Among the challenges with writing a column is discovering a catchy title. At least for me, as soon as the title is in order, the rest simply appears to flow.
During last month’s Detainee red wine supper at Vittorio’s Italian Ristorante last month, I had the title of the column in my head when I heard the name of the first red wine being poured. Vittorio’s owner, Victor Magalhaes, along with narrators Amanda Salmon, field sales manager for Constellation Brands, and David Sheline, a certified sommelier, released the evening with “Unshackled” sauvignon blanc.
“I got it,” I told co-producer Frank Mangio. “I require to utilize ‘Unshackled’ in the title when I compose the column.’
“Unshackled originated from The Prisoner’s original wine maker David Phinney’s belief that Napa Valley could produce high-end red blends vs. the region’s single varietal go-to cabernet sauvignon,” Salmon said.
Phinney created Detainee’s initial (and not likely) blend with mostly zinfandel together with cabernet sauvignon, petite sirah, syrah, and charbono.
Phinney associates the Goya painting his mommy had in his bedroom for his humor and creativity that encompasses his wine making expertise. Phinney liked the Goya so much that Prisoner white wine labels are engraved with Goya art work (after lots of negotiation, of course).
Luckily for The Prisoner White Wine Business, Phinney had the ability to share his blending tricks and abilities with Jen Beloz, the second winemaker, who passed on the trade tricks to Chrissy Whitman, director of wine making at Prisoner.
David Sheline, left, of Southern Glazers, Amanda Salmon, center, of Constellation Brands, and Victor Magalhaes, owner of
Vittorio’s Italian Trattoria. Photo by Rico Cassoni
Another intriguing reality about Detainee wines is that the brand does not own a single vineyard. Instead, fruit is sourced from more than 100 California little producers that grow special varietals.
The Unshackled line offers recognition to and is “made for those who are aiming to break free from convention, stereotypes, and perception.” The Unshackled White (2019) is primarily sauvignon blanc (93%) with splashes of viognier, chenin blanc, and roussanne supplying acidity and a textured mouthfeel. This paired well with the very first course of crab and shrimp chowder.
The second and 3rd courses consisted of Prisoner chardonnay (2019) served alongside portobello mushroom ravioli for the second and 2019 pinot noir with crispy duck and sour cherry compote the third course.
The chardonnay fruit is sourced from Carneros, which has cooler temps and more wind making it more accommodating for the thin-skinned chardonnay grape. It is blended with splashes of roussanne and gewürztraminer offering the chardonnay blend extra minerality for food-friendliness and a great pairing with the ravioli’s walnut cream sauce.
The pinot noir was mixed with syrah giving the (likewise) thin-skinned red (versus white) Sonoma Coast fruit meatiness and boldness. The common cherry pinot noir taste buds had hints of spice, making it a complementary partner for the duck’s sour cherry compote.
Grilled New Zealand lamb slice atop a bed of polenta with grilled French beans and dijon rosemary au jus served with Detainee cabernet sauvignon (2019 ). Image by Rico Cassoni
The main dish featured grilled New Zealand lamb chop on a bed of polenta with grilled French beans and dijon rosemary au jus. This was paired with a brand-new 2019 cabernet sauvignon-blend dominated by taxi sauvignon vs. zinfandel as in the case for the original Prisoner.
The blend was mixed with cabernet sauvignon, red wine, syrah, malbec, petite sirah and charbono. The cab’s black cherry and red plum taste buds with hints of vanilla was a perfect match for the grilled lamb and its au jus. See The Detainee info at theprisonerwinecompany.com.
Throughout supper, Salmon and Sheline spoiled visitors with The Prisoner white wine raffles. And The Crosby Baker, Kary Favish, additional indulged guests with red velour cupcakes filled with chocolate ganache and topped with piped crème icing. Excellent supper Magalhaes, Chef, Salmon, Sheline, and Favish! Find more details on the Crosby Baker at thecrosbybaker.com.
White wine Bytes
— Household Winemakers will host its yearly tasting of family-produced and hard-to-find California red wines 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on March 13 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The Sunday tasting is a one-day event including acclaimed, family-owned wineries that develop red wines from much of the state’s legendary wine-growing areas. Tickets begin at $55 for entryway at 2:00 pm. Early gain access to tickets are $75 and enable access from 12 to 4 p.m. Tix at winetasting22sd.eventbrite.com.
— Morton’s The Steakhouse in San Diego’s Gaslamp District is hosting a five-course “A Taste of Two Legends” wine dinner including Morton’s world-renowned cuisine paired with strong & & complex red wines from Lodi’s Michael David Winery on Sat, March 5, 2022, 6:30 to 10:30 PM. The main dish is blue cheese-crusted filet mignon coupled with Rapture cabernet sauvignon. The expense is $149 per person and consists of tax & & gratuity. RSVP at bit.ly/ 3LNr7KL or (619) 696-3369.
Frank Mangio is a prominent wine lover accredited by Wine Spectator. Frank and Rico are two of the leading commentators online. View their columns at tasteofwineandfood.com. Go to recent columns. Reach them at [e-mail safeguarded] tasteofwineandfood.com.