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  • Writer's pictureLushmuddled

An Evening With...Lauren Langfield Norton Summit Sauvignon Blanc 2021

Lauren Langfield seems to know what she's about. She's dedicated to sustainable viticulture, which is something dear to me and a growing number of younger drinkers. She has worked with some of Australia's best and she has just released her very own label, focussing on Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot. "Both varieties are maligned by reputation, but I wanted to show that they are both wonderful varieties to work with!" Fighting the good fight.

I've done a few of these in the past, but never with a white wine. And never with a wine which is so outside the norm. But, wine is meant to be drunk with food. As good as this is how does it pair with a meal?

A Glass Alone

I did review this separately - which you can find here - but for the sake of ease, this is such a gorgeous, pretty Sauvignon Blanc. It isn't a loud, screechy, mass produced Marlborough style. It's the exact opposite, in fact, driven by delicate aromas and charming flavours. The fruit here is very soft - kiwi, vanilla cream, melons and faint passion fruit - and the texture is just soft and comforting. Creamy without being buttery. This is a wine which I would easily, and happily, drink on it's own.

Canapés - Polenta and Mushroom, Scallop and Prosciutto, Mozzarella Sticks

We did our due diligence and had a good look at what this style of Sauvignon Blanc would pair well with, but that was before we opened the bottle. To be honest, I thought maybe this would go downhill and fast. But it worked pretty damn well with all canapés. Nothing really stood out as terrible. The mushroom brought out some bitter green characters and the scallops was a moreish combination, especially with the salty prosciutto. The mozzarella sticks, though, worked embarrassingly well. Something about matching the wine with creamy, oily cheese made the wine seem more cleansing, and highlighted just how textural the wine actually is. And I do love fancy wine with trashy food.

Entrée - Herb Soup with Burnt Eggplant

This is a really delicate dish. Super herbaceous and and fresh, with a squeeze of lemon and a dash of chilli. The wine, immediately, holds up well here. It seems to gain a bit more weight with this dish, with some lemon curd coming though – maybe that's coming from the salt and oil in the soup. But, the interesting thing is that the soup isn't overpowering the wine and the wine isn't killing the soup. Both allow each other to remain delicate and complex. I don't know if I'd call this a pairing, but it's gorgeously balanced.

Main - Tarragon Chicken with Rocket and Potatoes

Where to start here? This is a rich dish, with lots of elements coming through. The rocket is really cleansing, in a way, and brings out some intense herb flavours, and the boiled potatoes are a great textural match – creamy wine with soft spuds, what could go wrong?

The chicken, obviously, is the highlight here. While it has soaked up a bit of vinegar, it is nothing which overly upsets the Sauvignon Blanc. In fact, it brings out a nice savoury element which wasn't there before. And the creamy weight of the wine, rather than being a curio and talking point, seems right at home. The acid brings it to life. The energy here almost looks zippy – it just darts around the richness of the chicken and naturally settles into the flavours. It's fun. It's at home.

Dessert - Roast Chevre with Honey and Pistachio

Goat's cheese and Sauvignon Blanc. This is Wine Pairing 101 and is, probably, my favourite classic match. But, and I say this with all the love in the world, this one doesn't do it for me. If this was the first time I had tried this combination I would have probably just shrugged and go eh. It's okay I suppose. But that's probably the wrong attitude here.

This isn't a pungent Savvy, and it isn't a pungent cheese. Both are delicate and the soft creaminess of the cheese matches the wine on a textural level. The added honey and pistachios definitely make it a bit more interesting but, like the soup, I feel like this is a match rather than a pairing. Both the dish and the wine allow each other to simply be. After dinner, though, my wife and I were talking about things and we came to a realisation. The wine was put through an absolute gauntlet here. Inadvertently, we had hit it with all the major flavours. The canapés were salty, the herb soup was bitter, the chicken had a lot of vinegar, making it sour, and the goat's cheese was sweet. You'd think that it would fail something here.

But it didn't. It's the Little Engine That Could. There may have been no spectacular wins, but it was consistent and reliable across the meal. It stood up to everything. And I don't mind that, not at all.

Think about it – do you want a wine which is going to be the best at one thing, or second best at several things? If you're not sure where you're going for dinner, this wine is a BYO silver bullet. If you and three friends are at a restaurant and order widely different dishes, this wine will go, to an extent, with everything. The only caveat is that you need to choose delicate flavours. This is a delicate wine. Treat it right. If you love it it will love you back.

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