Friday, October 30, 2015


by Dwight Casimere

Dwight Casimere with winery owner Maria del Yerro of Madrid

NEW YORK--Maria del Yerro, owner of Alonso del Yerro wine in Spain, is extremely modest. She describes she her winery, recognized as one of the finest in the Ribero del Duero region as simply "a family-run winery. We have a very simple philosophy,' she told me over an exquisitely prepared lunch by Executive Chef Michael Anthony (Gramercy Tavern) and Chef de Cuisine Suzanne Cupps in Untitled restaurant, famed restaurateur Danny Meyer's latest creation on the ground floor of the dramatic, new Whitney Museum of American Art near the Hi-Line on New York's Hudson River. The restaurant has quickly become a 'must go' in its showcase location in the colossal Renzo-Piano-designed showplace in the trendy Meatpacking District. 
Maria del Yerro flew over from Madrid just for the day, the host the luncheon. Her responsibilities at the winery and to her husband and five children required her immediate return home, so her visit was a cherished experience. "Family comes first, " she said firmly. "And that's a big part of our philosophy. My husband (Alonso) and I believe strongly in our founding principles, which are; respect towards the environment, the value of friendship, love for our family, and a passion for excellence."
The afternoon's menu would revolve around the winery's three flagship wines, which are currently available in the United States.;  Alonso del Yerro 2011 which is100% Tempranillo ($25-$26),   Maria 2010, also 100% Tempranillo ($60-$65), Paydos 2011, 100% Tinta Del Toro ($33-$34) .

The wines are all rich and powerful. They reflect the rich, complex soils in which the grapes are grown. Slow and gentle vinification at very low temperatures, with careful aging in both mature and new French oak barrels ensure the wines' deep red color, powerful floral nose and mouthwatering flavors of ripe fruit, baking spices and licorice. These are wines with a silky finish and a flavor that lasts long in the mouth. Accompanied by the delicious cuisine at Unitled, Danny Meyer's expert creation on the ground level of the stunning Whitney Museum, it was a meal to remember.

Untitled Executive Chef Michael Anthony and Chef de Cuisine Suzanne Cupps prepared a stunning menu of items, presented family-style, to be sampled with the assorted wines. The flavor combinations were revelatory, with the wines changing in flavor and complexity with bites of the various dishes; Cabot cheddar fondue with shiitake and pickled pear, Cauliflower, cardamom, custard, lemon,  Beef tartare with chestnut and delicate, Cured fluke with carrot and preserved lime and Ruby red shrimp with peppers emmer and okra for starters, followed by Sweet peppers, duck chorizo and shelling was with entrees of Monlfish with charred leek broth and bacon, an outstanding 'Chinese-styled' chicken salad of Roasted and Fried chicken with cashews and Ratatouille and bacon salad with harissa and frisee.

 Below: Cabot cheddar fondue with shiitake and pickled pear

 Assorted appetizers from Unitled

 The wines of Alonso del Yerro

 Roasted and fried chicken salad with cashews from Untitled

Below: Dwight Casimere with Maria del Your

Each of the dishes was carefully selected to enhance the unique profiles of these rich, flavorful wines. Each of the courses was served somewhat family style or 'dim sum' style so that the wines could be tasted and contrasted with a variety of dishes. There was not a bad note in this carefully orchestrated dining experience!

Roasted and fried chicken salad and (below) Monkfish with charred leek broth, bacon and radish

Alonso del Yerro employs superstar winemaking consultant Stephane Derenoncourt. He owns wineries in both Bordeaux, where he cut his teeth as a winemaker, and in Napa Valley,. where he produces wines under his own name and is the driving force behind Francisco Ford Coppola's Rubin Estate wines. "We produce all of our wines with an eye toward picking the grapes at their optimum point of ripeness. This often involves very late harvests, sometimes in late October, to achieve the flavor and complexity that we desire," Maria emphasized. "Also, we age the wines in small French oak barrels for as much as 13 months, to achieve greater complexity and flavor."
The results were evident on the palate.The wines, carefully decanted by the staff at Unittled, were literally brimming over with flavor, each distinctive and more flavorful with the last one. They especially paired well with the food and revealed a kaleidoscope of flavors when paired with different dishes. 
"These wines are very versatile. You would be surprised at how well they go with fish and chicken, dishes that you would not normally think of as going with red wine. With the right spices and flavorings, these wines go very well with a variety of lighter dishes.

Photo gallery by Dwight Casimere

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