Not every neighborhood experiences the children-drawing chimes of an ice cream truck. For those that do, the nut-covered frozen treats are a great reason for youngsters to bother parents for cash on a hot, humid day. A great memory, but that’s not exactly what Jennifer Constantine had in mind when she created JC’s Pie Pops.
Actually, in 2010, when she put her famed panna cotta custard dessert in the refrigerator, a hubby favorite, Constantine didn’t account for a refrigerator malfunction. Seems the freezer component took charge and the “ice box” literally became an ice box.
Aside from exploding sodas and frozen fruits and veggies, the panna cotta custard was also a casualty. But fate, in the form of her husband, stepped in and started a new career for Constantine. Taking a bite out of the frozen panna cotta custard, he uttered an OMG and indicated that the accident was an opportunity.
A $100,000 Mission Main Street Grant from Chase Bank and hundreds of thousands of JC’s Pie Pops later, Constantine runs a multimillion-dollar business, one that was featured on ABC’s Nightly News segment, Made in America.
She’s also entered the confectionery aisle, taking the same concept from JC’s Pie Pops and creating JC’s Pie Bites. The non-GMO panna cotta treats come in four flavors — Chocolate Silk, S’mores, Key Lime Pie and Strawberry Cream — delivering crunchy truffle experiences in a shelf-stable format.
So what better way to toast the coming summer season than with a wine pairing?
Enter Delicato Family Vineyards, one of the fastest growing wine companies in the world, celebrating 93 years of California winemaking and grape-growing heritage. The family-owned and operated company started farming grapes in California in 1924 and crafting superior quality wines in 1935. Three generations of Indelicato family have fostered the winery’s commitment to innovation, quality and environmental stewardship.
Working off the premise that not all vines and wines are created equal, the company created the Noble Vines brand. Today, James Ewart oversees the Noble Vines collection. Having grown up with wine in his veins — his father, Andrew Ewart, is one of Australia’s great Chardonnay winemakers — James is one of the very few winemakers who have also completed a graduate diploma in grape growing (viticulture) from the University of Adelaide in 1999. This followed his undergraduate degree specializing in geology, soils and chemistry – valuable knowledge when matching Noble Vines’ time-honored vines to specific locations with one of North America’s leading viticulturists, vineyard manager Charlie Hossom.
James’ experience includes Mountadam Winery, under the tutelage of David Wynn, known for his pioneering work with Cabernet and Syrah in Coonawarra, Australia; Cloudy Bay in Marlborough; and his family’s estate in the Adelaide Hills. A brief stint at Noble Vines’ San Bernabe Vineyard in 2000 turned into a career there when Monterey County legend Bill Petrovic recognized James’ skill in making wine with a vineyard-based philosophy.
James carries on Petrovic’s legacy at the Noble Vines Collection, a portfolio includes a collection of wines named after specific clones and/or vineyard blocks.
Firmly rooted in the notion that wine quality starts in the vineyard, James works very closely with the vineyard team to monitor each block during the growing season. For James, sustainable practices are paramount to quality winemaking. His philosophy is to enhance, not change, what the land expresses respecting the balance and harmony that come when the right grape is planted in the right place.
Candy Industry’s editors Bernard Pacyniak and Alyse Thompson jumped at the chance of sampling and sipping the truffles and wines presented to us from JC’s Pie Pops and Noble Vines. Read and enjoy.
Wines and Tasting Panel Notes:
JC’s Key Lime Bites with Noble Vines 242 Sauvignon Blanc – 2015
The 2015 vintage of 242 Sauvignon Blanc exhibits aromas of bright citrus and ripe peach. Medium-bodied with a round mid-palate and crisp acidity, this refreshing wine offers flavors of honeydew melon, white nectarine and Granny Smith apple on the palate, before extending into a zesty, lingering finish.
A tangy key lime center cloaked in a sweet meringue, key lime and graham cracker crust screams citrusy. This proves to be a very complementary pairing, essentially whereby sweet citrus meets acidic fruit. No surprise that this medium-bodied Sauvignon Blanc helps to gently dial down the sweetness meter on the truffle. (BP)
JC’s Strawberry Cream Bites with Noble Vines 515 Rosé – 2016
This dry, traditional-style rosé showcases a bright bouquet of raspberry, watermelon and Meyer lemon. Medium-bodied with a rich mid-palate, this snappy wine has a lively start with flavors of grapefruit and strawberry, then cherry, culminating in a fresh, creamy finish.
The sweet, creamy center of JC’s Strawberry Cream Pie Bites mellow the sharpness of this traditional rosé, creating a balanced tasting experience. The truffles’ strawberry flavor also complements the wine’s fruit notes – particularly grapefruit, strawberry and Meyer lemon. (AT)
JC’s S’Mores Pie Bites with Noble Vines 667 Pinot Noir – 2014
Pleasing aromas of black cherry, earth and a touch of vanilla, this wine is balanced and lush. Its plush tannins and balanced acidity support core flavors of ripe Bing cherry, juicy plum and delicate hints of soft, toasty oak, making it enjoyable with nearly any cuisine, including salmon, roast lamb or salads with cheese and nuts.
With their rich, chocolate flavor and hints of toasted marshmallow, JC’s S’mores Pie Bites pair perfectly with the 667 Pinot Noir. The full-bodied tannins enhance the sweetness of the Pie Bites, but they don’t diminish the pleasing bitterness characteristic of dark chocolate. The wine’s notes of toasty oak play well off of the slight smokiness from the toasted marshmallow. (AT)
JC’s Chocolate Silk Pie Bites with Noble Vines TheONEBlack
Noble Vines 1 Red Blend is a medium-bodied wine with balanced acidity and supple tannins. On the nose, rich aromas of blackberry and black cherry mingle with hints of toasty oak and spice. The dark fruit flavors carry through to the palate ending with a touch of pepper.
This pairing is just jammin’; jamming like rich and fruity blackberry and cherry jams, coupled with baking spices in a full-bodied red with the wonder and mystery of chocolate. A case of sweetness tempered by classic tannins. (BP)