|Viña Ventisquero Grey Carmenérè with Paila Marina (seafood stew)
Just back from a weekend excursion to Wilmington, DE. If you've never been there (and I hadn't!), the downtown area is a diamond in the rough, with an arts, cultural and culinary scene bubbling just under the surface. LOMA, referring to the lower Market St. area, has glimpses of architectural renovation along with Art Schools and performing spaces such as the Delaware Art Museum, Grand Opera House, World Cafe' Live at the Queen and Dupont Theatres, to name a few.
My travel companions and I were truly lucky to discover one of Wilmington's Gems, "Pochi", a Chilean restaurant & wine bar. Owner Patricia and her husband Braulio, also known as “Pochitos” (where I assume the name is derived from), have created a warm, intimate environ, replete with sensational smells, tastes and visual appeal.
While their generous list included wines from France, Italy, Spain, California, New Zealand and Argentina, I was excited to taste Chilean wines from their selections, paired with their delicious dishes. Pictured above is the Viña Ventisquero Grey Carmenérè Single Block paired with Paila Marina, a seafood stew rife with mussels, clams, scallops and shrimp in a flavorful clear broth of warm earthy spices. Perfectly married here with the Carmenérè, a deep garnet in color with earthy, ripe fruit on the nose and palate, such as plum & blackberry and perhaps an undertone of chocolate/bark/tobacco, and long smooth finish to fill ones senses. A fair amount of complexity and beautifully integrated, this is a modern wine with the old world character that I love. Viña Ventisquero is a relatively new winery established in 2000 in the coastal Maipo Valley, headed by winemaker Felipe Tosso. Other land was later acquired in the Casablanca and Apalta Valleys and the estate grapes come from these "Blocks". Wines are small production and terroir driven ... and characteristic of wines I am continually drawn to! Imported by The Vintner Group, Ashland, VA.
|Patricia, owner of Pochi
|Our gracious waiter
Patricia and her staff were completely accommodating as I left my dining companions briefly to ponder their dinner choices while I bellied up to the bar to taste a few things. I tried two Sauvignon Blancs, the EQ Matetic and Tabali Reserve. The Tabali was refreshing with distinct grapefruit notes, while the EQ Matetic had a bit more complexity, with hints of tropical fruit and floral essences. Nice structure and elegance. Organic and biodynamically farmed grapes.
|Bar patron enjoying the mussels!
I ultimately started with the Santa Digna Cabernet Rose' 2012 from Miguel Torres, Central Valley. A brilliant cerise in color and lively berries on the palate such as cherry, cranberry and boysenberry. This one is no shrinking violet! Full-bodied with great acidity and dry finish. I struck up a conversation with another patron at the bar who was having the bucket of mussels and immediately thought ...this rose' would work beautifully with the strong earthy flavors of the mussels, warm with hints of cilantro. And so it was!
|Santa Digna Cab Rose' 2012
Santa Digna is certified "Fair Trade", and essentially means: pay fair value for raw materials, provide decent working conditions for collaborators and preserve the environment. Values to which Miguel Torres adheres.
I have obviously only touched on a few highlights from my visit here, but hopefully enough to wet your whistle and go see for yourself! Patricia and her staff are sure to offer you a warm welcome and create an experience custom made for you!
|Bucket of Mussels w/Santa Digna Cab Rose'
CHILEAN CUISINE & WINE BAR
220 W 9th Street, Wilmington DE 19801