Water for Chefs—Cara Chigazola-Tobin, Oleana, Cambridge
The diaries of chefly oenophiles.
December 15, 2015 ● 3 min read
Chef Chigazola-Tobin leads the line as Chef de Cuisine at Oleana Restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The California native is a new mom and a 2015 Rising Star Chef. "To be fair, I would not call myself a wine connoisseur," she says. "If it weren't for folks like you, I would probably buy boxes of Franzia, because it stacks well in my pantry and there's a less likely chance of it being dropped and broken." Nothing wrong with keepin' it real.
Would you call yourself a wine drinker?
Paint the whole picture of your bangin'-est wine experience, REAL or IMAGINED.
Many, many years ago my husband and I lived in a tent in Vermont. He'd just returned from Italy, and we were drinking a lot of wine. I remember one warm summer night we were making pasta on our cookstove in our huge 9' x 9' canvas tent, and somehow wine made it into every part of the dish — wine in the pasta water, wine in the sauce, wine with the vegetables and wine in our glasses. We laughed and drank all night long. It was a ridiculous and childish way to drink wine, but damn it was fun. We didn't give a shit. We were just young and having a good time.
If you could choose the ultimate wine mate for the food you specifically cook, what would it be?
Have you experienced a wine pairing that you felt truly elevated your food?
If you could drink one wine RIGHT AT THIS VERY MOMENT, what would you want?
La Clarine Farm Rosé, Sierra Foothills, California
If anyone in California is keeping it real, it's Hank Beckmeyer of La Clarine Farm. Since 2001, this guy has been making the kind of wine you'd want to drink in a tent in Vermont at the start of lifelong romance. His rosé —"blush" be damned — is perfectly unstackable (read: the anti-Franzia), and with its pleasantly rich weight, it's a surprising winter warmer. Beckmeyer and his wife, Caroline, raise goats and vines at 2,600 feet of elevation, high in the uniquely cool microclimate proffered up by the Sierra Nevadas. Inspired by Masanobu Fukuoka's aggressively non-interventionist agricultural philosophies, Beckmeyer's approach in his vineyard and his cellar is as hands-off as hands-off can be, resulting in wines with rustic terroir and wild aromatics. In spirit and expression, his rosé is an incredible mate to the clean-yet-powerful cuisine of the Middle East, but no one will blame you for drinking a whole bottle solo.