In celebration of chef Michael Voltaggio’s brand-new orange wine, which was created in partnership with winemaker Chris Pittenger, the chef will be offering a very special pairing to go along with it at his West Hollywood adjacent restaurant, Ink. The aptly named 2013 Rust Grenache Blanc will be exclusively served there (with the possible exception of a few East Coast eateries) or you can order it from online wine club Club W starting August 15.
But let’s back up a bit first. For those unfamiliar with this currently en vogue style of wine, it’s both the darling of hipster sommeliers and the product of a thousand-years-old tradition. It involves the same process of making rosé, but using white wine grapes where grape skin contact with the wine results in its distinct tangerine hue instead of that pretty pink.
Why and how did Voltaggio pick this wine? He admits to not exactly being a wine expert, but he fell in love with it after first becoming acquainted with it at Manfreds & Vin, a wine bar in Copenhagen, Denmark. Since then, he and his girlfriend Jamie Schreiber went looking for the natural-style wine everywhere. Finally Brian Smith of Club W approached him about collaborating.
“And I was like, ‘Yeah, but I’m really interested in a specific style of wine that doesn’t really exist in the States yet,’” recalled Voltaggio. Fortunately, Smith set him straight and introduced him to Pittenger. The three collaborated on Rust for a year. And after many taste tests and tweaking finally created something worthy of not only having Voltaggio’s name on it but artwork from his tattoo artist Jason Stores.
Rust is described as a full-bodied white with the finish of a young, light bodied red. “There’s a savoriness, there’s a dryness, there’s a strength and power to it,” said Smith.
During a sneak peek media dinner on Monday, Voltaggio felt it could complement foie gras marbled with truffles. “This [wine] to me can stand up to something pretty fatty so I wanted something that was fatty but not cheese. I needed something buttery without just serving a plate of butter. And then you taste the dirt in the wine a little bit, too, so I’m like, ‘Truffles!’” said Voltaggio. “So I want to take it back to the old school because this is the old way of making wine basically, and do something a little more traditional and funk it up a little bit like the wines.”
If you’re curious about what could possibly go with this unusual wine visit Ink in the next two to three weeks when Voltaggio will offer up a surprise off-the-menu pairing when you order a bottle. Super surprising considering it’s comprised of something we don’t see much of in California anymore, if you catch our drift.
Ink., 8360 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, 323-651-5866