BY DWIGHT CASIMERE
Fall is here, and along with the cornucopia of fresh flavors from the harvest comes a dizzying array of new wines. Wines of Chile is in the midst of a whirlwind national promotion at Whole Foods Market, and the wine selections are a natural with the vast selection of fresh foods and produce available from the fall harvest. The common theme between the wines and the food products center around sustainability and biodynamic and organic practices. Such is the case with the wine of Odfjell, in particular the Armador Estate Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2015 of the Casablanca Valley, Chile.
The grapes are all hand picked and crushed in whole bunches, then fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks to preserve the pungent fresh fruit aromas and flavors. Think aromas of fresh grapefruit and gooseberry on the nose, followed by zesty citrus fruit flavors and vibrant acidity that makes this wine great with all types of food. I tried it with a Chicken Tagine flavored with Moroccan spies and fresh root vegetables. Its a perfect, hearty Fall dish that takes full advantage of the harvest and makes for a colorful presentation, served in the same clay pot in which it was roasted in the oven.
The story of Odfjell wines is noteworthy. Twenty-five years ago, a Norwegian ship owner (Armador in Spanish) fell in love with a tiny corner of Chile's Maipo Valley and decided to revive the forgotten wealth of Chile's wine growing past. With his commitment to sustainable agriculture and green winemaking practices, he created wines of distinctive character. The winery is especially known for its gravity flow system which minimizes the need to pump or agitate the juice throughout the winemaking process. The result is a finely crafted wine that is finished to perfection, preserving the natural subtleties of the wine and all of its rich, fruit and floral nuances.A variety of vegetarian dishes, salads, seafood and poultry dishes are perfect accompaniments to the wine, as are a variety of soft and semi-hard cheeses. My favorites are the marvelous goats milk (chevre) cheeses from Sonoma. which are also readily available at Whole Foods. That, and a tray of California Figs and a handful of honey glazed almonds, some finely shave prosciutto and slices of fresh, artisan bread and you're in business for a fine al fresco lunch in the vineyards during harvest!
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