Take the trek to SF next Saturday for the Zinfandel Experience Public Grand Tasting! The event will be all day, 11am to 4:30pm at Pier 27. Join me and my pal Nerd Stalker to taste some amazing wines. Get TICKETS while you can. . .
I will miss the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Public Tasting this year, but instead I get to share my thoughts about the exciting results from a wine judge’s perspective ahead of time on KGO! Catch me tonight, February 16th, from 8:45 to 9pm with Pat Thurston.
The SFWC Public Tasting will be Saturday, February 18th at Festival Pavilion, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco from 1:30-5pm.
Get your tickets HERE!
As promised, results from the recent East Meets West Challenge results. Check the site for a more thorough summary later this month.
Best of Show: East
Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, 2014 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine, Finger Lakes Natural Ice Wine, $45
Best of Show: West
Miro Cellars, 2014 Petite Sirah, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley, Reserve Coyote Ridge Vineyard, $32
Best Sparkling: East
Trump Winery, 2009 Brut Reserve Estate Monticello, Methode Champenoise, Estate Bottled, $75
*Best Sparkling: West
Gloria Ferrer, Royal Cuvee 2007, $37
Best White: East
Wine Insiders, Simue 2016, Verdejo, Spain, $30
Best White: West
Oak Farm Vineyards, 2016 Albarino, Lodi,
Certified Green under Lodi Rules, $24
Best Rosé: East
Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard, 2015 Rosé, Maryland, $20
Best Rosé: West
Stave & Stone Winery, 2016 Dorothy Pinot Noir Rosé, Columbia Gorge, Broten Boulder Vineyard, $25
Best Red: East
Pollak Vineyards, 2014 Cabernet Franc, Reserve Estate, Monticello Estate Grown Reserve, $50
Best Red: West
Miro Cellars, 2014 Petite Sirah, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley, Reserve Coyote Ridge Vineyard, $32
*Best Riesling: East
Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, 2014 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine, Finger Lakes Natural Ice Wine, $45
Best Riesling: West
Carol Shelton Wines, 2014 Black Magic Late Harvest Zinfandel, $20
*Indicates Best of East Meets West in Class
When it comes to fine cuisine, the love of food goes deeper than most people think. That’s especially true around Valentine’s Day when the subject of aphrodisiac ingredients takes center stage.
Traced back to the Greek goddess Aphrodite, an expert in the fields of sexuality and love, the term “aphrodisiac” refers to edible bites that can stimulate the heart, brain and body, seduce the senses, and inspire lovers to have intimate encounters—particularly if they use the right ingredients.
While expensive delights like oysters, caviar and wild mushrooms fall into this category, most of the basic items are things we eat quite often, including: arugula, fennel, onions, radishes, carrots, figs, lemon and other citrus, olives, pine nuts, coconut, coffee, cocoa, and chocolate.
Studies have also found that complex wines made with pinot noir and other red grapes typically contain resveratrol, an antioxidant that helps boost blood flow and improves circulation before and during physical intimacy.
The topic of aphrodisiacs is also a great subject to bring up with star chefs, many of whom have a fun time crafting a mixture of sexy bites around the Valentine’s Day theme.
With these thoughts in mind, earlier this week I teamed up with my longtime friend Chef Domenica Catelli of Catelli’s Restaurant in Geyserville to test some of these love-inspiring ingredients on a special group of eager diners, my fellow wine judges from the East Meets West Wine Challenge 2017, which was held at the Santa Rosa Fairground earlier that day.
A native of Sonoma County, the roots of Domenica’s love for food started when her grandparents, Italian immigrants Santi and Virginia Catelli, founded the original Catelli’s restaurant in the historic downtown district of Geyserville in 1936. Thus, Domenica’s early years in Sonoma County were filled with memories of fresh, seasonal foods.
As a result, after creating a series of magnificent menus at several restaurants in Laguna Beach and the Stanford Inn on the Mendocino Coast in the 1990s, she began working on her first cookbook, Mom-a-licious: Fresh, Fast Family Food for the Hot Mama in You!, which hit bookstores in September 2007.
Thanks to ongoing success of the book, coupled with her unique style of working with healthy products in the kitchen and her cool appearances on Iron Chef America, CBS News, and Oprah and Friends on XM radio, Domenica became the national spokesperson for the Organic Trade Association and brand ambassador for Safeway’s O Organic line. Before and after she reopened the family restaurant with her brother Nicholas in 2010, celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela, Julia Roberts, John Travola and Lady Gaga have enjoyed her food.
