Curran’s 2016 Santa Barbara County Albariño

Curran’s 2016 Santa Barbara County Albariño. 

www.d-cwines.com

Seafood with linguica and a jalapeño thrown in for good measure has Santa Barbara County written all over it.

But did you know that Portuguese varietal grapes are also grown in the county? Albariño, a Portuguese white, with a perfume nose similar to viognier but a little more body than your typical pinot grigio, could be a great match for this hearty dish.

Portuguese Seashore Rice With Linguica

2 c. chicken stock

1 c. Arborio rice

1 tsp. smoked paprika

2 bay leaves

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

1 jalapeño, seeded and diced

4 garlic cloves, finely diced

1 lb. linguica, sliced

14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes

1/2 lb. fresh bass filets, or tilapia filets, cut into 1-inch squares

3/4 lb. large raw shrimp, peeled

Sea salt and pepper to taste

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Handful flat parsley, chopped -- for garnish

In a 1-quart pot, bring chicken stock with rice, paprika and bay leaves to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 20 minutes, then remove from heat.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil to medium-high, sauté onion and jalapeño until translucent, add garlic and linguica and continue to sauté until garlic and linguica begin to brown.

Add diced tomatoes with juice; stir and return to simmer. Add tilapia. When pieces turn opaque, add shrimp, remove from heat and let it sit for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the shrimp turn opaque.

Remove bay leaves from rice, and add rice to main dish, mixing thoroughly. Garnish with fresh parsley.

In Portugal, albariño is known as alvarinho, and sometimes as Cainho Branco. Albariño is now produced in several California regions, including our own Santa Ynez Valley, Clarksburg, Napa, Edna Valley and Los Carneros AVAs. Pair this dish with an albariño from either Curran or Tres Anelli.

Curran’s 2016 Santa Barbara County Albariño is clean and expressive. Although Kris Curran is popularly known for crafting pinot noir, her passion is Spanish varietals. This lovely Spanish white wine jumps out of the glass with ripe pear and melon, honeysuckle and hints of almonds. Beautifully structured with rich texture and firm tannins that are perfectly balanced through the long, crisp finish.

Or try Tres Anelli’s 2014 Santa Barbara County Albariño. In Spain and Portugal, albariño is traditionally fermented in stainless steel tanks in order to preserve its crisp acidity. Here on the Central Coast, they went the route of using older, neutral French oak barrels to add complexity and richness in the mouth. It is a lively, bright wine that is soft and languid on the palate, with beautifully integrated aromas of nectarine, white peach, and soft floral notes. Their albariño has a crisp acidity with a slightly creamy finish, making it perfect to pair with seafood on a beautiful fall day.

Enjoy!

John David Finley is a freelance writer and author of the cookbook, "Sacred Meals from our Family Table," which features Santa Barbara County wines. He can be reached at sacredmeals@comcast.net.

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