One of the dilemmas of the food world is finding wines that pair with artichokes. They have a compound in them called cynarin that inhibits taste receptors and makes flavors seem sweet. But I love artichokes, so I am always seeking out the few whites that neutralize the artichoke’s effect and instead have fun with it. This week's selection is one such wine.
Neumeister Straden Sauvignon Blanc 2019 ($27) is from a little patch of limestone amid the Vulkanland region in southeast Austria, which produces Sauvignon Blancs very similar to Sancerre in France. The area, bordering Slovenia, encompasses a piece of old seabed that survived amid the volcanoes. It is covered in a thin layer of gravel and a little volcanic sand, and all three geologies really give a three-dimensional nature to the wines.
Planted before World War II, the old vineyards are farmed organically and the grapes are carefully selected by hand. The wines are aged for six months with some of the lees (dead yeast cells), imparting a wonderful spicy depth. The result is a fresh, bright wine, full of passion fruit, papaya and green seaweed (saltiness). It’s a perfect compliment to artichokes, as well as asparagus, grilled fish with pesto, and salty speck ham. Normally, this highly-sought-after wine is nearly impossible to get, but we were lucky to find a small parcel to share with you. Don't miss it!
WINE FRIENDS COOKING TIP
Simon’s Favorite Roast Artichokes
Trim your chokes, then cut them in half and scoop out the heart
Rub with lemon juice and then drizzle with olive oil and a bunch of chopped herbs and crushed garlic (the more the merrier), and make sure you really get in between the leaves
Finally, sprinkle with some chill flakes
Heat your oven to 450 and roast with the cut side down until the tips of the leaves go brown (timing depends on your choke size)
Cover with foil and turn down heat to 300 for another 10 minutes
Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 min. The leaves should fall off
Optional: serve with Hollandaise sauce for a real treat