A deep foodie lifestyle surrounded Nicole Hitchcock at the same time as she was growing up. This California native now heads winemaker at the Russian River Valley’s acclaimed J Vineyards & Winery, dove proper in. “I labored in restaurants in Carmel which are well-known for his or her culinary and wine applications,” she says.
“Discovering the interaction between food and wine is what, to begin with, got me involved in this industry.” A summertime running abroad in an Italian agriturismo further opened her eyes to wine and meals’ role as a cultural pillar. “You see its significance in a completely distinct light. It is an imperative part of people’s each day 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 determined a manner to combo her culinary and enology passions. “Having an experience for the grapes and then the use of my revel into manual them into scrumptious wines is my trendy technique,” she says.
“Having labored in a wide variety of eating places, from rustic to first-class eating, as well as in wineries massive and small, I sense that I have an awesome experience of the variety of people’s palates and the distinctive events that meals and wine served. I see wine as a way of bringing pleasure to the table as it sparks a lot of connection,” she says.
After almost a decade operating in wine, Hitchcock had the possibility to paintings carefully with third-generation winemaker Gina Gallo in Sonoma County. “Her approach made me observe winemaking in another way,” says Hitchcock.
“I learned that information just like the inclusion or exclusion of just one barrel in a blend can dramatically shift a wine’s style. Another method I learned from Gina is that even as developing a wine blend, the actual test brings the wine domestically to flavor it in a specific putting. That’s in which the wine is headed besides, domestic to human beings’ tables.”
J changed into more than 30 years in the past, generating cool-climate varieties that thrive in the soils and climate of their Russian River Valley domestic. The place’s massive day-to-night temperature shift is fundamental, says Hitchcock, “The mornings are cool, usually with misty coastal fog. By noon, the sun breaks through, and we have warm days ripening the grapes. At night, the breezes cool the whole lot down again, retaining the outstanding, crisp acidity.” In these perfect conditions, the wines develop layers of deep, complex taste.
An executed domestic prepare dinner, Hitchcock’s favorite own family food comprise flavors and techniques from across her existence revel in, like hand-crafted gnocchi with local fava beans and chanterelles, in addition to Italian prosciutto and Pecorino. “I generally pair this with our Cuvée 20 sparkling or our Russian River Valley Chardonnay. This paring is a tremendous example of wine and food permitting you to harmoniously blend-specific regions and cultures collectively.”
She additionally appears regionally for every other summer favorite, zucchini blossoms full of anchovies, ricotta, and herbs, then battered and deep-fried. “Sparkling wine is notable alongside fried meals, so I pair these with our California Cuvée or Cuvée 20.” For her spiced lamb sliders crowned with herbed yogurt sauce and greens and crammed into a pita, she chooses the J Canfield Vineyard Pinot Noir due to the fact “their highly spiced and savory characteristics complement one another so well,” she says.