Chardonnay,Food & Wine,Pinot Noir,Russian River Valley,Spirits,Vineyards,Wine,Wine tasting,Winery

Tapas from Marimar Torres’ Cookbook ~ You’re Invited

Year ago, when I was at Belvedere Winery, my colleague and friend Corinne Reichel had seen an ad for the position of director of PR at Marimar Estate. Corinne knew I was qualified and was also totally misunderstood my current boss. (He’s since passed away.) Corinne really encouraged me to look into the position; but I really loved my job, regardless of the fact that my boss didn’t understand me. He inherited me, he hadn’t chosen me.

I still did some research and found that Marimar was a member of a very prestigious family from Spain, the Miguel Torres family. Not only does the family own the most extensive vineyards in the Denomination of Origin of Penedès, but they also own the Miguel Torres Chile winery in the Chilean Central Valley. Meanwhile, Marimar began Marimar Estate in Russian River Valley in 1986. This was just seven years before I arrived in California… Now, it’s 25 years later.

When I attended a Green Valley shindig at Iron Horse, with Ted Turner participating in an Earth Day discussion, I introduced myself to Marimar. I didn’t really want to interfere, because she was talking to Gordon Getty about her Pinot Noir. Timing is everything, and my time was better spent capturing this classic image.

She did hand a card to me that I’ve held onto, and this is what this story is about… visiting her winery for the first time, while my Floridian friend Ada Levy was visiting.

The card reads…

“We invite you to join us at our Catalan-style winery in the Russian River/Green Valley for a tasting of our Pinot Noirs and Chardonnay, paired with tapas from my cookbooks, The Spanish Table and the Catalan Country Kitchen.

“In Spain, tapas are a way of live, a delightful excuse to meet with friends over a glass of wine and an array of small bites. We have selected several tapas paired with our Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. I hope you’ll enjoy they and will feel transported to my home country, Spain, for a while!”

I like that, especially since I was in Portugal in the Alentejo with my Enoforum friend Delfim Costa, and he pointed to the border of Spain… I was just miles from it and could see it, but didn’t get there. I could imagine it, though, being in terroir that must be somewhat similar, because it was only a few miles away.

So, time to get transported to Marimar’s estate and explore her Catalanian country life, all the while wondering, “What if I had applied for her director of PR job and had gotten it? How different would my life now be? Hum…

For this day, we were given a tour by Kyrsa Dixon, who has just moved here from the Seattle area. She’s Marimar’s tasting room manager, and has found herself in a great job in Sonoma County. We all enjoyed the time we shared.

Certified Organic since May 5, 2006, the Marimar Estate is in Sebastopol, California. Its architecture  transported us to Spain. The grounds and buildings were warm and welcoming. There’s no use of any of the following, and for that I say, “You go, Girl!”

  • synthetic fertilizers
  • synthetic pesticides
  • synthetic herbicides
  • synthetic fungicides

As with all things I put into my body, wine should meet this criteria. I buy organic… I am what I eat, so it’s sweet to know that Marimar Torres is also holistic.

” The vineyards are certified organic and since 2003 have been organically farmed, as Marimar is a firm believer that such practices are better for the life of the vineyard: ‘We are creating an ideal balance between the vines and nature; the vineyard is ecologically healthier and the grapes of higher quality. That’s our long-term reward.'”

I could go on about the grounds, but instead I created the YouTube video above. It’s from the beginning to the end of our visit, so you can see for yourself what a lovely place Marimar Estate is and what you’ll enjoy when you get there. There will be lots of fun details, because it’s a photographer’s delight.

Favorite wines we tasted:

  • 2009 Acero Chardonnay, Don Miguel Vineyard ~ $29.00 ~ Very highly recommended
    • Acero is Spanish for “steel” and refers to this wine being stainless steel fermented and aged. It’s bright, crisp, and very clean with flavors of pink grapefruit, lemon, apricot, and green apple. It was 100 percent malolactic fermented, to give it a creamy texture, but only slightly so.
    • For anyone not familiar… Malolactic Fermentation is as easy as A + B = C:  Malic Acid + Bacteria = Lactic Acid, the same, smooth acid that’s in Cream.)
  • 2007 La Masía Pinot Noir, Don Miguel Vineyard ~ $39.00 ~ I bought this one, because I loved it so much.
    • This is one of those Russian River Pinots that I crave, because of its rich, earthy aromas, textures, and flavors. There’s something magical that happens to a grapevine’s fruit that resides in a more moist climate, and Russian River Valley delivers this kind of fruit. You have to think abut what happens after a good rainstorm and how mushrooms seem to pop up, seemingly from nowhere. The spores were always there, they just needed the right climatic conditions to come alive… That’s what this Pinot was like. It exhibited rich, plum earth tones, and an unctuous mouth feel. It was just beautiful, which is why I had to bring one home for a special occasion coming up in the near future in our home.

We also tasted the following, and each one was very special. I recommend anyone of these wines, because they’re meticulously crafted by their winemaking team. Making wine is a team effort at Marimar Torres. That’s a very interesting system and one that allows everyone to enjoy the final effort in the bottle.

  • 2007 La Masía Chardonnay, Don Miguel Vineyard ~ $35.00
  • 2006 Dobles Lías  Chardonnay, Don Miguel Vineyard, 355 Cases Produced ~ $45.00 (There’s a rich creaminess to this wine’s texture. That’s because it was aged sur lie (on the lees) for nine months. Only a few cases of this wine are produced each year, depending on what the harvest returns for a crop. I loved the sweet butterscotch weight of this wines, because of the lees contact.)
  • 2007 Mas Cavalls Pinot Noir, Dona Margarita Vineyard ~ $44.00
  • 2007 Cristina Pinot Noir, Don Miguel Vineyard (Wine Club Exclusive) $49.00

And how about those tapas!

Tapas & Wine Pairing Experience includes 5 wines & 4 tapas – $35 per person

This plate contains the following dishes from recipes taken from Marimar’s two books. I’ll list the food item and the wine meant to pair with it.  You can start your drooling now:

  • 2007 Acero Chardonnay
  • 2007 La Masía Chardonnay ~ Pastís de Carbaçó Cristina (Zucchini Cake Christina)
  • 2006 Dobles Lías  Chardonnay ~ Gambes a l’All amb Pebrots (Prawns in a Garlic Sauce with Sweet Red Peppers)
  • 2007 La Masía Pinot Noir ~ Farcellets de Col (Cabbage Dumpling Stuffed with Pork, Chorizo, Pine Nuts and Raisins)
  • 2006 “Cristina Pinot Noir (Cristina is Marimar’s daughter’s name) ~ Higos Pascos Rellenos con Salsa de Chocolate (Figs stuffed with Chocolate and Nuts in a Chocolate Sauce)

We met Marimar’s chef Patricia Riquelme preparing a food and wine pairing for a couple, and she shared the Figs stuffed with Chocolate and Nuts in a Chocolate Sauce with Ada and me… It’s to die for and muy delicioso…

Marimar Estate is a great winery to visit, if you’re looking to enjoy a food and wine experience in an authentic Spanish atmosphere of warmth and welcoming. You don’t have to participate in the food and wine pairing experience, but it’s definitely recommended. Just look at that food plate. How can you resist?



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