I was making risotto with shrimp, asparagus and cilantro pesto. I’d bought all my groceries and was now heading for the wine department. I wanted a white wine which would go well with the shrimp but also stand up to the asparagus and the lime juice in the pesto. I was envisioning Sauvignon Blanc. After checking out the rather uninspired selection of SB, I came upon a floor display for the 2009 Crowe Columbia Valley White Blend with which I was unfamiliar. Spying two sales associates loading the beer case, I approached and asked if either had tried the wine. One had – twice she informed me – and loved it. Iasked if the wine had good acidity. She faltered – I feared the worst – but she came back to state it was like Sauvignon Blanc. She may not have known her descriptors but she knew her varietals. Somewhat reassured, I added the wine to my cart. As I was checking out, the cashier commented on the label saying he knew what eating crow was but wondered what would drinking crow be like.
The Crowe label produced by the Corvidae Wine Company is one of the value brands from the Owen Roe Winery. The blend isn’t listed on the label but can be found on the website – 48% Sauvignon Blanc, 19% Chenin Blanc, 18% Reisling, 13% Pinot Gris and – finally – 2% Muscat. I was immediately reminded of an Alsatian Edelzwicker – the madcap blend of white grapes that is so fresh and fruity. All of the fruit is sourced from the Columbia Valley.
The color is pale straw with some green highlights. From such a blend of aromatic grapes, the nose is a cornucopia of fruit and flowers -peach, red apple, honeysuckle, lime flowers, honey. On the palate, ripe fruit followed by an almost sharp acidity then signifcant bitterness to complete the structure. The wine is medium bodied, dry and has – for the price – a decent finish.
The match up with the food was excellent. The wine stood up to the diverse elements of the risotto without losing any of its qualities. The bitterness, which some might find off-putting, was a good foil to the sweetness of the shrimp. I’m looking forward to enjoying more of this wine in the coming warmer weather – it will be perfect for quaffing at the beach. (As I write, I catch glimpses of the garden now covered again in snow……)
2009 Crowe Columbia Valley White Blend $11.99 Whole Foods River St. Camb. MA