A wealth of sparkling wine
When it comes to sparkling wines, the wine country is blessed with an embarrassment of riches, and our Wine of the Week is among these blessings. Vintage after vintage, Schramsberg 2007 Blanc de Noir ($38) is beautiful to behold and delightful to drink.
The 2007 vintage is a classic example. The wine is complex and balanced, with minuscule bubbles and bright fruit flavors swirling around a mineral backbone.
Although nearly three-quarters pinot noir, it is a pale yellow in the glass, like liquid sunlight on a spring morning.
This generous wine has suggestions of summer fruit — not-quite-ripe Queen Anne cherries and watermelon — and winter's citrus, especially dried tangerine zest interlaced with a wink of lemon.
There's a hint of the sea in this wine, a quality that suggests the briny scent of sea air.
You can sense the wine's yeast and the toasty influence of oak, though these elements are perfectly integrated and quite subtle.
The wine has wide appeal at the table and is beautifully suited to seafood, especially shellfish. Enjoy it with seared scallops, steamed clams, poached lobster, Dungeness crab and, of course, oysters on the half shell.
Its pretty acidity makes it a good choice with cream-based chowders, too, and also with creamy risottos. In all honesty, I can't think of anything that would, so to speak, kick this wine out of bed.
Feel like a glass of bubbly with a seared rib eye, garlicky barbecued shrimp or even tofu curry?
This wine will make you smile with delight.
For today's recipe, I can't resist a favorite indulgence. Bone marrow, especially from a grass-fed animal, is a very healthy food, full of good nutrients.
It is rich and luscious on the palate, making the acid and the effervescence of this wine a delightful foil.
I've paired it here with a favorite tapenade that I have adjusted a bit to further the match. I have omitted the anchovies usually called for and have chopped the ingredients instead of grinding some in a mortar. This results in a chunky tapenade, perfect with the smooth marrow.
Roasted Marrow Bones with Artichoke & Green Olive Tapenade
Makes 2 to 4 servings
2 large Green Globe artichokes, cooked in salted water until just tender and cooled
2 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
2 teaspoons brined green peppercorns, drained
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 ounces (? cup) pitted cracked green olives, chopped
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more to taste
1/3 cup Italian parsley leaves, chopped
-- Kosher salt
-- Black pepper in a mill
2 to 3 pounds veal or beef shank bones, meat removed
4 to 6 slices grilled hearth bread
First, set a heavy pan (a cast-iron skillet is ideal) in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.
While the oven heats, make the tapenade. To do so, pull the leaves off the artichoke and discard the outer ones. Set the good leaves aside. Scrape out the chokes and cut the hearts into ?-inch dice; set aside.
Put the minced garlic into a small bowl, add the green peppercorns, lemon zest, lemon juice and mustard and toss. Add the diced artichoke heart, olives and olive oil, toss again and add the parsley.
Taste the tapenade and season with salt, if needed, and with several turns of black pepper. Toss, cover and set aside.
Carefully set the bones in the hot pan, placing them vertically, not horizontally. Roast for about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the bones. Check after about 12 minutes to make sure the marrow is not melting into the pan.
Moments before the bones are done, divide the tapenade between two plates.
Add the bones and the toast, garnish with artichoke leaves and serve immediately.
Michele Anna Jordan hosts "Mouthful" each Sunday at 7 p.m. on KRCB 90.9 & 91.1 FM. E-mail Jordan at email@example.com. You'll find her blog, "Eat This Now," at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com/