At Chew Street we love to sing the praises of food and wine producers that treat their ingredients with the respect they deserve and throw passion into what they make and develop. We recently had the opportunity to sit down to a delicious meal with Californians and Canadians - the folks behind Mendocino's Bonterra Organic Vineyards and Toronto’s Foodies on Foot.
Mendocino wasn’t on my radar before sitting down to a glass of this organic wine. The wine growing region, a couple hours north of Napa, has it’s own distinctive soil type. This allows growers like Bonterra to produce wines that are truly unique to that region. If California is “wine country”, then Mendocino is “organic wine country” with almost 25% of that region’s wine being grown organically. Bonterra is well placed in this region, with their focus on 100% organically and biodynamically grown grapes. Bonterra wines are CCOF certified (Certified California Organic Farmers) and the winemakers undergo a rigorous yearly auditing process to ensure their organic practices meet or beat USDA regulations. Instead of synthetic pesticides, Bonterra’s winemakers grow local flowers among their vines to attract bugs that help their harvest. Sheep take the place of polluting gas lawnmowers, eating the growth between the vines. The Bonterra website is a trove of delicious recipes and articles devoted to living an organic life with book recommendations, entertaining ideas and composting tips.
We sat down to enjoy Chef Damian Harrington’s fun and engaging cooking demonstration and then got to try the fruits of his labour. We tasted the Bonterra’s 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013 Pinot Noir, 2013 Chadonnay, and 2013 Viognier. My favourites were the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Viognier. The Viognier is blended with a small amount of Muscat, which I love, and it adds to the crisp flavour. It paired perfectly with Chef Harrington’s salad - a yummy combination California mango and avocado, heirloom tomato, toasted hazelnut and cilantro over endive drizzled with sesame citrus vinaigrette.
The Cabernet, which recently received a 91 rating from Wine Enthusiast, had a very balanced flavour and smelled of oak and cherries. It went well with our main of rosemary and garlic pork tenderloin and mushroom polenta, topped with gorgonzola and roasted red pepper.
You can bring home some the Bonterra organic spirit home tonight to celebrate earth day, and check out the eco-friendly street car food tour from Foodies on Foot to celebrate Earth Week!
Bonterra Chardonnay - Vintages# 342436; Bonterra Cabernet Sauvignon - Vintages# 342428; Bonterra Pinot Noir - Vintages# 317685; Bonterra Viognier - Coming Soon to LCBO. All priced at $19.95.