From a sommelier’s standpoint, having watched Domenica become one of the star chefs of Sonoma County, it was a joy to once again work with her on this special aphrodisiac-themed dinner and the fun romantic movie-themed names we gave to each course. Here is a summary of the ingredients and wine pairings we worked with that evening:
Appetizer: Love Bites
Domenica’s Romantic Delight: Artichoke Hearts & Burrata with Crispy Prosciutto. For starters, artichoke hearts are naturally high in vitamins and antioxidants, which helps increase blood flow to enliven the senses. However, the rich texture and earthy flavors of this spiny and bulbous vegetable is often quite hard to pair with wines. Thus, Domenica took this factor to heart by softening the texture and adding additional layers of creamy Burrata cheese and salty sensations provided by the prosciutto. These components were presented beautifully at the end of the artichoke skin to resemble the naturally smooth slurping process used to consume a raw oyster on the half-shell.
SawyerSomm Sexy Wine Pairing: To compliment these flavors, I served the new release of the Gloria Ferrer 2007 Royal Cuvee Brut, Carneros. Highlighted with elegant flavors of crisp apple, lemon, roasted almonds, vibrant acidity, and a long dry finish; this special vintage style of sparkling wine worked wonders with the rich texture, salty components and earthy nature of the appetizer. A fabulous way to start the evening off in style! www.gloriaferrer.com.
(As a fun side note: The Gloria Ferrer Royal Cuvee would go on to win the Best of Class for all Sparkling Wines from the West Coast and eventually beat the Trump Sparkling Wine by a landslide to win the prestigious honor of the Best Sparkling Wine of the entire competition. For complete results from the East Meets West Wine Challenge, watch for my upcoming SawyerSomm post!
Salad: Eat Drink Man Woman
Domenica’s Romantic Touch: Organic Kale, Blood Orange, Honey Glazed Walnuts. Much like arugula, kale is leafty, minerally, and high in antioxidants—the latter of which helps promote good health and prevents diseases. In the dressing, the blood orange added amino acids to compliment the rich and fatty compounds in the Dry Creek Olive Oil, which is commonly known to help stimulate hormonal activity. For toppings, the natural sweet flavors of the honey provides Vitamin B, estrogen, and helps boost strength, endurance and regenerates sexual energy; while the walnuts (sourced from Lou Preston’s organically farmed orchard in Dry Creek Valley), provided a burst of extra protein to give the sex drive a boost. Granted, while we have no idea what happened amongst the guests later that evening, we can say the complex flavors in this salad stimulated plenty of fun conversations around the two large wooden tables we dined at in the private dining room!
SawyerSomm Sexy Wine Pairing: To further enhance the experience, my colleague Debra del Fiorentino and I served a wide array of the Best of Class white wines that we judged earlier in the day. My favorite pairing was the Oak Farm Vineyard 2016 Albarino from Lodi, which featured lively flavors of ripe melon, peach, lime and racy acidity that isolated and elevated the dynamic flavors of the kale, citrus, honey and walnuts that made this romantic salad so memorable. www.oakfarmvineyards.com
Entrée: Lady & the Tramp
Domenica’s Romantic Touch: House-made egg Tagliatelli, Domenica’s Organic Tomato Sauce and Catelli’s famous Mini Meatballs Known for her tasty and healthy approach to cooking, this gorgeous dish was the epitome of Domenica’s style. For starters, the flavors of the mini meatballs, made with free-range beef and house-made pork sausage, were amplified with the natural richness of the sauce. In addition to organic tomatoes and virgin olive oil, other special ingredients included fresh basil, which naturally arouses the senses and boosts blood circulation; garlic, a strongly scented delight that provide the body with a bolt of allicin, which is known to increase blood to the organs, stamina and sexual energy; and celery, a powerful food source of Vitamin E, zinc, potassium, magnesium, and a natural stimulant to the volume of semen. In keeping with the theme, Domenica made the pasta with eggs that provide more protein and sexual energy. In addition to shaved parmesan, the dish was also topped with fresh arugula, an ancient source of Vitamins A and C. Brilliant flavors from first bite to last.
SawyerSomm Sexy Wine Pairing: In staying with the Italian theme, I chose one of my favorite regional wines from Alexander Valley, the LaStoria 2012 Cuvee 32 Red Wine from Trentadue Winery in Geyserville. Crafted by my fellow wine judge, winemaker Miro Tcholakov, this dazzling, food-friendly Super Tuscan-style blend was made with 54% Sangiovese, 29% Merlot, 8% Malbec, 5% Cabernet Franc and 4% Montepulciano. Layered with lively flavors of ripe blue fruits, wild strawberry, cherry, pomegranate and spicy notes of cinnamon, cocoa and allspice; the wine quickly seduced the senses and helped amplify the fresh and spirited flavors of this fabulous pasta dish. www.trentadue.com.
