Food & Wine Pairing Recommendations for Hundreds of Dishes
From Mendocino County, Saracina’s Rosé of Grenache is grown on sustainably farmed vineyards that are home to 140-year-old olive trees, vegetable gardens, beehives, and local birds and wildlife. This offers black cherry, strawberry, blood orange and rhubarb notes, with both red and green apple in the mix. Interestingly there is a light sweetness that is counterbalanced by a light tartness. The bright acidity allows this to work well with a variety of different foods. ORIGIN: Mendocino County. ALCOHOL: 12.5%
Every year Flora Springs produces holiday wines, this year with a beautiful etched bottle (and a three pack of three different holiday etchings and blends) featuring turtle doves. A cabernet dominate blend, this offers soft, bright fruit of black cherry, blackberry, huckleberry, boysenberry, with back notes of green tea leaf, sandalwood, Asian pear, vanilla, camp fire and light dusty mocha. 18 months of aging in French and American oak barrels rounds out the fruit. They don’t make much but it makes a unique gift. 230 cases. ORIGIN: Napa Valley. ALCOHOL: 14.2
The Small Lot expressions of Cuvaison (wine typically under 200 cases and a focused identity) have become some of the most exciting and anticipated wines coming out of California. This latest Chardonnay expresses both traditional and non-traditional Chardonnay notes. Typical would be citrus, lemon lime, white peach and guava. Untypical shows kumquat, amber resin, a slight sour green apple and an even slighter butter rum hard candy.
What begins as a soft and velvety Pinot Noir, light and delicate, turns to a beautifully structured wine that offers excellent fruit, acidity, light tannins and layers of flavor. Typical of many Pinots, this begins with noticeable strawberry, red raspberry and black cherry notes, but then delves into more complex, green tea leaf, cedar plank, wild grass, light earthiness, cola, rhubarb and a hint of resin. At first blush this seems like a lovely Pinot Noir to have with dinner, but upon spending time with it, you realize the various facets.
Sonoma County is often overlooked in favor of Napa, but Alma de Cattleya wines, all from within Sonoma’s borders, is something of a love letter to what Sonoma can produce. Winemaker Bibiana Gonzales Rave has created wines that support and showcase Sonoma using various vineyard sites throughout the county. Her 2022 Chardonnay is a great example. Chardonnay pulled from cooler sites offers green apple, lemon-lime, resin, light, peach and pear, quince, apricot honeysuckle, and a whisper of honey. There is light acidity, but a beautiful balance and texture.
Made from Tinta del Pais, this offers a lovely combination of huckleberry, green tea, blueberry, plum, light vanilla and charred wood notes. It was aged for a year in both French and some American oak. There is a lovely integration with the oak (vanilla) and the black fruit compote. The tannins support the structure of the wine and the acidity, though mild, reinforces the overall harmony. This is a very lovely wine, nothing dominates, but is seamlessly balanced. ORIGIN: Ribera del Duero, Spain. ALCOHOL: 14.5%
Earthy tannins leads to blackberry, blueberry, plum, and violets. Made from mainly Carménère and Cabernet Sauvignon, there are small amounts of Syrah, Petite Verdot and Cabernet Franc in the mix. This has always been a solid wine for a very reasonable price. It deviates from much oak treatment and instead promotes the raw, earthy flavors of its organic vineyards. The aging consisted of 66% of the wine placed in French oak for 18 months, therefore the oak is supporting and not dominate. Nicely balanced this is a great go-to everyday drinking wine. ORIGIN: Apalta, Chile. ALCOHOL: 13.5%
Offering a lighter style of Cabernet, this 2019 Dough is definitely a solid value. Black cherry, blueberry, blackberry, light plum, pomegranate, rhubarb, green tea leaf and black cherry, announce themselves and it offers moderate acidity and decent tannins. The wine was aged 16 months in both American and French oak barrels.
Malbec has become Argentina’s signature grape, and this South American country does very well with it. This value wine shows off how good Malbec can be at various price points, proof you don’t need to break the bank for a good bottle of wine. It offers huckleberry and blackberry, and there’s an earthiness to this wine, with solid acidity and oak aging that supports the fruit. The finish is a little thin, but when paired with food, as all good wines should be, that becomes less of an issue. ORIGIN: Mendoza, Argentina. ALCOHOL: 14.5%