Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Wine of the Week: Hardys Nottage Hill Chardonnay

Reviewed by Dwight Casimere


Celebrate those lazy, hazy crazy days of summer Aussie style with a great new offering from down under, Hardys Nottage Hill Chardonnay.  What makes it even more exciting is that, in addition to the intense, bright flavors that we associate with Australian wines, it sells for about $10 a bottle. You can find a case price online of just $7.99 a bottle if you do a little Google searching.

Hardys Nottage Hill Chardonnay is the perfect summer “house wine” because it goes with just about anything you’d put on the grill; or serve on the patio or backyard picnic table. Grilled fish, chicken, shrimp, corn on the cob and all kinds of salad and fruit dishes are the perfect match for its bright, fruity taste filled with flavors of ripe peaches and nectarines and a bouquet of white flowers with just a touch of light oak. I lucked out with a recent sale of lobster and dungeness crab at the local market and made myself a “white” version of that  San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf favorite, Cioppino. The dish is based on a Sicilian dish, Zuppa di Pesce (soup made of fish) and uses a marine “kitchen sink” mish-mosh of fish, with crab and lobster as the star attraction. I substituted fresh leek for the onion and garlic in order to lighten the flavor profile.  I also left out the chopped tomatoes that customarily go into the dish for the same reason and in order to enhance the use of HARDYS Nottage Hill Chardonnay as a vital ingredient.

Here’s the recipe:

In a large stew pot, slow cooker or Le Creuset cookware pot, combine ingredients in stages

1/4 cup  extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium sized leek, sliced into thin slivers
1 cup HARDYs Nottage Hill Chardonnay
1      container free range chicken stock from Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s
4 sprigs fresh garden thyme, or one tablespoon dried
2 tablespoons of chopped, flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 pounds sea bass, grouper, cod, or any other fleshy white fish, cut into 2-inch chunks
Salt and pepper
2 medium to large lobsters, preferably live Maines,  broken into pieces
1 large Dungeness crab cleaned and broken into pieces
8 large shrimp, preferably head-on and deveined (find them in your local Chinatown or at any Korean market)
1 lb. bag or raw mussels, thoroughly scrubbed
A big loaf of Sourdough bread for sopping
In the large pot,  simmer the olive oil with the leek until soft and shiny,. then start adding the chopped white fish in handfuls and allow to saute.

 Add the Hardys Nottage Hill Chardonnay wine to the pot and reduce wine by about half before adding the chicken stock, thyme, and parsley. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to medium low.
 Add all of the shellfish and cover the pot.  Let it all C-cook for about 10 minutes, then turn the pot off and just let it steam for a few minutes so the flavors can marry.
Remove any mussels that didn’t open.
Laddle the stew out onto your best vintage Fiesta  ware bowls (I use the handmade pottery bowls I brought back from Sicily last Spring!) Pour the Rest of the Hardys Nottage Hill Chardonnay, pass around the loaf of Sourdough bread, letting each person break off a piece in large chunks and enjoy. Molto Bene!

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