In 2012, my husband and I spent part of our honeymoon in Napa, CA. While he is not as much of a wine-o as I am, we wined and dined at some of the best restaurants and vineyards that Napa Valley has to offer. One of the vineyards that we visited was St. Supery. This was one of our favorite wineries to visit. Not only were they the most level headed (aka not pompous), but they gave us some of the best wine advice I have ever heard: “You are going to like what you like, and dislike what you dislike. It doesn’t matter what you taste or don’t taste. All that matter is that you like it.” Our wine guide never told us what we were smelling in the wines or what we were tasting. He simply wanted us to enjoy them and the experience.
To this day, one of my favorite wines is St. Supery’s Sauvignon Blanc. It reminds me of a Marlbrough, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, with grassy and citrusy notes, along with a pear/apple taste to deepen the body. I’ve never paired it with any food. It has always been a wine that I drink on its own, after a long day, on the patio reading a good book, or lounging by the pool. It always makes me feel happy and relaxed, much like I felt on our honeymoon. You can find it many Total Wine shops and select wine botiques nationwide, so I am always able to find a bottle or two when I am need of some nostalgia and comfort.
I uncorked a bottle of St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc this past weekend to enjoy a long weekend off from work. I know Christopher Columbus was not the best of men, nor did he actually discover America, but thank you to the federal government for giving us a day off for what he supposedly did! Every time I open and drink from this bottle, I am brought back to such a happy place. I am never disappointed. The taste is just as spectacular and complex as I remembered it. As I was relishing in the joys of this wine, the crockpot was just finishing up. Laaloosh’s Crock Pot Balsamic Chicken with Pears and Portabella was simmering away, and close to being ready. I turned to my handy dandy wine pairing guide, and looked up wines that pair well with balsamic vinegar (the primary base in the dish). According to What To Drink With What You Eat, while not a holy grail pairing, or even a highly recommended pairing, a decent pairing with balsamic vinegar is a Sauvignon Blanc, primarily one with apple notes. What do you know? I am drinking a Sauvignon Blanc with some apple notes! Let’s give it a go!
The dish itself was highly acidic, as to be expected with a dish that has a base of balsamic vinegar. There was a slight hint of savoriness with the chicken and portobello. Pears added a sweetness to it all. The meal would have benefited from sage or rosemary to deepen the savoriness, as the acidity and sweetness were intense. The dish felt like it was hurting my teeth because of all of the vinegar, but was still quite delicious. Rather than reaching for a glass of water, I reached for a glass of equally acidic Sauvignon Blanc.
Surprisingly, the intense vinegar and citrusy flavors of the players in the pairing balanced one another out. There was an almost velvety texture in my mouth when consuming both at the same time. Rather than tasting overly sour, the mouthfeel was rather even keel. In fact, it was so even, that the original flavors of both the wine and the food were slightly diluted The wine felt watered down and the food tasted just undersalted. The flavor was there, just muted. Each component is so acidic and intense on their own that they don’t know how to play with one another. It’s like they become shy around one another, scared to show their true selves. I think I’ll stick St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc a la carte next time around. 3 grapes.
Recipe: Crockpot Balsamic Chicken with Pears and Portabella (LaaLoosh)
Wine: St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc (Total Wine) $15