Chris Klaic Picks a Velvety Cabernet
by Jason Jeffers
Napa Valley may be regarded as one of the world’s foremost winemaking regions, but less than a century ago that was hardly the case. Today, it’s lauded for its rich volcanic soil and a climate very similar to Bordeaux—sunny, warm days and cool nights—that allows for a long growing season, giving grapes time to slowly ripen and develop great character.
The current understanding and appreciation are due in part to Louis M. Martini, a vibrant Italian winemaker who opened his Napa Valley winery at the much-celebrated close of Prohibition in 1933. He would later become legendary for his noted Cabernet Sauvignon varietals and also as one of the founders of the Napa Valley Vintners, the association largely responsible for introducing Napa Valley to the world. Martini’s work has been carried on by his son and grandchildren, and in 2002, the winery was bought by E. & J. Gallo, another dynastic force in Napa Valley winemaking. To learn more about Martini’s famous Cab, we went to Chris Klaic, managing partner of Christy’s restaurant in Miami.
Most of the Cabernet Sauvignons on your menu are from Napa Valley. Why do you favor the Cabs from this region?
CHRIS KLAIC: I believe Napa Valley offers a favorable combination of temperate climate and rich soils for cultivating the world’s finest Cabernet Sauvignon.
What are some of the flavor characteristics of the Louis M. Martini Cab?
CK: It has concentrated flavors of ripe plums and dark Bing cherries that marry perfectly with the oak and velvety tannins.
You serve it by the glass at Christy’s. How would you pair it?
CK: It’s a perfect steakhouse wine, and at the price point, it’s a wine that everyone can enjoy. It really goes well with anything we serve, from our Kobe beef sliders at the bar to our Prime steaks in the dining room.
The Martini and Gallo families have a relationship going back three generations. How does this connect to the sense of tradition at Christy’s?
CK: Just as Gallo wines have an immense history of quality and consistency, Christy’s is proud of the same, being the longest-running steakhouse in Miami, with 33 years of quality and consistency.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ROBERT FIGUEROA