The Marlborough region, located at the top of New Zealand's South Island, churns out a staggering quantity of pungent, popular sauvignon blanc each year. Much of this wine is fun, attractively priced and easy to drink - often slightly sweet and full of sav blanc's immediately identifiable grassy, passionfruity perfume. But the region is also home to some top-quality winemakers, producing much more complex, satisfying and drier wines - fantastic partners for the fresh, green flavours of spring vegetables. The best wines tend to be from single vineyards. The three below are from the central Wairau Valley sub-region of Marlborough, but, despite being located just a couple of kilometres from each other, are distinctly different in style. So much for the criticism that all Marlborough savvies taste the same. - Max Allen
A crisp, dry Marlborough white brings out the spring-fresh flavours in a warm salad of asparagus and broad beans.
- 1 kg broad beans, podded
- 3 bunches asparagus, ends trimmed
- 20 gm buckwheat sprouts, trimmed (see note)
Spring onion vinaigrette
- 250 ml sauvignon blanc (1 cup)
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 8 spring onions, white part only, thinly sliced lengthways
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1Cook broad beans in boiling salted water for 5 minutes, refresh in iced water, then peel and set aside.
- 2For spring onion vinaigrette, combine wine and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring to the boil and cook for 15 minutes or until reduced to ¼ cup. Meanwhile, blanch spring onion in boiling salted water for 30 seconds, then refresh in iced water, drain well and set aside. Heat reduced wine and olive oil in a small frying pan. When warm add spring onion and broad beans, cook for 1 minute or until vegetables are warmed through and season to taste with sea salt and ground black pepper.
- 3Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to the boil, add asparagus and cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Drain and divide between plates. Spoon over spring onion vinaigrette and broad beans, scatter with sprouts and serve.
Note Buckwheat sprouts are available from Macro Wholefoods and select greengrocers. If unavailable, substitute with snow pea sprouts. Drink suggestion by Max Allen