Our Wine of the Week, Whitehall Lane 2010 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($18), is bright and refreshing, full and round in the mouth, with a suggestion of plushness that reverberates on the wine's long finish.
This is a wine that will please both those who already love the varietal and many who prefer chardonnay.
On first sip, I notice white grapefruit, grapefruit zest and pith, followed by lime zest and a nice flourish of Eureka lemon. A bit of jalapeno sneaks in there, too, along with not-quite-ripe gooseberry and a touch of green peppercorn.
Among familiar white varietals, sauvignon blanc is the most food friendly, flattering a wide array of flavors and dishes with its lean, pretty acidity and intimation of citrus, in the way that a spritz of lemon juice boosts the flavor of everything from salad greens to grilled steak.
Enjoy it with shellfish, white fish, green vegetables, pork loin, pasta with ricotta and lemon, rice salads and the Vietnamese salads called bun.
A wine such as this one is obviously a great choice with our beloved Dungeness crab.
Simple cracked and chilled Dungeness with nothing more than lemon is ideal with this wine.
For today's recipe, I've chosen a simple crab salad with layers of flavor that mirror those of the wine. When you make it, be sure to remove all the seeds from the chile. I suggest tasting a small piece first and reducing the amount if it is particularly hot.
Because of our cool summer, a lot of local chiles have less heat than in warmer years, so if you grow your own or buy them at the farmers market, you should be fine. But what you want is the flavor of the chile, not its heat.
Dungeness Crab Salad