IS OLIVE OIL THE NEW CHARDON­NAY?

The Jewish Chronicle - - Features - AN­SHEL PF­EF­FER

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.

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