When I spoke with Ed Wallo about tasting his wines, I noticed that he has a tendency toward the unusual — 100% bottlings of odd varietals; orange wine; and sparkling…Malbec??? I rarely drink Malbec as it is, so the prospect of tasting a sparkling Malbec intrigued and excited me. The classically rustic red wine is known to pair with bold flavors (Steak and chimichurri anyone?), yet sparkling wines and rosés are usually paired with lighter fare. (Where’s my cheese board?). Well, I did both. So let’s see what a sparkling Malbec tastes like and what kind of food it likes best.
The minute you think Iron Horse, you immediately think sparkling wine. Tell someone that’s what you’re sipping, and they know you’ve got quality bubbles in the glass. But the winery is more than a big Napa name: they give back to the community — in this case the ocean community. Four dollars of every bottle of Iron Horse Vineyards 2014 Ocean Reserve goes toward the National Geographic’s Ocean Initiative, establishing marine protected areas and supporting sustainable fishing practices around the globe.
I hope this isn’t untoward — but I did pair this wine with a (sustainable) fish dish!
This is not a Chinese wine. I’m just putting that out there because when I first received this wine I completely thought Iron Horse went rogue in China. They did not. In fact, this bottle was made to celebrate the Chinese Zodiac — 2018 is the year of the dog. Despite this not being a Chinese wine, I did pair this with a Chinese-inspired recipe…
When I received this bottle of Ferrari Trento Brut Sparkling Wine, they were kind enough to include a recipe. In Italian culture, sparkling wine is like any other wine — a wine to be paired for food. In our modern American culture, we’ve come to think as bubbles as something to be enjoyed on its own or with a light amuse bouche. I’m not saying some folks don’t pair sparkling wine with food, but it’s not that common — at least not for me. So, while I didn’t use the recipe provided, I did take their suggestion to pair the Brut with food as a personal challenge. I’ve a short series dedicated to sparkling wines this week (there will be some interesting sips for sure, so keep checking in) — all of which will be paired with a meal and some that will even include an actual recipe. What better way to start this week’s theme than with the folks who inspired this idea. Cheer Ferrari!
Symphony — No it’s not the name of a blend. This is a grape varietal. It is one of the several cross-clonal hybrid grape creations by University of California, Davis viticulturist Dr. Harold Olmo. He’s known for quite a few, including Ruby Cabernet (cross-breed Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignane) and Emerald Riesling (cross-breed Moscadelle and Riesling). Gaining in popularity is the Symphony grape, a hybrid of Muscat of Alexandria and Grenache Gris.
Developed by Olmo in 1948, it took him nearly 40 years to perfect the clone, and it wasn’t released for commercial use until 1984. He developed the white grape to withstand the downright hot climate of California’s Central Valley, however today it seems to thrive best in cooler temps, with most plantings found in either Lodi or the Sierra Foothills. But their’s one woman brave enough to take the plantings to her even higher, cooler climate AVA of Yorkville Highlands. And in so-doing, she’s crafted a beautifully floral-forward wine that’s unlike any other. It must be the work of the wine queen herself — Theodora Lee aka “Theo-patra.”