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May is the month for eating B.C. spot prawns. For 60 days, starting May 9, they’re available fresh off the boat, pink and plump. Sauvignon Blanc pairs perfectly with a big bowl of spot prawns, cold with mayonnaise or briefly baked Spanish-style with garlic and chilies or just tossed for seconds on the grill. As for the wine? Mission Hill winemaker John Simes learned his craft in New Zealand, and the 2007 Five Vineyards captures the cool-climate intensity of the grape, all grass and herbs but rounded out with mellow peach and tangerine. Very drinkable and a bargain at its new reduced price.
Two decades ago New Zealand woke up the wine world with a blast of Sauvignon Blanc, trumpeting its high-acid, green-gooseberry fruit and changing white-wine drinking habits for good. It’s big business now but, sadly, too many Kiwi versions are one-dimensional and overpriced. Staete Landt—from the old Dutch name for New Zealand—is a small family winery in Marlborough specializing in Sauvignon Blanc. Startlingly fresh, the 2007 is a rush of cut grass, followed by mango and papaya. A little oak—but only old oak—gives it elegance and complexity. It’s a quintessential NZ Sauvignon Blanc.
“Wine,” says Raffaele Boscaini, “is a question of emotion.” His father, Sandro, founded Masi, a hugely innovative company in the Veneto, more than 35 years ago, turning the region from a producer of plonk to one of the most distinctive in Italy. Masi revolutionized the ancient technique of appassimento, making contemporary wines from slowly dried native grapes. On a couple of visits to Vancouver this spring, Boscaini was keen to talk about the company’s Masianco. “It’s Pinot Grigio with some local Verduzzo, vinified from semi-dried grapes to beef up the palate—Pinot Grigio that’s gone to the gymnasium.” With all the easy-drinking appeal of Pinot Grigio, Masianco’s rich, creamy nuttiness makes it memorable—Boscaini says it encapsulates “enjoyment of life.”