22 Oct Please The Palate Pick of the Week: Lunch with Vicky González Gordon of González Byass
While in NY this week, I was invited to join Vicky González Gordon of González Byass for lunch. I was familiar with González Byass as I have visited their home property in Jerez, Spain and have also visited their Veramonte property in Chile. I thought it would be lovely to meet Vicky and taste some of the wines with her. The restaurant chosen was Planta Queen at the Nomad. Planta Queen is a vegan restaurant which I thought might be an odd pairing with red wines and sherry. However, not only was the food delicious but paired beautifully with three wines from the González Byass collection and hence lunch with Vicky González Gordon of González Byass is the Please The Palate pick of the week.
González Byass is a family-owned collection of wineries founded in 1835. Vicky González Gordon is the 5th generation in her family business. The home base of González Byass is in Jerez, the home of Sherry. But today they have wineries in some of Spain’s most famous regions (Rioja and Rueda, Ribera del Duero, Cava, Rías Baixas, and more), as well as Chile and Mexico. Across all of the brands, the González Byass company is very sustainably-minded.
Vicky brought three wines to lunch, Tio Pepe Palomino Fino Sherry, Primus Cabernet Sauvignon from Maipo, Chile, and Beronia Gran Reserva from Rioja, Spain. These were the three wines to be paired with vegan dishes by Planta Queen.
Planta was born in 2016 with the goal of expanding the accessibility and acceptability of plant based dining. Planta Queen offers a planted based menu of Asian-inspired dishes, ranging from sushi and dumplings to noodle dishes.
We started with the Tio Pepe Palomino Fino. Fino style is the most delicate and dry of Sherry styles. The Tio Pepe Palomino Fino is sourced from the Carrascal and Macharnudo vineyards (which is written on the label). These two vineyards are located in Sherry Superior in the center of the Sherry region and are considered the best areas for Palomino grape growing.
Tio Pepe was named in honor of González Byass founder’s uncle Jose Angel (Uncle Joe). The wine is aged for four years under the flor and is 15% alcohol. The wine is a pale gold color and has almond notes. On the palate, the wine is bone dry and light with a bitterness on the finish. This wine was paired with three sushi bites:
The next wine was the Primus 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon from Maipo, Chile. Primus is one of four brands González Byass has in Chile.
Primus Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from Alto Maipo, considered the best place to produce Cabernet Sauvignon in Chile. The 35 year old vineyards are close to the Andes and sit at a high altitude. The wine has vibrant aromas of blackberry, blueberry, cedar, and vanilla and on the palate is smooth with a long finish. This wine was paired with Avocado Lime Tartare with beetroot tuna, pine nuts, capers, citrus soy, sesame, cilantro, and taro chips.
The third wine at lunch was the Beronia 2012 Rioja Gran Reserva. Beronia is located in Ollauri in the heart of Rioja Alta. The 100% sustainable winery is one of the most sustainable wineries in Europe. The mostly underground winery was holistically designed down to every last detail, including angled windows to redirect light and flowers planted on top to reflect heat. The goal is to leave the lightest possible footprint on their environment.
Beronia was started in 1973 by friends and members of Txoko, a gastronomic society. They wanted to start a wine label and the brand grew quickly. In the 1980s, González Byass began helping to sell the wine and a friendship was formed. Today González Byass is the largest shareholder and it is a brand that remains based on friendship and food.
The 2012 Gran Reserva is made with mostly Tempranillo, as well as some Graciano and Mazuelo. It spent 30 months new French oak and then 2 years in the cellar. The wine has ripe berry, plum, and black currant aromas, as well as licorice and vanilla notes. Even with 10 years on it, the wine has electric acidity. This wine was paired with:
Bang Bang Broccoli with sweet chili & peanut sauce
Crispy Gyoza with cabbage, carrot, cilantro, mushroom, chili sauce
With González Byass’ strong emphasis on sustainability, pairing the wines with a plant-based restaurant is a logical fit. What was a nice surprise was how wines traditionally paired with meat dishes also paired well with the flavorful vegetable dishes at Planta Queen.