|Hannibal Lecter, in season 2 premiere: "I never feel guilty about eating anything." Words to live by.|
In the season 2 premiere (watch the whole episode here), after a thrilling and brutal flash-forward kitchen fight with his FBI boss Jack Crawford, Lecter makes an exquisite-looking dish of sashimi for a meal with Crawford: sea urchin (uni), flounder (hirame) and squid.
I'm pretty sure there is no such winery, and the shape of the bottle looks like a California Chardonnay that the producers taped a fake label over. Bully for them: no product placement here.
But they do, clearly, want us to see that Hannibal Lecter serves Gewürztraminer Spätlese with sashimi. Since I'm a huge fan of the show and of sashimi, I had to know, is this a good pairing?
My first thought was, Spätlese, that's going to be too sweet. But then I realized I often drink daiginjo sake with sashimi, and daiginjos are aromatic and can be on the sweet side.
Testing Lecter's pairing required some shopping. Nijiya market in San Francisco's Japantown supplied the flounder; Sun Fat on Mission St. (my favorite source for fresh oysters), the sea urchin. I used Wine Searcher to locate the closest bottle of Gewürztraminer Spätlese. The Wine Club had a bottle of Fitz-Ritter Pfalz Gewürztraminer Spätlese 2011 ($21.98) in its Santa Clara store; I was able to pick it up in their San Francisco store without paying shipping costs.
If you're going to obsess on checking out a Hannibal Lecter wine pairing, you might as well do it right. So beware if you see me holding a sharp knife and a nice Chianti.
The upshot is, the pairing is terrific. I particularly liked the Gewürztraminer with the uni, which was featured prominently in Lecter's kitchen work. Uni has an inherent sweetness that echoed in the Gewürz. I also liked the wine a lot with the shima aji, a fishier fish that made the aromatic qualities of the wine more refreshing.
Fitz-Ritter is a 9th-generation German winery that specializes in Riesling. I feel fortunate to have found their Gewürz. It's a great version, rose petal aromas and a vibrant, fresh, stone fruit-driven palate with subtle sweetness, and just 10 percent alcohol. The wine is delightful anyway, but having it go so perfectly with the sashimi ... this is what makes life worth living. This, and slaughtering the free-range rude. But that's a pairing for another day.
Related post: Make sashimi at home, it's easy