2 Modest Wines Paired with a Japanese-Style Sablefish Dish

Modest Wine labels
Modest Wine labels

I paired for dinner a Japanese-style Sablefish dish with two wines from Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery. They have their new, to me, MODEST WINES label. I opened their La Graves Robber 2020 (a Sauvignon Blanc – Semillon blend) and their The Eye of the Partridge 2020 Pinot Noir Rosé wine. The labels are fresh and original. 

The sablefish filet comes courtesy of Organic Ocean in Vancouver. You get two flavour profiles from these wines. The La Graves Robber is dry with citrus and green fruit on the nose and palate, while The Eye of the Partridge is slightly off-dry with red fruits and red berries on the nose and palate, round and lighter in acidity.

Which was the better pairing or was it be a tie? Read on.

My Wine Tasting Notes

Modest Wines La Graves Robber 2020 (BC $26.99)

I enjoy the play of words for this wine.  As this is a white Bordeaux blend, a portion of the Bordeaux region is identified as Graves (gravel).  I am not sure if the Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grapes for this wine came from Okanagan Valley vineyards with a significant amount of gravel, but it would be a fun coincidence. 

An 80/20 blend with Sauvignon Blanc being the majority, and aged in French oak puncheons from Allier and Troncais.

Appearance: A medium-minus intensity, bright lemon-green colour.
Nose: A pronounced nose full of citrus, grapefruit and pith, green fruit, black currant leaf, and gooseberries. With decanting you can add a pine needle aroma.
Palate: Very slightly off-dry. Round and soft with a light mouthfeel. Medium-plus acidity. Citrusy, grapefruit flavours, along with lesser amounts of gooseberries and a touch of stone fruits. There is a light acidic prickle at the start that fades quickly. Stony minerality toward the finish. The wine has the same flavours and body with decanting.
Finish: A medium-length finishing with a touch of sweetness and honey. Citrus and green fruit and stony (Graves) minerality.  A touch of pepperiness with decanting.

No need to decant this wine, just open and enjoy!

Rating: 4 stars Pronounced citrus and green fruit aromas upon opening.  Lighter mouthfeel, round and soft.  Lightly off-dry.  Mainly citrus and grapefruit, with a touch of stone fruit, guava and stony minerality.

Modest Wines La Graves Robber and The Eye of the Partridge 2020 with wines in glasses
Modest Wines La Graves Robber and The Eye of the Partridge 2020 with wines in glasses

Modest Wines The Eye of the Partridge 2020 (Sold out at winery)

Eye of the Partridge, or Oeil de Perdrix, I read is a style of Rosé wine made in Switzerland, which Mt. Boucherie has tried to emulate. This wine is made from Pinot Noir grapes grown in the Similkameen Valley.  The grapes are soaked on their skins for exactly 8 hours, 6 minutes, and 24 seconds.  What catastrophe if it went for an extra second! LOL.

Appearance: Medium-plus intensity orangey wild rose petal colour.
Nose: A lighter intensity nose with strawberries and other red fruits. The aromas were a bit lighter after decanting.
Palate: Light body, off-dry, with a round mouthfeel. Light acidity and barely noticeable tannins. Red fruit, red berries, and a hint of red cherries. The wine tastes drier after decanting and has lighter red fruit flavours.
Finish: Medium length finishing off-dry with red berry flavours and a touch of drying tannins.

I would open this wine and enjoy it.  No need to give it any decant time.

Rating: 3.5 stars4 stars A straightforward Rosé wine with a light red fruit nose.  Off-dry, light body and acidity, and a hint of tannins.  Red berries and a touch of red cherry flavours.   Medium length with a hint of tannins on the finish.

Japanese-Style Sablefish Dish

Japanese-Style Sablefish cooking in the pan
Japanese-Style Sablefish cooking in the pan

This dish is quite easy to prepare.  Just mix the liquid ingredients together, plus add chopped ginger, then simmer the sablefish filet skin side down in the sauce, spooning over to coat the whole filet.  My filet was not very thick so I cooked it for 4 minutes only.  It was just barely done and could have cooked an extra minute.  If you want to know the liquid ingredients they are:

1 Tbsp mirin
3 Tbsp water (or you can use a dry pear cider)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger

After cooking you can drizzle some dark sesame oil on the fish, and add sliced scallions if you have them. As I was out of scallions, I sliced a handful of shiitake mushrooms, then gave them a couple of minutes in the pan before adding the fish filet.

I added a green salad made with lettuce from my garden and used an oil and vinegar dressing to add some colour to this dish and more bright flavours.

Food and Wine Pairing

Modest Wines Paired with a Japanese-Style Sablefish Dish
Modest Wines paired with a Japanese-Style Sablefish Dish

The sablefish had a nice soft texture and fattiness.  The sauce was not overly strong so that the light flavour from the fish was present, but I did enjoy getting some zing from the ginger bits and the firmer texture and earthiness from the shiitake mushrooms.

I enjoyed both wines equally with the sablefish.  Each wine offered a different experience.  I liked the citrus and gooseberry flavours from the La Graves Robber with the flavours of the sauce and in particular when I had a bigger bite of ginger.  The wine did not overpower the flavour of the fish.  The Eye of the Partridge Rosé had a nice roundness plus strawberry and red berry flavour that worked well with the texture of the fish.  The ginger again brought a pop of flavour that was complementary to the wine’s flavours.

I think that these two wines fit the bill for pairing with food.  The wines have fresh fruit flavours plus acidity to make many lightly flavoured dishes work with them.

Where Can I Buy These Wines and the Sablefish?

Modest Wines can be purchased through the Mt. Boucherie website.  I have checked the BC Liquor Stores and a few private wine shop websites, but have not seen this line of wines listed yet; it could be that the wines are still new to the market.  Keep checking with your local bottle shop.

You can buy the sablefish fillet and other seafood from Organic Ocean at this link:  https://organicocean.com/collections/all

Author: mywinepal
Drink Good Wine. That is my motto and I really want to help you drink good wine. What is good wine? That can be a different thing for each people. Food also loves wine so I also cover food and wine pairings, restaurant reviews, and world travel. Enjoy life with me. MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk, WSET. I spent many years with the South World Wine Society as the President and then cellar master. I love to travel around the world, visiting wine regions and sharing my passion for food & wine with you. Come live vicariously through me, and enjoy all my recommended wines.