CSA Box Pairings: March 24, 2016
This Thursday is special! Chef turned winemaker Sashi Moorman is coming to pour his elegant Sta. Rita Hills wines. These wines are versatile and will soon become your new go-to classics for the most casual of wine drinkers to the hardest to please.
Recipe: Tyler Florence's Roasted Chicken with Wilted Butter Lettuce and Peas from Food Network
Pair with: Sandhi Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills California 2013 ($36)
First up: Chardonnay! Whether you light up at the mention of this grape or cringe in fear and doubt, we’re here to assure you that this is a grape that’s often misunderstood in California. It often sees too much sun and a whole lotta oak before wearing out your taste buds. Luckily, Sta. Rita Hills in Santa Barbara is surprisingly cool so the grapes develop without becoming obnoxiously flamboyant. To the north are the Purisima Hills and to the south are the Santa Rosa Hills. Together, these hills create a wind tunnel, bringing in cool air from the ocean on the west. As a result, Sandhi’s Chardonnay maintains good structure and some floral characteristics. The wine is perfect for a simple roasted chicken dish that’s flavorful with herbs but not too rich for a second or third helping. There’s no need to overanalyze this classic combo; it’s just simplicity done right.
Recipe: Roasted Beet Salad with Fennel, Orange, and Whipped Ricotta from A Beautiful Plate
Pair with: Sandhi Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills California 2013 ($36)
Second up: Pinot Noir! As you may know, Pinot is highly responsive to its environment. In Burgundy, the grape gets ashy, earthy, and tart from the cool climate. In California, it’s fruity, cheerful, and approachable. But if we zoom into Sta. Rita Hills, you’ll find that the soil is diatomaceous earth —a chalky substance of fossilized hard-shelled algae (not so different than Burgundy’s famous limestone resting on a bed of fossilized sea creatures). The resulting grapes are 3-dimensional—not just fruity, but also quite earthy and complex.
Sandhi’s Pinot is spontaneously fermented with native yeast and with all its stems intact. Sashi Moorman finds that the stems make the wines “smell more alive”. For that reason, beets fresh from the soil, thinly sliced fennel, and a bit of acid from oranges would make a lovely match for the wine. Here's one to those who love Spring!