Egg-based dishes present a problem from a wine-pairing standpoint; Rieslings, even dry ones, are too citrus-forward and acid-edged, and any other white will overpower the delicate fluffy-flavored egg-cheese balance. So I’m happy to say that I’ve found a wine that works: Grenache Blanc to the rescue!
While it is now the fourth or fifth most planted white variety in France, Grenache Blanc is still relatively unknown in this country, and then only as one of the Rhône white components: rousanne, clairette, bourboulenc, and viognier. But the California climate of hot days and cool nights seems to be perfect for the varietal and encourages its two prime qualities: richness with crisp acids. And that is exactly what is needed for quiches and savory cheese pies.
Winemaker Jeff Emery of Santa Cruz Mountain Winery has produced a GB which embodies exactly that combination of acidity and mellowness that makes this wine worthy of consideration for food pairing but also as an aperitif wine. On the palate you find tropical fruits dipped in honey and wrapped in vanilla, and with its 12.5% alcohol content, this charmer has just the right balance of rich and lean to complement that ricotta spinach pie.
Jeff makes his GB from organically grown grapes, but the wine itself is not organic, because the winery itself is not certified organic. Confused?
Jeff explains, “We are not a certified organically made wine facility; in Europe you can get full on “Demeter” certification and still use low levels of sulfites in the wine to keep them stable. In this country if you make and bottle organically you cannot add any sulfites at all. So we have often joked that many of the California organic wines are “too organic” in that there are secondary fermentations and infections that go off in the bottle and lead to bad smells and tastes.”
As far as I can determine, this puts his GB into the enviable position of containing organically grown grapes but without the funky smells that often emerge from bottles made at an organic winery.
Aromatic, dry, and crisp yet mellow and full-flavored, this white is a welcome discovery.
Available at select stores in the Santa Cruz area and from the winery/tasting room: