"Second-generation winery owner, Nadia Zilkha, has walked a diverse path through everything from the world of finance to film production and medical innovation. Through it all, she remains focused on achieving balance between her love for family, her aptitude for business, and her passion for philanthropic causes.
At Laetitia Vineyard & Winery, on California’s Central Coast, Nadia and her father, Selim Zilkha, have partnered for decades to promote and oversee the production of top-tier sparkling and Pinot Noir wines from both the Laetitia Vineyard and the Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard in Santa Barbara County.
Laetitia Vineyard & Winery has had a very successful past year including being named a Top Pinot in California by Karen MacNeil, write of The Wine Bible. They also have a sister brand named NADIA which has also been producing some noteworthy wines," wrote Elissa Wiese.
Summer is the perfect season to enjoy two recent releases from NADIA Wines and their estate property, Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard.
2013 NADIA Sauvignon Blanc
The 2013 growing season at Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard was ideal, with marked similarities to that of 2012. The vines enjoyed a little more warmth, which translated into a slightly heavier than ideal crop. To retain balance and even ripening, the NADIA team balanced the crop load by thinning a percentage of the fruit. Additionally, they added more cross arms to the vineyard’s trellis system, promoting dimpled lighting for a cooler fruit zone with even ripening, ideal color and no sunburn. As a result, the wines are beautifully expressive, balanced and extracted.
The 2013 Sauvignon Blanc was whole-cluster pressed, chilled, and then allowed to settle before fermentation began. A combination of stainless steel and small neutral French oak barrels were used for six months’ aging in stainless steel for six weeks. To maintain crispness, the wine did not undergo malolactic fermentation.
In the glass, the 2013 NADIA Sauvignon Blanc wafts aromas of mango peel,
tropical kiwi and night-blooming jasmine. On the palate, cooked stone fruit and zingy key lime notes are softened by hints of dried field grass. The wine’s refreshing, mineral-driven backbone is balanced by weight and texture imparted by partial aging in neutral French oak, in addition to stainless steel.
Pairing: Chicken Satay, Coconut Rice and Cucumber Salad
· 1 (15-ounce) can light coconut milk, divided
· 1/4 cup lime juice, divided
· 4 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
· 1 tablespoon low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
· 3 teaspoons light brown sugar, divided
· 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce
· 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut lengthwise into strips
· 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
· 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
· 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
· 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
· 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
· 1 cup brown jasmine rice
In a medium bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup coconut milk, 2 tablespoons lime juice, ginger, tamari,2 teaspoons sugar and hot sauce. Transfer 1/4 cup of the mixture to a small bowl and set aside. Add chicken to bowl with remaining marinade and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Add peanut butter to 1/4 cup mixture in small bowl and whisk until smooth. Place cucumber, carrot, remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice, remaining 1 teaspoon sugar, cilantro and salt in a medium bowl and toss until combined. Refrigerate peanut sauce, cucumber salad and
remaining coconut milk until ready to serve.
When ready to cook, place rice, remaining 1 cup coconut milk and 1 1/4 cups water in a medium saucepan and heat to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook 45 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork.
While rice cooks, thread chicken onto skewers and discard marinade. Preheat grill to medium heat. Cook chicken until cooked through, about 4 minutes on each side. Serve with peanut sauce, cucumber salad and rice.
2012 NADIA Cabernet Sauvignon
The 2012 growing season was an ideal one for Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard, which experienced noticeably warmer weather than that of 2011, and with 250 additional growing degree days. The result was riper fruit characters in the grapes and better control of dry farming. With calculated control over its watering practices, the NADIA team was able to encourage an adequate amount of struggle in the vines during their growth pattern to translate into a crop of expressive complexity with abundant fruit and earthen flavors.
A Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, this wine’s varieties were each crushed and fermented separately, and blended at 10 months. The wine is aged for 16 months in 30% new French oak, 20% new American oak and the remaining 50% in neutral French oak.
The 2012 NADIA Cabernet Sauvignon shows aromas of wild blackberry and forest floor with notes of sweet cigar smoke and perfumed violet woven throughout. On the palate, layers of chocolate-covered cherries, anise and salty sea air are underscored by rich cedar, with firm yet supple tannins unwinding over time in the glass.
Pairing: Grilled Bison Burgers with Sautéed Mushrooms
· 1 tablespoon olive oil
· 2 teaspoons kosher salt
· 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
· 8 ounces mixed wild mushrooms, trimmed and quartered if large
· 1 large egg
· 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
· 1 medium garlic clove, minced
· 1 pound ground bison meat
· 3 white rolls, cut in half horizontally and toasted
Prepare a grill for medium-high heat. On the stove, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. When shimmering, add oil, and heat over high until smoking. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring rarely, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper, remove from heat, and set aside.
Mix together egg, Worcestershire, garlic, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl until egg is broken up. Add bison meat and mix until thoroughly combined.
Shape meat mixture into 4 patties and place on the grill. Barbecue until browned and springy to the touch, about 8 minutes total for medium.
To serve, top buns with burgers, divide mushrooms evenly between burgers, and close with top bun halves.
For more information on NADIA wines, please visit www.NADIAWines.com.
About NADIA WinesFar from the windswept coastal foothills of sister company, Laetitia Vineyard & Winery, lies a land of elevated, quiet grace. Framed by chalky cliffs and planted to vines that are drenched in sun by day and chilled by the cover of night – this is the Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard, the home of NADIA Wines. Comprised of the Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard’s highest echelon Bordeaux and Rhône-variety grapes, NADIA Wines eloquently champion the high-elevation terroir and inexhaustible potential of the Sierra Madre Mountains. For more information about NADIA Wines, please visit www.NADIAWines.com. Tastings are conducted at Laetitia Vineyard & Winery, 453 Laetitia Vineyard Drive, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420.