If you want to Eat, Drink and be Merry, take the time to enjoy both your food and wine by consciously tasting your food and wine. First, selectively shop and prepare a meal you like. Second, consider a wine that will enhance or maybe simply just bring you the greatest pleasure with your food. Food and wine pairings can make an ordinary meal extraordinary and memorable. The bonus – you learn more about the wines you like!
I have long been a fan of Sauvignon Blanc. My introduction to Sauvignon Blanc was when I worked at Clos du Bois Winery. Back then Clos du Bois produced a Graves style Sauvignon Blanc blended with Semillon and stainless steel fermented. When I was a stay at home mom, the budget ruled and Sauvignon Blanc was affordable and I usually picked up Geyser Peak, I liked the grassy herbaceous style. Now years later, I am still enjoying my fair share of Sauvignon Blanc. I know why after reading “What to Drink with What you Eat” by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page, Sauvignon Blanc complements the foods I like to eat. Vegetables from the farmers market, fish, chicken ~ Mediterranean, Mexican and Middle Eastern cuisines.
The world of Sauvignon Blanc has grown since I had my first glass. Some of the top Sauvignon Blanc growing regions are the Loire Valley in France, Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume, Marlborough in New Zealand, South Africa, Chile and of course, California. Like all wine, the end product is influenced and determined by terroir (soil & environment), climate, wine making, vintage, vineyard practices….and the list goes on.
So I know I like Sauvignon Blanc, but with so many good choices and top growing regions, I want to hone in on what style and regions I actually like, paired with the foods I like to eat. In other words, side by side tastings of top Sauvignon Blanc growing regions.
Part one: California Sauvignon Blanc with a simple Greek Style Herb Chicken Salad (fresh greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, feta cheese and a vinegar olive oil vinaigrette. Herb chicken is from the previous post and homemade Naan bread.
To keep track of how I rate the wines I’ll use “What to Drink with What you Eat” five point scale ( +2 to -2, best to worst)
Part 1 – California Sauvignon Blanc
1. 2013 Frog’s Leap
100% Sauvignon Blanc
100% Stainless-Steel fermented and aged
My Tasting Notes: Beautiful grassy nose, nice acidity and crispness. Notes of citrus and herbs.
With a Greek Style Herb Chicken Salad: Crispness was mellowed, the fennel from the chicken came alive, nice balance and depth of overall flavor. Both the food and wine enhanced.
2. 2013 Geyser Peak
97% Sauvignon Blanc 3% Viognier
Sonoma, Lake, Mendocino, Solano and Clarksburg Counties
100% Stainless-Steel fermented
My Tasting Notes: Citrus nose, lighter, nice acidity with hints of lime and grapefruit. Finishes soft but flat.
With a Greek Style Herb Chicken Salad: Good but neutral neither wine nor food enhanced.
*Just for fun also tried with Tzatziki it was a match that greatly enhance both the wine & food. The wine came alive with more crispness and acidity and the garlic in the Tzatziki was nicely highlighted.
3. 2013 Duckhorn
84% Sauvignon Blanc 16% Semillon
Barrel fermented in new oak, 5 months on the Sur-lies
My Tasting Notes: Grassy Mineral nose, crisp with a melon richness. More complex and longer flavor finish.
With a Greek Style Herb Chicken Salad: More layers of flavor came through especially in the wine. Good but not a wow food pairing.
In conclusion, the more you taste, the more you learn, the better you get.
3 Tasting Steps from “What to Drink with What you Eat” – Look – Smell – Taste.
Remember – everyone’s palate is different, you are not wrong if you taste something different from someone else. It is helpful to know grape varietal characteristics and regional styles.
Highly recommended reading – “What to Drink with What you Eat” by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page