Lot 340 is dramatically marked by ripe stone fruits, marmalade, citrus flowers and quinine. The texture is succulent with intertwined fruit flavors and lively acid on the palate. Fabulous.
Appellation: Santa Maria 100%
Grape: Chardonnay 100%
Alcohol by volume: 14.2%
Drink/Hold: Now through 2020
Lot 340 Santa Maria Chardonnay is another stellar release of wine again produced for us by a legendary vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley. The same vineyard, in fact that produced Lot 341 Syrah for us. Prices for these wines range from about $25 and up. 40% new French oak.
Salt-Baked Sea Bass with Crispy Lemon Potatoes
Sea Bass 1 sea bass (about 1.5 lbs) 1 cup kosher salt 2 egg whites 3 fresh rosemary sprigs half a lemon, sliced
To Serve lemon olive oil flat-leaf parsley, torn coarse sea salt freshly ground pepper
Crispy Lemon Potatoes 4 medium-sized, starchy potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch wedges 1/4 cup olive oil 1/4 cup chicken stock 2 cloves garlic, minced juice of 2 lemons 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano sea salt freshly ground pepper fresh oregano to garnish (optional)
1. Pre-heat oven to 400°F.
2. In a large bowl, whip egg whites until foamy. Slowly, whisk in the salt, using your hands to incorporate when the mixture becomes too thick to whisk.
3. Arrange a thin layer of the salt mixture on a baking sheet for each whole fish, just long and wide enough to fit the fish.
4. Lay each fish on top of the salt and stuff cavity with lemon slices and rosemary sprigs. Top fish with remaining salt mixture, in the shape of the fish, patting down with your hands to form a sealed, smooth mound, ensuring the fish is completely enclosed by the salt. (Sometimes it's fun to leave a little bit of the tail and mouth peeking out).
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Let rest for five.
6. Present to guests as is (and allow them to ooh and ahh).
7. To serve, crack the shell with a back of a spoon, peel away the salt and debone. Drizzle with sea salt, pepper, good quality extra virgin olive oil, lemon and parsley.
Crispy Lemon Potatoes
1. Preheat oven on to 425°F.
2. Place all ingredients (except for garnish) in baking pan and toss to coat. Place in oven.
3. Roast for 20 minutes and remove from oven quickly to baste the potatoes with the juices. Place back in oven and cook for another 20 minutes, removing again to baste once more. Roast for another 20 minutes or so, until brown and crispy.
Cameron Hughes suggests pairing this dish with Lot 340, a Santa Maria Chardonnay which is aromatically rich with stone-fruit, orange marmalade, and citrus blossom all carried on a bright beam of crisp minerality. On the palate the rich fruit/mineral notes are kissed with butterscotch in a long finish.
Cameron Hughes wine pairing/tasting notes
We were not able to find whole Sea Bass. We did all our shopping at the local San Francisco Whole Foods, two different locations with large fish departments. We decided on Branzino as it is closest in texture to Sea Bass. So we had discussed this fish to pair with the Chablis but this fish is perfect with the Lot 340, 2010 Santa Maria Chardonnay. The lemon, citrus notes of the wine complemented the lemon garnish as well as not overpowering the delicate fish. This is the best pairing, though in a pinch, the Chablis would be fine. The Lot 326, 2010 Sonoma Pinot does not pair with this dish.
DOUBLE GOLD - Lot 400 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon SILVER - Lot 345 2010 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon SILVER - Lot 404 2010 Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon SILVER - Lot 340 2010 Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay SILVER - Lot 279 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon