Being a wine nerd is very rewarding. While I enjoy all the history and geography lessons I always get when researching wine, my absolute favorite thing about wine is that there is always something new to taste.

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The Cellar: Wines to Pair with Steak and Sushi

Monday, March 12, 2012

 

Discovering wines and pairing them with your favorite foods doubles the pleasure.

Being a wine nerd is very rewarding. While I enjoy all the history and geography lessons I always get when researching wine, my absolute favorite thing about wine is that there is always something new to taste. This week’s wine makes us explore France’s Southwestern Languedoc wine region and California’s Paso Robles and introduces us to the unusual grape varietals Petit Sirah and Mauzac in the process. Both of these wines go great with food, so whether you are in the mood for sushi or steak, seek out these great wines and get tasting.

Dom. de Martinolles, Le Berceau, Blanquette de Limoux

Ever had a sparkling wine made from the Mauzac grape? If you haven’t then this is the week to try one! The Mauzac grape is the principle grape in the sparkling wine appellation ‘Blanquette de Limoux’. The

sparkling wines from this area, located around the town of Limoux in southwestern France, must contain at least 90% Mauzac with Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc allowed only in smaller portions. Fun fact: experts agree that Blanquette de Limoux was the first sparkling wine ever made having dated sparkling winemaking in the region back to the 1500’s and more specifically, to the monks of the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Hilaire. This is more than 100 years before the monks of Champagne perfected the art of making sparkling wine and made the style famous.

The non-vintage Le Berceau from Domaine de Martinolles is 90% Mauzac and 5% Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. Domaine de Martinolles is a great producer of both still and sparkling wines (they make a great sparkling Rosé). Their 160 acre Estate has been in the Vergnes family since 1926. Their non-vintage Brut called ‘Le Berceau’ is an easy drinking sparkling wine that has hints of green fruits and citrus fruit surrounded by a deliciously creamy body. This is the type of sparkling wine that pairs great with foods like sushi. It’s a light wine for a light food, its crispiness cuts the fatty tuna while the bubbles cleans your palate after the wasabi attack. Great pairing!

2006 Norman Vineyards Petit Sirah, Paso Robles

This week’s next wine brings us to Paso Robles where the Santa Lucia Range to the regions west shields the vineyards from the cool, maritime influence of the Pacific Ocean. These warm conditions are ideal for {image_3}growing Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah and this weeks featured varietal; Petit Sirah, which thrives in Paso Robles’ sun-baked, oak-studded hills. Petit Sirah is an interesting grape that is known (and loved) for making blockbuster, blackish, peppery and spicy wines with considerable tannins in them. While often added to blends, Petit Sirah sometimes stands alone making great full-bodied wines.

The Petit Sirah grapes (petite refers to the size of the grape) in the 2006 vintage from Norman Vineyards are sourced from the family’s home vineyards plus other growers throughout the Westside of Paso Robles, as well as from the Cucamonga and Edna Valley. The winery suggests aging this wine for a few years and enjoying it with a big piece of meat. After aerating it for a few hours, that’s what I did. This chewy, full-bodied wine has a lot of dark fruit as well as interesting tar/earthy flavors. It finishes long with lingering chocolate notes.

Enjoy!

Steffen Rasch CSW is ready to answer any wine-related questions, comments or concerns you may have. Feel free to email him at srasch@golocalprov.com. And as always, don’t forget to follow GoLocalProv’s Wine Cellar on Facebook and sign up for one of his tastings through the Providence Wine Academy. 

 

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