IS OLIVE OIL THE NEW CHARDONNAY?
Kosher vintages sipped and reviewed
“YOU’RE WASTING your time with all that wine business,” said Nir the photographer on a long drive up to the north of Israel. “Olives are the real thing.”
As a proud son of farmers with a large olive grove, he set out on a mission to educate me on the joys of what he is convinced is the real golden liquid, olive oil.
So after swilling and sniffing and tasting various bottles and much talk of acidity, virginity and first pressings, accompanied by freshly baked bread and some simple goat’s cheese he asked, “Have I converted you?”
“Up to a point,” I answered, “but I would kill now for a glass of white wine.”
The olive-picking season is upon us right now, throughout the Mediterranean basin, and however you like to eat your olives, there is only suitable accompaniment for them — a simple, crisp and flavoursome bottle of chilled white.
I would not recommend one of those creamy Chardonnays or spicy Viogniers, but a rather a good Sauvignon Blanc, preferably one whose vines grew close to olive trees — it can subtly alter the flavour of the wine.
And even if you have already spent a bit on the olive oil and cheese, don’t be too tight with the wine — there are too many bland kosher Sauvignon Blancs on the market.
Go for something like the Yarden Sauvignon Blanc 2007, Carmel Single Vineyard Ramat Arad Sauvignon Blanc 2005 or Dalton Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2006, all for around a tenner. They are all full throated, flinty and chock full of lemon and aniseed flavours, all with just the perfect sliver of sweetness to take the bitter edge off the olive oil.