Thursday, August 9, 2018

Calamares y Patatas + Pierce Ranch Albariño Pétillant-Naturel


Pierce Ranch Vineyards is a small, family-owned operation based here in Monterey County with most of their wines centered in the San Antonio Valley appellation. They produce limited-run, estate-grown wines with an emphasis on Spanish and Portuguese varieties. What a perfect addition to this month's #WinePW!


Last year I picked up a few of their Albariños, and I'll get to all of them, but the first I wanted to feature is their Pétillant-Naturel. Pétillant-Naturel, often called pét-nats, is an ancient method of making sparkling wine. In contrast with the méthode champenoise in which a finished wine undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle with additional yeasts and sugars, Pét-nats are bottled before the primary fermentation is finished. This produces a much more rustic sparkling wine that is often cloudy and bottled with a crown cap - like a beer - instead of a cork.

This winemaking method seems to be making a resurgence as several of my favorite vintners are making it. Jared Brandt at Donkey & Goat made a pét-nat with Clairette. This one, from Josh Pierce of Pierce Ranch, is made with Albariño grapes.


The Pierce Ranch Albariño Pétillant-Naturel has a beautiful golden straw color and lively bubbles, citrus zest on the nose, and a refreshing acidity and minerality on the tongue. What a fun wine! I wish I had another bottle. But maybe I'll have to pick up a few more of a new release. A quick look on their website doesn't show any available. Boo.


To pair this, I wanted to do a riff on the Roasted Squid With Chorizo and Pimentón that I had paired with the La Marea 2017 Albariño earlier. So I added potatoes for a Spanish-inspired Calamares y Patatas dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound cleaned squid, both tubes and tentacles
  • 1 pound potatoes, I used fingerling potatoes
  • 1 C diced Spanish chorizo, casing removed
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 small onion, peeled and sliced
  • pinch of red pepper chile flakes, to taste
  • 1 t pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika) + more for dusting
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • organic lemon wedges for serving
  • Also needed: cast iron skillet
Procedure

Slice fingerlings in half, lengthwise and place them in a pot covered with water. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Place oven rack in the top position and preheat oven to 475 degrees F. 

Rinse squid and pat dry. In a small mixing bowl, toss squid with 1 t pimentón and a pinch of red pepper chile flakes. Season with salt and pepper and let stand while you prepare the pan.

Place a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. When hot, olive oil and onions. Cook until the onions begin to soften and turn translucent. Add in the potatoes and chorizo. Cook until the chorizo begins to sizzle and potatoes begin to turn crisp and brown. Remove from heat and stir in the squid until they are nicely coated with oil.

Transfer pan to top rack in hot oven. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes, depending on size of squid. They are done when bodies are puffed and starting to brown and crisp at edges. 

To serve, move squid, chorizo, potatoes, and onions to a large platter, dust lightly with pimentón and spoon pan juices over everything. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.

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