Spring Arrives with Chilean Sauvignon Blanc and a Sautéed Scallop Salad

Get Ready for Spring!

Errazuriz and Los Vascos Sauvignon Blancs with seared scallop salad

Hey, guess what? Spring is coming, time to dig out the Sauvignon Blanc and dinner salad recipes!

It seems that even in Minnesota, spring is upon us. Actually, in Minnesota, spring comes and goes several times before jumping right into summer.  We are always ready to pull out warm weather recipes and wines at a moments notice to take advantage of a warm, sunny day!

Today I’m sampling two Sauvignon Blancs provided by Wines of Chile alongside a sautéed scallop dinner salad; delicious!

Vina Errazuriz Sauvignon Bland and Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc

Surprised? Winegrowers in Chile are finding great regions for cool climate grapes, like Sauvignon Blanc

Viña Los Vascos Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite)
Back in 1988, Château Lafite Rothschild, one of the estates at the pinnacle of wine culture in Bordeaux decided  to expand outside their traditional boundaries. The first outpost they chose was Chile, and Viña Los Vascos was born. Why Chile? Chile has been described as the perfect place to grow wine grapes, and here is a testament to why, found on the Viña Los Vascos page of the Château Lafite Rothschild website:

“because of its location near the ocean and its exceptional soil. Along with ideal weather conditions, Los Vascos benefits from intense exposure to the sun, adequate water sources, semi-arid soils and little risk of frost.”

For their Sauvignon Blanc, Viña Los Vascos purchases grapes on long term contracts from growers in the cool Casablanca Valley, even closer to the Pacific Ocean than the home vineyards.

Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc

Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc

Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) 2015 (winery sample, retails around $10)
Eye: Clear, very pale gold color
Nose: Grassy, grapefruit, tomato leaf. Very much in the style of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
Mouth: Medium body, high acidity, grassy grapefruit flavors persist, medium + finish. High acidity but stops short of being tart.
A very enjoyable wine for the New Zealand style Sauvignon Blanc lover.

Vina Errazuriz and Vina Los Vascos Sauvignon Blancs, side by side.

A variety of styles in Chilean Sauvignon Blanc

Viña Errázuriz
Think Chilean wineries are newcomers? Think again. Viña Errázuriz celebrated their 145th year as a winery in 2015, having been founded in 1870! While most of their vineyards are located inland in the Aconcagua Valley, they planted vineyards at the Aconcagua Costa Estate in 2005, just 12 km from the cold Pacific Ocean. The vineyards are located on the ocean side of the coastal mountain range, so they benefit from the full effects of that cold ocean water and air.  The inland vineyards are dedicated to red wine grapes, but the Aconcagua Costa vineyards are plenty cold to grow cool climate grapes such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Noir. The Aconcagua Costa won D.O. (Denomination of Origin) status in 2012, officially sanctioning it as its own unique growing area in Chile.

Viña Errázuriz Max Reserva Sauvignon Blanc

Viña Errázuriz Max Reserva Sauvignon Blanc

Viña Errázuriz Max Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2014 (winery sample, retails for around $20)
Eye: Clear, very pale gold, nearly colorless
Nose: Clean, light intensity (shy on the nose). Fresh floral with just a touch of grassy citrus.
Mouth: Medium body, high acidity, grassy citrus is more noticeable in the mouth.
A bit more subtle than the Los Vascos, this wine still expresses plenty of new world Sauvignon Blanc characteristics.

Sauteed scallop salad with arugula, beets and oranges

A perfect pairing for citrusy, acidic Sauvignon Blanc

Two Chilean Sauvignon Blancs with Arugula Salad Topped with Scallops, Oranges & Beets
True to their word, the salad paired beautifully with both Sauvignon Blancs. Sautéed scallops provide a wonderful bit of richness to the otherwise light, citrusy and refreshing salad.  I was happy to have beets added to the ingredients of the salad, as they are a food I’m working on acquiring more of a taste for, how about you? My wife, Julie, is a grapefruit lover, so she always has a natural affinity for Sauvignon Blancs expressing those strong grassy/grapefruit notes, and the Los Vascos delivers on that front. In fact, I’d be tempted to substitute grapefruit sections for the oranges the next time we make the salad. For me, the more restrained nose on the Errazuriz was more my style.

Note: the wines for this post were provided by Wines of Chile, and the recipe is from the Viña Errázuriz website.  All opinions are mine!

Arugula Salad w/ Scallops, Oranges & Beets

The recipe is available directly on the Vina Errázuriz website, here. However, some of the ingredients were not listed or amounts weren’t given, so I have included what I used.

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp freshly sqeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 5 oz. arugula
  • 1 tsp EVOO
  • 12 oz. scallops (8 scallops)
  • 1 orange, cut into segments
  • 1/2 raw beet, sliced thinly on a mandoline
  • 1⁄4 cup sliced almonds

Instructions

  • In a dry skillet over medium heat, carefully toast the almond slices. Watch carefully so they don’t burn. Set the almonds aside.
  • Mix 2 tsp EVOO, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and the mustard in the bottom of a large bowl.
  • Toss in the arugula, mix well
  • Serve the arugula onto two plates or shallow bowls
  • Add the thinly sliced beets, then the arrange the orange segments on top
  • Pre-heat a skillet over medium heat
  • Add the 1 tsp EVOO and sauté the scallops, 3 minutes per side
  • Place the scallops on top of the salad and finally, top with slivered almonds.

chile_SB_scallop_salad 20160317 175

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