Our Wine of the Week, Longboard 2017 North Coast Sauvignon Blanc ($24) is an ideal spring wine, with the sort of high citrus notes, especially yuzu, Key lime and white grapefruit, that flatter the season’s produce. There’s a lovely mineral foundation, too, which adds a cooling quality, like a light drizzle on a spring morning. The finish lingers, blossoming with a suggestion of sweetness and vanilla before it relaxes and fades, leaving a desire for another sip.
When it comes to pairing the wine, first think green, from fresh favas, which are peaking right about now to the year’s first zucchini. It’s excellent with tangy greens, too, including small-leafed arugula, cilantro and radish greens. You’ll enjoy it with shellfish, especially oysters on the half shell, Dungeness crab, baby shrimp and bay scallops. It is a natural with ceviche, too.
Other foods that work beautifully with this pretty wine include sole meunière; poached chicken breast with Italian-style salsa verde; avocado and cucumber salad dressed with lime juice and a bit of extra virgin olive oil; lightly sautéed celery drizzled with lemon juice; tabbouleh made with French sorrel, celery and avocado instead of parsley, spinach and tomatoes and yogurt gazpacho. Simple spring salads with delicate vinaigrettes welcome the wine alongside. too.
For today’s recipe, I’ve headed to the sea, in honor of the wine’s maker, Oded Shakked, who is as passionate about surfing as he is about wine making. The dish is a variation of traditional Hawaiian poke, which, at its simplest, is fresh ahi seasoned with soy sauce, seaweed and salt.
Ahi’s flavor is a bit too robust for this wine, I think, and so I’m using the deliciously buttery yellowtail, best known to most of us as hamachi, offered at virtually every sushi restaurant. It’s sometimes called yellowfin tuna, which is a misnomer, as it is a member of the jack family, not the tuna family. It is absolutely delicious, with an irresistible texture. Served as a light meal with rice alongside, it will serve 2 to 3 people; as an appetizer, it serves 4 to 6.
Makes 2 to 6 servings
12 ounces very fresh sushi-grade hamachi (also known as amberjack and yellowtail), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 very small serrano (or 1/2 larger serrano), minced
1 small green onion, white and pale green parts only, cut into very thin slices
— Hawaiian alaea salt, crushed, or kosher salt
— Grated zest of 1 small lemon
1 tablespoon sushi-quality soy sauce, plus more to taste
— Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
— Generous handful of small-leafed arugula
1/2 firm-ripe avocado, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 teaspoon lightly toasted black sesame seeds, optional
1/2 lemon, cut into wedges
Put the hamachi into a medium bowl, add the serrano and green onion, season lightly with salt and toss gently.
Add the lemon zest, soy sauce, lemon juice and olive oil and toss again.
Cover lightly and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
To serve, put the arugula in a wide shallow bowl or on individual plates and spoon the poke on top of it.
THIS WEEK’S BLIND TASTING
Angeline, 2015 Sonoma County Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, 13.8%, $15. ★★★★
This is a refreshing sauvignon blanc with quite a range of flavors. Gorgeous notes of lime, mango, kiwi, mineral and a hint of jalapeno. Zesty lime finish. Remarkable for the price.
St. Supery, 2015 Napa Valley Estate Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, 13.5%, $35. ★★★★: This sauvignon blanc has it all -- New Zealand meets California. It’s citrusy, with notes of lemon, lime, mineral, jalapeno and smoke. Creamy texture. Crisp finish.
Guenoc, 2015 Guenoc Valley, Lake County Sauvignon Blanc, 14.1%, $13. ★★★1/2: This tropical sauvignon blanc reels you in with a trio of flavors -- pineapple, guava and passion fruit. Nice structure. Balanced.
Gamble, 2015 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, 13.1%, $32. ★★★★: A lovely sauvignon blanc that wins you over with its tasty up front stone fruit, in particular its note of nectarine. Nice and dry with bright lemon and mineral in the blend. Crisp acidity. Well crafted.
Franciscan, 2015 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, 13%, $17. ★★★1/2: This citrusy sauvignon blanc is appealing with its quench of lemon and lime bright fruit. Notes of grapefruit and mineral, with a hint of lemongrass in the mix. Vibrant.