Water for Chefs—Matthew Sigler, Renata, Portland
The diaries of chefly oenophiles.
April 1, 2016
Chef Sigler's Italian-infused victuals made waves when Renata was named Restaurant of The Year in 2015 by The Oregonian, just one month after opening. His time as Chef de Cuisine of San Francisco treasure flour + water served him well, it seems, and his whole animal charcuterie programs and house-made pastas at Renata are still feeling the love.
Would you call yourself a wine drinker? Why or why not?
I've been known to dabble in a little chef juice from time to time. For some reason, drinking wine makes me feel like I'm drinking more responsibly than when I'm drinking beer and whiskey.
Paint the whole picture of your bangin'-est wine experience, REAL or IMAGINED.
I'm gonna go to imagination land on this one. I would be with good friends — in particular Renata's Wine Director, Mr. Chris Wright. We're in Southern Burgundy and we're drinking the best Burgundy around, eating charcuterie and cheese. I'm wearing flip flops, cargo shorts and a t-shirt. We're listening to Future and The Weekend — and being hand-fed grapes from the fairest maidens in all the land, of course.
If you could choose the ultimate wine mate for the food you specifically cook, what would it be?
I've been a very big fan of Teutonic Wine Co. wines. The wines are just very drinkable and incredibly tasty. Teutonic is the chronic.
Have you experienced a wine pairing that you felt truly elevated your food?
For a wine dinner with Bow & Arrow, we paired their "Air Guitar" red with an octopus dish that used a strong beef jus as an accent. First off, Bow & Arrow makes great wine, so that makes the food pairing much easier. Second, the wine had just enough meat in it to make the octopus feel like a much more substantial dish than it actually was.
What makes you like a wine?
What makes me really like wine is that it is thirst-quenching and gets you drunk!
If you could drink one wine RIGHT AT THIS VERY MOMENT, what would you want?
If I could drink one wine right now it would be a nice grüner or Chablis. I just finished a shift and need something to quench my thirst.
Burgundy is cool and all, but over in France, skyrocketing prices and poor vintages have paved the way for the historically lesser-loved little Loire Valley to make some waves in the international market. No surprise, then, that a few Willamette producers are wandering toward grapes like Cabernet Franc, Gamay and Melon de Bourgogne — Loire darlings that happen to thrive in similar conditions just as well, thank you very much.
Bow & Arrow, an urban winery project from Scott and Dana Frank (of New Seasons Market/Cameron winery and Ava Gene's, respectively), is on Team Loire Valley, and their 'Rhinestones' red is a ridiculously delicious blend of pinot noir and gamay. Inspired by the wines from the tiny sub-appellation of Cheverny in the Central Loire (which you could compare to Central Maine in terms of both rustic charm and population density), it's the ideal spring-into-summer wine, and why yes we'd love some grilled seafood and handmade pasta to go with it, aren't you thoughtful.