A deep foodie subculture surrounded Nicole Hitchcock while she changed into developing up. This California local now heads winemaker on the Russian River Valley’s acclaimed J Vineyards & Winery, dove proper in. “I worked in eating places in Carmel that are well-known for their culinary and wine programs,” she says.
“Discovering the interaction between food and wine is what first of all got me inquisitive about this industry.” A summer season operating abroad in an Italian agriturismo further opened her eyes to wine and food’s function as a cultural pillar. “You see its significance in a completely one of a kind mild. It is a crucial part of humans’ everyday lives,” she says.
A Viticulture & Enology graduate from the University of California, Davis, Hitchcock labored her first harvest within the Napa Valley. As a winemaker, she has found a way to combine her culinary and enology passions. “Having a sense for the grapes after which the usage of my revel in to guide them into scrumptious wines is my fashionable approach,” she says.
“Having worked in a wide variety of eating places, from rustic to high-quality dining, in addition to in wineries big and small, I sense that I even have an amazing feel of the range of people’s palates and the one of a kind events that meals and wine served. I see wine as a method of bringing joy to the desk as it sparks so much connection,” she says.
After almost a decade running in wine, Hitchcock had the possibility to work intently with 0.33-generation winemaker Gina Gallo in Sonoma County. “Her method made me examine winemaking otherwise,” says Hitchcock. “I discovered that info just like the inclusion or exclusion of just one barrel in a mix could dramatically shift a wine’s style. Another method I discovered from Gina is that even as developing a wine blend, the actual takeaway brings the wine home to flavor it in a distinct putting. That’s wherein the wine is headed anyway, home to people’s tables.”
J was founded more than 30 years in the past-producing cool-weather varieties that thrive within the soils and climate of their Russian River Valley domestic. The area’s massive day-to-night time-temperature shift is prime, says Hitchcock, “The mornings are cool, generally with misty coastal fog. By noon, the sun breaks thru, and we have heat days ripening the grapes. At night time, the breezes cool the entirety down once more, maintaining the tremendous, crisp acidity.” In those best situations, the wines expand layers of deep, complicated taste.
A done domestic cook dinner, Hitchcock’s favorite own family food includes flavors and strategies from across her life enjoy, like hand-crafted gnocchi with neighborhood fava beans and chanterelles, in addition to Italian prosciutto and Pecorino. “I typically pair this with our Cuvée 20 glowing or our Russian River Valley Chardonnay. This paring is an excellent instance of wine and meals allowing you to harmoniously combination distinctive regions and cultures collectively.”
She also appears locally for some other summer favorite, zucchini blossoms filled with anchovies, ricotta, and herbs, then battered and deep-fried. “Sparkling wine is the first-rate alongside fried foods, so I pair these with our California Cuvée or Cuvée 20.” For her spiced lamb sliders topped with herbed yogurt sauce and vegetables and stuffed into a pita, she chooses the J Canfield Vineyard Pinot Noir because “their highly spiced and savory characteristics complement each other so properly,” she says.
Learning has been vital to Hitchcock’s career. As a Women of the Vine & Spirits, J Vineyards & Winery also strongly believes in helping women’s ongoing growth within the wine and spirits enterprise. Their Women Behind the Wine fund awards women with scholarships for persevering with education, together with tuition grants toward Master of Wine and Master Sommelier students as well as nearby scholarship grants.
“It’s important to get to know people in the course of the industry as it’s not as big as humans may suppose. Those relationships can be amusing and assist you via your career,” says Hitchcock, approximately finding mentors and help. She additionally advises girls to understand that the crafting of meals and wine are talents that take years to develop. “In many approaches, those are competencies that can’t be rushed. It’s vital to have fun with and construct upon every revel in.”