grapeseed flour & oil. it’s in our future.
About a month ago, The Lab’s presence was requested for lunch. If you know us very well at all, you can probably predict our response, which was, in essence, “Say no more. We’re there!” This was a lunch hosted at the renowned Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates in Santa Rosa, Calif. But it was no ordinary lunch meeting. It was an olive oil tasting; a delicious 3-course lunch prepared by KJ’s own Chef Eric; a gluten-free brainstorming session; a get to know the team responsible for taking what was once part of the wine-making wastestream and upcycling it into usable – no, strike that – deliciously edible oils and flours. This forward-thinking team is SonomaCeuticals. In part with a well-chosen group of scientists ranging from chemists to food scientists hearkening from Napa Valley College and U.C. Davis, the aim is to make the most of the wine-making process, and that means thinking outside the wine bottle. As it turns out, the wine-making process creates a lot of desirable “waste,” from which essential oils, cosmetics with a naturally high SPF factor, naturally soothing cremes that suppress yeasts (buh-bye diaper rash!), dies, flours, cooking oils, and paper products can be made.
Maybe you’ve run across Marché Noir Foods in Los Angeles, Calif., who, for the past decade, has been peddling (literally – check out their sweet culinary cruiser with mini kitchen sidecar!) Cabernet Sauvignon flour as well as a selection of pastas, brownies and other baked goods made with Cab flour, but there’s still a lot of room for growth in this product industry, especially here in wine country where wine waste is one. big. giant. glut.
With that knowledge in the fronts of our minds, we jumped right into tasting the 8 varietals of grapeseeed oils including White Reisling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Merlot, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon. We all know that olive oil can range in flavor, and that coconut oil is a completely different experience from avocado oil. But grapeseed oil? C’mon, how much can one varietal differ from another? A lot, we discovered. As we tasted, we realized that the flavors ranged wildly. Some were nutty (Reisling), others were buttery (Chardonnay), still others were grassy (Zinfandel) and mushroomy (Syrah). Most surprising was the sweet, tropical-bordering-on-banana flavor profile of Pinot Noir.
(can’t you just see us rubbing our greedy little baking mitts together in anticipation of trying out some of these oils in the kitchen?)
With a new understanding of everything that grapeseed oil can be, we began our discussion of what grapeseed flour can contribute to the gluten-free market. Since many of the grapeseed flours are still being created and undergoing testing, we weren’t able to try each of the flour varietals the way we were able to test the oils, but the entire 3-course lunch incorporated Pinot Noir grapeseed flour. We weren’t complaining:
Pinot Noir grapeseed flour bread
Crusty exterior, soft and airy in the middle with a defined cell structure. Real bread!
Liberty duck breast with wild rice cake, mustard greens with shallots, herb duck sauce
Crispy-skinned duck over wilted mustard greens atop an earthy, nutty rice cake (think small pancake with whole grains of rice within).
Pork chop with fennel apple salad, braised cabbage and handmade strozzapreti pasta from pinot noir grapeseed flour
Bone-in pork chop over a bed of perfectly toothy pinot noir grapeseed pasta. It’s been a really long time since we’ve had fresh pasta and we probably could’ve eaten an entire bowl of this stuff. Not just because it’s been so long, but because the flavor and texture of fresh-made pasta was remarkably authentic.
Dark chocolate souffle with warm créme anglaise
Served warm and high with a generous pour of créme anglaise.
In the near future, you’ll be able to have your own experience of WholeVine Products’ grapeseed flours, oils and cookies. Until then, the best way to wrap your tastebuds around some of these tantalizing flavors is to book a Wine and Food Pairing over at Kendall-Jackson. Be sure to mention you’re interested in the gluten-free pairing. They’re well-equipped to handle this request, whether you’re restricted by a gluten-free diet or not. Plus, you’ll be able to have your own experience of these new flours and flavors.
To Chef Eric and the entire team who hosted lunch: we thank you for a thoughtful menu and the opportunity to taste some of the products that are yet to hit retailers’ shelves! Keep us posted, we’re eager to see your progress. Consider our tastebuds tantalized.