine, Reuilly, Quincy, Pouilly-Fumé and Sancerre (all white Loire wines), Chenin Blanc (South Africa), Albariño (Spain), Lugana, Verdicchio, Soave and Pinot Grigio (Italy) and any buttock-clenchingly dry, unoaked New World whites are all perfect with seafood. Squid and octopus both need very dry whites with aromatic fruit, like Sauvignon Blanc, northern Italian or Penedès (Spain) whites, and resinous Greek whites if the dish is served in its ink. The curious, bouncy texture of both squid and octopus does not embrace wine in the same way fish does, so concentrate on the method of cooking and the other ingredients to help you make your final choice. Aussie Riesling is a must if you have a spicy/chilli-hot/soy-style dipping sauce. Crevettes grises, or the little grey/brown shrimps, eaten whole as a pre-dinner nibble, are stunning with Muscadet or Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire, Australia or New Zealand. Crayfish and prawns are a step up in terms of flavour and dry English whites, simple, dry Riesling, and Sauvignon or Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc blends are all lovely. If you are a prawn cocktail fiend (a stunning dish if ever there was one), then decent Sauvignon Blanc (no need to spend over £10) is dry and sharp enough to wade through the livid pink Marie Rose sauce. Lobster, the noblest of all crustaceans, served cold or in a salad, should tempt you to delve into the deepest, darkest corners of your cellar and uncork the finest whites. Burgundy (no upper limit), Australian (ditto) and Californian Chardonnay (only the best – not too oaky) and Viognier (from its spiritual birthplace in Condrieu, in the northern Rhône) will all set you back a fortune but, hey, you’ve already bought a lobster, so go the extra nine yards and finish the job properly. Lobster thermidor is not my favourite dish, as I feel that lobster loses its magical texture and elegant flavour when served hot, but you can easily uncork richer (but less expensive) whites like Aussie Semillons or South American Chardonnays. If you feel like a slice of lobster class, but for a slightly reduced price, then langoustines (or bugs/yabbies if you’re mad for crustacea and on hols in Australia) are the answer. Lobster-wines are perfect here but just adjust the price downwards by a few quid. Dressed crab is a fabulous dish and, once again, Loire whites like Muscadet (under a tenner for a good bottle) are spot on. Dry whites such as Ugni Blanc from Gascony, Jurançon Sec and ‘village’ Chablis are also excellent, but Sauvignon Blanc is again probably the pick of the grapes (it always is). Don’t just look at the Loire, though, as the white wines from Bordeaux and Bergerac often have a fair slug of Sauvignon in them and, of course, Sauvignon is grown all over the world. Mussels probably do best in gratin or marinière form when dry Riesling, Barossa or Hunter Valley Semillon, New Zealand Pinot Gris and New World Sauvignon Blanc are all worthy contenders. Scallops require a little more weight in white wine (mildly oaked Sauvignon Blanc, for example – Fumé Blanc from California). They can even handle a spot of light red or rosé (chilled). Scallops sauté Provençal (with tomatoes and garlic) and scallops wrapped in bacon are wicked with smarter rosé. Scallops Bercy (with shallots, butter, thyme, white wine, parsley and lemon juice) is superb with top Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé – spend up, it will be worth it. Oysters are traditionally matched with Champagne – but not by me. I prefer a simple dry white like Muscadet, with its salty tang, or a ‘village’ Chablis or Sauvignon de St-Bris. A plateau de fruits de mer involves all the above, plus whelks (double-yuk) and winkles (mini-yuk), and only needs a first-class bottle of Sauvignon de Touraine or Muscadet. You’ll thank me because, after you receive the bill for this mountainous platter of seafood, you’ll be delighted to spend a fraction of that on a bottle of chuggable wine. Finally, seafood risotto – here dry Italian wines including decent Frascati, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Arneis, Verdicchio Classico, Greco and Fiano, along with South African Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc make a rather delicious combination. Remember that Chilean Sauvignon is often cheaper than both South African and New Zealand versions, so if you are having a big risotto party then look here for a decent volume purchase. For clams, see ‘Pasta’.