Our Wine of the Week, Merry Edwards 2016 Sonoma County Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($36) is truly spectacular. Edwards is a masterful winemaker, best known for pinot noir but her expertise shines through in every sip of this gorgeous quaffer. Her theme song should be “(You’ve Got the) Magic Touch” by a 1950s doo-wop group, The Platters.
The aromas evoke a grassy meadow warmed by the morning sun. On the palate, there’s an initial flood of citrus delight, especially Meyer lemon, ruby grapefruit and tangerine. Mid-palate is rich and lush, followed by a vibrant finish suggestive of concrete damp after a spring shower. Nestled among all these flavors is a whisper of sweet apple. There’s an enticing suggestion of a sea mist, too,
The wine is easy to pair successfully at the table, as it embraces a wide range of flavors and textures. It is lovely with seafood, from all types of crab to raw oysters, clams, and fin fish, including salmon. Enjoy it with wild mushrooms, mild Indian curries, and roasted chicken basted with lemon.
Today’s recipe is inspired, to a large degree, by our chilly damp weather. A key ingredient is white pepper, which has an almost wine-like flavor, a hint of fermentation, that engages beautifully with this pretty sauvignon blanc. Orange zest makes the match soar.
Bratwurst with Sauerkraut with Apples
Serves 4 to 6
2 firm ripe apples, peeled and cored
— Half a lemon
6-8 bratwurst, bockwurst, or similar sausage
3 cups fruity white wine (viognier, reisling, or gewürztraminer)
2 tablespoons butter
1 large or 2 small red onions, thinly sliced
— Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
½ teaspoon caraway seed
3 cups sauerkraut
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
— Grated zest of 1 orange
— Dijon mustard
Cut the apples in lengthwise slices, cut the slices in half crosswise, and put them in a bowl of water, Squeeze the lemon into the water and set aside.
Place the bratwurst in a medium sauté pan, add 1 cup of the wine and 1 cup of water, set over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Uncover, increase the heat to medium, and simmer until the liquid is nearly completely evaporated. Transfer the sausages to a plate and set it aside.
Add the butter to the pan and, when it is melted, add the onions. Cook over low heat until the onions are very limp, fragrant, and sweet, about 20 minutes. Season lightly with salt. Drain the sliced apples, add them to the onions, and sauté, stirring now and then, until they begin to soften and take on a bit of color, about 7 or 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice the sausages into 3/8-inch rounds; slice the rounds in half.
Add the pepper and caraway seed to the onion mixture. Stir in the sauerkraut, add the sausages, and pour in the remaining wine. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce to a slow simmer, cover, and simmer very slowly for 45 minutes, until the juices have thickened and the flavors have mingled.