Having lunch with winemakers is always such an honor. Their passion for the wines shines through not only in the wines, but when discussing their art, you can truly see the life of the wines. I had the fortune of dining with Ondine Chattan, the wine maker of Geyser Peak Winery. She has been with the company for fourteen years in which she refined the styles of these award-winning wines. Having lunch with her at Vitae, NYC was just one of the highlights of this spectacular afternoon.
We started the lunch with the 2013 Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc. This wine is crisp, clean, and full of Guava, Citrus, and some Lemongrass. On the palate, you are hit with beautiful tropical fruit notes, minerals, and lovely peach. Paired with this was Lobster Stuffed Artichokes with a Basil Butter Sauce. The hint of sweet basil and jalapeno in the wine made this dish brighten up a bit to where it was extremely satisfying.
Alongside this fruit forward wine was the 2012 River Ranches Sauvignon Blanc. This wine was more of a pleasant pairing to the appetizer than a perfect pairing, but the wine itself on its own was stunning. The nose is full of Lime, Passion Fruit, and Melon with a little vegetal side. On the palate, there is plenty of acidity, followed by more lemongrass and some tropical fruit notes.
Next came the Maltagliati, a rich pasta dish served with Lamb Sausage, Broccoli Rabe, and Roasted Tomatoes. This dish is full of flavor, creamy, and went beautifully with every wine in the next flight. The 2012 Water Bend Chardonnay brought out the herbs in the lamb sausage, and the buttery notes in the cream sauce.
When tasted with the 2012 Pluto’s Fury Pinot Noir, it became a perfect pairing. This Pinot is brick red with notes of Tart Cherry, Raspberry, and has a silky texture and well-integrated tannins. The juicy acidity in this wine makes it perfect for a creamy pasta dish, some duck, or roasted pork.
The meal may have been finished after that, but the wines certainly weren’t and thank goodness for that! The 2011 Red Wine Blend was full of Berries, Sweet Baking Spices, and some Raspberry. On the palate, notes of Cherry, Espresso, and some Chocolate came through making this wine one of a kind and very delightful. Also part of the tasting, and a wine that I absolutely loved was the 2011 Walking Tree Cabernet Sauvignon, which is Deep Red with a Purple center. The nose is full of black fruit including Figs, Black Currants, and some Caramel. On the palate some candied and jam notes show through along with toffee, raspberry, and cherry. Some seared Ahi Tuna or a nice Kebab would go great with this wine!
Last but certainly not the least was the 2011 Devils Inkstand, which is a “Winemakers Vintage”. The grapes in this vintage developed beautifully and there was a mild spring, which produced more of a Bordeaux style wine. This wine is gorgeous with notes of Sweet Dates, some slight Pepper and sweet notes. On the palate this wine is refined and juicy with fruit forward notes of Raspberry Compote, Caramel, and Figs.
Ondine is a delight to sit down and speak with. Luckily for you California lovers and travelers, the company has opened a tasting rom in Healdsburg, CA. Here you can taste some of their beautiful wines and enjoy the scenery of gorgeous vineyards.
Always remember, eat what you like and drink what you love!