Field Theory Wine
by Elizabeth Freeman on 09/28/2016 | 4 Minute Read
This is not your usual vino. Designed by Winc, in collaboration with Chicago-based artist Cody Hudson of Struggle Inc, not only are the flavor profiles of this duo unique but the packaging as well. With characteristic proportions that are closer to gin or rum packaging than wine, this brand surely knows how to stand out from a crowd.
Cherry Tootsie Pops, Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, baked apple pie — not exactly typical wine tasting notes. But Blaufränkisch is anything but a typical varietal. Native to Austria, the grape is notoriously fickle, sensitive to terroir, and one that prefers higher heat to reach optimal ripeness. Pomar Junction Vineyard in the Central Coast’s Paso Robles region provides the proper conditions, and here growers are accustomed to working with rare wine varieties like Portugal’s Touriga Nacional and Italy’s Aglianico, both virtually non-existent in this part of the world.
While Austria is renowned for its whites, the country’s reds have yet to make much of a splash here in the States. Which is why many will likely be unfamiliar with Blaufränkisch, a grape that displays the fruitiness of Grenache, with the subtle spice of Pinot Noir. This Field Theory is vibrant on the tongue, dancing with cinnamon and cayenne thanks to a six-month slumber in oak. Even still, the wine’s body remains light — a classic characteristic of the varietal, often labeled the “Pinot Noir of the East.”
Mushrooms, roasted peppers, grilled chicken, salmon and feta are all foods that accentuate the wine, but buyer beware: you will inevitably find yourself craving more blau, and there’s only so much to go around.
Fun fact: In all of California, this is only one of two wines to be made from the grape.
California has 4,000 islands, but few can boast a vineyard. Such is the unique charm of Lodi’s Andrus Island, where this Field Theory Albariño comes from. Some people were surprised when Wine Enthusiast magazine named Lodi their “2015 Wine Region of the Year.” Not us. The mineral and organic soils of San Joaquin County imbue their wines with a captivating acidity and roundness that is definitely reflected in this Albariño. A native Spanish varietal that is mineral-driven, crisp, and refreshing in the way a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio can be.
Chief Wine Officer & Co-Founder of Winc, Brian Smith affectionately refers to Lodi as the Bushwick of California wine regions. He explains that, “Lodi is a historical but still under appreciated region that has so much potential. As we've continued to grow our wine projects in this area over the past three years, I realized it's also where a lot of the creative, independent producers are finding incredible little plots of older vines, and they're helping to really shape the potential of this region.” Along with wide diversity in planted grape varietals, Lodi as a whole is a big leader in sustainable winemaking.
Because it’s crisp and light, Albariño is great on its own or as the first glass in a long night of drinking as is the Spanish nigh-owl culture. For food pairings, go for seafood like calamari, ceviche, salmon toast, sushi, or Spanish goat cheese.