Be my Anti-Valentine: White’s Bay 2015 Sauvignon Blanc

That time of year is upon us again. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about… another Hallmark ploy! Valentine’s Day.

What a stupid day. It pressures people who are in relationships to go out and publicly declare their love for one another and makes those who aren’t in relationships feel like shit. I hate it when you see a group of single girls all out for a Valentine’s meal because “They don’t need no man!” The fact that they feel they have to go out in single solidarity just heightens my ill feeling towards this holiday.

There’s one thing that pisses me off the most though… rosé everywhere! It’s not that I have a problem with rosé but, fuck me, you don’t have to feel obliged to drink it at this time of year, just because it’s pink.

I understand that some people actually like Valentine’s Day and I also understand that, realistically, we can’t shun a holiday if we want to maintain and increase our readership… So, here’s my guide to a great Valentine’s Day meal; without a hint of pink.

Firstly, the wine. I was lucky enough to be sent a case of Virgin Wines recently – a lovely gift from my good friends James and Lauren – so decided to crack open the White’s Bay, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Christ, it was good.

It’s pretty young but had a lot of maturity for a two year old wine.  There were hints of lime on the nose and it almost smelled like the ocean. You know when you go to the seaside and you can smell the sea air? Exactly like that. I normally find this with cool climate Sauvignon Blancs; the mineral qualities in them provide a brilliant ocean smell.

When I took a sip the flavours filled every part of my mouth. It was dry yet acidic so, when it hit the corners of my mouth, it made my cheeks retract ever so slightly – similar to, but not as intense as, when you are eating a sherbet lemon. This was a big white wine but the minerals in it made it so light. There was such complexity but everything was extremely well balanced: it was just a joy to drink.

If you do decide to have a look on Virgin Wine and select this bottle, for the very reasonable price of £10.99, you won’t regret it.

You have the wine, now you need the food to go with it. I paired it with pan fried salted cod loin, seasoned with rosemary, thyme and a hint of lemon. This was served on a bed of buttered, blanched spinach, crushed new potatoes with black pepper, and topped with sautéed purple sprouting broccoli, cooked in butter and lemon. (Before you think that this sounds all posh, I got all of the ingredients from Aldi for under a tenner.)

The slight hint of citrus really balanced the saltiness of the cod and this same saltiness softened the acidity of the wine. The flavours of the dish are quite delicate but, because the cod loin was salted, it really had a degree of intensity to it. This meant that the wine was able to perfectly stand up to the flavours on the plate.

If you’re preparing this meal for your loved one, you’ll want some music that’s slightly romantic (but not a cheesy, over the top celebration of love, like anything ever released by Michael Bublé) so I recommend putting on BadBadNotGood’s latest album ‘IV’. If you’re not familiar with them, they are a hip hop inspired jazz quartet from Toronto. This album provides a mixture of instrumental and vocal tracks that can be great in the background or equally as good if you want to turn it up to 11!

There you have it; a lovely meal with a great wine for under £20 and not an iota of pink plonk in sight!

– James

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