The Wine Cabinet — White Wine and Some Recipes for the Summertime

Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley white wines
Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley white wines

Many of my readers prefer red wine, but this column is devoted to white wine for summertime. It’s time to think of summer entertaining and there’s nothing more refreshing than white sangria.

White sangria is a dry white wine that has sweet fruit added to it. Look for a dry, crisp and unoaked white wine. Some types of white wine to start with are pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc, riesling (if it’s dry) and Bainbridge Island’s Ferryboat White.

The day before the party, freeze apple juice for ice cubes. In a bowl or large pitcher, place a sliced lemon, orange and peach. Add a bottle of pinot gris, riesling or sauvignon blanc and chill overnight. Before serving, pour in a bottle of prosecco and several apple ice cubes. You can add an ice cube to each glass if desired, as it will add a little sweetness. Enjoy!

Did you know that Chateau San Michelle produces more riesling than any other winery in the world? Because of the terroir in Eastern Washington, the area is particularly friendly to growing riesling grapes. It is seldom oaked and is considered one of the top three white wines; the others are sauvignon blanc and chardonnay.

Washington riesling is usually dry; so is the wine from Australia and Alsace. (Many German rieslings are off-dry or sweet.) Riesling is perfect with spicy food, including Indian and Asian. Turmeric, ginger and curry are popular spices now, and foods containing these do not usually pair well with red wine. This wine is also good with a delicately flavored cheese and dried fruit.

Another underutilized white wine is the very aromatic gewürztraminer. This grape does better in cooler climates. It pairs well with ham and all Asian foods and curries. It ranges from dry to sweet, so be sure to ask the wine steward for a recommendation.

summertime wineAnother food pairing is dry sherry. Shrimp scampi usually has a white wine added, but in this case, melt plenty of butter, a little garlic and 1/4 cup of dry sherry and add shrimp for a different but delicious style of scampi.

Dry sherry comes from southern Spain and can only be made in a tiny corner of the world. It has a powerful flavor and slightly high alcohol content.

Sir Francis Drake raided the port of Cadiz near Jerez, Spain, in 1587 and seized a few thousand barrels of sherry. When Drake returned to England, the stolen wine became the rage and gave the wines of Jerez a devoted market. The cost of returning the barrels was too expensive, so the whiskey makers decided to use them for storage of their product, thus scotch was born.

You may have seen a small amount of sherry added to a cream soup, usually only one or two tablespoons. This adds a delicious flavor, so don’t skip it. It stores nicely in the refrigerator for months and it is nice to keep on hand. In the Colonial days, it was a favorite aperitif and is often referred to in period books.

Here is another recipe for using white wine in a sauce for shrimp, white seafood, chicken, pork or anything else you want to try: Melt one tablespoon of butter with one tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté two finely sliced shallots and two cloves minced garlic. Add one cup of chicken broth, 1/2 cup of white wine and one teaspoon of lemon zest. Now it’s time to add the shrimp or white fish. If using port or chicken, sauté beforehand. When the shrimp is pink, add 1/3 cup of cream and 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley. Serve with crusty, warm French bread and salad.

If you don’t care for a red sauce on spaghetti, try it with white wine, butter, garlic and parmesan cheese and some freshly ground black pepper.

Melt 1/4 cup butter in a saucepan, add 1 clove minced garlic, freshly ground black pepper and 1/2 cup of white wine. Swirl in your pasta to coat all the noodles. Sprinkle liberally with freshly ground parmesan, Romano or Asiago cheese.

It’s not a white wine, but for a special treat, the raspberry wine from Bainbridge Island winery is one of the best fruit wines I have tasted. Drink it as is, or serve it over vanilla ice cream with extra raspberries.

Since everyone knows I am not a cook, I had a “little” help from my wife with this column.