The Perfect Pair: Wine


The world of food and wine is vast and complex. Each intensifies the senses, bringing joy to the consumer. It is commonplace to hear of venues hosting wine pairing dinners with an array of different foods and wines from all over the world. You may have been suggested a wine pairing while dining at Pisces Rising. So what makes a food and wine pairing so special?


Learning the science behind pairing involves the human senses- taste, smell, touch, sight, and hearing. Although, the senses that contribute the most in combinations are taste, smell, and touch. We taste sweet, salty, bitter, and sour and feel the texture, freshness and pungency of cuisine while we chew and bite. Smell is just as important as taste, if not more. It is said that humans are able to differentiate up to thousands of different smells, scents, and fragrances. Aromas are responsible for conveying flavors that cannot be achieved by taste alone. An ingredient can contain a handful of different aromas, however, only a few aromas are projected as noticeable scents to us. These aroma profiles go hand and hand with how food and wine react when enjoyed together.


When ingredients pair well with a particular wine, the five senses come together to work with synergy on the palate. Though, counter-intuitively, opposites often work as great pairings as well. An example is the pairing of sweet wine with spicy food. This often goes great as they counteract each other, lessening the sweetness and the spiciness creating a balance. An example would be a Riesling/Moscato with Pisces Rising’s fried Calamari and Caribbean Heirloom Tomato Sauce.


Part of the dining experience at Pisces Rising is producing a unique experience for the guest by utilizing farm to table ingredients alongside an extensive wine list. Listed below are pairing recommendations provided by the sommelier so you can choose your perfect pair during your next visit. Each recommendation features a dish and wine selection that is available at the restaurant.



13221621_10154845346732067_8196207925598561897_nAtlantic Salmon
Fresh, organic Atlantic Salmon, Wild Rice, Quinoa with Bacon, Cranberries, Avocado Mousse, Frisee Lettuce in a Strawberry Vinaigrette.

Wine Pairing: Rose – Chateau Beaulieu Coteaux D’Aix-en-Provence
This is a complementary pairing as the subtle nuances of strawberry & raspberry in the Rose will pair nicely with strawberry vinaigrette & the cranberries. The Rose will be delicate enough not to overpower the dish and flavorful enough to not be overpowered by the dish itself.


sngbannerpiconlyShrimp –n- Grits
Gulf Shrimp, Andouille Sausage, Peppers, Onions sautéed in a creamy Spinach Sauce over Anson Mills Organic Grits

Wine Pairing: Chardonnay – Wind Racer, Anderson Valley, CA
The seafood calls for a white wine, yet the creamy grits call for a big-bodied wine, so we go to a big, creamy Chardonnay (almost a red wine in disguise). Enough acidity and citrus to really enhance the seafood, and enough body and oaky toastiness to balance and compliment the creamy grits.



Duck marinated in Bordeaux Cherry with Barley, Garbanzos, Sweet Peas, Celery, Red Onion, Beef Broth, Honey Almond Goat Cheese Mayonnaise, and Crispy Carrot.

Wine Pairing: Pinot Noir – Failla, Sonoma Coast, CA
The bright cherry will compliment the medium-rare to medium prepared duck breast nicely and the Bordeaux Cherry in the marinade. The acidity in a Pinot will do well to counteract the fat on the duck breast cutting through it and really enhancing the dish as a whole.



The Delmonicobonein_banner

Grilled 16 oz. 28 day wet aged Ribeye with a Tomato & Corn Chermoula, Asparagus, Candy Bacon, White Balsamic Reduction, Curly Sweet Potato and Truffle Salt

Wine Pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon – Catena Alta “Historic Rows,” Mendoza, Argentina
When you char-grill a steak, you really need a big Cabernet so that the tannins will stand up to and enhance the chargrilled flavors. The dark fruit meshes wonderfully with red meat off the grill.




This helpful chart from can assist in the food and wine pairing selection process and also provide valuable information on multi-ingredient and advanced pairings.



