When you work in the wine industry, you get to partake in a lot of special events and dinners that aren’t the norm for many people. I don’t mean for it to sound snobby or elitist (and yes, I get that even extending that makes me sound snobby and elitist), but, frankly, the majority of these fancy dinners I attend as media, or host as a wine trade guy, aren’t even events that would normally fit in my budget. Nevertheless, one of the perks of the gig is that occasional special event where I get to tuck into foie gras, sweetbreads, fancy Champagne and so on. I’m well aware of the privilege of these perks, particularly at times like late last year when I had to have $5000 dental surgery and, as someone with the profession of Self-Employed Wine Guy (without benefits), racked up my Visa to fund it and am finally climbing out of that debt just now. Let’s just say that it’s a trade-off.
The thing is though, that’s not typically how I roll. When pulling from my own pocket, it’s rare for me to spend more than 25 bucks on a bottle of wine, and I'm prone to spend a lot less on dinner. While some people pine for lobster, prime rib, or Dungeness crab, I must say that for me, there’s not much that makes me happier than something like a simple Cobb salad.
Yes, a Cobb salad.
First off, I’m an egg guy (as mentioned previously here at My Wine Canada), and any proper Cobb salad should have a hard-boiled egg. The other components of the dish I adore; the saltiness of blue cheese, the juiciness of roasted chicken, the healthy decadence of avocado, the fresh spike of tomato, the crunchiness of the lettuce, and, yes, the bacon-y goodness of bacon.
When it comes right down to it, I could more appropriately call the dish A Bunch Of My Favourite Things On A Plate.
So, wine-wise, where do you go with it? There are so many things going on, as mentioned above. For me, a crisp and lively white wine is the ticket. You want something to match the bright crunchiness of the salad, with enough acidity to cut through the egg and avocado. You also want to have enough juiciness to lap up all of the salty deliciousness of the bacon and blue cheese components.
When plating up a good and hearty Cobb (check out this great recipe from Bon Appetit that adds in some on-trend whole grains), I like the idea of a citrus-y, bright Sauvignon Blanc like Creekside Estate Winery’s 2013 version from Ontario or Eau Vivre’s snappy little Similkameen Valley version. A Cobb salad should be lively and fresh, and these wines are akin to squeezing a little citrus on top for extra zip, and the juiciness of ‘em both wash it down well.
The weather’s getting warmer and this pairing should suit the season well. Enjoy!
Kurtis Kolt is a Vancouver-based wine consultant, writer, competition judge and enthusiast. Track him down at KurtisKolt.com, or on Twitter and Instagram @KurtisKolt.