The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2015

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Page 47 of 136

june 2015  /  the tasting panel  /  47 PAIRINGS P residing over the family wine business demands nonstop cross-country travel and dining out, so when Michael Martini returns home, he stays home and cooks. The third-generation scion of California winery Louis M. Martini visited New York on a "Seize the Cabernet" tour to showcase flights of Cabernet Sauvignon. In celebration of the winery's past, present and future—Martini himself has presided over an impressive 39 harvests—he opened library wines, bar- rel samples, and current vintages from three labels, including the flagship Lot 1. The team behind Midtown steakhouse Quality Meats paired the Cabs with jumbo crab cakes and, of course, steak. Nicolas Paris, MW assisted Martini in the presentation of the wines. "Since its early years, the Louis M. Martini winery has been focused on producing quality Cabernet Sauvignon in both Sonoma and Napa counties through a combination of owning its own vineyards and sourcing from some of the best growers in each region. By carefully managing their supply and meticu- lous winemaking, the winery has been able to produce some of California's best Cabernet Sauvignons since its inception in 1933," Paris explained. Over a bite of filet mignon, the burly, silver-mustachioed winemaker steered the conversation towards wine and food, enumerating his kitchen skills. "I've learned to cook a lot of dishes, especially ones I can match to my wines when guests come over." He uncovered secrets to great pizza in Italy and mastered the crisping of rice in a traditional paella pan. Martini takes special pride in his razor-thin octopus ballotine. The trick, he said, is to "pack the octopus in a Coke can, and then freeze it." When he pulls the mollusk from the mold, he slices it on a mandolin. "I dress it simply with capers, olive oil and lemon." Treating food with finesse might come as a surprise from a man who produces California Cab, but Martini said he coaxes balance and refinement from his grapes. He pointed out the Sonoma Monte Rosso site. "We can achieve a high level of acid in that wine due to elevation," he said. However, the gracefully evolving library wines, a mix of '05 and '06, also testified to his winemaking ethos. From the well-priced $38 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon to the flagship—sourced from select Napa sites—Martini's wines weave, as Paris described, "body with elegance, firm structure and bright acidity." That's an apt pair- ing with just about anything Martini cooks. The team behind the Midtown steak- house Quality Meats paired flights of Louis M. Martini's Cabs with jumbo crab cakes and, of course, steak. LOUIS M. MARTINI MEATS ITS MATCH AT QUALITY MEATS IN NEW YORK CITY by Lauren Mowery / photos by Doug Young Seizing the Moment

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