Where’s Linus? Sauvignon Blanc had me dreaming of spring. I dove into those spring green colors as I set the table. Even the dishes I was pairing with this wine had a lightness to them. A lightness, a brightness, but also a depth. Yes, I am dreaming of spring, of warmer weather, of happier days to come. There is a bit of hope in this.
This month is Black History Month. As we look to expand diversity in the Wine World the #WinePW group is looking behind the label to tell the stories of BIPOC wineries and winemakers.
You can join us on Saturday, February 13th at 8 am Pacific time on Twitter to discuss these wineries, winemakers, and the wines we found. Just follow and use the hashtag #WinePW and join the conversation. We would love to hear about the wineries you have found and support!
You can also scroll to the bottom for the list of articles my colleagues have published on the subject for this event.
Diversity in the Wine World
Wine is a diverse beverage coming from many countries with a wide range of varieties and styles. The community of people who make these wines should be diverse also.
But people of color and indigenous people have often been left outside this group with less support, less access, and less opportunity.
As a consumer, a bottle of wine doesn’t tell you all the details on who made it. Labels may give you a feel for the style of the winery, but they do ‘t usually tell you much about the winemaker. That’s okay. We want it to be about what is in the bottle, but as we work toward inclusion and diversify the industry, it’s time to look beyond the bottle to the stories of the people who grow and make these wines and take a good hard look at the diversity of the community that we see there.
The wine I found for today’s tasting is made by Chris Christensen. Chris has his own winery Bodkin Wines, but this wine he made for Jenny & Francois Selections and their Where’s Linus Sauvignon Blanc.
You’ll also find a bonus snippet on Corner 103 in Sonoma owned by Lloyd Davis.
Keep in mind, we found these wines and winemakers due to their quality. We celebrate these wines and people who, in addition to making great wine, also happen to bring diversity to our industry.
Chris Christensen of Bodkin Wines and Where’s Linus? Sauvignon Blanc
Chris is from Cedar Rapids Iowa. He went to Stanford University with the plan of going into banking. Well, Stanford is not so far from Sonoma, and he fell for wine. He worked for Gallo right out of college, then some smaller Dry Creek Valley wineries before arriving at Medlock Ames and finding his muse “Sauvignon Blanc”.
In 2011 he started Bodkin Wines. Their motto comes from Shakespeare’s Henry V “We few, we happy few”. Andrew Chambers joined the endeavor in 2013 and they produced the Cuvée Agincourt Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc which was America’s first Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc. On their site, their notes on this wine include at the bottom a note that I love…
NERD NOTE: This wine is called Cuvee Agincourt in reference to the Battle of Agincourt during the Hundred Years War. In 1415, an English army, which was largely comprised of archers armed with Bodkin-pointed arrows, beat a massive French army of primarily of high nobility.
In 2020 Chris was named to Wine Enthusiasts 40 under 40 and he finds himself pretty happy with where this wine thing has taken him. He looks now to affect change within the wine industry, allowing his brand to promote inclusion. Mentorship is now a driving passion for him.
You can find Bodkin Wines online on their website. I also found a selection of their wines available on Wine.com.
Where’s Linus? Sauvignon Blanc
The grapes for the Where’s Linus? Sauvignon Blanc come from Lake County California, from the Sandy Bend Vineyard in the Upper Lake region. This certified sustainable vineyard was planted in 1996 and sits at 1,200 feet. Chris fermented in stainless steel leaving it to age on the lees in the tank, with gives it a bit of depth and richness.
This wine is unfined and unfiltered. $16.99 SRP
My notes: Medium intensity on the nose with notes of grass, gooseberry, lemon verbena, lime zest, and green apple.
We stretched this wine for two pairings an elegant lunch salad and a richer dinner the following day.
Pairing 1 – Goat cheese, green apple, and mint crostini and a shaved vegetable salad
So at long last, I picked up a copy of “Tastebuds and Molecules”. One of the first chapters deals with Sauvignon Blanc. I riffed off those themes in creating these dishes.
The crostini are simple. Crostini as a vessel, goat cheese which pairs so beautifully with Sauvignon Blanc, and then green apple and mint which bring out the anise notes in the wine.
