Thursday, December 8, 2011

Seafood Fra Diavolo Paired with 2010 Three Fox Vineyard Apassionata Virginia Vidal

Seafood Fra Diavlo-2

Your tremendous response to my book “Craig’s Grape Adventure – Loving Life with a Skillet and a Corkscrew” inspired me to begin working immediately on the sequel.  I considered several approaches and themes and tentatively settled on Virginia wines.  I have not thought seriously about a title, but “Virginia is for Wine Lovers” came to mind immediately.  If you have any creative ideas for the title, let me know!  Most likely I will be maintaining the approach of telling a story, sharing a wine pairing experience, and recipes.

For some time, I dismissed the thought of focusing on Virginia wines because my experiences were not favorable.  However, my recent experience paints a different picture.  The Virginia wineries and vineyards have matured, hired experienced consultants and wine makers, and now sum to the characteristics of other wine regions.  There are now rock stars, duds, bulk box wineries, boutique artisans and everything in between including wineries that produce spectacular flights and those with one good wine lined up with five other wines unworthy of note.

2010 Three Fox Vineyard Apassionata Virginia Vidal

The pairing for this post was inspired by the 2010 Three Fox Vineyard Apassionata Virgnia Vidal.  We purchased this wine from the vineyard during a visit and tasting.  Three Fox Vineyard focuses on Italian grapes and Italian style wines.  The winery is young and holds promise.  However, for my tastes, I found only the 2010 Three Fox Vineyard Apassionata Virgnia Vidal drew my attention sufficiently to make a purchase. Other than the Vidal, we found the wines at Three Fox Vineyard to be too sweet with a viscous mouth feel.

Like the off-dry theme that runs through Three Fox Vineyard wines, the Appasionata Vidal is sweet.  From the winemaker:

“Our Vidal has a beautiful balance of acidity with citrus fruit tones and is done "off-dry" style, with 3% sugar for a light, pleasing hint of sweetness, which plays off the acidity. Try it with Thai food, curries, or very sharp aged cheddar.”

2010 Three Fox Vineyard Apassionata Virginia Vidal-1

I agree with the pairing suggestions for this wine – it has both the sweetness and the moderate acidity to stand up to the intense flavors of Asian and Indian dishes.  For similar reasons we paired it with seafood fra diavolo – an Italian-American creation featuring noteworthy heat.

We were pleased with the pairing, but would have preferred more acidity.  The citrus fruit flavors played well with the seafood, and the sweetness formed a decent yet not precise balance with the heat of the pepper.  The 2010 Three Fox Vineyard Apassionata Virgnia Vidal is a good wine and certainly something to consider with spicy dishes requiring sweetness from the wine for balance.  If your dish demands acidity as well, this may not be the best choice.

Seafood Fra Diavlo-1



  • 1 cleaned cuddle fish
  • 1 pound scallops
  • 12 clams
  • 12 mussels
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 pound linguini
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Cut calamari into 1/4 inch rings from pre cleaned cuddle fish.
  2. Sauté calamari and scallops sautéed over high heat with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and minced garlic. Remove calamari and set aside.
  3. In same skillet, add mussels, clams, with white wine, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper flakes.
  4. Cook pasta al dente and time for completion with the clams and mussels.
  5. Add drained pasta to clams and mussels and continue to cook over medium heat for two minutes. Add calamari and cook for another minute. Season to taste.
  6. Scoop out pasta to a serving plate and top with seafood and sauce.

In vino veritas, buen provecho.


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