The Christmas Feast of Seven Fishes is a traditional Italian meal on Christmas Eve in which seven courses are prepared with a variety of fish. With a show-stopping dinner like that, lots of wine is needed, and hosts may wish to consider some of the white wines from the island of Sardinia to accompany this meal.
At a media event on December 7, representatives from the Sardinian winery Vigne Surrau, including owner Giancarlo Demuro, visited New York to pour their wines at Palma Carriage House. “Where is Sardinia?” That’s the question very often put to Giovanni Melis, sales manager at Vigne Surrau. He smiled telling the anecdote, then relates that Sardinia is the second major Italian island (after Sicily) that is situated west of mainland Italy in the Mediterranean Sea. “We’re just a 40 minute flight from Rome, so next time you’re in Rome, come to Sardinia!”
On this occasion, two very distinctive Vermentino wines were poured. The first was Branu Vermentino di Gallura DOCG 2014, a bright, fresh white wine with flavors of lemons, cut grass, minerality, and bitter almonds on the finish. It was a wine of character, but not brash. It was well matched to a course of fried calamari, and in fact, the grapes grow with sea breezes blowing across the vines. If fried seafood dishes or oysters are part of your Seven Fishes feast, this would be a great wine to serve with them.
The second Vermentino served at the event was Sciala Vermentino di Gallura DOCG Superiore 2014. This was a richer wine than the first, and its vinification, which includes some skin contact and lees contact, was designed to develop greater depth of flavors. This white wine had more intense aromas and deeper lemon and mineral flavors. The grapes are grown on granite, and Giovanni said that the granite gives these Vermentino wines the ability to age. A more intense wine like this would pair with delicious seafood dishes such as pasta with a lobster mornay sauce.
If cooking a Feast of Seven Fishes is a little too much work, take the family out to Palma on Christmas Eve and enjoy the fritto misto, zuppe de pesci, and branzino. You can order the Vigne Surrau Vermentino with your scaled-down fish-centric meal right there.