Grüner Veltliner and a lovely big Sea Bass

I encountered two problems tasting wine this evening. Firstly Mr F has bought this hand soap which literally smells like something you might use in a Thai prison; secondly my flat is filled with the smell of cheese straws (I am being very good and using up the left over puff pastry from the beef wellington) and it is difficult to pick out any flavour characteristics in a wine when all you can smell is cheese and prison-soap!!

Tonight I am drinking Grüner Veltliner… Grüner who…?? Grüner Veltliner. More specifically the Domaene Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner 2011 (and yes I did spell Domaene right). Next to the Von Trapp family (I MUST re-watch the Sound of Music) Grüner Veltliner is the best thing to come out of Austria. This particular example is a stunner – with a clean minerally nose the palate has a surprising spritz; steely acidity and the most fantastic flavours of apples, citrus fruits, pear, and yet more of that minerality. It is ever so slightly off-dry and absolutely delicious with an epic length. Be warned – do not drink this wine too cold; you need to be able to taste it.

This is exactly what I’d hoped for to go with my sea bass which I bought from the fish man at the farmer’s market on Sunday. Said fish man has kindly lopped off the head and tail, which for some reason I requested to keep (can’t think why now). I do not cook fish often (something I am trying to rectify) and as such need to summon the wisdom of an old Italian cookbook I own for inspiration as to what to do with it… 

  • Season the inside of the fish with salt and pepper and then stuff with two bay leaves, two sprigs of thyme and three very thin slices of lemon.
  • Place a large piece of baking parchment on a baking tray and lay the fish on one side of it. Squeeze some lemon juice on top of the fish (and a little more salt if needed) and then fold over the second half of parchment and seal at the edges like a parcel.
  • Cook in the oven at 190 degrees for 20/25mins depending on the size of the fish (ours was approx 400g and it was perfect after 25mins).
  • Serve straight from the parcel with roasted new potatoes and greens with the juices spooned over the fish.

This was a great food and wine match. I had really wanted something that wouldn’t overpower the fish. Sauvignon Blanc would have been far too herbaceous and the subtlety of the dish would have been lost beneath it. While the Grüner has the fresh acidity I was looking for its minerally character allowed the fish to speak for itself.

PLEASE try this wine, it is totally brilliant! Not that cheap at £9.99 from Waitrose but worth every penny and my delicious sea bass deserved nothing less.

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