A Salsa of Wine and Fish

While not a salsa–in a food sense–but certainly a dance, I recently experienced a food and wine moment where the wine and the meal, while both delicious, when paired brought out the best in both.  A great team effort. The recipe I know well as I’ve modified an old Cuisine at Home dish over the years. The wine was recommended by one of the employees at Argonaut Liquors when I asked him what white he was liking this summer.

A little web research indicated this wine is a joint venture between importer Jorge Ordonez, Enrique Busto and the Gil family of Jumilla. I am not well versed in Spanish wineries so these names lend little significance to me. What I do know is it is well worth finding to match with your favorite dish before the cool days of fall arrive.

The flavor components reminded me of a sauvignon blanc but with mineral undertones which was refreshing when paired with baked red snapper filets and a medley of summer vegetables. ¡Buen provecho!

Now about this wine…

Winemaker's notes:

Bright, lifted nose that could very easily be mistaken kiwi, gooseberry, grapefruit zest, "mineral". But this is riper, deeper. Ditto in the mouth. Great depth of fruit and opposing mineral cut. Another wine with a sugar/acid cage match.

Professional reviews:

 "The Verdejo grapes for the 2009 Shaya are sourced from both estate vineyards and local growers with vine age ranging from 75-112 years. The wine was barrel-fermented and aged on its lees. Medium straw-colored, if offers up an alluring aroma of baking spices, spring flowers, and peach. On the palate it has a creamy texture, vibrant acidity, and intense flavors leading to a lengthy, fruit-filled finish. It is a great value in dry, aromatic white wine that over-delivers in a big way." 91 Points, The Wine Advocate

“Quite rich, but still graceful, this white shows melon, orange blossom, green almond and lime zest flavors in a thick texture. Vibrant acidity keeps this lively. Drink now through 2010.” 5,500 cases made. 89 points, Wine Spectator

Label prose:

As the morning mist disperses across the undulating countryside the Shaya deer emerge from the surrounding pine forest to forage. The gnarled vineyards planted a very long time ago in the sandy riverstone soil produce the finest Verdejo in Rueda. There is a distinct minerality in these wines which compliment the abundance of fruit flavors.


Crusted Red Snapper on a Veggie Pyre

Makes 4 Fillets; Total Time: 45 Minutes

Veggie Pyre

  • 1 C tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 C leeks, sliced thin (can use green onions)
  • ½ C green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 T. garlic, minced


  • ½ C Panko bread crumbs
  • ½ C Parmesan cheese, grated
  • ½ C low salt plain potato chips, crushed
  • ½ t. paprika
  • ½ t. cayenne pepper
  • ¼ t. black pepper
  • 2 T. unsalted butter, melted
  • Fish
  • 4 red snapper fillets (~6 oz), boned and skinned
  • 1 T. scallions or chives, chopped.
  • lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 450 deg F.

Combine the vegetables and place on a greased baking sheet (or cover with foil). The pyre should be a rectangular bed approximately 1 inch high roughly the same dimension of the fish fillets placed side-by-side.

Place fillets on top of the vegetable pyre; season with salt as desired.

Combine crust ingredients then mix with the melted butter. Cover the filets by pressing the mixture into the fish.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the fillets flake when tested with a fork. A good rule is 10 minutes per inch including the vegetable pyre.

Garnish with the scallions and lemon wedges to serve.

Note: you can use flounder, tilapia or other flat fish if you can not find red snapper.

Get out and explore the World!


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About Haliku

Mountain climber, ultrarunner, scuba instructor, world traveler, student of life
This entry was posted in Food & Wine, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to A Salsa of Wine and Fish

  1. Katiebell says:

    love the recipe! if the salmon weren't already in the oven. Wondering where you will go as Vox is closing? I am at:mizunogirl.wordpress.com I do love to hear about your amazing adventures!

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