“No to Rare”, “No to Virginia”, said the chaps

Smile if you love wine!

Last week Dezel was invited over a friend’s house for an evening dinner. Dezel's friend, Johnny, is a full time chef, part time engineer, so Dezel was eagerly expecting the meal to be a delectable hit!

Sounds like perfect dinner plans right? Here is where the confusion comes in. Johnny asked Dezel to bring over a wine to pair with dinner and the meal Johnny was cooking up was a seared “rare” tuna dish. So here is the problem. Johnny prefers Australian red wines and having lived in Virginia for quite some time, his last experience with Virginia red wines were sort of green; that was many moons ago, but Johnny holds grudges against wine regions. On the flip side, Dezel had one bad sushi moment and rare and raw are simply not in the food vocabulary.

Mediterranean Chardonnay 04 – Veritas Claret 04

Well friends, two middle aged chaps had a tough decision to make and since we are not getting any younger, we both decided to try the very thing that we hadn’t much of a taste for. Johnny, a Virginia red wine, and Dezel, the 1/2 cooked raw tuna.

In the interim, Johnny whipped up a bowl of delicious garlic and chilie dipping oil that went well with the warm French baguettes. The first wine we opened as a conversation starter was the Mediterranean Cellars Chardonnay 2004. The Chardonnay offered nice ripe tree fruit flavors, namely apple, and was medium in body and had a fuller mouth feel. It was aged half in stainless steel barrels and half in oak barrels and offered a nice touch of spice and toast mid palate with a pinch of sweetness. Although this was a decent Chardonnay, Dezel confused his tasting notes and was actually looking for a lighter, more acidic Chardonnay, preferably stainless steel fermented and aged to kick the evening off with. Needless to say, we still consumed and enjoyed this wine quite a bit.

Tasty Dipping Oil and Mediteranean Cellars Chardonnay 04

Moving to the main course, Johnny lightly seasoned the tuna and rolled the fillets in sesame seeds and gently seared the fillets on both sides, leaving the center quite rare (to Dezel’s dismay). To accompany the tuna were sea weed salad and a nice spiced curry based bean and rice dish. Typically, I think white wine with most fish dishes, but since this fish was meatier and practically raw, a nice delicate red wine I figured would do the trick.

Seared Tuna and Veritas Claret 2004

The wine selected, the Veritas Claret 2004, is a nice Bordeaux styled blend of 60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Merlot. This wine was soft with smooth tannins, offering gentle cherry, raspberry, spice and subtle cedar flavors with a good level of acidity. The wine was the perfect mate for the seared tuna, delicate, not overpowering and the spiciness and acidity of the wine complimented the fish nicely.

In the end, Johnny agreed that since his last swallow, the quality of Virginia wines has come a long way and also informed Dezel that he was going to get out and start visiting Virginia wineries again. On the other side of the coin, Dezel concluded that the seared raw tuna was not so bad after all and was actually rather yummy! Now, I doubt Dezel will visit any sushi bars anytime soon, but that ½ cooked tuna was awesome!

So we have a ‘yes’ for rare tuna and a ‘yes’ for Virginia wines! Don’t you just love a happy ending friends?

Happy Sipping !


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