Drinks

Weekend wines: Riesling and scallops are a perfect match

Feb. 15, 2013 at 2:02 PM ET

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Milbrandt Vineyards' 2010 'Traditions' Riesling pairs perfectly with sautéed scallops.

With so many styles, from bone dry to very sweet, riesling is perhaps the world’s most versatile grape. Some version of riesling can be paired successfully with just about any food that calls for white wine.

Drier rieslings, for example, go well with simple fish dishes. Slightly sweeter wines will hold up to various sauces for fish and chicken and tame the heat and spiciness of Asian and Indian cuisines, while the sweetest rieslings are made not only for desserts but for rich foods such as pates and very strongly flavored cheeses, provided the wines have good underlying acidity.

With all of that in mind, I recently tasted an excellent riesling that proved to be perfect with one of my favorite seafood dishes at this time of year, sautéed fresh Peconic Bay scallops from eastern Long Island that will be in season through the end of next month. The scallops, which help support a declining local shellfishing industry and are famous beyond Long Island, are much sweeter than larger sea scallops.

That sweetness and the inherent richness of the scallops make riesling, especially one with a touch of sweetness, a great choice and one to look for is Milbrandt Vineyards’ 2010 “Traditions” Riesling from Washington’s Columbia Valley. This $13 wine is loaded with flavors that include white peach, apricot and tropical fruit as well as subtle notes of orange, vanilla and honey.

Vibrant acidity and typically moderate alcohol of 12.5 percent make it refreshing and easy to drink. Try it with lots of other fish recipes and as an aperitif with all kinds of appetizers. One note: I received the 2010 vintage as a press sample and, while still available, I noticed that the most recent release is the 2011.

Edward Deitch is a James Beard Award-winning wine critic. Find many more of his wine reviews and commentary on his blog, Vint-ed.com, and follow him on Twitter.

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