Construction and King Crab -- Or, White Wine with Seafood?

So, the management of our fair neighborhood is embarking on a massive renovation of the complex. They're pressure-washing, and then painting, everything. Concrete's getting torn up and re-poured. They're replacing the wooden patio covers that line our front entryway, which involves a whole lot of sawing.

Yesterday, one of those saws punched through the drywall and into the garage winery above where the barrels are stored. Thankfully, it was way up high, and nowhere near our precious three barrels of wine (two of Grenache and one of Syrah; if you're new to the blog, the whole making-our-own-wine story starts here and the harvest story starts here).

As upheaving as it all is, I'm glad it's happening now, and not during crush! That would have been, well, interesting. As it was, on the October day when we processed 1.5 tons of fruit out of the back of a refrigerated truck in our driveway, we were interrupted only by a couple of neighbors and the letter carrier, who, upon inquiring and being informed what we were doing, left us with a wink and this advice: "Don't forget the mailman!"

See you in 2011, mailman.

Double-Double-Blind Food & Wine Pairing

Ah, the somewhat neglected double-double-blind food and wine pairing. Over the holidays, much food, and many wines, were consumed (note the intentional use of the passive -- who, me?). All of them were served without brown bags and/or the element of surprise. And while I enjoyed nearly every morsel and drop immensely (there was that one '05 St. Joseph that reeked like a muck-ready stable), it's with pleasure that I bring back our weekly pairing routine.

If you haven't read the blog before, then you don't know that each week, my husband Jody and I alternate between preparing a secret meal and selecting a secret wine. The wine's brown-bagged; the cook guesses the vintage, varietal and appellation. We then pair the food and wine -- whether or not the pairing seems obvious, or even a good idea -- and blog the results. We've uncovered some synchronous gems, as well as more unlikely partnerships that married very nicely.

This week, Jody was cooking and I was on wine duty. I decided it was time to go bold and bust out with a white that can be "difficult" to pair with food. What's the worst that could happen?

The Food

Jody happened to receive a Costco gift card as a holiday present. I don't know about you, but I can tell you that if a Costco gift card falls in J's lap, he is not coming home with a 36-pack of Charmin. He's bringing these little beauties:

Alaskan King Crab - way more fun than paper products.

But because it's simply too easy for him to steam and eat some crab legs, he combined them with shrimp, Carlsbad mussels and a bacon-infused homemade roasted-tomato broth to create this:

It's not possible for a photo to do this meal justice. Call it upscale cioppino, maybe? If a recipe existed, I'd share it.

The Wine

You'd think the worst that could happen to a white wine would be bacon-infused, red-pepper-spiked roasted tomato broth, no? No! Because, you see, I brought Condrieu. This Condrieu.

2006 Domaine Mouton Condrieu (Viognier) Côte Bonnette, Rhône Valley, France

Jody guessed it as an '07 French Roussanne. It was the color of golden straw. On the nose, honey, hazelnuts, pineapple upside-down cake, lemon pudding. On the palate, the essence of honey, with the weight of gossamer. Vibrant acidity, finely balanced.

The Pairing

With a bite of seafood -- especially crab -- the pairing was electric. If you're going to pair a white wine with a dish like this, Condrieu is a pretty good place to look. If we were pairing non-blind and red, I'd be interested in trying it with a spicy, cool-climate Zin, or maybe this.

What are some of your favorite food and wine pairings? Ever had any disastrous ones? What do you think of Condrieu, or cioppino, or this blog, for that matter? Let's chat. Leave a comment below!