May 25, 2016 |
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Margerum Wine Company
A Star from Santa Barbara - San Diego Union Tribune
by Michele Parente
Winemaker Doug Margerum is a towering figure in Santa Barbara. Wine lovers up and down the coast make regular pilgrimages to his iconic Wine Cask restaurant on Anacapa Street, or the adjacent Margerum Tasting Room. He is known for his expressive, elegant wines, particularly his Rhône-varietal reds.
For years, I’ve been an unabashed fan of his Riveria Rosé of grenache (a previous Wine of the Week) and M5 blend (“Five grapes, Eleven vineyards, One wine”). So when the erudite and affable Margerum passed through San Diego recently to have lunch with some of his top wine buyers, I jumped at the chance to meet him at Top of the Market, on the waterfront.
It was one of those occasions that makes you pinch yourself that you live in San Diego — vibrantly fresh seafood, paired with impeccably made wines, with a spectacular, sun-drenched bay view as a backdrop.
Six of Margerum’s wines were poured during the multi-course meal — that included perfectly executed blue crabcake with smoked onion remoulade, pristine ahi crudo, tender grilled Spanish octopus with saffron lemon aioli, mesquite-grilled Scottish salmon with Za’atar yogurt and crispy artichokes, heavenly tiramisu cake and sinfully decadent chocolate peanut butter bar.
From the refined Sybarite sauvignon blanc to the racy, refreshing rosé, on through the bright, fruity grenache to the dense Colson Canyon syrah, plush, blockbuster Über syrah and warming, herbaceous and caramelly Amaro digestivo, this tasting was a master class in polished wines.
My favorite, as always, remained the M5. A spicy, earthy, plummy, perfumed Châteauneuf-du-Pape-style blend of (mostly) grenache, syrah, mourvèdre, counoise and a trace of cinsault, the M5 is Margerum’s trademark wine. With reason.
I could have easily sipped it through all of the courses. Its youth kept it from overpowering the lighter seafood courses; its savory tannins would have made it stunning pairing with grilled meats, and its chocolately notes were a spot-on foil to the cocoa powder dusting atop the tiramisu and rich chocolate peanut butter.
As you finalize your Memorial Day barbecue menu, I’d highly recommend adding this nearly perfect wine to the list.
And it turns out the M5 is Margerum’s favorite wine, too. I knew I liked that guy.