Much to my (pleasant) surprise I was recently asked to attend a wine committee tasting at Lakewood Country Club. You see, this was somewhat of a breaking through the glass ceiling moment for me because while I have been described as having a set of cahoona’s, they are not god given and the wine committee has traditionally been male oriented. Tony Zaranti, club house manager and director of our awesome wine program at Lakewood Country Club, has single-handedly upgraded our selections, introduced the use of wine lockers for members and brought some of the top winemakers to Dallas for tasting dinners with Chef William Koval. Koval, once the youngest executive chef for the Ritz Carlton and the man responsible for the five star rating for the Adolphus’ French Room, has a menu that transcends what you may think country club food looks like. It’s daring, it’s savory and rivals what you could get at any five-star restaurant in Dallas, but at a fraction of the price. Anyway, back to the committee tasting.
Tony brought several of us together that day for a blind tasting of 18 Sauvignon Blanc wines. The ultimate challenge was to agree upon and select a new wine for the “by the glass” wine list. When I walked in there were 18 wines in brown bags, each with a number. We had two flights of five and two flights of four. The wines came from California, South Africa and New Zealand. We had spit cups and dump buckets nearby, which is pretty much the only way to survive these tastings with ones wits intact.
If you live in Texas, you probably, by default, like Sauvignon Blanc. When the temperatures top 100 degrees, it is a great pool wine – crisp and refreshing. It’s always a fine line when you are trying to choose a value wine that will appeal to a large number of people – many of them women who like big, buttery chardonnays. After wading through lots of grapefruit, lemon grass and even one that vaguely smelled like a certain illegal drug, I am proud to report we chose a wine off the beaten path – the Indaba Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa.
This wine was crisp and had grass (not the pot kind) and citrus notes with some peppery finish. It’s going to be great with seafood dishes and I look forward to pairing it with some of Chef Koval’s wonderful dishes.
I also am pleased to report that I was asked back for the next tasting, which is high-end Cabernet Sauvignon.