Not long ago I was eating dinner at a tiny winebar called Cantina Do Spade, in Venice, when a German woman at the table next to me made a request for parmesan on her risotto nero. "I can give it to you. But you will ruin your meal," the woman who was serving her said. Her tone suggested that ruining the chef's risotto would be a very unwise thing to do. (Risotto nero, of course, is black thanks to cuttlefish ink, and as any good Venetian will tell you—evidently quite directly—fish and cheese don't go together. At least when in Italy.)
I feel like a Venetian restaurant proprietor when it comes to Sauvignon Blanc and oak. Why would you want to ruin such a spritely grape by slathering it with a bunch of oak? But, oddly enough, again while I was in Venice, at the Ristorante Lineadombra (which I heartily recommend), the proprietor effectively insisted we drink a magnum—there were six of us, so it wasn't that extreme—of the 2003 Inama Vulcaia Fumé Sauvignon ($30). And I thought it was just terrific.