Wine Style: Dão Espumante
Pairing: Ceviche de Bacalhau (Cod)
Sommelier: Lesley Quinn, Prince Edward Island

About the Pairing:  Sparkling wine sounds like celebration, the pop of the cork and the fizzle of the wine as it fills our glass demands a toast be made and your glass be raised. But we forget that sparkling wine is also an incredible friend of food. The natural high acidity makes it perfect for seafood. The tingling texture from the bubbles can enliven a silky dish or add an extra pop to a crunchy one. The ripe flavours in a brut bubble can be just the perfect amount of sweet to tame the heat in a spicy course.

The savvy shoppers among us know drinking Champagne every night of the week is just not financially sustainable which is why we have expanded our sparkling shopping to Italy’s Prosecco and Spain’s Cava however allow me to put before you the newest addition to your bubbly lexicon: Portuguese Espumante and even more cachè Espumante from the Dão region of Portugal because I’m down with Dão.

This area of Portugal looks like Gondor from Lord of the Rings with giant granite boulders and mountain ranges on 3 sides. This higher elevation and rocky soils for the vines produce Espumante’s that are bright, tart, and have an excellent mouth-watering effect. They use native grape varieties like Encruzado, Jaen, Cercial and Malvasia-Fina to create crunchy green apple notes and juicy tropical fruit flavours. Just like Cava Dão Espumante’s have a minimum 9-month aging period before release to round out the wine.

What better way to sample a new Portuguese purchase than by creating a magical Dão inspired dish? The most important first step is to pick up an Espumante Bruto from the Dão and some fresh cod (known as Bacalhau in Portugal). Then grab some limes, onions, jalapeños, a mango and some cilantro. That’s right try Dão Espumante with Bacalhau Ceviche for a « close my eyes as they roll back in my head it is so good » moment. The Dão Espumante acts as added citrus to the ceviche and provides an excellent textural treat to this flavourful fish recipe.

Ceviche de Bacalhau

4 to 6 Servings

2 pounds of very very fresh cod fish or frozen, cut into small cubes
4 limes, juiced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 jalapeño, chopped
2 mangoes, cut into cubes
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt, taste
Pepper, to taste

Directions: Traditionally ceviche is a raw fish dish that is cooked by leaving the fish to marinate in the citrus juice for 1-hour pre consumption. However, if the idea of raw fish makes you at all nervous, here is an excellent alternative so you can still enjoy this fresh and healthy pairing.

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and place the fish in the baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil for 12-15 minutes depending on thickness and until flaky and opaque throughout. When the fish is done let it cool completely.

*For some added crunch feel free to use anything from kettle chips to crackers or my personal fave with Dão bubbs plantain chips.