Our Wine of the Week, Rombauer 2016 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($24), is just the sort of bracing quaffer welcome on a hot day spent outside in the sun. Keep it well chilled, and it will keep you pleasantly refreshed, though drink plenty of water as well, to balance out the wine’s 14.2 percent alcohol.
Flavors are exuberant, with an orchard of citrus, a meadow of grasses, and ripe tree fruit — especially white peaches and white nectarines — all clamoring for your attention at the same time. Lime, lemon, and white grapefruit dominate initially, then give way gently to passion fruit, all that meadow grass, and whispers of lemongrass, lemon verbena and sorrel.
The wine kicks up its heels, so to speak, and should provide plenty of encouragement for you to do the same thing.
At the table, the wine has broad appeal, with its lovely acidity flattering a delicious range of foods, from spring’s green vegetables to shellfish and white-fleshed fin fish. A French-style warm potato salad, with potatoes, shallots, and a lemony vinaigrette, is a great companion, as is hummus.
The wine is surprisingly compatible with radishes, too. There is a just a slight suggestion of sweetness on the wine’s finish and a crisp cool French breakfast radish engages with that quality, which in turn tames a bit of the radish’s heat. It’s a nearly addictive marriage and you and your guests would be well fed with nothing more than a big bowl of radishes and this lovely wine.
For something just a tad more elaborate, radish sandwiches make perfect picnic food and can be assembled on the spot without much trouble. Just pack everything in little containers that are easy to keep chilled and wrap the toasted bread in a clean tea towel. They are, of course, even easier to make at home in your own kitchen and are perfect on a warm evening as you watch the sun set.
Serves 2, easily doubled
8-10 medium French breakfast radishes
3/4 cup creme fraiche
— Kosher salt
— Black pepper in a mill
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon freshly snipped chives
4 medium slices of your favorite hearth bread (see Note below)
Trim the radishes, discarding all blemished leaves and reserving unblemished ones for another use. Cut the radishes into thin lengthwise slices and set them aside.
Put the creme fraiche into a medium bowl, season lightly with salt and pepper, add the lemon juice and snipped chives and mix vigorously until smooth and slightly thickened. Set aside.
Toast the bread lightly, enough so that the surfaces are pale gold brown but not dark. Set the bread on a clean work surface and let cool slightly.
Spread creme fraiche each piece of bread and add the sliced radishes, overlapping them like tiles, to two slices. Season the radishes lightly with salt and top with bread, creme fraiche side down. Enjoy right away.
Note: When you can get it, make these sandwiches with Revolution Bread sourdough. Otherwise, use a flavorful, sturdy hearth bread that won’t fall apart but won’t overwhelm the radishes and creme fraiche. Della Fattoria’s Meyer Lemon bread is wonderful, as is sourdough from Nightingale Bakery in Forestville, Costeaux Bakery in Healdsburg and Red Bird Bakery in Santa Rosa.