Pomelo 2015 Sauvignon Blanc ($12), our Wine of the Week, is a lighthearted quaffer with much to recommend it. Refreshing citrus flavors swirl around hints of other fruit, a bit of white peach here, a suggestion of kiwi there, a whisper of pear as the wine lingers on your palate. There is even a hint, yes, of pomelo, a large grapefruit-like citrus with delicious pale yellow segments.
The wine is lean and light on the palate, with a quality suggestive of cool rain water, wet cement and river rocks polished by melting snow. It is these qualities that set this wine apart from so many others of the same varietal.
Between its attractive price and sophisticated texture and its delicate flavors, the wine holds its own and more alongside wines that are three and four times its price. It’s a great choice, whether you’re counting pennies or not.
Enjoy the wine with seafood, especially oysters on the half shell, chilled Dungeness crab, Sicilian-style seafood salad with plenty of lemon juice, and most types of ceviche.
It’s also a good choice with most green vegetables, including lightly-dressed green salads. Rice salads, Meyer lemon risotto, and farro with lemon vinaigrette are good matches, too. When it comes to cheese, feta is a superb match, as is fresh sheep milk ricotta drizzled with Meyer lemon olive oil.
Today’s recipe combines three foods that pair beautifully with the wine — kale, lemon, and feta — with pasta and olive oil, for a simple and simply delicious dish that is easy to make during the week.
Strozzapreti with Kale, Lemon, & Feta
Serves 3 to 4
— Kosher salt
8-10 ounces dried strozzapreti or similarly shaped pasta (see note below)
1 bunch Lacinato kale, rinsed
3 tablespoons olive oil
— Zest of 1 lemon
— Juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, peeled
— Red pepper flakes
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
— Olio Nuovo or Meyer Lemon olive oil
— Black pepper in a mill
— Lemon wedges
Fill a large pot half full with water, add a generous tablespoon of salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the pasta, set the timer, and cook according to package directors.
Meanwhile, trim the toughest part of the kale stems and set them aside for another use. Cut the leaves into crosswise 1/2-inch strips.
Put the olive oil into a deep sauté pan set over medium heat, add the kale, and use tongs to coat it with the olive oil. Cover and cook until the kale wilts, about 5 minutes. Turn it now and then as it cooks and wilts.
Continue cooking until the kale is tender. Add the lemon zest and juice and use a garlic press to add the garlic to the kale. Use tongs to turn and stir the kale to distribute the lemon and garlic evenly. Season lightly with red pepper flakes, taste, and correct for salt.
Drain the pasta but do not rinse it. Immediately turn it into the pan with the kale and turn gently. Add the cheese and turn a few more times.
Divide among individual soup or pasta plates, drizzle with a little Olio Nuovo or Meyer lemon olive oil, add a few turns of black pepper and a lemon wedge and enjoy right away.
THIS WEEK’S BLIND TASTING
Cabernet Sauvignon, the venerable statesman
Rodney Strong, 2015 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.5% alcohol, $20. ★★★★
This is a cab that clearly overdelivers. It has generous fruit — black cherry and black raspberry — with herbs and spicy oak. It has good structure with firm tannins and a nice length.
J. Lohr, 2015 Hilltop, Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.9%, $35. ★★★★: This is a pretty cab with black raspberry fruit, herbs and spice, and the flavors meld together seamlessly. The cab has good balance, ripe tannins and a lingering finish. It’s well-crafted.
Duckhorn, 2014 Three Palms Vineyard, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.9%, $98. ★★★★: This is a gorgeous cab with notes of black raspberry fruit, and notes of cinnamon and clove in the mix. It has a soft and supple texture, with ripe tannins. Nice length. Striking.
Cliff Lede, 2015 Stag’s Leap District, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 15%, $78. ★★★★: This is a striking cab with complex aromas and flavors. It has notes of jasmine, black currant, blackberry, cinnamon and black pepper. The Cliff Lede has bright acidity and great balance. Top rate.
Justin, 2015 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.5%, $25. ★★★1/2: This is a savory cab with dried herbs at the forefront, while cherry and black currant fruit play backup. What melds it together is a hint of caramel. Smart.