Sips with Nantucket Bay ScallopsOctober 17, 2019
October marks the official start of Nantucket Bay scallop season, yippee!
This special delicacy unique to our island is available first to anyone who obtains a recreational shellfish license from the Town of Nantucket before the commercial harvest season begins November 1st. Not only is it an adventure to put on your waders and spend some time on the water, it is also an experience to shuck all your little gems and easily use them to create a culinary masterpiece.
Advanced Sommelier Jenny Benzie offers a selection of fabulous, distinctive white wines of distinction to pair with your favorite Nantucket Scallop recipes.
COME ON IN, THE WATER IS FINE
The Anjou region of the Loire Valley in northwestern France is better known for their red wines than the limited production of their stellar whites. Located in the heart of this region is the estate farmed by Jean-Bernard (4th generation vigneron) and Catherine Chauvin, along with their son Denis. Here they produce the Domaine de Clayou Chenin Blanc. This wine is made from 100% Chenin Blanc in a dry style. It is crisp, clean and full of lively fruit on the palate. The wine is aged only for six months in stainless steel on its fine lees with occasional battonage to add a small amount of texture.
This chewy French Chenin is perfect for those who would like a little bit of weight on the palate, yet without the woodiness or buttery flavor found with wines that have been oak aged. It has a concentrated nose of honey and apricot, with an elegant, velvety mouthfeel. The winery is certified sustainable by Terra Vitis, an organization that stresses the fair treatment of employees along with avoiding chemical treatments in the vines, so important to support a producer like this.
Suggested Pairing: Nantucket Scallop raw, eat them as you shuck them, right out of the shell!
THE ANIMALS HAVE IT
Donkey & Goat Winery is owned and operated by Jared and Tracey Brandt in an industrial area of Berkeley, California. They make what are referred to as ‘natural’ wines, which is a term that describes their practices both in the vineyard and the cellar. The wines are bottled with minimal sulphur, and without stabilization, fining or filtration.
Donkey & Goat Skin Ferment Roussanne “Stone Crusher” is made from 100% Roussanne, a grape commonly used for blending in the Rhône Valley, from vineyard sources in El Dorado, California. What makes this wine stand out is that it is made by leaving the skin in contact with the juice to create what is called an ‘orange’ wine. They were producing this style of wine long before this recent term was ever coined. You will discover aromas of peach skin, flavors of Asian pear and Gravenstein appliers, and a perfect touch of minerality on the finish. Due to the skin contact, this wine will also experience some hefty tannins not quite expected for a white wine. Skin ferment wines are fascinating for this reason and also for their incredible versatility at the table.
A piece of trivia for you… Winemaker Jared Brandt was named such after his parents had visited Nantucket many years ago and stayed at the Jared Coffin House. He has yet to come visit the island or the place of his namesake, however we hope he and his lovely wife Tracey will join us for a tasting event next year!
Suggested Pairing: Nantucket Scallop Ceviche, recipe by Joan Skar of Glidden’s Island Seafood
GOT TO SHOW YOUR PRIDE
You just spent hours on the water, and doubled that time while shucking your treasures. Show how proud you are of your efforts by toasting with Pride Mountain Vineyards Viognier. This gorgeous wine hails from Sonoma County under the winemaking skills of Sally Johnson, who has been crafting Pride wines for over twenty years. This 100% Viognier has heady aromas of nectarine, peach, and orange blossoms. On the palate, the wine is lush, round and oily, with a bright acidity that brings balance and a lingering richness to the wine. It is fermented in neutral French oak barrels, offering a hint of warmth to its strong flavor and intensity.
Owners Suzanne Pride Bryan and Stuart Bryan have been long-time ambassadors of their family’s winery located at Summit Ranch. Their passion as stewards of the land extends far beyond their vineyards that lie in Napa and Sonoma Counties. This dynamic couple has been seen numerous times as luminaries at the annual Nantucket Wine Fest held in mid-May every year.
Suggested Pairing: Nantucket Bay Scallops sautéed with sliced almonds and orange, recipe by Annie B. Copps, cookbook author, chef, and culinary instructor
BEST FOR LAST
While you enjoy popping those ‘nanny bays’ in your mouth like candy, you also enjoy sharing your rewards with your closest friends for a fabulous fall fête. Considering Beaune, the capital of Burgundy, is the sister city to Nantucket, it would be most festive to the celebrate the harvest, with a stunning wine from that region.
Winemaker Jean-Marc Boillot was one of the younger generation in Burgundy who was determined to improve upon his family’s wines. After making wine at his family’s domaine for over a decade, he branched out on his own to create a more concentrated, richer style of wine than what his family had produced. Years later, his grandfather was so impressed with this work, that he bequest half his vineyard to Jean-Marc. Jean-Marc’s maternal grandfather was the late Etienne Sauzet, from whom he also inherited exceptional vineyards. With these incredible vineyard sources combined together, Jean Marc is able to bring us a new school charm to his old school heritage.
J. M. Boillot Montagny 1er Cru is made from 100% Chardonnay with all of the grapes originating from Premier Cru ranked vineyards in the village of Montagny. The wine goes through malolactic fermentation and is aged in partially new French oak barrels for less than a year to give it depth and length on the palate. The result is quite the value compared to wines of similar pedigree of the close by villages of Puligny and Chassage Montrachet.
Suggested Pairing: Nantucket Bay Scallops with fresh pasta and Champagne butter, recipe by Erin Zircher of CRU Oyster Bar Nantucket
However you decide to prepare your precious Nantucket Bay Scallops, remember to save and recycle your oyster (and clam) shells in order to support oyster restoration in Nantucket waters. Shells are collected, weighed, and stored at the Department of Public Works to cure for at least one year before put back into the water, where they will serve as the base layer or foundation for an oyster reef. Saving our island, one sip and one shuck at a time!