Adventures in California Wine Blending, Take (Lua Rossa) 4

There was no obvious, primary barrel to use and build around, explains Mr. Eric Larkee after I swiftly negotiated a few minutes on a busy but never too busy for wine morning last week.  “That step of the process was different this year. We never really contemplated making something with a majority of less than 50 percent.”  Chalk it up to an election year trend.  Too soon?

Larkee was alluding to the annual development of Lua Rossa, Michael’s private label with Au Bon Climat winemaker Jim Clendenen, and the same place but different spot in which we found ourselves approaching its fourth blend in May.  Usually first order of business (and pleasure) is to identify what will be the major component, then add whatever is necessary to enhance it, exercising a few graduated cylinders along the way.   A key palate was missing this round, too — Tamara was double booked in Miami!  Forge on we must.

“Going into a new blend, I’m not thinking it should be a departure from the previous,” he notes.  “We’ve been progressively happier and happier with the wine.  And using better wine.  Also, sure, there’s more focus and insight into what the wine should be, having had the experience working with the various iterations over the years in the restaurants.  Things like guest reactions, for instance.  This matters a great deal.  What the wine can be is always a surprise, arriving to the winery and seeing what’s there to work with.”

Speaking of better wine, the Nebbiolo used for no. 4 comes from a much stronger stock than the Nebbiolo used for no. 2.  Better grapes, better vintage.

The breakdown.

The breakdown.

So, how does it drink?  Larkee breaks it down by component parts. The Nebbiolo comes through on the nose as rose and anise.  Dark berries come more from the Teroldego and Rofosco fruit, with its Northeastern Italian breeding.  The versions grown in California are very dark-fruited.  Teroldego also imparts a little more oak and tannin than in past iterations.  The Nebbiolo’s acidity helps to make it food friendly.  Some of it is 2003, so there are actually five wines in play (two Nebbiolo), not four.  The Cabernet Franc offers finesse.  We get some spice off a younger Rofosco.  This wine will soften in the bottle and easily find its place at any number of Schwartz tables around town.  Taste for yourself.  As of December, all The Genuine Hospitality Group restaurants, including Fi’lia at SLS Brickell, have made the transition from no. 3 to 4.

“What this wine is about is being versatile and drinkable on the table and pairing exceptionally well with food,” Larkee reflects.  “And not having to represent a time or a place, but just be joyful.”

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The moment of truth, orchestrated by Beverage Manager Amanda Fraga with a plate of Cypress Tavern Chef Max Makowski’s short rib.

Art Fare | UberEATS Delivers Miami Art Week to You with Lulu Schwartz

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Can you name them all?

UberEATS is bringing Miami Art Week to your door with limited edition cups designed by emerging local artist Lua Luisa Schwartz.  Get yours when you open the UberEATS app from Thursday, December 1  until Saturday, December 3 and order from any of the partner restaurants for this activity: Harry’s Pizzeria®, Bodega, DIRT, Moshi Moshi and Novecento.  Visit its Art Week HQ here for their fair map and pick up location guide.

If the last name sounds familiar, it should.  Ms. Schwartz is the daughter of Michael and Tamara and when UberEATS reached out with a request for Harry’s to hook up with a homegrown artist, she jumped on it with a playful pattern that dances Miami on a cup.

“I wanted to use fruits, and these specific ones, because I feel it is a big part of the daily life and culture in Miami,” she explains. “Local fruits with bright colors and lively character remind us of our tropical roots.”

The original!

The original! Made from acrylic paint and pen.

This Miami Beach native (16,) is a third year visual arts student at New World School of the Arts. She has always wanted to create art and was encouraged by her parents from a young age to embrace it. Inspired by her environment, Ms. Schwartz says of her work “There are certain ideas that I have associated with symbols, and since my artwork is often a thread of a concept I am interested in at the time, they are recurring.” Motifs materializing across newcuppng-1media rather than focusing on one in particular give her work a transformative, fluid quality free from boundaries. As she has developed her style, Ms. Schwartz has shifted importance from aesthetically-pleasing, to conceptually stimulating.

Quantities are limited to the first 100 orders per day.  So get on it! And visit Lulu’s website for her current portfolio of work. Her guide to Art Week?  It’s to the point — see the important stuff and don’t try to do to it all.  “I usually go to the big ones, Art Basel obviously.  Scope, Context… and also Untitled also has some cool stuff.”