£7.99 from the Co-op: this is absolutely standard.
Being a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, that standard is high – as I’ve generally found before – and it couldn’t be any more popular than it is right now – you can’t bloody move for the stuff in most supermarkets, and I imagine it makes up a significant part of New Zealand‘s exports to the UK.
If you’ve tried pretty much any Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc you’ll know the score: limey zippiness and gooseberry sweetness, smells of grass, asparagus and next door’s cat; there are no surprises here and the bold, no-nonsense label is stylish I suppose, and certainly indicative of the way a lot of New World wine marketing is going.
It has no pretensions and has no need to market itself (even on its lack of pretentiousness, as South Africa’s Stormhoek so presumptuously do): it simply states its purpose and sits back to await the hands of the relatively wine-savvy modern day consumers who want something sharp and fresh to wash down their risottos and caesar salads.
The only trouble with such dead-on produce and packaging is that there’s no room for mystique or intrigue and so as I’m drinking for three now (pregnant fiancée, you see) I can quite easily get bored of the best bottles by the time I’m halfway through – tomorrow I’ll want something else, otherwise I’ll have to leave it a few days before I have another risotto, or whatever, and by then it will probably be past its best.
Just to clarify – this is a damn fine wine and you aren’t likely to find one of these much cheaper.
But if like me you have a few glasses, have no one to help you with the rest and then find yourself in the position of not really being that bothered about it the next day, here’s what I suggest you do.
Make a sauce for your steak.
Now, I don’t know what the official line on this is, but who cares? I would normally make a steak sauce with brandy and cream, but why not a NZ Sauvignon Blanc? Its zippy, acidic fruit flavours could go well with a bit slab of medium rump, right?
Well that’s what I thought, so I reduced half a bottle of this tipple down, added a carton of double cream and let it lightly bubble away in the pan I’d used to cook the steak and asparagus (got to have something green with a white wine sauce, I figured), then at the last minute, crumbled in a generous slice of cave-matured Roquefort cheese and melted it in, then poured the whole damn lot over the steak and asparagus served with heavily cooked baked beans, and mixed potato and sweet potato chips
Wines: there is no shame in ending your life as a sauce – especially one of my delicious sauces. I meant it more as a compliment really, as I’d never use a wine I didn’t enjoy for cooking.
And you know what?
It. Was. Amazing.
And yeah, as you can see by the picture, I ate it with BEER. So sue me!
A nice glass of Côtes du Rhône or perhaps a Chablis would have done the job just as well, but I fancied a change, and it paid off.
Try it yourself!