If you’ve experienced the science of food and wine pairings before, what did you eat and which wine was the dish paired with? What’s your favorite pairing? Share your stories in the comments below! Never tried a formal wine pairing dinner? Pisces Rising collaborates with The Wine Den in Mount Dora to host wine dinners once every couple of months at the restaurant. Be sure to look out for announcements on the next wine dinner so you can be a part of the experience.




Behind the Recipe: Shrimp & Grits

sngbannerpiconlySwimming shrimp in a bowl of creamy grits has been a staple in Southern history for many years. An extremely popular entrée at Pisces Rising, the Shrimp & Grits is a culinary joy for Chefs not only because of the different array of preparation styles, but because a little history is brought to life each time the dish is prepared. Today the dish has evolved, allowing a once breakfast-time dish to become a perfect selection for any occasion.


The history of this dish goes beyond the man who published the first recipe. Hominy, known as grits, was a valuable resource to the Native Americans in the late 16th and early 17th century due to its year round harvest time. The tribes utilized the crop for multiple uses such as food and currency. The preparation of hominy was passed down to new settlers in America due to its use as currency. Grits exploded in the South quickly, becoming a very resourceful crop. Fishermen along the East coast started preparing grits along with their fresh catch of the day, whether it was shrimp or fish, for breakfast. This became commonplace on the Southern coast… Shrimp and Grits were born.


It wasn’t until the 1980s a chef from North Carolina, Bill Neal, introduced an innovative way to enjoy the dish that influenced the progression of the recipe to what it is today. Using cheddar & Parmesan infused grits and jumbo shrimp as a foundation; Chef Neal added unfamiliar ingredients to the recipe such as bacon and mushroom. Neal’s recipe caught the eyes of The New York Times readers, gaining wide spread popularity. This encouraged culinary creativity as the dish could be found around the country in many fine dining restaurants using distinctive preparation styles. Also, the Southern staple would now be served during any meal time- breakfast, lunch or dinner.


Culinary creativity, in addition to fresh and local ingredients, is a high priority in dishes at Pisces Rising. It’s only natural the Shrimp & Grits has a special

Anson Mills Organic Grits
Anson Mills Organic Grits

place in the kitchen’s heart. Served at Pisces Rising for many years, this seafood dish represents a Florida-Caribbean flare the restaurant conveys to Mount Dora. Precise ingredients play an important role in the seafood & steakhouse’s signature dish. Fresh vegetables such as red and green bell pepper, onion and spinach accompany Andouille sausage, juicy shrimp off the Gulf Coast and Anson Mills Organic Grits. The dish cannot be complete without Chef’s signature white wine cream sauce graciously coating every ingredient.


You can experience Pisces Rising’s technique of the “Shrimp –n- Grits” during lunch service or try the recipe with a poached egg during Live Jazz Sunday Brunch. Prepare the taste of Pisces in your kitchen… Make your own Shrimp –n- Grits at home using Pisces Rising’s recipe below. Share your experience and pictures here on the website or on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #PiscesRising!


Pisces Rising’s Shrimp -n- Grits


  • 2 cups stone milled, organic white grits
  • 4 cups 40% heavy cream
  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 stick unsalted whole butter
  • Salt and white pepper to taste

Bring liquids and butter to rolling boil. Slowly add the grits, stirring constantly with wire whisk until brought back to boil. Lower heat to simmer. Simmer for 1/2 hour to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally with wooden spoon. Add salt and pepper.


Shrimp, Toppings and Sauce

  • 16 large fresh shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 3 oz. red onion, diced small
  • 3 oz. red and green bell pepper, diced small
  • 3 oz. Andouille sausage, diced small
  • 4 oz. fresh spinach, clipped and steams removed
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 oz. extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large saute pan, add the olive oil. Season shrimp with salt and pepper and cook until transparent. Turn shrimp, add Andouille, onions and peppers to pan. Add white wine and cook to reduce by half. Add spinach leaves and cream and cook to reduce by half.


To Plate

Divide grits between 4 plates. Top with 4 shrimp per plate, tails up. Divide sauce equally among plates. Serve immediately and enjoy!