Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Natural Wines at Bruell Restaurants

Zack Bruell Restaurant Group is introducing a new line of highly acclaimed natural wines at two of his restaurants: L’Albatros in University Circle and Parallax in Tremont. Mr. H and I had the pleasure of attending the media preview last week, to sip and sample an assortment of these wines, and to snack on some expertly paired Parallax bites. Like their famous sushi...
...smoked salmon tartar...
...and tempura vegetables, among others.
Bruell's simplistic approach to food pairs well with natural wines, because they are distinguished by a biodynamic or organic growing process, coupled with minimal technological intervention during winemaking and cellaring. No yeasts, sugars or bacteria are added in the process. Fermentation is spontaneous from natural yeasts and bacteria present on the grape skins during harvest. The only additive can be a small amount of Sulphur for bottling stability. Often, the wines are unfiltered.
Tasting the wines on their own, then with food, and after they had sat for a while changed every sip's experience. These wines are always evolving. Their highly active characteristics make them an ideal pairing with contemporary foods that feature intensive flavors. One thing that I learned was that I've probably had a natural wine before, and just didn't know it.

The only one that I didn't care for was a Chardonnay that we sampled, but here is my favorite white and favorite red from the evening:

  • 2013 Dry Tokaji, Oremas, “Mandelas,” Hungary- crisp, gooseberry, caramelized pineapple upside-down cake $44 (left)

  • 2015 Mouvedre, Dirty & Rowdy, “Familiar Vineyard,” California-fresh strawberries, strudel, limestone $55 (right)

I'll be tracking these down.

Right now, diners can find 14 natural wines at L'Albatros and Parallax on a special wine listing, but they will eventually be integrated into the regular wine list and denoted as a natural wine. All fall at a very approachable price point.

The introduction of these wines onto their menus is part of an emerging movement that has upended an influential group of winemakers, Michelin-starred restaurants and sommeliers throughout the world. The trend has only really taken off in New York City, Chicago, and Portland in the United States. Julian Bruell, Director of Service, wants their restaurant group to be on the forefront of bringing this movement to Cleveland.

Disclosure: I was invited, with a guest, to a complimentary media preview and tasting. All opinions are 100% my own.