Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Wine Versatility

If you drink wine with dinner each night, there is a very good chance that you prize the versatility of your wine almost as much as you prize its high quality or its fair price. So many blockbuster wines are actually quite difficult to pair with food, and I personally find cabernet sauvignons a real challenge because their powerful flavors can so easily overwhelm everything else that you have on the table.

Enter sauvignon blanc. Like pinot noir, I find that sauvignon blanc is an acceptable pairing with most fish and poultry dishes, works alright with salad, can be a blockbuster with certain cheeses, and suits most people's palates. It is also fairly easy to find really good wines made with the varietal for under $20, like the 2005 Provenance Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc ($16.99, Beverages and More).

This was an outstanding sauvignon blanc that was far less tangy and grassy than those that you might have enjoyed from New Zealand and therefore was even easier to pair with food. While it was rounder and richer, it did not have a pronounced oak taste of a fume blanc, either. The wine was a beautiful pale gilt in color, which added to the enjoyment, and had muted aromas of lime, lemon and grapefruit. Flavor-wise, I detected peaches, lemon and also kiwi--a real fruit bowl that ran the gamut from tangy citrus, to tropical kiwi, to rich orchard fruits. One of the things I liked best about it was its silky texture and medium body, which gave the wine a really rich mouthfeel. I did a little research and discovered that this wine had seen time both inside a barrel and inside a stainless steel tank, which did a lot to explain both its roundness and its fruit-forwardness. Even though it was outstanding, this wine may cost you a bit more than you're used to in sauvignon blancs, so I consider it a very good QPR choice.

What to have with it? Chips and tomatillo salsa would work. So would chicken teriyaki and sushi. Poached salmon with dill and new potatoes--it would be great with that, too. Have fun figuring out what it doesn't go with! If you've discovered any sauvignon blanc howlers in the pairing department let me know--but I have yet to find one. (Though I've never had it with steak, and can't imagine myself trying THAT.)


winedeb said...

As a "major" Sauvignon Blanc fan, I can attest that it does Not go with steak. As much as I want it to, na. Steaks just scream out for a big red! Sometimes the Sauvignon Blancs are even hard to pair with pork. But I agree with you they are pretty versatile with just about anything else! Yum!

Dr. Debs said...

OK, Deb, no SB with steak for me! We are having the hottest temps this summer now, so those SBs are pretty tempting from the vantage point of pure refreshment, too.