Grüner Veltliner: the Perfect Match for Seafood Pasta (and Father’s Day)

16 Jun

So the thermostat has been going up slowly but steadily–we now are in the high 80s here in SoCal. This means beer and white wine weather.

Yesterday, as we all know (or all now know) was Father’s Day. My family decided to stay at home and cook dinner instead of go out for some fancy affair. My brother decided upon angel hair pasta with a sauce of mussels, shrimp, basil, tomato (apparently from Canada and therefore 100% immune from salmonella), garlic, and white wine. He was in charge of buying the food: I, of course, was in charge of getting a wine to drink and with which to cook.

We found ourselves at Whole Foods, which apparently is the nation’s #1 wine retailer for 2007 or something. They do have a pretty good wine selection, and I spied a bottle of grüner veltliner, that spicy, peppery Austrian white that is one of the next big things in the wine world (though not according to David J. D. over at Horny for Food). It’s still relatively obscure–though almost cliché in some circles–so it’s a great bargain, especially given its quality. I picked up a bottle of velt.1 grüner for a cool $9.99. Excellent.

No good meal starts without an appetizer, and I decided to make one of the quickest, simplest appetizers out there: Anaheim peppers pan-fried in olive oil and some sea salt. Anaheim peppers aren’t necessarily spicy, but when cooked they seem to retain a trace of heat–a bit of fire hidden by waves of green satin. I cut up three peppers and fried them while my brother cooked the pasta, then served them with a glass of Anchor Steam’s Liberty Ale.

The hops in the Liberty Ale helped highlight the spice of the peppers, and the beer itself was overall refreshing. But now on to the main course–the wine, that is.

The pasta was great, fresh and briny from the mussels, with a green herbaceousness from the loads of basil. This matched well with the green qualities of the grüner; the peppery bite of the wine also complemented the basil and garlic. The wine had a clean, fresh taste that was perfect with seafood: the grüner veltliner was dry, so there was no flab or lack of focus here. It was well-received by everyone in the family–even the father approved! Great wine from velt.1, and a great selection from Whole Foods!

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