We also did a shaved vegetable salad; carrots, cucumber, zucchini, golden beets, radish, shallot all thinly sliced and in a dressing of lemon & lime juice, honey, cumin, turmeric, salt, pepper, and olive oil. We finished the dish off with fresh parsley and basil, crushed pistachios, lime zest, and toasted caraway seeds. Much of this dish is based on the aromatics of the anise family, which pair beautifully together, and also have notes in the wine.
Pairing 2 – Cauliflower and broccoli risotto and seared scallops
We had planned to do this pairing with the salad and crostini but instead stretched it out to two days. This pairing is really quick to cook.
The risotto uses cauliflower rice instead of regular rice, which means it cooks quickly. This was a simple freezer pairing with a bag of frozen cauliflower rice, some frozen broccoli, and then garlic, butter, heavy crème, and parmesan. It took all of 10 minutes to cook.
Scallops always amaze me how quickly they cook. Really, it’s only 4 minutes. I also seared a couple of lemon slices in the pan when they were finished to garnish.
How did this pair?
The Where’s Linus? Sauvignon Blanc has great acid which made it pair beautifully with all the dishes. There were standouts though, those epiphany moments. With Pairing 1, I was playing to the profile in “Tastebuds & Molecules” with green apple, mint, basil, cumin, turmeric, caraway seeds, and yellow beets. The salad was wonderful with the wine with the dressing was just right balancing the acid with a bit of honey, pulling forth the earth notes in the beet.
But the star of the show was the very simple crostini. I baked the slices of baguette coated in olive oil then spread them with goat cheese, topped with a thin slice of green apple and a fresh mint leaf. Simple and absolute heaven with the wine. The next time you pour a Sav Blanc, try this, it’s incredible.
Corner 103 and Lloyd Davis
Before we go, I also want to tell you a bit about another wonderful winery. A few years ago we met Lloyd at Corner 103. His tasting room sits on the corner across from Sonoma Plaza.
Lloyd is quiet and understated. At his tasting room, they do more than just taste wine, they do experiences. He believes that food and wine go together. Our Cheese Experience paired his wines with a cheese and then another flavor. Tasting first the wine, then the cheese, then the wine and the cheese, and finally the wine, the cheese, and the additional flavor. This pointed out the way that the combination of flavors can change the interpretation of a food or a wine. You can read about our experience in our piece Corner 103 – more than just wine tasting in Sonoma
Originally from New York City, he spent 30 years in the Finance Industry. At one point he worked for a Wine retailer and fell for wine.
He left banking to take over Viansa Winery which at the time was struggling. He sold Viansa in 2013, but at that point, he was all in as far as the wine industry went. Corner 103 was about creating a way to break down the intimidating walls around wine. Corner 103 was voted Best Wine Tasting Room in America by USA Today.
You can visit Corner 103. It is by appointment. Check their site for details on the current requirements.
(At the time of writing, February 2021, due to COVID restrictions, they do not have food pairings and are conducting tastings outside in groups of two. Check the website for updates).
This elegant shaved vegetable salad might be made of an assortment of vegetables. We chose to pair this with a Sauvignon Blanc, so we were sure to include yellow beets. The salad has a mixture of fresh, cool, earthy, and spicy vegetables, with cucumber, zucchini, carrot, radish, shallot, and yellow beet. The dressing is a sweet and tangy blend of lemon & lime juices, honey, turmeric, cumin, and salt & pepper. It makes for an elegant dish.
- 1 small Zucchini
- 1 small cucumber
- 4 radishes
- 1 carrot
- 1 yellow beet
- 1/2 shallot
- 1 lemon
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 1 tbs crushed pistachios
- 1/2 tsp caraway seeds toasted
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1 lime
- basil, mint, parsley, and/or arugula for plating
- Slice the zucchini into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
- Do the same with the carrot
- On a mandoline slice the radishes into small rounds
- Slice the cucumber thinly at an angle on the mandoline to make thin ovals
- Peel the beet and cut it in half, slice the halves into thin half-moons on the mandoline
- Thinly slice the shallot
- Juice the lemon & the lime
- To the juice add the honey, turmeric, cumin, salt, and pepper
- Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking to emulsify (or you can put this all in a jar and shake it vigorously)
- Toss the vegetables in this mixture and let them sit for just a couple of minutes.
