Match of the week
Red mullet and saffron risotto with Valtellina
You might instinctively think of pairing a fish-based risotto with white wine but there are two factors that make this one, which I had at a lunch to celebrate the 15th anniversary of The Seahorse restaurant in Dartmouth, a good match for a red.
One is that the fish in question was red mullet which has quite a rich earthy flavour and the other that the wine that was served with it was a light, ethereal red from Valtellina (made from Nebbiolo the grape that is used to make Barolo and Barbaresco in Piedmont but called Chiavennasca here.)
Valtellina is a mountainous region in the north-west of Italy and the wines have a particular delicacy and purity. Although this one - the Ca Morei Valtellina Superiore Valgella by Sandro Fay was a 2017 it still tasted very fresh and bright which suited the dish perfectly.
Importer Luca Dusi of Passione Vino, who sells it for £44, describes is as a ‘pinot noir in nebbiolo clothing”. I don’t find is as sweetly fruited as most pinots but with the same seductively silky texture.
The risotto which was made by Seahorse founder chef Mitch Tonks’ son Ben was absolutely perfect by the way. Just the right soupy texture with the rice still with a little bite to it and a marvellous depth of flavour. I’m not sure I’ve had a better risotto outside Italy - certainly not one served at the same time to 60-odd people!
I ate at the Seahorse as a guest.
If you found this post helpful and would like to support the website which is free to use it would be great if you'd make a donation towards its running costs or sign up to my regular Substack newsletter Eat This, Drink That for extra benefits.