Our Wine of the Week, Sbragia 2012 Dry Creek Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($12), has a long, lean prettiness. On first sip, you might find yourself suddenly thinking of January Jones in her role as Betty Draper on "Mad Men."
There's a forward-palate austerity, a haughtiness even, that does not give up its full flavors immediately but instead holds them back, concealing them behind a wall of minerality. But let the wine linger on your palate and January Jones as herself emerges, all bubbly light and big smiles, as a suggestion of sweet flowers and early summer fruit spills over that wall that in the end is not all that high. The scent of lemon blossoms mingles with delicate flavors of apricots, sweet green apples and ruby grapefruit as the most obvious flavors but others come and go, tickling both your palate and your imagination.
It is a beautifully integrated and highly drinkable wine that is very food friendly, thanks to the crisp acidity that keeps it bright and refreshing.
When it comes to food, seafood is an obvious match -- especially steamed clams, grilled mussels, rock shrimp, Petrale sole and flounder. The wine is wonderful with a simple ceviche. It is also an excellent choice with celery (thinly sliced celery sauteed in olive oil and drizzled with lemon juice is both underrated and delicious) green beans, zucchini, asparagus, artichokes, fresh fava beans and fresh peas. Citrus salads welcome it alongside, too, and when apricots begin to appear in a couple of weeks, you will want this wine around.
For today's recipe, I'm inspired by the season and by the roasted chicken I prepared last night. Serve it as the main recipe suggests or pile it onto warm croissants and enjoy it outside, as the sun sets, with a glass of this wine, well-chilled, alongside.
Roasted Chicken Salad with Spring Herbs and Vegetables, with Lemon Vinaigrette
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1 small shallot, minced
-- Zest of 1 lemon
-- Juice of 1 lemon, plus more to taste
-- Kosher salt
-- Black pepper in a mill
2 tablespoons fresh snipped chives
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cups roasted chicken meat, shredded
1 or 2 celery stalks, trimmed and cut into very thin diagonal slices
5 or 6 radishes, trimmed and cut into very thin half moons
1 or 2 small English or Armenian cucumbers, if available, cut into very thin half moons
2 green onions, trimmed and cut into very thin rounds
2 or 3 generous handfuls of arugula
? cup, loosely packed Italian parsley leaves, torn into pieces
? cup fresh mint leaves, cut into very thin ribbons
1 tablespoon fresh chervil leaves, if available
Put the shallot into a small bowl, add the lemon zest, lemon juice and several pinches of salt and set aside for about 15 minutes. Season with black pepper, add half the chives, taste and correct for salt and acid balance. Set aside.
While the shallots and lemon juice rest, put the chicken into a medium bowl, add the celery, radishes, cucumbers and green onion. Toss gently, add the finished dressing when it is ready and toss again.
To serve, put the arugula into a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and add the parsley, mint, chervil, if using, and the remaining chives. Toss and divide among individual plates or wide shallow bowls. Top with the chicken salad, season each portion with a bit of salad and a turn or two of black pepper and serve immediately.