Happy, I’m so happy. Summer is well under way, and it’s not just any summer, it’s the summer when things started getting back to normal, the first after the pandemic ravaged the globe, when we can begin thinking about getting together, travelling, hugging and everything else that was off limits for such a very long time.
Celebrating with sushi and wine
I’ve always loved this time of year and now, after everything we’ve gone through, even more so.
Bars are bustling again! When the sky is blue, it’s time to put on a summery outfit and head outside.
So many of my friends have come to visit on their vacation! It’s so much fun… Hayley’s in town and we have big plans. Now that we’ve both discovered how much we like wine, we’re going to go to a bar Alex my wine guru recommended to try a few labels.
Decisions, decisions… we know we both like Malbec, so maybe we’ll just start out with a glass of that. While we were chatting last night, I saw that Hayley had kept the bottle I gave her… It’s one of the things I love about her: she really appreciates gifts. I told her that I’ve grown into an expert… Ha! Not really, but I’m learning!
I’m fascinated by Argentina and Mendoza, their grapes, flavors and colors, the Andes and how huge you realize the wine scene there is when you start looking. Hayley thought about it for a while and said, we’ll go from bar to bar, like Anya Taylor-Joy in “The Queens Gambit”!
Hayley studies at UCLA in California, on the other side of the country. Down on the west coast, like Lana del Rey says. She had her choice of colleges but she’d always wanted to live there, in the “land of the sun” (which, coincidentally, is also what they call Mendoza: “Land of sun and good wine”!)
My friend really enjoyed tasting new flavors from elsewhere because in California they drink a lot of local wine – it’s the largest wine producing region in the country. Which got me thinking: it’s like Alex says, there’s a wine for everybody and the fun part is finding out which.
Wines for a gift
But what if the wine’s for someone else? Then things get a little more difficult. It almost becomes an act of love. You really need to know someone to find the right bottle, the perfect gift.
I thought I’d have her over for dinner before we went out. It’d be a surprise, I’d make a nice meal, or we’d order sushi, which she loves. Yeah, that would be nice: I know some places where they make great vegetarian sushi.
And of course, it would be a great excuse to surprise her with another wine. I’ll ask Alex to recommend a great summer wine. A white maybe? How does sushi go with wine?
Alex won’t just tell me which wine to get. He’ll put me to the test. “Let the occasion guide you,” he’ll say, like the guru he is. The occasion and the meal, of course. There’s something magical about combining food and drink, getting just the right balance between flavors turns a routine event into a memorable experience.
I see it as a game, it’s like alchemy. As though we were wizards casting a spell guaranteed to delight the palates of you and your loved ones. I love that.
Wines to pair with fish
According to what I’ve read, sushi goes best with fruity, fresh, aromatic wines.
Then I go through the tips I’ve learned in my head, which leads me to a Torrontés, a wine a discovered thanks to Alex; I might never have tried it otherwise. It’s a grape variety native to Argentina that in contrast to many white grapes, loves the sun.
Which is why the best Torrontés come from the northwest of Argentina: there, the vineyards are planted at heights of at least 5600 feet above sea level, making for extreme conditions that produce wonderful wines.
Torrontés whites have a really strong perfume, with citrus and floral notes, intense palates and vibrant freshness: a perfect match (Alex says) for fish and seafood.
One of the wineries I noted down was Colomé, which also has an amazing hotel set among the vineyards.
Sauvignon Blancs, meanwhile, are great for snacking. They’re lighter, more refreshing, just right for starry nights when you have all the windows open.
What about reds? What’s the deal with them? It seems a little riskier but maybe a Pinot Noir, which are smooth and fruity… that might be really interesting with fish… Or if you’re venturing even further, about an Argentine Criolla? From what I’ve seen, their labels are super cool, perfect for wine geeks.
I might be heading into uncharted territory, but no risk, no gain, right?
And there’s no rush, I admit that I’m impulsive but there’s nothing wrong with planning ahead. We’ll see how things work out.
Meanwhile, I’d love to hear from you: what wine would you pick for a friend you haven’t seen in a long time? What wine would you pair with sushi? Tell me! I need advice!