Fishing for snapper is one of my favourite pastimes. I love catching snapper and have no difficulty removing the hook and killing them using the Japanese iki technique (a sharp spike through the brain). I cannot refer to Fish Chowder, one of my favourite seafood dishes, as “Fish Head Chowder”. Any reference to a fish’s head makes me thing of accusing eyes looking at me out of a thick soup. There’s a certain amount of guilt attached to eating something you’ve killed.
Fish Chowder is wonderfully rich dish. Cast your eye down the list of ingredients. It’s a very complex mix of vegetable, herb and spice flavours. Fish chowder needs to be matched with a wine that will square up to its hearty richness and flavour complexity.
It needs a generously proportioned Chardonnay with plenty of ripe fruit, spicy oak and sizzled butter flavours. The perfect wine needs lots of alcohol to generate extra richness and warmth.
Pegasus Bay 2007 Chardonnay (tastings) has all the qualifications necessary to make a perfect match. It’s big, creamy and complex with a stated alcohol level of 14% although I suspect its slightly higher than that. Two glasses of this stunning wine and you can stare any fish in the face.
First published in KiaOra Magazine – Jun 2009.