Thursday, February 20, 2014

My Favorite Rhizome - Wine Pairing

Wine Pairing Flavors:
Spicy, freshly chopped ginger, whose heat is sweetened with sugar, and then softened in foaming, melted butter, before being wrapped up in a puffy, soufflé like creation of flour, eggs, milk and cream.

Want the recipe?
Click the following link for the Sweet Ginger Puffcake to take you back to that previous post.  It not only contained the recipe, but also ways to adjust the recipe’s ingredients to more fully match the wine shown below (a wine recommended by Jeff at Rosso Wine Shop).

Want the beer pair?
It'll be appearing in next Thursday's post, so be sure to check back.  


Well, in case you haven't yet tasted it (or especially if you have), you might like to know that the special flavors contained in this wine have a lot to do with where it was grown and made (it's what I call a "taste of place" and what the French call, “terroir”).

And that taste comes from Italy's Piedmont region, located in the far northwest corner of the Italian peninsula.  Sitting at the foot of the Western Alps (in fact, the name Piedmont (“Piemonte” in Italian), means "the foot of the mountains"), it's these high mountains’ elevations that give farmers access to some of the best vineyards in the region.

And the Tintero family vineyards share part of that flavor, being located in the steep, extraordinary hills of Mango.  Tending the grapes of these hillsides for three generations, two-thirds of the family’s holdings are planted to the grape you are tasting in this wine.

And that grape is Moscato – or more formally,  Moscato Bianco (meaning, “White Muscat” or Muscat Blanc” in French).  One of the oldest grape varieties in the world and believed to have originated in the Middle East, it's a grape that's been pressed into service to be enjoyed as wine since the times of the ancient Greeks.

But returning to the Tintero vineyards for a moment, you'll also see mentioned on the label, the words “Sorì Gramella.”  And no, “Sorì” is not an apology, but in fact, anything but.  A “Sorì” in Piemontese dialect indicates the south facing slope of a hill, and it's these sunny southern exposures with gradients of more than 20% that are actually the most sought after for grapes, with their cooling breezes and many hours of sunshine.

So, just like in real estate, to be all you can be means location, location, location. 

Which brings me back to the Sorì Gramella vineyard, the place where the grapes for this wine are grown.  It's a single vineyard location, which isn't always the case in winemaking.  Many wines are created from grapes that come from a whole region or from a number of vineyards, and while there's nothing wrong with that, you get a more distinct "taste of place" that's better able to communicate to you its special flavors, unblended with others, when all the fruit comes from only one vineyard.

And that's about all I have to say except, I do have one extra thing I'd like to share with you.  And that's that this wine is made for you. 

Now, don't laugh.  Of course, someone has to drink it, which really isn't such a bad job.  However, the Tinteros, after harvesting and pressing the grapes, keep them in stainless steel tanks at a low temperature in order to prevent fermentation.  And while that may seem odd (a vintner wanting to prevent fermentation), fermentation is only allowed to begin when an order is received so that they can provide the freshest wine possible.

So, with that in mind, pop the cork and let the bubbles flow.  For once you taste it, you too will know why Moscato d’Asti is also known by the nickname – "bottled smiles."

Like to try out the beer pairing?
Check in next Thursday for a Sweet Ginger Puffcake beer pairing that I picked up from Jay Tragni, manager at 55 Degree Wine in Los Angeles.

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