Blanc, Suited to the Season
By HOWARD G.
April 26, 2013
New York Times
Few vegetables are tougher to match with wine than green
asparagus, which is synonymous with spring. My go-to white for the job is
sauvignon blanc, because its characteristic aromas and flavors — commonly
called green, herbal, herbaceous or vegetal — echo those of asparagus.
Many Long Island producers offer sauvignons, and the 2012s
have begun to enter the market.
My preferred preparation of asparagus at home involves
poaching and serving the stalks with slightly browned butter or olive oil and
lemon. The idea is to keep things simple; too much complexity can overly
complicate, if not defeat, a wine-and-asparagus match. If you want to add a
complementary ingredient, sprinkle bits of tangy goat cheese over the cooked
stalks, as chefs in the Loire Valley of France do.
I tasted five East End sauvignons, all 2012s, last week.
Each was distinctive; all were awash in fresh acidity, which clears the palate
while whetting the appetite. Steady chilling kept them brisk on the palate.
The vividly flavorful, grassy sauvignon ($15) from Osprey’s
Dominion Vineyards in Peconic was the closest match to cooked asparagus. This
winning wine was round and full-bodied.
The almost plush sauvignon ($23) from Macari Vineyards in
Mattituck, a personal favorite for many vintages, had a rewardingly rich
fruit-salad flavor redolent of Granny Smith apples, with hints of lime.
Raphael in Peconic makes two usually stylish sauvignons. The
regular, complex version ($20) had a particularly inviting, slightly smoky
aroma and a generous, earthy flavor. The First Label sauvignon ($26) was lean,
piquant, graceful and subtle.