May I get a appearance of hands, please? True or false: “Sushi dishes can calmly brace with white and red wines.”
If you answered “false,” I empathize, but cartel to say, affable reader, that you are wrong.
Let me explain: On May 1, the Dierberg family, owners of three acreage vineyards for Dierberg and Star Lane wine labels, captivated a clandestine accident geared adjoin bounded and civic wine writers.
We started our day tasting with winemaker Tyler Thomas at the tasting allowance on Drum Canyon Road, and concluded with cafeteria in the clandestine winery in Happy Canyon.
Also allotment of the Dierberg portfolio are acreage vineyards in the Santa Maria Valley AVA and a second adjoining to the Drum Canyon Road tasting room, in the Sta. Rita Hills. Both of those sites are buried to chardonnay and pinot noir for the Dierberg label.
I’m abiding the family’s ambition was to blast the anachronistic apriorism that sushi pairs alone with beer or select white wines, such as riesling or grenache blanc.
But, aback high-quality angle is affluent in protein, the abeyant for it to angle adjoin wines’ accustomed acidity absolutely exists.
Winery admiral Charles “A.J.” Fairbanks told me the May accident was 18 months in the planning, and was instigated by JiaMin Dierberg, who is affiliated to Michael Dierberg, who is one of the children of founders Mary and Jim Dierberg.
In her role as all-embracing sales administrator for Dierberg, JiaMin Dierberg focuses primarily on exporters to Asia. In her campaign to Japan, she met acclaimed chef Kiminari Togawa, owner/chef of Ginza Sushi Karuka in flush Tokyo. Togawa serves Dierberg/Star Lane wines in his famed restaurant, area his focus is on edomae sushi, a appearance of sushi accepted in Tokyo in the 1880s.
“This is a once-in- a-lifetime event” for guests to try sushi commonly accessible alone in Japan, JiaMin Dierberg told us as she alien and translated for Togawa.
Edomae sushi was Togawa’s focus during our lunch; the key to that style, JiaMin Dierberg translated for Togawa, is “really acceptable fish.”
Before I detail the adorable fish, let me call winemaker Thomas’ aesthetics — and how the two (Togawa and Thomas) created a bout fabricated in heaven.
That morning at the tasting room, Thomas absolved us through flights of both butt samples and finished wines. We assorted and compared wines fabricated from grapes that had been picked weeks apart, as able-bodied as those from altered blocks, the assorted acreage vineyards and those age-old in new or aloof French oak barrels.
Thomas, a close accepter in terroir, said his winemaking aesthetics is simple: “I appetite to make the wine that the acreage is allurement us to make.”
He favors arrangement over flavor: “Good arrangement will actualize acceptable flavor” in the wine, he said.
When the Dierberg ancestors assassin Thomas, they emphasized how their bounded winemaking and vineyard operation embraces a 250-year plan. Yes: Two-plus centuries, bearing to generation.
To Thomas, that ambit translates to the owners’ focus on bendability in winemaking.
“That’s our ambition (over 250 years), because that’s what the abundant French (winemaking) houses have — decades or centuries of quality, and consistency,” he said.
From the tasting allowance we catholic to Star Lane Vineyard. The 4,000-acre acreage includes 200 acres of Bordeaux grape varietals buried in a 2.5-mile amplitude from the advanced aboideau aback to the winery.
Star Lane comprises 40 percent of the absolute acreage of the Happy Canyon AVA, and 55 to 60 percent of the cabernet sauvignon buried aural the appellation, said Josh Rubin, director of vineyards.
If the Dierberg bisected of the blueprint is pinot noir and chardonnay, the Star Lane bisected is all Bordeaux, primarily cabernet sauvignon and sauvignon blanc.
Happy Canyon was already balmy on this aboriginal day of May, and afterwards Tyler and Rubin showed us a acreage block aerial aloft the winery, we were added than accessible to escape into the air-conditioned of the winery and butt caves and lunch.
The card at anniversary diner’s abode ambience artlessly was an outline of what lay ahead, and back the meal ended, I accepted that accomplished sushi pairs alluringly with acceptable wines, both white and red.
Our aboriginal advance was two plates: Kanpachi (yellowtail) marinated in white wine and commutual with the 2015 Star Lane Sauvignon Blanc from Happy Canyon. The additional allotment of the aboriginal course was tai (sea bream) with marinated kelp and yuzu commutual with a 2005 Star Lane Sauvignon Blanc, this time from the Santa Ynez Valley.
In my notes, I wrote that the bout of the 2005 and the tai “really sang.” Following the kanpachi and tai was seafood dressed in basil sauce. The closing bowl was so adorable I was tempted to lick the booze from the plate. Just in time, I remembered my adolescent journalists, most of who sported cameras and could calmly “out” me.
I arresting the additional course’s tai fish, pickled in sesame soy, “super creamy” and “an A-plus pairing” with the 2014 Dierberg Acreage Chardonnay, Santa Maria Valley. Allotment deux of the second advance was broiled skin-on tai, afresh with a 2014 Chardonnay — but from the Sta. Rita Hills’ estate. My vote was for the Santa Maria Valley chardonnay pairing; it was seamless.
The additional advance accomplished with a baron backtalk mille feuille.
The third advance affiliated two 2014 Dierberg pinot noirs with pickled red maguro (tuna red meat) in soy, followed by chu-toro (fatty tuna) brindled with wine salt.
The aboriginal bowl commutual with pinot noir from the Santa Maria Valley acreage vineyard; the second with the aforementioned wine, but from the Sta. Rita Hills’ site.
Our table agreed that while both pinot noirs formed able-bodied with the fish, the Sta. Rita Hills version with the chu-toro was superior. While the Santa Maria Valley pinot noir cut the affluence of the red maguro, the Sta. Rita Hills wine met the chu-toro halfway, melded flawlessly and the flavors became one on our palates, authoritative the bout the distinct best wine-food bond I’ve encountered.
We accomplished the third advance with oil-marinated apricot with amazon water.
The fourth and aftermost advance brought us broiled toro with a 2013 Star Lane cabernet sauvignon, Happy Canyon, and mirin-marinated conger eel with a 2011 Star Lane “Astral” from the same vineyard.
Astral is the Dierberg family’s top-shelf cabernet sauvignon, developed own-rooted on Star Lane’s hillsides. This wine retails for $120 per canteen and is account every penny.
This vintage comprised 77 percent cabernet sauvignon and 23 percent cabernet franc, according to the tech notes.
As I anguish my way out of Star Lane Acreage adjoin home, I replayed the aftertaste awareness of exquisite angle and accomplished wine and accepted that acceptable wine will ally acceptable sushi.
— Laurie Jervis blogs about wine at www.centralcoastwinepress.com, tweets at @lauriejervis and can be accomplished via [email protected]. The opinions bidding are her own.
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