“Are you nuts?”
That’s what I think I hear in the background given that I am reviewing a white wine served cold in the middle of Winter in Chicago!
Okay, it might be the middle of Winter, it is definitely COLD here in Chicago, but that doesn’t mean I can’t or won’t return to one of my favorite wines, Sauvignon Blanc!
It turned out to be a great wine with what I had planned for dinner this one particular evening. While I enjoy Mexican food, I don’t make it very much at home. I do okay, but it’s not the same as going to an authentic (or even remotely close to) Mexican restaurant. One day, I was watching a couple food shows and by chance, Rick Bayless was on. Another Chicagoan. He was whipping up a little side dish of asparagus with Creamy Pasilla Chile Sauce. I won’t give you the recipe, you can find that online, but what intrigued me was the use of dried Pasilla Chiles, or any dries chiles for that matter. I’ve bought dried chiles in the past only to throw them out after they became hard as a brick and totally unusable. This time I vowed not to let that happen!
I also changed the recipe slightly. Instead of using the sauce on asparagus, I decided that it would make a great sauce for fish. With Petrale Sole Fillets on sale at my local market, that’s what I picked up for this particular evening.
What I loved about the sauce recipe was the ease with which it came together. Onions, the chiles, some sour cream (Rick used Mexican Crema, but I didn’t have that), garlic and S&P, into the blender to form that wonderful sauce. If you’ve never used Pasilla chiles (I hadn’t), they are a little sweet and not so much heat. Good for me and my stomach. A quick pan fry of the fish and it was ready to go.
I’m sure I could have found something in my collection to go with that meal, but I had also just read through the new reviews at Wine Spectator and had come across a wine from a winery I had once before. The previous wine was a single vineyard and a different vintage but liking the production method of the wine, I thought I would give this Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County version a chance; after all, it received a healthy 91 Points from Spectator! The production method I like you ask; 20% of the wine was stainless fermented but then aged in neutral oak and acacia wood on lees. For me, that little bit of oak can really give Sauvignon Blanc a nice rich palate.
I guess at this point it would be helpful to tell you what wine it was:
Quivira Sauvignon Blanc Dry Creek Valley 2017
Having been in the wine biz for a while now, I know that it’s a good idea to drink what is made from the area of the world you are having your food from. While a great Mexican Cerveza would have been an excellent choice as well or my favorite tequila cocktail, this wine was right up there as well. The citrus stone fruit notes from the wine and nice acidity along with a honeyed note that I seemed to catch offering what could be called sweetness, offset the slight spiciness of the chile sauce. I’m also pretty sure that white wine for fish is acceptable, or at least I’ve heard that before in my association with wine. (Sarcasm). Click here for the tech sheet.
Quivira Vineyards, located in Healdsburg, is a smaller production winery focusing primarily on Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc but has a small selection of a GSM and a Rosé. They adhere to organic farming with specific plots certified organic and from reading more about their winery, almost on the verge of bio-dynamic. Eco-friendly as well with 50% of their electrical power needs coming from solar power.
So while it might be COLD here in Chicago, I know there are warmer areas that abound, so don’t delay, get out there and give this wine a try. Pasilla Chiles or not!