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Date Night: Seafood & Wine Pairing

 What’s the best thing about payday?  It’s spending money that you don’t have and enjoying yourself.  Well, that’s exactly what my wife and I did spur of the moment last pay day.  Our conversation was “What do you want to do tonight” her response “lets go out” my response “uh, but we are trying to save money”.  These kinds of conversations are the best because you go out unexpectedly and make a night out of it.  So I packed up 2 bottles of wine and hit the road with the ball and chain.  We ended up at this Asian Bistro & Oyster bar joint named Xina in Toms River.  Xina is now where the old Pier One restaurant was on Rt 37.  Ever since Pier One closed many moons ago the location was an eyesore with many businesses coming and going out very quickly.  It was nice to see something has finally laid the groundwork for a bright future.  This isn’t the first time my wife and I have filled our bellies at Xina.  Xina’s menu feature both fantastic Japanese and Chinese cuisine as well as a diverse raw bar!  My wife and I were all about seafood that night so we got a variety of different things.  The two wines I chose for the evening were both whites, an Albarino from Spain and a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.  You can do reds with seafood but I love the way white wines pair with seafood.  The first bottle we popped (oops sorry I meant unscrew) was Rain Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.  I say unscrew because believe it or not more then 90% of New Zealand’s wines are all screw cap.  Yes, I know you are reading this and thinking “its looks cheap and probably are cheap” well Rain Sauvignon Blanc is about $15 in most stores. But would you believe it if I told you that there are screw caps that are $50 a bottle?  Trust me they are out there and there is nothing wrong with them. They actually preserve the wine better than cork.  This S/B was a little different then your typical grapefruit smattering bomb that a lot of NZ SBs are accustomed to drinking like.  It had great citrus notes with some nice structure of minerality and acidity to cleanse your palate which each bite.  We paired this with this Salmon Tortilla and Tuna Tartare which were out of this world!  The Salmon Tortilla was a thin lightly crisp tortilla, with fresh raw slices of salmon, a creamy guacamole sauce with a Jalapeño slice on top, my wife and I love the appetizer!  This refreshing Sauvignon Blanc paired extremely well with the Tuna Tartare as well, it was very flavorful but not too fruity to overwhelm the dishes served.

 Our next couple of courses were paired with Martin Codax Albarino. Martin Codax is a consistent 90pt scorer from a lot of wine reviewers, the 2010 vintage received 90pts from Wine Enthusiast Magazine Best Buy. We had some a couple of different sushi rolls and ½ dozen Kumamoto oysters. This Albarino had note of almost apricots with a high level of acidity which kicked but the oysters and sushi. For just under $20 this screw cap bottle from Spain was a hit with my wife and I.

 In closing what have we learned? We’ve learned not to second guess yourself, spend money you don’t have, there is nothing wrong with screw caps on wine, and to pick yourself up a bottle these two wines I recommend and head out spur of the moment to Xina in Toms River for a great night out with your better half!!

 Until next time Eat Drink and Be Merry!

Joe

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