Food & Wine Pairing: Ahi and Pinot Noir

Food & Wine Pairing: Ahi and Pinot Noir

Pan-Seared Ahi Tuna
Lavender-Scented Soy Butter Sauce with Thyme
Lentil Pomegranate Arugula Salad

paired with

Paraiso Pinot Noir
Santa Lucia Highlands 2011


Grocery Outlet’s
Spring Wine Sale

The culinary confluence of the first days of Spring in my garden, the mind-boggling wine sale at Grocery Outlet, and irresistible fillets of fresh ahi tuna from my favorite fishmonger – all meld together into a beautiful synergistic seasonal main course.

Pinot Noir is eminently food friendly due to the elegant balance of fruit, acidity, and light tannins. Fruitier versions make a great match with salmon and tuna. Black cherry, pomegranate, and cranberry flavors with hints of spice, smoke, and toasty oak in Paraiso Pinot Noir pair beautifully with fresh-caught yellowfin tuna.

The marriage is a mutually advantageous conjunction revealing deeper layers of flavor for both the dish and the wine. Earthy lentils and peppery arugula reflect those same flavors in the wine. Pomegranate arils mirror those fruit flavors, adding a touch of fruitiness without being too sweet. In the sauce – soy brings salty and umami flavors while butter adds nutty flavor and unctuous mouth-feel. The well-loved fragrance of lavender adds more than a just a scent but also an unexpected burst of flavor that heightens the wine profile. Thyme and black pepper elevate the underlying nuances of this Pinot Noir. The dish is a relaxed, natural presentation of a pristine fillet of fish paired with a delightful bottle of wine, all in the celebration of Springtime.

Food & Wine Pairing: Ahi and Pinot Noir

Known as an extreme-value grocer, Grocery Outlet offers huge savings on high quality wine by buying overstock, selling aging wines that are ready to drink right now, and marketing wine with packaging changes. Grocery Outlet’s twice yearly spectacular wine sale runs this Spring from March 22 through March 26 featuring 20% off their already discounted wines!

Food & Wine Pairing: Ahi and Pinot Noir

Now for the reveal – Paraiso Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir 2011 – traditionally sold elsewhere for over $20 a bottle is on the shelf for $5.99. Grocery Outlet Spring Wine Sale puts this lovely bottle at …. $4.80.

Pan-Seared Ahi Recipe

Food & Wine Pairing: Ahi and Pinot Noir

Lavender-Scented Soy Butter Sauce

  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 T. minced shallot
  • 1/4 t. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 T. soy sauce (or low-sodium gluten-free tamari)
  • 1/4 t. culinary lavender buds, lightly chopped to release fragrance
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Melt butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add shallot and thyme, cook until shallot has softened then add soy sauce, lavender, and black pepper. (Portion for one 8 oz. tuna fillet).

Food & Wine Pairing: Ahi and Pinot Noir

Thick Fillet of Ahi Tuna 8 oz.

Add tuna to the pan with sauce, and sear the exterior on both sides. Remove tuna to a cutting board, tent with foil and let it rest for 5 minutes. Cut against the grain into quarter-inch slices.

Food & Wine Pairing: Ahi and Pinot Noir

Lentil Pomegranate Arugula Salad

  • french lentils, cooked and cooled to room temperature
  • pomegranate arils
  • wild arugula
  • fruity olive oil
  • salt

Dress lentils, pomegranate arils, and arugula with with a light amount of olive oil. Season to taste with salt.

Food & Wine Pairing: Ahi and Pinot Noir


Plate the salad then fan the ahi over the salad. Ladle warm sauce over the ahi. For a very spring-like presentation – garnish with fresh lavender, thyme sprigs, and arugula flowers. For a natural feel, keep the presentation from being too structured or composed.

Grocery Outlet Spring Wine Sale

20% Off All Wines in All the Stores

March 22 through March 26

Food & Wine Pairing: Ahi and Pinot Noir

I had the opportunity to interview knowledgeable and gregarious “Mike The Wine Guy” at Grocery Outlet’s Long Beach, California location. I am impressed that a supermarket chain even has a “wine guy” in the department to answer questions and help customers choose the perfect wine.

Mike’s goal is to bring in 8 to 10 new wines every week. He promotes wines with his “Mike’s Likes” tags, highlighting those that he or his best customers have especially enjoyed. Wine aficionados as well as those just looking to pick up one bottle as a gift, gather in the wine department of the Long Beach store to hear about Mike’s latest favorites and greatest bargains.  It was Mike who recommended the Paraiso Pinot Noir for a food and wine pairing, and it was spot on, thanks Mike!

Grocery Outlet’s marketing team sponsored this post.

2 thoughts on “Food & Wine Pairing: Ahi and Pinot Noir”

  1. Almost looks like a tagliata di manzo, only even prettier! I love pinot noir and agree it goes quite well with certain fish dishes, especially one with ‘meaty’ qualities like ahi tuna.

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