How much do you know about whales? Though I find them to be majestic and glorious mammals I actually know next to nothing about them. Little did I know that buying a bottle of South African wine for this month’s Wine Pairing Weekend would lead me on a whale of a journey.
As you can see from the label the wine I decided to select for this month’s Wine Pairing Weekend, graciously hosted by Curious Cuisiniere, is called Southern Right and it has a picture of a whale on the label. When selecting this wine I knew nothing about Southern Right and paid very little attention to the whale. In fact when looking at the South African selection of wines at my favorite local wine store, Pogo’s, my main mission was to NOT come away with a Chenin Blanc. Don’t get me wrong, I love Chenin Blanc. In fact I just featured a beautiful South African Chenin Blanc in an article called “Stepping Out of the White Wine Rut.” However, I have had many lovely South African Chenin Blancs and I sought to try something else. After perusing the wines suggested I chose this wine. Fast forward to researching this article, I type “Southern Right” into Google and before I can type the word wine or winery everything that populates the page is about a whale!
When the whaling industry began in Australia southern right whales were the main target. In fact, according to the Wild About Whales site, the southern right whale got its name because “they were the ‘right’ whale to catch: they were slow-swimming, floated when dead, and provided large amounts of valuable products – particularly oil for illumination and lubrication.” They were so ‘right’ that between 1835 and 1845 the Australian whaling industry killed about 75% of all southern right whales. Ninety years later the whale became protected. Today roughly 12,000 southern right whales live in the southern hemisphere, compared to their original population of more than 100,000 whales.
Southern Right Winery takes its name from these gentle giants. The southern right whales frequent the cool waters of the Southern Atlantic Walker Bay between May and December each year, which is located only 3 kilometers from the Southern Right Winery vineyards. Furthermore, Southern Right Winery makes a contribution to the southern right whale conservation with each bottle sold!
Southern Right 2015 Sauvignon Blanc: This wine poured a dazzling golden yellow into the glass; fresh aromas of grape fruit, citrus zest, stone fruit, and white floral notes rest comfortably on a firm bed of crushed stone and minerality; an ever so slight effervescence indicates a touch of oxidation; crisp and lively on the palate with juicier fruit than usual that is beautifully balanced with minerality, notes of soft spice notes of nutmeg and savory herbal notes join the aromas to round out the palate, round acidity offers a pleasing mouth-feel that is zesty with a long, mouth-watering finish; a lovely and unique Sauvignon Blanc; 13.5% ABV; SRP $14.99
Sauvignon Blanc is a great varietal to pair with vegetables that can be challenging for wine pairings such as asparagus and peas. It also pairs beautifully with fish, pasta, pesto, summer fruit, lighter meats, and cheese. For this month’s #WinePW food pairing I decided to put all these delicious things together for a wonderful South African Sauvignon Blanc meal. Since the winery is close to the ocean I chose to sauté a beautiful Chilean Sea Bass from the waters off the coast of Australia. Sea bass is so delicate and lovely I usually only dust with salt and pepper then sauté or bake with EVOO and a small dab of butter. Along with the sea bass I prepared linguine tossed with sautéed tomatoes, asparagus tips, green peas, and artichokes, topped with fresh pesto and crumbled goat cheese. I added a dollop of pesto to the sea bass as well. I threw in a small salad of mixed baby spring greens with jamon, strawberries, candied pecans, and goat cheese with a light raspberry balsamic vinegar blended with EVOO to cover all my Sauvignon Blanc pairings. It was an easy dinner, light enough and delicious; perfect to enjoy with South African Sauvignon Blanc on a 100 degree Texas evening! Proving once again that great pairings do not have to complicated.
About Southern Right Winery: Southern Right is a small Pinotage and Sauvignon Blanc specialist located on a strikingly beautiful 448 ha property in the cool, maritime, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley appellation, just behind the old fishing village Hermanus. Founded by Anthony Hamilton Russell in 1994, Southern Right’s aim was to produce a serious, age-worthy Pinotage combining a distinct South African fruit and flavour expression with classic styling and refinement. It is Anthony’s belief that as an early ripening grape, Pinotage is best suited to cooler areas. It was also his conviction that the stony, high clay content, shale-derived soils on the sites he chose for the vineyards, were best suited to creating the more classic style he was aiming for. Rigorous yield management and extreme care to ensure harvesting at full physiological ripeness, combine with the terroir to re-define South Africa’s red grape variety. The Sauvignon blanc remains a local and international best seller with its classic, tight minerality complementing the prominent varietal fruit. It has been rated best South African Sauvignon Blanc in the Wall Street Journal and was the only Sauvignon Blanc to win a Gold Medal at the Classic Wine Trophy awards in 2009.
Check out these additional delicious wine and food pairings from my fellow #WinePW friends:
- Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Bunny Chow & A Pinotage
- Sarah and Tim from Curious Cuisiniere: Frikkadel with Sheba Sauce and a South African Cabernet Sauvignon
- Jennifer from Vino Travels: South African Chenin Blanc with Shrimp Scampi
- Nancy from Pull That Cork: Waterkloof Cape Coral Rosé and BLT
- David from Cooking : Turmeric Spiced Steak and South African Wine Pairings
- Christy from Confessions of a Culinary Diva: Tasting South African Food & Wine
- Gwendolyn from Wine Predator: Food with spice and wine that’s nice!
Our September #winePW theme will be “Grüner Veltliner Pairings,” on September 10th, 2016. The event will be hosted by Martin at ENOFYLZ Wine Blog, so keep an eye out for details!
My Music Selection: I selected the song after hearing it a few times on the radio; once you watch the video you will see why it gave me chills as I pair it with Southern Right Sauvignon Blanc!
Get your own bottle of Southern Right Sauvignon Blanc and let me know what song you pair with it. Cheers!