Wine pairing recipe for May Wine club

picpoulcrispPicpoul
Bonny Doon Vineyard
Arroyo Seco, California

Picpoul, sometimes “pique-poule”, or lip-stinger, is an exceptionally beloved cépage of Southern France, lending balance to cuvées that might otherwise veer off into the direction of the fulsome.  Impressively bracing natural acidity (no acidification was doon), with echoes of the ocean. Beeswax Vineyard, in Arroyo Seco, is after all, only a hop, skip and jump away from the cool breezes of Carmel.  Whether lips are literally stung by a “coup de picpoul” is open to debate, but lips are certainly known to smack at the ultra-savoriness of this unique grape variety. Pairs well with grilled octopus with lemon, moussaka, sardines a la plancha or grilled sardines with frisée & whole-grain mustard dressing.

Randall-Grahm-winemaker“On the nose, peach, wet stone and lanolin, a true signifier of the grape’s Languedocian origins. On the palate, grapefruit pith, iodine and brine.  The true saline quality begs for raw oysters on the half shell with shallot-rich mignonette.  Look for oysters grown in or near the open ocean- the brinier, the better my friends; Belon, Wellfleets or Snow Creeks would fit the bill.”  – Randall Grahm, winemaker.

Winemaker: Randall Grahm
Appellation: Arroyo Seco, California
Varietal Blend:  100% Picpoul
Analysis: 11.5% alcohol / volume


Grilled Sardines with Frisee & Whole-grain Mustard Dressing

sardines-recipeFRISEE INGREDIENTS:
•  1 head frisée
• 2 tablespoons minced chives
• 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley
• 2 tablespoons minced shallots

DRESSING INGREDIENTS:
• 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
• ¼ cup golden (or white) balsamic vinegar
• Kosher salt
• Freshly ground black pepper

SARDINE INGREDIENTS:
• 12 fresh sardines, cleaned and butterflied (see note*)
• ¼ rice bran oil or canola oil
• Kosher salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 3 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley

DIRECTIONS:
Start a fire in your grill 30 minutes in advance, burning the wood down until you have a red-hot coal base. You don’t want flames touching the fish.

Wash the frisée and snip the green tips off the leaves, leaving behind only the white and yellow part of the head. Cut off and discard the core. Tear the remaining leaves into medium pieces. Place the frisée in a bowl, toss in the herbs and shallots, and set aside, undressed, until ready to serve.

In a medium bowl, whisk the mustard and vinegar with a pinch of salt and pepper until combined. Add the oil in a slow, steady stream until the dressing is thick and emulsified—it should come together pretty quickly. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Set the dressing aside.

Brush the sardines on both sides with the oil, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with the parsley. Place the fish on the hot grill, skin side down, and cook until their flesh turns opaque, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the fish from the grill and set them aside on a plate with the skin side up.

Toss the frisée salad lightly with the dressing, add salt and pepper to taste, and arrange salad on a platter. Place the sardines on top, skin side up. Enjoy with a glass of 2014 Picpoul.

* Note: Cleaning Sardines: Using a sharp knife, slice open the belly of each fish and remove its innards. Cut off the head, open the fish with your fingers, and pull out its spine (this should remove most of the bones, though there may be a few stragglers). Keep the fish butterflied for grilling.

Recipe from The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook: A Year in the Life of a Restaurant by Michelle and Philip Wojtowicz and Michael Gilson with Catherine Price, published 2009.

Virtual Winemaker Tasting April 18th

Winemaker-tasting-event-Bonny-DoonSPECIAL EVENT

  Virtual wine tasting event with renown winemaker, Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyard
Saturday, April 18th at 6:30pm EST / 5:30pm CST

>> RSVP at your local WineStyles <<

Join us for a LIVE virtual wine tasting event with Bonny Doon Vineyard’s winemaker, Randall Grahm.  In real time, taste 5 wines along side Randall and ask him your questions online.  Seating is limited – call your local WineStyles to RSVP.

