Tuesday, March 15, 2011

La Cana Albarino 2008

The end of the week saw some distractions and a now resolved problem, so on Sunday it was time to get into the kitchen and relax.  One of the ways I do this is to stand and stir a pot of polenta, but on this Sunday is was a day to use the stirring to build a risotto.  That decision was made easier by the local market featuring two types of imported rice for risotto, a superfina Carnaroli and a semifino Vialone Nano.  Some of each came home with me and the end result was a mixed seafood risotto.

Since it was seafood, shrimp and scallops, in the risotto the wine I pulled out was a 2008 La Cana Albarino.  It came straight from the 55 degree section of the wine fridge.  The nose was just glowing with ripe pears and a little bit of not quite ripe peach.  The wine was more yellow than I was expecting for a 2008 vintage and there were some definite legs running down the glass after swirling the wine.  The pears were dominant in the taste but there was a crisp Meyer lemon quality underlying the pears.  The wine was fully extracted and the mouth feel was more of a southern Rhone white than most Albarinos I've drank.  There was a great blast of citrus on the end of the wine.

I peeled the shrimp and made a light stock of the shells, heated the pan and tossed in a chopped shallot and stirred.  In went the Vialone Nano rice and I stirred until the rice toasted just a bit. Next in was a bit of the wine, and while that was evaporating I stirred in a small pinch of saffron that was pulverized with a mortar and pestle.  For the next twenty minutes I kept stirring and adding stock a bit at a time until the rice was wonderfully al dente.  In went the shrimp, some quartered scallops, some lemon zest and the salt and pepper.  I covered the pan for two minutes and that fully cooked the seafood.  In went some chopped parsley and the juice of half a lemon. 

It was therapeutic just to smell the aromas coming out of the pan, but that wasn't nearly as beneficial as eating the finished product.  Rich, creamy, earthy from the saffron, sweet from the seafood, tart from the lemon, it was totally comfort food and a beautiful  thing to pair with the wine.  The citrus at the end of the wine really cleared the palate for the next bite of risotto.  Good wine and great food.

13% alcohol and $15.

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