May the Fourth Be with You! Happy Star Wars AND Sauvignon Blanc Day!

Today is Star Wars Day AND Sauvignon Blanc Day! Two of my favorite things!

To make it extra special, I’m in Lake County staying in a cabin in a hillside vineyard (more photos below) where I’m attending the Sauvignon Blanc Experience — and I’m wearing a Star Wars Button AND I have a magnetic YODA on my car! And what am I drinking? Sauvignon Blanc of course! If you too are a BIG Star Wars fan and a big WINE fan check these out: WINE WARS!

The symposium has been completely sold out for while– producers are in attendance from all over the world for this first event of its kind around here. But I had to drop off Pam Strayer so I checked it out and when I saw Erica Crawford of NZ’s Loveblock Wines, I had to stop and say hi and introduce the two, especially since Loveblock is organic and follows many biodynamic principles (but is not Demeter certified) and Pam is one of the organizers of this weekend’s Biodynamic Conference in SF. Erica will be speaking on a panel titled “Ah, the Smell of Sauvignon Blanc in the Morning” which is a  Winemaker Tasting with Kristin Belair, Winemaker, Honig Vineyard & Winery; Fabian Bravo, Winemaker, The Brander Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley; plus Erica Loveblock Crawford, Owner, Loveblock Wines.

While I HATE to miss out on ANYTHING, I do have lots of writing and grading to do, so I’m happy hanging out in my cabin (see photos below and you’ll se why!) then joining tonight’s Sauvignon Blanc Day Social followed by a Sauvignon Blanc centric dinner — yum! It seems like so many of my favorite things pair well with Sauvignon Blanc so I am sure it will be fantastic! Then tomorrow I’ll head off on a VIP excursion with speakers and other media to visit several vineyards before the Grand Tasting.

What a marvelous way to really get a sense of what Sauvignon Blanc is doing in different places! Stay tuned on Twitter for all the details as fast as I can tweet! Check out the hashtags #SauvignonBlancDay #SauvBlancDay #SauvignonBlancExperience or find me @artpredator on twitter which is easy — just click on any of the tweets embedded in this post!


2016 Brancott Estate Letter Series ‘B’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc SRP $34
2015 Osawa Prestige Collection Sauvignon Blanc Hawke’s Bay SRP $40

In anticipation of Sauvignon Blanc Day, Sue and I opened up two high-end wines from New Zealand that really testify to how fabulous this wine can be. We found both of these wines to be wonderfully exciting; they both would be fabulous finds for a special meal when you feel like sitting, sipping, and contemplating what makes a wine special. What a treat for Sauvignon Blanc Day!


  • Cheese plate:
    goat cheese log, marinated goat cheese medallions with fresh herbs, marcona almonds, spiced olives, oven dried tomatoes
  • Fresh Oysters: with and without nasturtium pesto or lemon
  • Calamari steaks
  • Nasturtium pesto with bucatini pasta
  • Arugula with tiny heirloom tomatoes
  • Caesar salad with anchovies (this was actually to go with tomorrow’s Vermentino post but it was SO GOOD!)

Both wines were a hit with the breaded calamari steaks.  The wines paired fabulously with the nasturtium pesto: the bright green peppery pesto was so fresh and lively with the Sauv blanc. With my yard full of them, and with it so easy to make  and so pleasing on the palate I’ll be making it again! And with Sue’s birthday coming up, we were happy to be able to put calamari steaks on the menu.

Sue: “I love calamari, and I love calamari with these wines! Thank you Marshall!””

2016 Brancott Estate Letter Series ‘B’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc SRP $34

Composed of the winery’s top-performing grapes, crushed to bag presses to maintain aromatics. Brancott offers a number of wines in the $10-20 range and it is usually the wine I’ll buy at the grocery store if I have a yen for an inexpensive NZ sauv blanc. It’s also a reliable wine by the glass from a wine list at a restaurant.

