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Decoding the Wine List: California Central Coast Reds

March 4, 2015

LA Magazine featured our Wine Director, George Pitsironis, in their piece on California Central Coast reds for being able to find “Boutique gems”. You can read Union’s snippet below or find the entire article at this link. Here at Union we’ve got a skillfully hand picked list of wines by one of the best Wine Directors in the business. Won’t you drink with us?

L.A. wine gurus tell you what to drink and how to pair it at Ocean Prime, Union, and Son of a Gun

March 3, 2015 Jonathan Cristaldi
You might be the default expert always tasked with selecting a wine when out to dinner, or perhaps you’re the lover of wine with little care for the myriad foreign words on a wine list. Whatever is true for you, let your eyes glaze over the menu because we’re asking wine experts from restaurants around Los Angeles to divulge a favorite category-specific wine on their list and some dishes that would make an excellent pairing.
This month’s wine: California Central Coast reds. From Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz, there’s no shortage of beautifully structured red wines that demonstrate the winemaker’s difficult task of achieving balance between expressive fruit, minerality, acid, and alcohol. There is, however, generally speaking, a shortage of these wines—many of which are small-production, under 1,000 cases, some even under 100 cases. And many end up as exclusive, restaurant-only wines.
We pegged three L.A. wine pros who love to hunt down those boutique gems, even if it means the bottles will exist on their menu for only a short period of time. So set aside the wine list and ask for these wine gurus—tell ’em you’re keen to try that pairing you read about on Liquid L.A. Let us know how it goes.
(Picture of George Pitsironis from LA Magazine)

Habit 2013 Cabernet Franc Curtis Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley

Pick by George Pitsironis, wine director, Union in Pasadena
The grape: “100 percent Cabernet Franc, which is one of my favorite red varieties for the elegance it can capture as well as the floral qualities that emerge when properly ripened on the vine.”
Back story: “Habit Wines are the passion project of fellow vintner Jeff Fisher. Habit focuses on pure crisp whites and restrained and balanced reds from Santa Barbara County. The Habit Cabernet Franc current release is already sold out, but we still have a case of it at Union. A lighter style of Cab Franc that is really pure-fruited with a great floral edge that is intoxicating.”
Tastes like: “Cabernet Franc is truly a sexy wine. 80 percent whole-cluster ferment, bright dark fruits lead the nose with layers of violets, lead pencil shavings, earth and spice with a hint of smoked sweet bell pepper as well. Only 49 cases were produced of this medium-bodied Cabernet Franc, which is more in the Chinon style. Only 49 cases produced.”
On the wine list: Available by the bottle.
At Union, pair it with: “Our wild mushrooms and polenta, pork fennel sausage, tagliatelle with pork ragu, ricotta cavatelli, oxtail agnolotti, and all our pork entrees as well as our beef stracotto.”

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