An Elegant Surprise- Gary Farrell Sauvignon Blanc

I have to admit.  I was very excited when I received this 2010 Gary Farrell Sauvignon Blanc from Redwood Ranch in Sonoma County($25)*.   I have heard great things about their wine, in general, and I am a sucker for a good Sauvignon Blanc.  I have been looking forward to opening it and this is the first weekend night, since it settled, that I have had time to open something special.

I love the grassy, citrus notes typical to Sauvignon Blancs and so I tried to pair accordingly.  With two sick kiddos, going to the store wasn’t an option, so I had to go with my quickly emptying pantry for inspiration.  I decided on tofu Spring rolls and Thai salad with chicken.  I wanted to try to bring out the green notes so I used lots of herbs from the garden in each dish.

I need a lot of practice in the rolling department of the Spring rolls, but did well in the flavor profile.  I used Spring mix, cilantro, basil, mint, carrots, cucumber, tofu, and bean thread vermicelli.  For the dipping sauce. I used peanut butter (natural so I added a bit of salt and sugar), coconut milk, rice wine vinegar, and crushed red pepper.

I marinated the chicken in olive oil, rice wine vinegar, basil, mint, cilantro, Serrano, sugar, and salt.  The plan was to grill, but our grill decided to die, so I sautéed them.  I added the chicken bites to a salad of greens, cucumber, carrots, yellow pepper, herbs, peanuts, and a Thai vinaigrette (rice wine vinegar, lime juice, oil, sugar, fish sauce, Serrano, salt).  

After everything was prepped, I sat down to open the wine and taste before my palate changed.  Light straw and great clarity, a lovely, lively wine in the light.  On the nose I got bright citrus, green apple, and something rounder, softer.  I couldn’t place it, but it was unexpected.  The first tasting notes were similar to the nose, but the mid-palate added something tropical.  The finish was creamier and longer than expected.  A very surprising, elegant Sauvignon Blanc.

I like to taste and take notes before I look at the information provided by the winery.  When I read through, I found some answers.  This wine spent some time in oak, thus the softer fruit and long finish.  It was a really balanced wine.  All of the bright, grassy citrus that I love in a Sauvignon Blanc, but softer and rounder than many.  If you think you don’t like Sauvignon Blanc because of the “bite” that some have, this one is for you. 

Because of the surprises in the tasting notes, and because I have a lot to learn, the pairing did not work as well as I hoped.  It was fine; the herbs did what I wanted them to, but I could have done better if I’d known better.  Next time, and there will definitely be a next time, I will pair it with something different.  Perhaps a Piccata, bright and buttery, or herbed snapper with lemon and olives.  A more worthy pairing for this very worthy wine.

*{Disclosure: I was provided with this wine from PR Firm, Folsom & Associates. All statements and opinions expressed in this article are my own.}

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3 responses

  1. Thanks for the great post on the SB and how you paired it. Your instincts seemed solid in reaching for the herbs and fresh ingredients. I reviewed the tech notes for this wine on Gary Farrell’s website, and it looks like this was a plush vintage, somewhat unusual for that part of the Russian River Valley. Sauvignon blanc is a tuning fork for climate: cooler regions produce pronounced green flavors (all the way to green pepper and jalapeño), while warmer regions produce wines with lively tropical fruit notes. I think you would have a better pairing with the snapper, as you note. This is why I like to taste the wine before prep, the better to tune the meal to its profile.

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