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Chilean Sauvignon Blancs

Chilean Sauvignon Blancs

Chile's wine-producing area is getting lots of attention from some of the world's great winemakers. Because the climate is similar to California's, and since land and labor are inexpensive, they see potential for soaring profits. But they won't be able to jack up the prices until they build a reputation through consistently good wines. This provides a windfall for the consumer. For the next few years, quality should grow faster than price, which will make Chile's wines a comparative bargain.

Sauvignon Blanc (pronounced soh-vin-yawn blonk), also known as Fumé Blanc, is grown throughout the world and produced in many different styles. Typical flavors range from sour green apples all the way to ripe pineapples. The Chileans generally make it to a style that pleases American palates: fruity, intense, and equally enjoyable with or without food. Sauvignon Blanc is always best when drunk young and cold (around 50š F).

The best food matches for Chilean Sauvignon Blancs are with seafood. Mussels, shrimp, oysters, and scallops all go perfectly. Sea bass, snapper, and swordfish also balance well. Try the recipe below with any of the recommended wines for a nice introduction to Chilean Sauvignon Blanc.

Casa Lapostolle Sauvignon Blanc, $9

Fragrant wine with a spicy flavor and huge fruit. Drink it as soon as you get it. It has a short life expectancy. House wine chez Marshall.

La Playa Sauvignon Blanc, $7

More floral than the other wines. Intense pineapple character. Incredible bargain for the quality.

Errazuriz Sauvignon Blanc, $9

More subtle than the other wines with a touch of grapefruit flavor. Watch this maker. They have some great things coming.

Carmen Sauvignon Blanc, $7

Better with food than without. A slight bitterness to the wine actually enhances shellfish, but the wine doesn't appeal by itself.

Jumbo Shrimp With Eggplant, Pine Nut Relish, and Lemon Ginger Sauce

Serves 6

24 jumbo shrimp (16 count or less)

6 tablespoons of unsalted butter

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

Juice from 2 lemons

1 eggplant

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped basil

1é2 cup toasted pine nuts (or almonds)

Salt and pepper to taste

Boil shrimp in enough water to cover until just pink. Remove from water and set aside. Cover to keep warm.

Finely grate fresh ginger. Melt butter. Cook ginger on low heat in the butter for about 10 minutes, stirring to make sure the ginger doesn't burn. Remove from heat.

Dice eggplant into 1é2-inch cubes. Heat olive oil in sauté pan until very hot. Add eggplant and stir vigorously for three minutes. Add pine nuts and stir for another minute. Remove from heat and stir in basil. Mound about 1é2 cup of mixture in the center of six plates. Place plates in 180šoven to keep warm.

Reheat butter/ginger mixture for one minute. Add shrimp and cook for one more minute. Remove from heat. Remove shrimp and lean four shrimp, tail side up, around the eggplant mound. Keep warm in 180š oven.

Add one tablespoon of fresh-squeezed lemon juice to butter/ginger sauce and stir. Add more lemon juice to taste. Drizzle the sauce over the shrimp and eggplant. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. -- Wes Marshall

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Chilean Sauvignon Blancs, Casa Lapostolle Sauvignon Blanc, La Playa Sauvignon Blanc, Errazuriz Sauvignon Blanc, Carmen Sauvignon Blanc

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