- Delicately plate the vegetable in a pretty pattern (I like to curl the carrots and wind up the ribbons of zucchini so they stand like small columns)
- Sprinkle with the toasted caraway seeds and crushed pistachios
- zest a bit of lime on top
- Garnish with fresh arugula, mint, and/or basil
We served with crostini with goat cheese, green apple, and mint. This dish is perfect with a sauvignon blanc, pairing on a molecular level with the cumin, turmeric, beet, and caraway seeds.
Amount Per Serving Calories 99Total Fat 8gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 0mgSodium 21mgCarbohydrates 8gFiber 2gSugar 4gProtein 1g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
This recipe was inspired by Dr. Davinah's Eats. This risotto is delicious and much lower in calories than if you used rice, so you can spoil yourself with the scallops. (okay, not really, I mean, we are adding a lot of heavy cream, but it would have more calories if we were using rice too, right?) We used broccoli in our dish, but you could easily substitute peas or another vegetable, much as you would with risotto. This paired beautifully with our Sauvignon Blanc but in the future, I might try adding basil to this dish.
- 12 oz bag of frozen cauliflower rice
- 4 tbs butter
- 4 cloves of garlic minced
- 3/4 cup of frozen broccoli (defrosted with the florets cut into 1-inch pieces)
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 6 large scallops
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 4 slices of fresh lemon
- fresh parsley to garnish
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat
- Add 2 tbs of the butter, 1/2 of the minced garlic, the broccoli, and a pinch of salt
- Cook 3 minutes (the broccoli should be bright green)
- Add the cauliflower. Cook 3 minutes
- Add the cream, parmesan and another pinch of salt and pepper, stir to blend
- Lower the heat to medium-low. Let this slowly cook and thicken while you make the scallops
- Pat the scallops dry and season with salt and pepper
- Heat a rod iron skillet with the olive oil over medium-high heat
- When this is hot, add the scallops. Keep track of the order you put these in and leave a little space between them
- Add 2 tbs of butter and cook for 2 minutes
- Flip the scallops in the order that you put them in so they will cook evenly
- Add the garlic and cook for 1 1/2 minutes
- Add the lemon juice and shake the pan to mix, cook another 30 seconds
- Remove the scallops in the order you put them in
- Turn the heat back on and add your lemon slices
- Sear until golden brown
- Plate the risotto (which should be thick by now)
- Place the scallops on top and drizzle with the lemon butter drippings in the pan
- Garnish with parsley and the seared lemon slices
We served this with a Sauvignon Blanc and it was a great pairing. If you are looking for a larger meal, I suggest starting with our shaved vegetable salad and crostini with goat cheese apple, and mint.
Amount Per Serving Calories 893Total Fat 80gSaturated Fat 43gTrans Fat 2gUnsaturated Fat 31gCholesterol 207mgSodium 1725mgCarbohydrates 27gFiber 7gSugar 8gProtein 26g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
The #WinePW Crew!
Check out the pieces below from the rest of the Wine Pairing Weekend Crew and set out to ask for these labels at your local wine shop. Order DTC if you can’t find them! Let’s support diversity in this wine community that we all love.
- Truffle Chip-Crusted Goat Cheese Truffles + McBride Sisters Brut Rosé from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- The Many Talents of John Legend on A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Family and Wine Go Together for These Black-owned Businesses from My Full Wine Glass
- Black-Eyed Peas with Collard Greens and Maison Noir OPP by Cooking Chat
- A Taste of Theopolis Vineyards from ENOFYLZ
- Pairing Crab Legs with Carmen Stevens’ Sauvignon Blanc by Our Good Life
- “Meet Cheramie Law: Black, Female, and Founder of Texas’ Cheramie Wine” from The Corkscrew Concierge
- Sipping Wines from the McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Line by Avvinare
- Camins 2 Dreams: When a Chumash Winemaker Meets a Spanish One And Sparks Fly from Gwendolyn Alley, Wine Predator
- And here on Somm’s Table, I’ll be sharing An Inauguration Day Toast with Bodkin The Fearless Blanc de Blanc and Cauliflower Curry
Sources and Resources
Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.
When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.