ON THE SAUVIGNON BLANC TRAIL as we hit ASPARAGUS SEASON
Asparagus and Sauvignon Blanc share the same DNA. Or so someone told me. And I believe it. Because if you have said food with said wine you cannot fail to notice the family resemblance in flavour and green freshness. Pairing food and wine of the same spirit is not always the way to go, but this one works – so just do it. Keep in mind that Sauvignon Blanc is not just for asparagus and spring – its zesty, refreshing, non-rich character will hit the spot all through the summer.
COOKING ASPARAGUS: My current cooking method involves NO water. Water is the ruination of veg cooking. They are already loaded with water, so you just need to draw it out. Put the asparagus in a pan, drizzle with oil, season, and cover. Start with low heat, increasing as the moisture comes out of the veg. Keep shaking, keep increasing the heat and in five minutes you should have cooked, but still crunchy green asparagus. And all the goodness and flavour is still in your pan. My favourite County asparagus farm is Ed and Sandy’s roadside stand beside the Waring House. All their veg are organically grown and they sell you just the ‘tips’ of asparagus – no peeling required.
BEST BUYS: As you know New Zealand is the current champion of Sauvignon Blanc so there’s route one. You cannot go wrong with the racy Villa Maria, or the upbeat Stoneleigh. Lately however, I’m drawn to milder versions of the grape – wines that play more of a support role, and that are fun to sip, and which are bargain priced. Good general purpose drinks. Sauvignon Blanc is probably the most reliable white wine out there so here goes with lots of recommendations. Buy a stash, open several and play around. The golden rule for wine enjoyment.
Tart & Refreshing
FRANCOIS LURTON 10 Sauvignon Blanc, Bordeaux, France 208245 $11.95
. . . super dry, tart, bracing aperitif. Good kick-off wine, but not a party drink.
FAT BASTARD 10 Sauvignon Blanc, VDP des Cotes de Gascogne, France 610659 $12.95
. . . super dry, low flavoured and very good aperitif. All the Fat Bastard wines have improved since the winery hooked up with the Boisset Group.
EMILIANA 11 Sauvignon Blanc ‘Adobe’, Chile 266049 $12.95
. . . a livewire. Super refreshing and sure to please the Sauvignon fan. Organic.
Nice ’n Easy
HENRY OF PELHAM 11 Sauvignon Blanc, VQA Niagara 430546 $14.95
. . . lovely pure refreshment with soft spoken flavours. A spot between simplicity and elegance. Summer evenings in a nice shirt.
CREEKSIDE 10 Sauvignon Blanc, VQA Niagara 620724 $13.95
. . . zesty, flavourful and starting to take on a mellow, friendly character.
CHATEAU DES CHARMES 10 Sauvignon Blanc, VQA Saint David’s Bench 391300 $14.95
. . . . another local that combines refreshment, flavour and friendliness. Good anytime.
HILLEBRAND ‘TRIUS’ 10 Sauvignon Blanc, VQA Niagara 221804 $13.75
. . . mild mannered and very flavourful. Friendly for sure.
WAKA WAKA 11 Sauvignon Blanc, South Africa 266494 $12.95
. . . citrussy fresh with just enough herbaceousness to qualify for Sauve. Welcome new player.
NEDERBURG 11 Sauvignon Blanc, South Africa 382713 $10.95
. . . fun enough to take to the party, and good enough to take on a date. Sauvignon with the crowd appeal of a Pinot Grigio. Ideal Summer house white.
SANTA RITA 11 Sauvignon Reserva, Chile 275677 $13.95
. . . lots of action, thrills and fast paced. Sants Rita always delivers a lot of bang for the buck.
STRATUS 08 White, VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake 660704 Vintages $44.20
. . . yes, I’m recommending a $45 wine because it’s a stunner in the rich and wow style. As are all Stratus wines. Would be fab with a seafood/asparagus main course.