I’m Deep, I’m Sparkling, I’ve Got Issues: I Am the Ocean Reserve by Iron Horse

Four dollars from every bottle of Iron Horse Vineyards' Ocean Reserve goes to the National Geographic Ocean Fund.
Four dollars from every bottle of Iron Horse Vineyards' Ocean Reserve goes to the National Geographic Ocean Fund.

It’s nearly St. Patrick’s Day and while as a native Chicagoan perhaps I should be longing for green beer, I’m not. With all the environmental tragedies and woes on all of our minds this week, I’m thinking about environmentally green choices that help Mother Earth.

The deep blue sea always seems bedeviled by the worst of it, what with being the final resting place for so much pollution and overfishing of so many species like blue fin tuna, which wrecks the whole eco-system.

A few weeks ago, I enjoyed my first clean and crisp taste of Iron Horse Vineyards’ I Am the Ocean, a sparkling wine that is being offered in partnership with National Geographic’s Mission Blue. I love the labels with haunting images of fish or a sea turtle and the label copy, a tongue in cheek reference to the “I am Thankful or “I am Thriving” dish names from Cafe Gratitude.

But the message is real; the ocean does gives life to all of us on earth, and it is a limited resource. Things are only going to get worse if all of us don’t start to change our habits, from choosing unbleached toilet paper to really separating the recycling from the garbage to stopping eating fish like Chilean seabass and farmed Asian tilapia which are restricted on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch List.
(Want to find environmentally-sound seafood away from home? There’s an iPhone sustainable seafood app for that.)

Another way of helping restore the ocean is with your purchase of I Am the Ocean Reserve, a blanc de blancs made from chardonnay grapes from the 2005 harvest. Four dollars of every bottle’s $40 price supports efforts to establish marine protected areas and ending over-fishing. Apparently the Obamas – fans of great American wines – will be drinking a toast to the ocean soon as Daniel Shanks, the White House director of food and beverage, recently ordered five cases of Iron Horse’s Ocean Reserve. It’s also on the list at notable restaurants like Le Bernardin in NYC and Providence in LA.

You could sip Ocean Reserve with some corned beef and cabbage, but I’ll probably pair this clean tasting wine with hints of toastiness from the longer aging with seafood.

Over the holidays, National Geographic posted recipes for a sustainable seafood feast created by Barton Seaver, a chef and activist. His menu included Wahoo Tartare with Nutmeg, Mint and Lemon and Grilled Clams with Lime Oregano Butter.

If you’re interested in doing more, consider visiting Green Valley and Iron Horse for the Eat Drink & Be Green Earth Day celebration on April 17 this year. Ted Turner will be there, along with lots of great food, art and wine. You’ll find the Sonoma County AVA known as Green Valley is one of the most beautiful places anywhere. I love travelling the winding roads, around the green curving hills and past the majestic barren oak trees spreading their branches toward the blue sky.

It makes me want to make sure it stays that way.