Rosé – Pearls & Pink Fish Masterclass with Mike Bennie & John Susman

Rosé – Pearls & Pink Fish Masterclass was one of the sessions held during the Three Winos and a Fishtale, co-presented by Mike Bennie, renowned wine writer and John Susman of Fishtales and Cloudy Bay Fish Co.

Rosé - Pearls & Pink Fish Masterclass
L-R: Mike Bennie, John Susman

The aim of the session was to “match the wine often referred to as the Princess of Anjou with seafood more often eaten by kings – salmon, caviar and tuna”. Or, as described more succinctly by the presenters, “where pink and pink goes”.

Although the wines and seafood has been paired, the class was encouraged to experiment with different matches and perhaps challenge some traditional pairings.

NV Laurent Perrier Rosé, Champagne, France – Russian Osetra Karat Caviar produced by Caviar Galilee

The first match introduced NV Laurent Perrier Rosé, a champagne made from 100% Pinot Noir and aged for four years before it is released – a wine that is crisp and meant to be drunk young. It was paired with Karat Caviar, a true Russian osetra caviar which has become available again after a ten year period. The caviar comes from wild sturgeon that is hand-milked. Its high salt level is crucial to preserving the roe. The caviar has earthy/mushroom characteristics and a dominant a fishy aftertaste.

The classic pairing worked well, with the champagne cutting through the high salt content.

Rosé - Pearls & Pink Fish Masterclass
Rosé – Pearls & Pink Fish Masterclass

2010 Rimauresq Cotes de Provence Rosé, Provence, France – First Milked Virgin Yarra Valley Salmon Caviar

The next pairing emphasised the heritage of consumption of seafood and rosé wines in Provence. 2010 Rimauresq Cotes de Provence Rosé is made from multiple grape varieties and is also a wine that meant to be drunk young and fresh. The wine is a typical Provence-style rosé, very dry and brings out the saline flavour profile of the food.

First-milked Yarra Valley Salmon Caviar from virgin Atlantic salmon was paired with the Provencal wine. The salmon roe, which was previously reviewed here is obtained from fresh water aquaculture farms. The fish are grown for their roe and not their flesh which gives them characteristic flavours, clean and fresh and well- matched to the dry style rosé. Caviar obtained from salmon grown for its flesh tends to be stickier and denser.

2011 Clyde Park Rosé, Geelong – Yarra Valley Salmon Caviar Classic

Clyde Park Rosé is made from a blend of white and red grapes (Shiraz, Cabernet, Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Gris) and not the saignée method. The wine is manipulated to build density and texture which yields a more complex style due to the fermentation in the barrel.

Yarra Valley Salmon Caviar Classic is paired with this more complex style of rosé. The roe has a more intense flavour than the first-milked caviar which complements this style of wine.

An additional tasting was provided, Albacore tuna, a fish often called the chicken of the sea. This fish is highly regarded abroad and has 18% body fat which makes it difficult to cook. Its fat which renders quickly and it turns dry, which makes it a fish best served as sashimi.

2011 Medhurst Rosé, Yarra Valley – Wood Roasted King Salmon

Medhurst Rosé comes from a winery in the Yarra Valley and is made from a blend of shiraz and cabernet. Its pairing, the wood roasted king snook salmon comes from Marlborough in New Zealand and is a fish that is highly sought after in Japan. The fish is hot-smoked and dry-cured using a hard woods which are low in resin so they don’t impart an acrid taste. The high fat content of the fish allows it to absorb a lot more smoke.

Paired with the wine which has no wood characteristics, the inherent sweetness counterbalances the smoke and makes it the most favourite match.

The masterclass highlighted the concept of the terroir of the sea. Much like the wines, all three caviars on taste reflected their terroir, where they come from in terms of style and flavour.

The Rosé – Pearls & Pink Fish Masterclass was held during Three Winos and a Fishtale trade event on Monday 6 August 2012.

See also Shellfish and the 3 S’s: Sancerre, Semillon & Shampoo Masterclass with Mike Bennie & John Susman.


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.