The odd couple…
My local European style grocery store pops up random deliciousness on a frequent basis, and last week, there was an overflowing pile of gloriously fresh shittake mushrooms. Their pungent earthy aroma was so enticing, that I just couldn’t pass it up. So, I grabbed a good bit of shrooms and scooted on home. As for prep, I wanted to really focus on bringing out and highlighting the flavors of the shittake mushrooms without too much distraction. Thus, I dusted them off, snapped the stems, and tossed them in lovely sweet cream butter. And while the mushrooms sizzled away, the search for a proper wine pairing began. Luckily, a super awesome closeout on some amazing wine had corresponded with my shroom discovery…and the Zmor Gewurztraminer from the Russian River Valley was already chilling in the fridge.
This project is a collaboration between well known winemakers, Daniel Moor and Jeff Morgan, and some top notch vineyards in Sonoma, including the Martinelli vineyard. The Gewurztraminer grape is deemed ‘spicy’ by name, but not so much the spicy heat as the baking spice and herb interpretation of the term. This particular bottling is barrel fermented and vinted to ‘dry’. Lovely aromatics of white jasmine blossoms and orange blossom are framed by freshly ripe apricot, candied ginger and honey comb. On the palate, the wine is appropriately viscous with a silky, creamy texture and flavors of cinnamon stick, fresh ginger, mandarin, fig, and pear skin tumbled with river stones. Luscious, elegant and extremely well suited with food, this wine is yummy.
Although I did get stuck in the glass for a while, sniffing and swirling and sniffing again, the warm, butter infused mushrooms were also dying for appreciation. And, nom nom, this pairing was exceptionally tasty. The grounded, earthy, smoked moss and nutty flavors of the mushroom played off the bouncy fruit and spice of the wine, and all mingled appropriately with the buttery, creamy accent of the butter and full malolactic fermentation and barrel aged of the wine. I suggest that you track down some shittakes and some Gewurztraminer and give it a whirl. Weee!