In vintage after vintage, Long Meadow Ranch sauvignon blanc is a winner, including as our Wine of the Week.
This year, it's the Long Meadow Ranch 2013 Napa Valley Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc ($20) that captured our attention and for good reason.
It's another beauty, with a balanced complexity and a level of alcohol, 12.9 percent, that won't hammer you over the head.
There's a bright minerality to the wine, especially when it is well chilled, that suggests the scent of wet cement on a spring morning. As the wine warms a bit, it releases its pretty aromas, with hints of orange blossom and honeysuckle.
On the palate, flavors unfold in succession, not all at once, with lemon, pomelo and grapefruit giving way to white peach and pear, and, just before the long finish begins with a shout-out to pineapple, a flourish of jalape?, a characteristic I find particularly pleasing.
This wine is excellent with spring tabbouleh, with avocado, cilantro and shredded sorrel instead of the traditional tomatoes and parsley.
It is excellent with radishes, too, and yogurt, which suggests radish raita, an Indian condiment that is delicious alongside grilled fish, including Petrale sole, another great match with this wine.
The wine is beautiful alongside both fresh and sauteed celery, delicious with feta and similar cheeses and a good choice with salty meats, from prosciutto and jamon serrano to corned beef. It is flattered by and in turn flatters Dijon mustard.
The wine is also excellent with asparagus, and we're in the midst of its season right now.
Roasted asparagus with a Dijon vinaigrette, an Italian-style salsa verde, poached eggs and warm shallot vinaigrette offer delicious opportunities to enjoy this wine, but only when you have very fresh asparagus, either from your own garden or from a great local farm, such as Middleton Farm in Healdsburg.
Don't use asparagus that has been in the refrigerator for a while; to enjoy raw, prepare it as soon after harvesting as possible.
<b>Raw Asparagus Salad with Jamon Serrano & Manchego</b>
Makes 4 to 6 servings
<i>1 pound thick asparagus stalks
3 to 4 thin slices (about 1 ounce) jamon serrano (or prosciutto), cut into 1/2-inch wide strips
1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
— Black pepper in a mill
— Kosher salt
— Chunk of Drunken Goat, Laura Chenel Tome or Manchego cheese</i>
Snap off the tough stems of the asparagus and discard them. Using a very sharp knife, cut the asparagus into very thin (1/16-inch) diagonal slices and put them in a wide shallow bowl.
Add the jamon serrano or prosciutto, drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and toss gently. Season generously with black pepper and a little kosher salt. Using a vegetable peeler, make curls of cheese and scatter them on top of the salad.
<i>Michele Anna Jordan hosts "Mouthful" each Sunday at 7 p.m. on KRCB 90.9 & 91.1 FM. E-mail Jordan at email@example.com. You'll find her blog, "Eat This Now," at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.</i>