Scallop Salad with Lioco Chardonnay

Summertime and Dinner Salads
It’s summer in Minnesota and our thoughts turn to cool crisp wines and light dinners out on the deck.  We had a taste for some scallops tonight, so I searched for good looking dinner salads featuring scallops.  The folks at Lioco had sent some wine samples earlier this spring, I had been looking for a good pairing with their Russian River Chardonnay and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Tart lemon flavors in the wine are a perfect foil for this salad

Tart lemon flavors in the wine are a perfect foil for this salad

Lioco Russian River Valley Chardonnay “Estero” 2012 ($35, sample provided by winery)
eye: bright, clear lemony yellow
nose: Rich nose of lemons and stones
mouth: Medium body, very nice acidity, even tart. Minerally lingering finish.

Notes from the winery:
“The barrel-fermented 2012 Russian River Valley Chardonnay, labeled “Estero” (Spanish for estuary), is a blended wine resulting from a strident selection process both in the vineyard and cellar. They identify choice blocks in each of their four RRV sites (those with the oldest vines, preferred clones, and/or unique soil) and designate them to this special blend. Additionally, LIOCO assigns the most expressive barrels, all neutral oak and primarily 500 litre, to this blend.”

Lioco Russian River Chardonnay shines bright in the glass

Lioco Russian River Valley Chardonnay shines bright in the glass

Scallop Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

This recipe comes from Williams Sonoma and features mango and avocado in addition to the scallops.  Topped with a lime vinaigrette, the salad is rich and light at the same time.  The only deviation I made was to grill the mangoes and avocado as well as the scallops.  I thought the grilled fruit and avocado were great, what do you think?

If you’d like to give this one a try, the recipe is here: Scallop salad with Lime Vinaigrette

Scallop salad text

Simultaneously rich and light, we loved this salad!

A little more about Lioco
Lioco is among a group of California wineries pursuing wines that are a bit different from what we have come to expect from California.  If you consider a typical California Chardonnay as one that is ripe and rich, with buttery vanilla flavors, Lioco is not like that at all!  Grapes that go into Lioco wines are typically from cool sites and are picked earlier than other wineries would pick.  They only use neutral (older) oak barrels in fermentation and aging, so the wines are softened by oak but they don’t pick up so much flavor from the barrel.

One of my favorites things is that you can find out all this information by simply looking at the back of the label on the wine bottle; nice!

Everything you might want to know about the wine is right on the back label; nice!

Everything you might want to know about the wine is right on the back label; nice!

The Pairing
100% success!  The salad manages to balance richness from the scallops and avocadoes with the light, spicy lime vinaigrette and vegetables underneath.  In a similar way, the wine manages a bit of richness in mouthfeel with a bright lemony tartness that seems just right.  We’ll do this one again!

Not your garden variety California Chardonnay

Not your garden variety California Chardonnay

My thanks to Lioco for providing this wine as a sample for evaluation.  The tasting notes and opinions expressed about the wine are my own.

Note: if you’d like to give Lioco wines a try on a tighter budget, look for their Sonoma County Chardonnay (SoCo) and their NoCo Pinot Noir.  Both these wines retail for around $20-25 and are pretty widely available.  They’ll give you an idea of what Lioco is all about.

7 Responses to “Scallop Salad with Lioco Chardonnay”
  1. arneis2013 says:

    The days are getting shorter, so time to enjoy these delicious pairings in a summer environment! Thanks for these lovely suggestions. New producer for me. Family owned???

    • Days getting shorter? Spoken like a fellow person from snow country! We’re still hoping for at least a few more weeks of summer.
      I don’t think you’d consider Lioco a family owned venture, but they sure are nice folks.

  2. I love a good white wine with seafood. This one sounds lovely!

  3. Yum. Yum. And more Yum. Great pics of the food and wine – thx for the review. Cheers!

  4. They look perfect!! Bon apétit!

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