Tingle and Cleanse: Riesling with your Scallops

top pairing
by Jeff Harding with photos by Will Blunt
Vol. 17
January 2012   
Restaurant
Who
  • Sommelier June Rodil
  • Born in the Philippines and bred in Texas, June Rodil is a talented professional who combines her deep knowledge of wine with her personal passion for the culinary industry. Though her original aim was a career in law, she was deterred by her intense love of food and drink, and after several memorable dining experiences, she decided to pursue a career in wine.

    Rodil began her studies at Austin’s highly acclaimed Driskill Grill, where she quickly rose from service to sommelier, and spent seven years honing her hospitality skills and learning the intricacies of varietals and vintages before taking on the role of beverage director at Austin’s popular Uchi, touted by Bon Appetit as one of 2009′s top 10 sushi restaurants in the country.

    Rodil graduated summa cum laude from the University of Texas at Austin with degrees in English and Philosophy. In August 2009, she took home top honors as “Texas’ Best Sommelier,” awarded by the Texas Sommelier Association and the Wine and Food Foundation of Texas, outscoring her peers in a three-part exam that required mastery in service, blind tasting, and theory. Most recently she has taken on sommelier duties at Austin's Congress. Remaining diligent in her wine studies, Rodil continues preparation for the arduous exams of the Court of Master Sommeliers and anticipates success in the remaining levels of testing.

Wine
Forstmeister Geltz Zilliken Estate Riesling, Mosel, Germany, 2008
Dish
Pan-roasted Sea Scallop, Jicama-Mint Salad, Coconut Cream, Cocoa Nib, and Chocolate Mint from Chef David Bull
Pairing Note

According to Congress Sommelier June Rodil, the success of this pairing hinges on the delicate complexity in both the scallop dish and the Riesling. Normally a pairing highlights similar components in wine and food, or it can illuminate contrasting textures and flavors. Rodil's combination delightfully manages both.

Lightest of fish, and lightest of wine. Simple, right? But wait for it. Crisp sweetness that's classic in a Riesling both complements the dish's subtle fruit de mer sweetness and sets it off. Mint and jicama combine for a crunchy herbal layer, and act as a spotlight for similar notes in the wine. That might be enough for a novice, but let's wine-geek out and keep going. A honeyed quality in the wine counters and highlights barely bitter cocoa nibs. The plate's coconut cream boasts bigger flavor, and hits right on the mid-palate for a second wave of sweetness in the wine. Finally, this Riesling's depth of vintage, residual sugar, orange oil, and petroleum characteristics contribute a viscosity that might overwhelm the scallop, but again, the jicama, mint, and cocoa combine to keep it in check. As for the finish? Rodil puts it best: "The tingling and cleansing sensation of two components [jicama and acidity of the wine] are the last things to dance on your palate until you're ready for another bite." Yes, please.

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