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Speaking of Wine...

Wine Pairings for Florida Cuisine

Are you a Florida Transplant Wine Lover? You want to experience quintessential Floridian cuisine but you might not be sure how to pair it with your favorite wines. Well we’ve gone to the local experts for some advice and we are grapeful for their insight and suggestions. Here’s hoping you will be too!

Stone Crab Claws

Stone Crab Season runs from October 15 through May 15. Stone crab is the ultimate eco-friendly way to enjoy seafood since only the oversized claw is harvested leaving the critter intact to grow another. The succulent nutritious meat is considered quite a delicacy and deserves a carefully selected wine. Rob Wayne of Varietals and More recommends Domaine De La Rossignole Sancerre, a French Sauvignon Blanc. For an alternative and more festive approach he also suggests Chateau Bligny Grand Brut Reserve Champagne.

Fried Gator Tail

What do you get when you cross a chicken with a grouper? Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! Alligator meat is both weird and delicious and is gaining popularity as a delicacy in some fancy restaurants. Wine pairing with the meat from this beast is a “thing” now but the rules fly out the door a bit on this dish. Rob’s first pick is a red Siduri Willamette which is an Oregon Pinot Noir. Gary Roberts of Summer Crush Vineyard & Winery also takes the red approach but with one of their signature wines. ‘Rated Arrr’ is a semi dry table wine crafted from the muscadine grape blended with a dry red vinifera grape.

Spiny Lobster Tail

It’s a frenzy out there when these scrumptious crustaceans come into season. Whether you braved the dive and caught some by hand or did it the old-fashioned way by going to the store and buying them, you’ll want to make sure you pick the best wine to compliment the firm meat and the drawn butter. Marco Amato of Vincent’s Ristorante & Pizzeria features small production wines and recommends Chardonnay Cortaccia from Alto Adige, Italy for its refreshing aromatic sense of white fruit and a hint of lemon which rounds off any lobster dish nicely.

Conch Fritters

These deep-fried nuggets of pure gastronomical joy are Floribbean cuisine rooted in the Bahamas. Taken from queen conch, this sweet high-protein shell fish is fried in a savory batter with a combination of peppery seasonings and vegetables including green pepper, tomato and onion. Tommy Allegretta, owner of soon to open Vino Royal on Royal Palm Point, is adamant about California Sauvignon Blanc as a great choice for any fried seafood dish. Their flavors are a range of fruits from green apples to grapefruit making them a delightful pairing with tender seafood that is deep or pan fried. Our friends at Summer Crush recommend Beach Nut, crisp semi-dry white wine that pairs well with fried foods.

Key Lime Pie

Floridians are smitten with this one of a kind citrusy dessert. While the toppings and crusts may vary from whipped cream or meringue to graham cracker or traditional pastry, its authenticity is validated in the filling. Sweetened condensed milk and real key limes, not the Persian grocery store variety, are essential to any self-respecting Key Lime Pie. Gary with Summer Crush swears by his Party Wave Pineapple, almost a dessert itself. Rob at Varietals offers another festive option which always pairs well with something as fun as Key Lime Pie- Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blanc Sparkling Wine from California.

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