Editor's Note: With our May issue devoted to local wines, columnist Angela Ortmann is dedicating this month's Quite The Pair columns to St. Louis-area restaurants that serve them.
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar's Lobster Tempura, $22.50
Tempura is the Japanese method of battering and deep frying. Fluffy coating with a crisp exterior gives an interesting texture to vegetables, seafood and meats. Fleming’s lobster tempura is just that plus the unmistakable consistency of this luxurious shellfish. Served with a creamy soy ginger dipping sauce and shaved apple and jicama, this dish is a delight for sight, savoring and wine pairing.
THE WINE PAIRINGS
Chandler Hill Chambourcin Rosé, Mo., $10 by the glass
Welcome to rosé season! Traditional and popular choices include selections from France, California and South America, but don’t miss out on our local dry pink wines. This estate grown and bottled rosé, made from the Chambourcin grape, is the first of its kind from Chandler Hill Vineyards in Defiance. Bursting with bright strawberry fruit, this easy-sipper has just enough “oomph” for food pairing, too. Zinging acidity cuts through the batter and sauce while the light and refreshing body plays a nice complement to the lobster and fruit. As the temperature rises on the wine, notice the revealing aromas of rose petals and sweet herbs. Everything you want from a rosé with the added pleasure of it being both cultivated and produced just outside of St. Louis.
Twomey Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, Calif., $12 by the glass
Despite daily tastings and pairings, there are even times when I am surprised by a food and wine match. After tasting through several of the whites from the list, many of which worked with the dish, I was pleasantly surprised at how well this Napa Sauvignon Blanc paired with the lobster tempura over some of the more lush whites I had been tasting. We too often relate this varietal with being full of racy citrus and grassy undertones, but California versions can also showcase melon and tropical notes rounded out by apple and kiwi. A more luscious mouthfeel makes for rich experience with the dish while the clean finish revives the palate. Coming across this unexpected pairing is a wonderful reminder to me of how exciting the world of food and wine is and can be. It's great example why we should never get too set in our ways as to what "should" and "should not" go together.
Nobel Estate Muscat, Willamette Valley, Ore., $8 by the glass
It’s no secret that bubbles and fried foods are often a perfect pairing. Trusting my instincts and looking for a more adventurous combination, I passed on the customary choices from California and France and chose the semi-sparkling Muscat from Oregon. A nose of stone fruits, mostly peaches and apricots, is followed with honeyed flavors of the same with touches of tangerine and herbaceousness. The slightly sweet taste is a fun addition to the delicate lobster, while the orchard fruit notes accompany the ginger in the sauce as well as the apple and jicama.The tiny bubbles keep the texture light and the spritz finish keeps each bite exciting.
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, 1855 South Lindbergh Blvd., 314.567.7610, flemingssteakhouse.com/locations/mo/st-louis
STLwinegirl Angela Ortmann gained a passion for all things epicurean by working in the luxury restaurants and hotels of St. Louis and San Francisco. Through her event and consultation business, she is dedicated to enhancing your food and wine experience.