Given the large vary of flavors out there in Japanese delicacies, from recent to funky, savory to candy, spicy to delicate, it’s confounding that sushi and its culinary counterparts aren’t already a daily a part of pairing menus in wine nation. Counteracting that unlucky oversight is Margerum Wine Firm’s new tasting room in Los Olivos, the place clients can pre-order bento containers which were developed to match with Doug Margerum’s bottlings.
“I really like every thing about Japan, and I really like my wine with Japanese meals,” mentioned Margerum, who’d simply returned from his newest journey to the island nation after we met to attempt the primary official bento field collectively. “It was certainly one of my finest markets for thus lengthy, and COVID simply killed it.”
Whereas getting ready to open this Los Olivos location — which is tiny, particularly in comparison with the vineyard’s Funk Zone unfold on East Mason Avenue — Margerum “wished to do one thing utterly completely different than some other place on the town.” Sushi was a novel alternative. “I don’t assume it exists,” he mentioned when requested if different tasting rooms served it.
He reached out to Jina Bae, the previous chef at A-Ru in Buellton. With the assistance of her son Brian, Bae now sells their creations on to clients out of the Los Olivos Grocery beneath the identify Sushi BB. Margerum took his crew over to determine the bento field, explaining, “She laid out a picnic desk filled with meals, and we introduced the wines.”
They created a $150, five-course meal for 2, which have to be ordered a day upfront of your go to. After we selected between steel and picket chopsticks, our field began with a crispy soy paper roll filled with Dungeness crab baked in vanilla bean sauce, paired with the equally crisp Barden blanc de blancs glowing wine. The yuzu kosho yellowtail that adopted was washed down by the zesty Sybarite sauvignon blanc, after which got here unagi, but the sweet-smoky eel didn’t include a pink wine.
“If you happen to had informed me intellectually that this labored with the M5 White, I might have mentioned no,” defined Margerum of how the white mix by some means matched the wealthy meat. “There’s a bit bitterness in Rhône whites that work with that sweetness. That was the massive shock of our unique tasting.”
We acquired into reds after that, particularly the M5 pink mix that performed in opposition to the richness of the bluefin tuna with shiso, avo, and umeboshi in sesame dressing — “there’s a roast beef high quality there,” mentioned Margerum — and the Barden pinot noir with the bulgogi pork dish. That freshly styled pink cleaned up the Korean spice effectively.
There’s additionally the choice to order Kumamoto oysters alongside a bottle of that blanc de blancs. That $90 combo comes topped with finely sliced scallions, a tiny drip of sriracha, and, if wanted, lemon juice and ponzu sauces on the aspect. They have been seafoam recent, a refreshing choice for warmer days, or simply to kick off your meal, like we did. “Oh,” moaned Margerum as he slurped the shellfish down adopted by the glowing, “That’s a pleasant match.”
As to why he wanted a second tasting room in any respect, there are myriad causes. “Folks would come to wine nation and ask concerning the tasting room, and we’d have to inform them it was 45 minutes south,” mentioned Margerum of the Santa Barbara hub, which stays a busy place.
However Los Olivos can even function a spot for individuals to select up wine membership shipments, for wine business professionals who go to the Santa Ynez Valley to cease by, and as a jumping-off level for touring his property winery, positioned only a couple minutes away. “It’s a bit further credit score for us, and a spot to have the ability to entertain guests,” mentioned Margerum, who not too long ago moved to the city himself.
Plus, the valley is evolving. “Mattei’s is a game-changer,” mentioned Margerum of the not too long ago opened resort. “It’s bringing one other inhabitants to city that’s positively our demographic.”
Presumably, they’re of a category that likes oysters and sushi. “It does require a bit planning,” mentioned Margerum of the necessity to order oysters and bento containers no less than a day upfront. “However it makes this a must-visit.”
Margerum Los Olivos Tasting Room, 2446 Alamo Pintado Ave., Los Olivos; (805) 504-1209; margerumwines.com