I was intrigued to see a Southern wine at the store the other day. While nosing around the aisles of the shop next to Costco near Collierville, I found the NV Biltmore Estate Chardonnay Sur Lies, from the famous Vanderbilt manse in Asheville, North Carolina. $12, 13% abv. The name refers to aging on (sur: Fr., on top of) the wine sediments (lies: Fr., "lees" or "mud" in English, referring to the bits of yeast and grapes), though I'm sure that someone has felt that this wine "surely tells falsehoods" or that it's the plural of "surly".
The wine has a very mild, slightly fruity nose that belies a Chard with strong acidity and fun flavors of melon and pineapple. Completely dry and a total surprise given the area of origin. The amazing acidity really makes me want to try their sparkling wines.
I served it with some teriyaki-marinated salmon, steamed Asian vegetables, and white rice. I gave it all a good squirt of Sriracha sauce, and I found that the heat and spice paired perfectly with the acidity of the wine. (As always, I did try the wine before assaulting my palate with red peppers.) This hot sauce is deliciously hot and slightly sweet, and it's a staple item at Vietnamese restaurants throughout the country. I fell in love with it at Pho Saigon on Poplar, where I like to use it to boost the flavor of phở tái gầu.
Unlike most hot sauces it's as thick as ketchup, so you end up using it a little differently. I've thrown it on everything from fresh vegetables to eggs to steak with good results, though over in California it's a popular condiment for pizza. It's amazing that a processed, bottled product has such a fresh red jalapeño flavor.