Coffee & Wine Pairings With Amy AtwoodNov 20, 2018
What do wine and coffee have in common? Both are made from fruit. This year, we had the pleasure of taking part in Raw Wine, the world’s largest event of low-intervention wines, their makers, and passionate folks who support them. One of these people is high-key natty wine legend & amazing human Amy Atwood. She jumped into the scene in 2009 and has been setting trends ever since by distributing a meticulously curated portfolio of wine makers - all who follow the dogma of raw wine.
Much of the raw product ethos espoused by natural wine makers resonates with the way that we approach coffee. The goal is to have the most conscious growing experience & harvest possible, paying wholehearted respect to the health of the plant, and also the health of the people growing it. Just like coffee, some wines are not certified organic, despite following dedicated organic or biodynamic practices - many extraordinary producers are just too small to justify undergoing the rigors of a complicated certification process. One of the very special things about working with agricultural products is to be able to lift up those small producers and build relationships to allow both importer and producer to grow together.
To celebrate this year’s Raw Wine festival, Amy paired our single origin coffee with a selection of her vintages.
“Both of these wines have juicy fruit flavors, with a roundness in the mouth that matches the peachy vanilla qualities of Duromina.”
El Injerto Bourbon & Margins Chenin Blanc Estate
“Chenin Blanc is a perfect medium weight white wine, with some texture and floral aspects that pair perfectly with the honeysuckle notes in the Bourbon.”
Guatemala El Injerto Pacamara
& 2Naterkinder Silvaner
“There’s some really fantastic juicy tropical notes in this wine which mirrors the lime and mango vibe in the Pacamara. Both finish with a pleasing mouthwatering acidity”
During Raw Wine we got to watch Amy work her magic and share knowledge with the community. Between sips of coffee and a few extra sips of wine, we asked her a few questions.
Stumptown: Hi Amy. You’re great. We’re such nerds for what you do. Can you tell us what got you into raw wine? What is your food story? So many people in the food and bev industry have different culinary backgrounds and emerge out of different niches, and I love learning about the journey it took to arrive at the present.
Amy Atwood: I was selling conventional wine about 10 years ago. But I started to seek out natural wines for my own wine drinking. I loved the high acid, lower alcohol style of natural wine. And of course, I was also drawn to the organic farming, and avoidance of chemical additives in the winery. So 9 years ago, I started my own distribution and import company to highlight the wines I loved. My food journey was similar. I live in California, so I was eating amazing local, organic foods from the farmers market. It was a natural transition for my eating and drinking to be in sync.
Stumptown: How would you describe natural wine to a newbie?
Amy Atwood: Natural wines start in the vineyard with organic farming. Then, the point is to bring in beautiful, clean grapes and add nothing. Spontaneous fermentation happens with the native yeasts. Some winemakers add minimal sulfites at bottling only, for stability.
Stumptown: Who do you admire in the culinary world? Do you have any people that you feel really paved the way for this natural/organic/raw wine movement?
Amy Atwood: Alice Feiring is an amazing wine writer and her books were a big influence on me, and also on many others in the natural wine world. Jenny Lefcourt was also an important early importer. And of course, Isabelle Legeron, founder of Raw Wine World.
Stumptown: What does your next holiday meal look like?
Amy Atwood: I will be with family and they’re cooking for Thanksgiving, but I will be bringing lots of natural wines to drink! Probably from U.S. wineries like Donkey & Goat, J. brix, Margins, Joe Swick, and more.
Stumptown: How do you take your coffee?
Amy Atwood: With steamed milk in the morning, usually one espresso after lunch.
Stumptown: How about your favorite place to drink it?
Amy Atwood: At home, in my flower filled courtyard, with hummingbirds darting around.
Thanks for hangin’, Amy!
Cheers to a great meal.