John David Finley: Herbaceous, savory, citrus skillet creation pairs with Sauvignon Blanc

John David Finley: Herbaceous, savory, citrus skillet creation pairs with Sauvignon Blanc

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Sometimes we just don’t want to take the time to prepare and elaborate meal, opting for a simple all-in-one skillet creation. This dish is not only quick, but beautifully colored, nutritious, and delicious – TRULY an all-in-one meal! One wine that will grab and compliment all these herbaceous, savory, fresh and citrus flavors is a Sauvignon Blanc. After all, we want to keep our local vintners in business during these tough times.

Skillet Spinach with Garbanzos and Cherry Tomatoes

Yields about four 1c servings.

2Tbl olive oil

1c onion, chopped

1Tbl garlic, minced

10oz chopped frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed of excess water

One 15-1/2oz canned chickpeas, rinsed, drained

2c fresh cherry tomato, halved

1tsp lemon zest, grated

2Tbl fresh lemon juice

1Tbl fresh thyme, chopped

1tsp kosher salt

1/2tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat; add onions and cook until softened, stirring a few times, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Stir in spinach; cook, stirring a few times, 2 minutes. Stir in chickpeas, tomatoes, lemon zest, lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper flakes; cook just until heated through, stirring once or twice, about 2 minutes. Garnish with fresh thyme and lemon zest, if desired.

Pair this dish with Margerum’s 2018 D Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara. 100% Sauvignon Blanc. The color is golden straw green tinged, bright and viscous with aromas of sweet vanillin and marmalade (orange, fig, and peach) complemented by creamy notes, brioche, white florals and marula fruit. The palate displays an expansive complex expression of Sauvignon Blanc with savory elements, great natural acidity balanced with fruit and nuances of oak. The texture of the wine is full, powerful and persistent with the lees and wood complementing the strong fresh fruit in this very young wine. Margerum “D” is an exploration in what can be achieved with barrel fermentation of high-quality Sauvignon Blanc. The high mineral (low nutrient) soils of the Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara AVA automatically put these wines into a category which gives the wine a mineral quality.

Or try Grassini’s 2018 Happy Canyon Sauvignon Blanc. Their 2018 Sauvignon Blanc opens with pronounced bright notes of white flower, lemon curd, and mango on the nose, as well as an underlying hint of fresh wet grass. This wine has a lovely bright acidity with notes of elderflower, apricot and white grapefruit on the palate. The finish is long and lingers long after each sip, a reflection of the brief bit of oak fermentation. Wine Spectator’s MaryAnn Worobiec describes it this way: “Lip-smacking lime, passion fruit and green apple flavors are vibrant and expressive, with a tangy edge and details of lemongrass and green tea. Harmonious and expressive on the long finish.” Wine Spectator 92 points. Wine Enthusiast 91 points. Enjoy!

John David Finley is a free-lance writer and author of the cookbook, Sacred Meals from our Family Table, which features Santa Barbara County wines. He can be reached at


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