Bonny Doon Vineyard

BDV_logo_300dpi-900x900While Bonny Doon Vineyard began with the (in retrospect) foolish attempt to replicate Burgundy in California, Randall Grahm realized early on that he would have far more success creating more distinctive and original wines working with Rhône varieties in the Central Coast of California. Bonny-Doon-BlancThe key learning here (achieved somewhat accidentally but fortuitously) was that in a warm, Mediterranean climate, it is usually blended wines that are most successful. In 1986 Bonny Doon Vineyard released the inaugural vintage (1984) of Le Cigare Volant, an homage to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and this continues as the winery’s flagship/starship brand.  Since then, Bonny Doon Vineyard has enjoyed a long history Shelftalker-NV-CigareBlanc.qxdof innovation – the first to truly popularize Rhône grapes in California, to successfully work with cryo-extraction for sundry “Vins de Glacière, the first to utilize microbullage in California, the first to popularize screwcaps for premium wines, and, quite significantly, the first to embrace true transparency in labeling with its ingredient labeling initiative. The upside of all of this activity has brought an extraordinary amount of creativity and research to the California wine scene; the doon-side, as it were, was perhaps an ever so slight inability to focus, to settle doon, if you will, into a single, coherent direction.

Bonny Doon Vineyard grew and grew with some incredibly popular brands (Big House, Cardinal Zin and Pacific Rim) until it became the 28th largest winery in the United Stated.  Since early 2004, Bonny Doon adopted Biodynamic viticulture and biodynamic practices in as many of their vineyards as practicable.

Randall Grahm Biography

BonnyDoon-RandallGrahmRandall was born in Los Angeles in 1953 and attended Uncle Charlie’s Summer Camp, excuse me, the prestigious University of California at Santa Cruz where he was a permanent Liberal Arts major. Some time later he found himself working at the Wine Merchant in Beverly Hills sweeping floors. By dint of exceptionally good karma he was given the opportunity to taste an ungodly number of great French wines and this singular experience turned him into a complete and insufferable wine fanatic. He returned to the University of California at Davis to complete a degree in Plant Sciences in 1979, where owing to his single-minded obsession with Pinot Noir he was regarded as a bit of a holy terroir in the hallowed halls of the sober and sedate Department of Viticulture and Enology.

With his family’s assistance, Randall purchased property in the Santa Cruz Mountains in a magically quaint eponymous hamlet known as Bonny Doon, intent on producing the Great American Pinot Noir. The GAPN proved to be systematically elusive but he was greatly encouraged by experimental batches of Rhône varieties, and he has been a tireless champion of the grapes of the Rhône since the inaugural vintage of Le Cigare Volant. In 1989 Randall appeared on the cover of the Wine Spectator, clad in blue polyester, as “The Rhône Ranger,” a moniker that has mercilessly followed him ever since. (He has subsequently abandoned the habit of appearing en masque at public events.)

In 1991 Randall was indicted into the Who’s Who of Cooking in America by Cook’s and in the same year Ted Bowell of the Lowell Observatory in northern Arizona named the “Rhoneranger” asteroid in his honor. He was proclaimed Wine and Spirits Professional of the Year by the James Beard Foundation in 1994. Randall lectures frequently to wine societies and technical groups, and occasionally contributes quixotically sincere articles to wine journals. His idiosyncratic newsletters and articles were collected, carefully redacted, and with the inclusion of some very timely new material, published as the award-winning book, “Been Doon So Long: A Randall Grahm Vinthology” in 2009. In 2010 the Culinary Institute of America inducted him into the Vintner’s Hall of Fame. He lives in Santa Cruz with his muse Chinshu, their daughter, Amélie and his thesaurus.   Follow Randall’s wine blog.

BonnyDoon-wines-TastedBONNY DOON WINES TASTED:

Imagine Vin Gris
Picpoul
Le Cigare Blanc
Le Cigare Volant
Le Cigare Volant Reserve

LIMITED SEATING
Contact your local WineStyles to RSVP!