Shrimp and grits is something of a dish du jour, appearing on menus throughout Central Florida as a way of taking homey hominy and elevating it to something wonderful. It doesn’t get much loftier than the version served at The Ravenous Pig in Winter Park.
Dedicated as they are to using Florida products as much as possible, chef/owners James and Julie Petrakis purchase the grits from
C&D Mills in the Panhandle. The corn is stone ground to produce a coarse texture, which keeps the grits from becoming soupy. For the shrimp, they use sustainable Laughing Bird Pink Shrimp from Cape Canaveral. The dish also has kernels of corn, cherry tomatoes and sauteed chorizo oil. It’s topped with a quenelle of green tomato chutney. It’s a dish I often enjoy at the Pig.
So if shrimp and grits is my dish, What’s My Wine?
“Typically, when I pair a wine it’s the mouthfeel of the dish I consider,” says Chadwick Doss, wine director at The Ravenous Pig. (Even though he has achieved the first level of certification, Doss eschews the title of sommelier because he thinks it carries a preconceived notion.) Event though the grits have a coarse texture, the overall effect, as far as the palate is concerned, is rich and creamy. That, says Doss, calls for a full-boded wine.
Doss recommends the 2007 Crozes-Hermitage Sybele from Jean-Louis Chave from France’s northern Rhone region. JL Chave has been producing wine since 1481. The Sybele is produced with 100 percent marsanne grapes, sourced from vineyards incorporating organic farming methods.
“I like this wine because it still has a nice round mouthfeel,” he says. “It’s like a chardonnay, but it’s not going to be as buttery.” There’s a bit of acidity on the finish and a hint of white pepper that complements the dish. A chardonnay would go nicely with the dish, says Doss, as long as it was something “a little less oaky.”