Monday, April 15, 2024

Sole Meunière with Central Coast Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay

Sole Meunière with Central Coast Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay

Several weeks ago we featured Sole Meunière with a hearty Chardonnay in these pages where I detailed our experiences with and preferences for this delicate white fish seafood in this blogpost -  Sole Meunière Amandine with RRV Chardonnay.

Tonight, we did a replay of that dinner with delicate filets of Sole Amondine, with a robust full bodied Chardonnay. 

Linda grilled the Sole filets and served them with a Meunière sauce with balsamic rice and fresh sliced cucumbers with dill. 

I pulled from the cellar to pair with the meal a full found Chardonnay. 

Pisoni Lucia Santa Rita Hills Chardonnay 2020

This is from Pisoni Winery sourced exclusively from the Pisoni, Garys’ and Soberanes vineyards in the Lucia appellation in the Santa Rita Hills off of the Pacific Central Coast of Monterey Bay

These vineyards are located on sloping hillsides that lie adjacent the mountainous terrain of the Santa Lucia Mountain Range where the orientation of the Salinas Valley acts as a direct funnel for the cold Monterey Bay winds and pacific ocean influence.

Image compliments Pisoni Winery

Spanning 23 miles, Monterey Bay acts as an immense funnel, channeling ocean air through the Salinas Valley down to the Santa Lucia Highlands and other American Viticultural Areas.

The valley is extremely dry and remarkably cool as a result of the marine winds that sweep in off the ocean. As a result of the cold, the vines typically bud two weeks earlier than the California norm and are picked at least two weeks later, giving the Salinas Valley one of the longest growing seasons in the world.

If not for the Pacific shoreline, California would be an entirely warm-weather growing region. However the two regions of the Petaluma Gap and the Navarro River in the Russian River Valley up in Sonoma and Point Conception in the Santa Rita Hills provide two ideal sites for cool climate varietal grapes of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. That recent pairing of this white fish, I served a Russian River Valley Chardonnay. 

Matt Kramer of Wine Spectator writes that this “is marine influenced—to an extreme.”

Winemaker’s Tasting Notes - “From two of the most renowned sites in this narrow, maritime influenced AVA (61% Soberanes Vineyard and 39% Pisoni Vineyard), the 2020 Lucia Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay harnesses its differing origins to maintain an unmistakable, yet delicate tension.” 

‘Flaunting its youth through a radiant straw hue, this Chardonnay is true to its roots, as the high-elevation rows at the Pisoni Vineyard leave their mark with powerful notes of white peach, red apple skin, and toasted brioche.” 

With added richness comes needed restraint, and the Soberanes Vineyard completes the balancing act with its classically mineral-driven undertones. These boulder-laden soils have created notes of crushed rock, Meyer lemon tart, and crisp pear. Acting as the center of balance, vibrant acidity and layered complexity make these two distinct sites one, and the result is a wine that will continue to amaze for years to come.”

This was a different approach than I took with our earlier pairing the Sole with a more restrained and delicate style Chardonnay which I wrote about in these pages just the week before last. That was an unoaked Chardonnay and was more harmonious and aligned with the fish. Tonight’s Chardonnay was much bigger, fuller, round and forward, almost bordering on being obtuse so as to overpower the seafood. To the contrary, Linda liked it and preferred over the earlier label. 

Wine Spectator gave this release 91 points. 

Golden straw colored, full bodied, full round forward fruit flavors that the winemakers cites as “powerful notes of white peach, red apple skin, and toasted brioche” , with notes of what Wine Spectator describes as “melon, peach and nectarine notes on a sleek and juicy frame, with accents of lemon blossom, dried ginger and apple skin.” 

RM 91 points.

Earlier Posting -  Tuesday, April 2, 2024