a great combo: lobster with Batic Cabernet Sauvignon Rose & Enjingi Grasevina.
Most of my Christmas’ are spent in Maine at my parents. Their house is on an island in the Atlantic, just off the coast. Winters are both beautiful and brutal. No matter how cold the wind, or rough the seas the seafood remains ridiculously fresh. This year brought a special surprise; soft shell lobster. These freshly molted “bugs” are the unquestionable pinnacle of the lobster world; super sweet and tender. You wont find them far from where they are caught as they are much more vulnerable, to even gentle travel, than there hard shelled brethren. There is no reason to get fancy with them. In fact you can faintly read “steam only, serve with butter” On some of their shells. So what do you drink with succulent lobster in this arctic cold? Big Chard is the standard prescription but we have forced this for years, unless you are drinking properly aged top tier Burgundy the pairing rarely works. So Cabernet of course!
The pairing logic: In a form this naked, lobster is best complemented by a soft, full bodied wine. We started with a decent feline scented Sauvignon Blanc from Chile, which the lobster made thin and astringent, so when I popped the two wines specifically selected for dinner, I did so with confidence.
The first was Ivan Enjingi’s 2003 Grasevina (Italian Riesling) from the continental region of Croatia. It could be argued that Enjingi is the Andy Warhol of wine. The 2003 Grasevina “Krasna Berba” (late harvest) is a liquid contradiction. Dense and alcoholic but savory, mineralic and complex. Not old world, nor new, Enjingi is “Other Worldly”. Grasevina is typically drunk fresh but the good ones will age like the diamond hard Semillon of Australia’s Hunter Valley. We caught this one in its adolescence, starting to show its maturity but still brash and bouncy. With the lobster it was the sauce. Herbal and rich, the wine complements the lobster as if made for it, and vice versa.
2007 Batic Rose of Cabernet Sauvignon – Vipava Valley, Slovenia. If Batic were a forge their Cabernet Sauvignon rose would be the Swiss army knife. It will appease the Cabernet narrow, fans of white zinfandel and hard core wine geeks. More texture than flavor, it is varietal cabernet without the color, tannins and smack. Musk, pepper and fruit are an unusual counterpoint to lobster but here it fits, actually accentuating the briny quality of the lobster. This is only a positive with the freshest of seafood. Ivan (wow I did not realize both producers share a first name) would love the combination, local, simply made and delicious.
Not expected, not traditional but perfectly suited. Cold weather is great for red wine but if the food demands; as it does in coastal Maine. Whites and Roses can too be kings.