Hit & Miss: Altés Herencia 2011 Garnatxa Blanca with Halibut Cioppino & Edamame, Corn & Tomato Salad

Wine: Altés Herencia 2011 Garnatxa Blanca
Origin: Terra Alta, Spain

Taste: Spain keeps surprising us with its nouveau wines and denominations. This wine is pristinely clean and value-priced. It’s close to the Gates of Heaven, but somehow, it lost its soul in the process. Still, the wine is serviceable. There are ripe apple flavors and whiffs of spice. Tannins briefly appear on the quick finish to pique additional interest. I’d drink only in a pinch, but I digress….

Expectation: This wine is simultaneously rich in fruit yet faintly bitter on the finish. It needs white wine dishes that show enough richness to require red wine tannins. What a conundrum!

Hit: Halibut Cioppino
Most fish accommodate this wine well, but a fatty fish preparation, or at least fish accompanied by some richness – like that from mushrooms and butternut squash – would pair best. This wine’s near-tingling acidity cuts through that richness, and its mineral elements meld well with the fungus and root components of the dish.

Miss: Edamame, Corn and Tomato Salad
Edamame has textural depth, corn has sweetness and density, and tomato has both acid and fruitiness. I thought a fresh white wine with some corralling bitterness (wee, but perceptible) would be the perfect foil. Indeed, it did pair well as this Garnacha Blanca doesn’t hide its wood-stem, herbal notes – both in flavor and in palate perception.