18 February 2008

2006 Maddalena Sauvignon Blanc

Over a fun dinner at home The Girlfriend and I opened the 2006 Maddalena Sauvignon Blanc from Paso Robles. $12, 14% abv, pure Sauvignon Blanc. The wine was tasted well away from the hyacinths, so as not to influence the nose.

Nice aroma of green apples, though the end result is smoother and rounder than many of the highly citric Sauvignon Blancs that are hitting the market. It's not flabby--there is a good acidic structure. Flavors of green apple and pear are present, with hints of cake. I chose to pair it with a salad, though seafood would be an ideal match.

Dinner was the result of an amusing misunderstanding. I've had a craving for Waldorf salad recently, and have picked it up at the deli a few times. Found out that The Girlfriend loves Waldorf salad, so I picked up a pint a couple of weeks ago. After getting excited about the prospect of this dish, she finally asked where it was. "Right there in the plastic tub! Help yourself!" And thus the confusion.

Invented by Oscar Tschirky in 1893 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, the original contained only apples, celery, and mayonnaise. Over the years other ingredients have been added, and the regular Southern version I served included pineapple and coconut. The Girlfriend, on the other hand, comes from California, where the Waldorf salad is an actual lettuce-based salad with chunks of apple, walnut, raisins, etc. and no mayo, and is often served with cubed chicken or salmon or some other cold protein.

For my take on this west coast recipe, I used spring mix, golden raisins and dried cherries (soaked in water before), Granny Smith apples, grilled chicken, celery, honey-roasted walnuts, seedless black grapes, crumbled gorgonzola, and a balsamic vinaigrette. For the benefit of the various diners at the table with different tastes (no celery! no nuts! extra grapes!), I just arranged everything on a platter in separate piles and allowed everyone to build their own salad. The result was quite satisfying, and hearty enough to serve as a proper entrée.

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