Perhaps the most curious paradox of this current coronavirus crisis, is that a global pandemic has taken a rapidly globalizing world, and forced it into nearly complete isolation. Indeed, record travel numbers across the seven continents have been speedily reduced to barely being able to cross state lines in America. And many have not even left their own neighborhoods over the last six weeks.
Of course, this leaves many of us missing the exhilarating discoveries of travel—a First World problem, surely. But we are not speaking of it in regards to pampering and luxury, but rather in terms of the possible enlightenments that come with journeying to new places.
Food and wine, certainly, are particularly evocative of their origins. And so while we are all compelled to shelter-in-place, we asked our friends at New York’s T. Edward Wines to compile something of a “world tour,” comprising four continents—for which they chose bottles from Napa to South Africa to Mallorca and beyond. The highly respected Tribeca-based company was launched in 1994 to represent small local producers; it has since grown into an international concern, though their commitment to special artisan winemakers remains at the core of everything they do.
For your own purposes, perhaps plan to match each bottle up with a new recipe you’ve been mastering during quarantine. And don’t be afraid to pair, say, a Chilean wine with a French or Japanese dish—since travel is still very much about surprising the senses.
Stay safe, wherever you are.
Classically salty and sagey with quince-like orchard fruit, you feel the Tuscan sunshine on the palate as the wine is slightly more broad than direct-to-press vermentino. This isn’t cypress tree-lined Tuscany, but the rugged, overgrown coastal edge of the appellation. Originally cattle country known for its ribeye, Maremma is the wild west of Tuscany where winemakers can still afford to experiment. It comes from the impeccably farmed certified organic vineyard of Anna Maria Cruciata which sits five miles from the sea. The winery and family home perch on their estate alongside olive groves, and a vibrant vegetable garden.
Rhône Valley, France
“Petit Ours” is a negociant bottling from Matthieu Barret who purchases organic Syrah from his friend Remi Pouizin in Visan. For this wine, Matthieu and Remi select younger vines to get a better expression of fruit. 100% de-stemmed grapes, 15 days of maceration in a concrete tank, racking and pressing when fermentation is complete, 9 months of aging in a concrete tank.
Napa, CA, USA
Like striking a major chord, the three varieties of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, harmonize brilliantly…like they were always meant to be together. The wine opens with floral aromas of violet and rosemary, followed by a fruit stand of aromas and flavors reminiscent of blackberry, black plum, currant and black cherry. The primary fruit notes lead into more complex and earthier notes of black olive, sage, star anise, cocoa and a hint of vanilla that softens an otherwise youthful flavor profile. Consistent with other RSV wines from the 2014 vintage, this is a wine that can be enjoyed now or cellared for the long haul. Lean beef or wild game like venison are the perfect match for a young POV while a few years under its belt will lend the wine the flexibility to work with a broad range of lighter meats like pork and poultry as well as non-meat-centric dishes like pasta with tomato sauce and roasted veggies.
A wine that’s as beautiful as Cape Town itself. 100% handpicked Chenin Blanc grown in South Africa’s famous Swartland region. Made using a blend of grapes that come from a diverse collection of Swartland soils, with each piece of land putting its own mark on the final product. Made for those warm sunny days that don’t seem to end.
Central Valley, Chile
‘No es Pituko’ is Chilean slang for ‘it ain’t fancy’ reflecting the fact that this wine was vinified naturally, without any additions at any stage. The Chardonnay grapes for this wine come from a single vineyard in the Entre Cordilleras area of the Curicó Valley, situated at 243 meters above sea-level. These are ungrafted 37 year old vines that are cultivated according to sustainable agricultural methods in order to respect the land and its environment. Pale and slightly cloudy due to the natural vinification, this Chardonnay offers intense aromas of banana, apple and pear blended with toasted brioche. The full bodied, rich and creamy palate is balanced by a refreshing and fruity finish.
“Vinho Verde is clearly unique in the world. From the evergreen region, where the temperatures are never too high, rainfall on the 1500mm average and high humidity, around 30 thousand small growers take care of their small plots of land where beside the grapes kiwi is grown. Our wine comes from vineyards 15km close to Atlantic. Those conditions create acidic but subtle, fresh and fruity wines, and Azahar is the perfect example of what the region is capable of.”
“Beyond almonds and olives, the Moors also gave Portugal fragrant orange trees. Come Spring, these delicate white flowers perfume the entire country, this is why we named the wine Azahar, meaning citrus flower in Arabic. Bright and lively with delicate orange blossom aromas, green fruit flavors and vibrant minerality, consider this your summer relaxing wine.”
In August of 2006, Francesc Grimalt and Sergio Caballero set up 4Kilos Wines in Mallorca, a company dedicated to producing wines that reflect the strength of the grape and its nuances but with a different approach and different presentation. Their concept is not only that of variety but of the importance of the combination of strain-soil-climate-growth.