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Standout blend: you say you drink only reds? Think again--there's a new white in the west that even red drinkers will love.

THREE LETTERS WILL rock your beverage consumption this summer: SBS (or SSB, as the case may be). They're shorthand for two white varieties--Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, which more and more winemakers here are blending, following the Bordeaux tradition (order a white in Bordeaux, and you get Sauv Blanc, Semillon, and sometimes a little of a third grape, Muscadelle).

Well-regarded Napa vintner Mitch Cosentino, who blends the two under his new PureCru label, calls this the white wine for red wine drinkers: "Semillon brings richness, broadness, and intriguing, sometimes exotic fruit; Sauvignon Blanc contributes spice, floral, and mineral notes plus structure and acid balance. They are quite magical together!"

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That combination of zippy acidity and flavor complexity can work wonders with food too. These wines are terrific with all seafood, tangy cheeses (goat, feta), veggies and greens, chicken and pork with creamy sauces or pesto. In general, the more Sauv Blanc in the blend (SBS, in other words), the crisper the wine and the better it goes with more herbal, vegetable-heavy foods. The more full-bodied SemiRon in the wine (SSB), the better the match with richer, creamier dishes.

Know, too, that the oak treatment on these wines varies from none--stainless steel only--to full-on new French barrels, creating another spectrum, from light to rich. Turn the page to find your style among our picks, plus a seafood salad that likes the SBSs light on oak.

PAIR IT

The rich fruit of Semillon loves sweet seafood; Sauvignon Blanc's crisp acidity, bright citrus, and green herbs call for a sauce or dressing laced with lemon and fresh herbs. This salad is a natural match for Sauv Blanc-heavy blends.
Seafood salad with creamy tarragon dressing
SERVES 4 AS A MAIN-DISH SALAD
30 MINUTES
Serve this seafood mix on a bed of watercress or butter Lettuce,
or as a sandwich in toasted brioche buns or on crusty bread.

1 lb. peeled, deveined medium shrimp (30 to 35 per lb.)
1/2 lb. bay scallops
1/2 Lb. cleaned calamari, bodies cut into 1/2-in.-wide rings and
tentacles cut in half lengthwise
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
About 1/2 tsp. each kosher salt and pepper
1/2 cup coarsely chopped watercress Leaves
1/4 cup drained capers
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced

1. Bring a Large pot of water to a boil over high heat.
Add shrimp, scallops, and calamari. Cover, remove from heat,
and let steep just until shrimp are pink o the outside and
opaque but still moist-looking in center of thickest part
(cut to test), about 3 minutes. Drain seafood and immerse
in ice water until cold; drain again.

2. Meanwhile, combine mayonnaise, lemon peel. And juice,
tarragon, mustard, and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper in
a food processor. Whirl until smooth.

3. Combine seafood, watercress, capers, and dressing in
a large bowl. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Gently
stir in avocado.

PER SERVING 402 CAL., 43% (172 CAL.) FROM FAT; 42 G
PROTEIN; 19 G FAT (2.9 G SAT.); 16 G CARGO (3.4 G FIBER);
1,118 MG SODIUM; 338 MG CHOL.


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OUR PICKS

DeLille 2010 "Chaleur Estate Blanc" (Columbia Valley; $36; oak). Creamy vanilla and toast are clues to oak here, with bright grapefruit and underripe apricot edged with floral. tones.

Cadaretta 2011 "SBS" (Columbia Valley; $23; stainless steel). A vibrant blend of crisp grapefruit, wet stones, white blossoms, and tart peach.

PureCru 2009 "Purety" (Napa NE Valley; $25; stainless steel and oak). Intriguing aromas of honeyed herb tea over the spice and vanilla of oak give way to layers of quince paste, clove, tart apricot, and green fig.

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St. Supery 2010 "Virtu" (Napa Valley; $30; stainless steel and oak). A burst of fresh herbs and juicy Limes leads, with gentler melon, fig, and Asian pear rounding out the palate.

Signorello 2010 "Seta" (Napa Valley; $36; oak). A rich blend, with melon, nectarine, and spice layered around minerally lime.

L'Ecole N [dress] 41 2010 Seven Hills Vineyard "Estate (Luminesce" Walla Walla Valley; $19; stainless steel and oak). Creamy and fresh, with delicate nectarine and melon over spiced pear, passion fruit, and bold minerality.

Buty 2010 Sermillon, Sauvignon & Muscadelle (Columbia Valley; $25; concrete and oak). The only white Bordeaux blend we know of in Washington that includes the aromatic third grape, Muscadelle. (Buty gets all of the minuscule amount grown in the state.) Heady florals mix with quince, Asian pear, peach, and lemongrass over earthy wet concrete.
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Title Annotation:Wine in the West
Author:Schneider, Sara
Publication:Sunset
Date:Jun 1, 2012
Words:770
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