On the way to Red Hook Winery as a class, my teammate and I discussed different wines that we would encounter. Our dish is Baked Fish Fillet with tomato and mushrooms. We went on a mission to taste the base wines that this amazing winery offered with the help of Christopher, who is one of the winemakers. Seafood is great but how it is cooked makes all the difference when finding a pairing for it. During our time at the winery, we sampled 10 different wines ranging from a nice Rose to a Vintage Merlot. Baked fish could go with a nice red however we agreed on a balanced white wine with freshness and acidity. With tomatoes and mushrooms providing a contrast and complementary flavor it made us want to also look for wine bases that have oak and vegetal notes. We tasted a Sauvignon Blanc that had a developing mouthful but also went down smooth that was off dry. Our method to blend these base wines was to combine light intensity flavors with a wow factor. Considering the baked fish element of the dish, it was apparent to include some smokiness with our wine. That meant to look for a base that aged for a few years in oak barrels. Christopher mentioned that most of his barrels were made from natural french oak. He also noted that it is also great to try and maintain the barrels for as long as possible so that over time wines placed in the barrels will get a unique flair each time. We then tasted a wine base that was fermented in a steel tank for 50 days then transferred to barrels later. It made quite a difference because it contained charred smokey notes that gave a pleasant taste. The experience gave my teammate and I great views of how we can blend the best wine.
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