Color: Greenish yellow

Nose: This has such an interesting nose! Grass, ocean salinity, cat pee, sulphur hot springs, and flint. The nose is so interesting you just want to keep going back to it. It has fruit too — pink grapefruit, white nectarine, passionfruit and guava — but we were most fascinated by these other notes.

Palate: Again, such an interesting wine! On the palate, again fascinating complex notes that are uncommon in less expensive SBs. Sulphur, guava, kiwi, and a very interesting mouthfeel for a Sauv. Blanc. It is racy and exciting with flavors up front on the palate, on the tip of the tongue, yet has a rich silky smooth expression across the tongue. with a gentle lingering finish. Medium-bodied, it also offers other flavors from the nose stone fruit and pink grapefruit, but for us, the more exotic fruit like guava and kiwi stood out most. We were both really impressed with this wine, and excited to sample it with our meal.

Pairings: So fun with our nasturtium pesto! This wine just makes the oysters zing! I preferred this wine with the oysters over the Osawa, while Sue found them equally pleasing in very different ways. Classic pairing of goat cheese works well. The goat cheese changes the nose to bring out more intensity, peach fruit and peach flower. Great with the plain goat cheese and with the goat cheese medallions with herbs and olive oil: the bold herbs and tangy goat cheese can handle the boldness of the wine.

2015 Osawa Prestige Collection Sauvignon Blanc Hawke’s Bay SRP $40

Rich with leesy, this wine was barrel fermented to add texture and complexity.

The wine is vibrant with pineapple and guava flavors and a generous, long soft finish.

Color: Pale green gold

Nose: It’s always fun to compare two wines that should be similar but just aren’t side by side, and the differences stand out in stark relief which may have to do with the vintage or the terroir: I just need to visit to learn more! This wine is more musky, stone fruit yes but also a clean yet oceanic saline essence. With my nose on the lip of the Sauvignon blanc glass, I picked up your white floral scents and fruit tree blossoms. Then, when I buried my nose in the glass, it became more musky and earth like– flint and gun metal. FUN!!

Palate: This wine is a year older and it’s mellowed nicely. The finish has orange or tangerine pith. There are more citrus notes on the palate. The finish really is like a fresh tangerine. Minerality is present mid-palate, slate or wet stone.

Pairings: With the oysters it brought out some really fun fruit, and nice creaminess in the oyster that was not prevalent with oyster alone. Classic pairing of goat cheese works well with both of these wines. This wine also worked all right with the herbed goat cheese medallions which was much more subtle but still a nice pairing. We also found a goat cheese gouda at Trader Joes that went perfectly with both of these wines. Super tasty with the calamari, but the pairing of the evening was the nasturtium pesto. Wow, just wow. So much excitement on the palate.

I am so excited to make this pesto a regular part of my spring and summer — and paired with Sauvignon blanc of course! It’s super easy to make: follow your favorite pesto recipe and switch out the basil for fresh nasturtium leaves! Some recipes call for stems and others to not. We found that the parmesan adds a lot of salt so taste before salting! And beware of adding pepper as the nasturtium leaves already are super peppery.

If you, like me, can’t get enough of Sauvignon Blanc, then you should check out last year’s bland tasting. And if you can get to Lake County for tomorrow’s Grand Tasting you should!

Join me tomorrow, Saturday May 5 in tasting and comparing Sauvignon Blanc wines from around the world!  View participating wineries. PS Don’t you just LOVE the logo? They have hats in a beautiful green that I am lusting after…

Date: Saturday, May 5, 1:00 – 4:00 pm
Location: Chacewater Winery & Olive Mill, 5625 Gaddy Ln, Kelseyville, CA 95451

  • Explore the wines of 50+ wineries
  • Compare Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, France, and all around California
  • Enjoy small bites that perfectly complement these wines
  • Experience the varietal that is sunshine in a glass
  • Add a ticket to the Saturday Food/Wine Seminar for a special treat

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