From bone dry to fruity, oak aged or vinified in steel; fresh green grass, tropical, or cat pee flavors, Sauvignon Blanc is a grape with many facets - and it's long overdue for a closer look.
Spreading from its ancestral home somewhere between Loire and Bordeaux, Sauvignon is now grown in nearly every major region around the globe. In the old days, classic French Sauvignons ruled supreme with dry and minerally wines, but in the 1990s herbal, intensely fruited wines from New Zealand took the world by storm and monopolized store shelves for several years. Eventually, the public got palate-fatigue from these ever more concentrated and exaggerated wines. Fortunately, other styles of Sauvignon are getting a lot more attention nowadays, and good Blanc is just as likely to come from Italy, South Africa, and Washington as it is from Loire, Bordeaux, and New Zealand. No matter what style of white wine you prefer, there's a Sauvignon for you. To make it easier when shopping, use this rule of thumb: warmer New World regions for fruitier wines, and cooler European areas for drier, more acidic examples.
But what if you're not a fan of Sauvignon in the first place? Well, one of the best reasons to choose this versatile grape over other whites is its ease in pairing with tricky foods such as salads, herbs, and green vegetables. Just let us know what's for dinner, and we'll find the perfect Blanc to match. For May, we've put together a list spanning the world's regions and spectrum of flavors. Then, pick any one of them and try it with this month's Sauvignon-friendly recipe. With the right food, you will see this grape in a whole new light.
Recipe: Breaded Turkey Breast with Roasted Ramps* & Asparagus
This is a completely flexible recipe for fish, poultry, or veal. As long as you have citrus, green vegetables, a plain starch, and any neutral white protein, this preparation will work beautifully with a variety of Sauvignon Blanc. In addition to the ingredients above, it's worth noting that Sauvignon also pairs easily with sushi, green salads, artichoke, raw shellfish, garlic, raw tomato, peppers, herbs, salsas, young cheeses, and citrus fruit.
*While this recipe calls for ramps (wild leeks, now available at greenmarkets for a short time), they can easily be left out due to their limited accessibility and expense. However, ramps adds immeasurably to the dish with their earthy, garlicky flavor. Try them at least once if you've never had them before.
1 lb. veal, turkey/chicken cutlets, or flounder fillet
1 bunch Asparagus (rinsed, bottoms removed)
Ramps, 2-3 whole bunches, rinsed thoroughly and roots clipped
Bread crumbs (Panko or cracker), egg bath (2 eggs beaten & 1/3 cup milk)
Sea salt & fresh ground black pepper
Olive oil and butter
Pre-heated oven at 375º degrees
Begin by cutting off the tough asparagus bottoms. Then rinse ramps in cool water and clean as you would a scallion, leaving them intact with the exception of the roots. Place both vegetables on a lined and oiled half-sheet tray, toss with oil, salt & pepper, and bake about 15minutes - check at 10. If the asparagus stalks and ramp bulbs are tender, they're done. Set aside.
Prepare the protein by dipping into egg wash, dredge through the breadcrumbs and fry in a moderately hot, heavy pan with butter and olive oil. Fry until golden brown, salt lightly - don't overcook. As soon as the flesh is firm to the touch, it is done. Remove to a plate.
To finish, toss with lemon juice, a few more sprinkles of olive oil, and more salt & pepper to taste.
Serve the protein and vegetables with a lightly dressed vinaigrette potato salad, as well as buttered rice or buttered noodles. Garnish the plate with some extra lemon wedges.