Dessert: Like Water for Chocolate
Domenica’s Romantic Touch: Chili and Cinnamon Spiced Chocolate Bodino, Maldon Salted Caramel, Banana Mousse Chocolate. Need we say more? Besides a natural burst of sugar and energy, tasty bites of chocolate have more antioxidants than red wine. Studies also show that women who eat chocolate have sex more often than those that don’t. To make this dessert even more interesting, Domenica added cinnamon, which helps balance blood flow and increase sexual appetite; red chilies, which provide a boost of endorphin, a natural “feel good” stimuli for the brain and libido; and bananas, an easy source of Vitamin B, potassium, and testosterone. Plus, the texture of the caramel and mousse increased the sexy factor tenfold.
SawyerSomm Sexy Wine Pairing: To finish off the experience, we stimulated the palate with the Wilson 2013 Buzz Reserve Zinfandel, Buzz Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley. The ripe and juicy flavors of wild berries, black pepper and clove from this special selection of classic vines planted in 1976 added fresh, fruity and spicy elements to the dessert. A few judges were also enamored by how the Gloria Ferrer Royal Cuvee Brut matched up with the flavors of chocolate, caramel, banana and spice. www.wilsonwinery.com.
While it’s true that Domenica is in a league of her own, the ultimate intent of this pre-Valentine’s Day menu was to show that putting extra focus on working with aphrodisiac ingredients and wines pairings is an easy way to amplify your love for your soul mate—not only around Valentine’s Day, but all year long.
“Try it, you might like it,” says Domenica, with a smile. “After all, you never know where a natural bounty of flavors might get you!”
Located at 21407 Geyserville Avenue in Geyserville, Calif; Catelli’s is open 7-days a week. For reservations, call 707.857.3471 or visit www.mycatellis.com. For special events, call 707.857.7142 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Moms can also purchase Domenica’s book at local bookstores or on amazon.com.
For further information about eating something sexy and pairing it with wine, read my Valentine’s Day article in the new issue of Valley of the Moon Magazine at www.vommag.com. And for more stimulating ideas, check out Romancing the Stove: the unabridged guide to aphrodisiac foods, the new book by culinary author Amy Reiley, which is available at www.lifeofreiley.com.
Flavor! Napa Valley is just six weeks away, March 22 through 26! Make sure to get your tickets for my seminars now. Many are already SOLD OUT, so get them while you can! To get both your palate and cerebellum ready, enjoy this article I wrote about Napa Valley below for BuyWine.com.
Napa Valley, California
Mention Napa Valley, and most people have a story to tell about a memorable wine they’ve had from the region. It’s an interesting point when you consider that the valley is only 30 miles long, a few miles wide, and represents roughly 4% of the amount of grapes picked in California. But despite being a relatively small area, the big reputation is built on making world-class wines with fruit grown on family-owned vineyards.
Squeezed between the Mayacamas and Vaca Mountain ranges, 45 minutes north of San Francisco, Napa Valley was the first American Viticultural Area or AVA to be designated in California in 1981. Back then, there was only a handful of wineries in the region. But today, there are 500-plus wineries and a shared dedication to growing premiere vineyards in diverse soils and warm, arid climate conditions that are similar to those found in the famous winegrowing regions along the Mediterranean. The end result is an elaborate matrix of vineyards varying in elevation from sea-level to 2,600 feet that produce low yields and high-quality fruit used to make some of the most prolific wines enjoyed in America and around the globe.
Whites: Sauvignon Blanc is the dominant white grape planted in the gravelly soils on the valley floor, particularly in the warmer segments in the northern part of the valley. Whereas, ….In the more clay and sandy-based soils stretching from Yountville to San Pablo Bay at the southern end of the valley, Chardonnay is the most widely planted white grape at the southern end of the valley. Smaller offerings to look for include: Semillon, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Riesling.
Reds: For red grapes, Napa Valley is best known for Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Bordeaux-style blends made with smaller portions of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. Other specialty plantings in the region include: Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Grenache, and Pinot Noir.
White Wines: The diverse styles of Sauvignon Blanc vary in style from racy and tangy to elegant and complex. Some are aged entirely in stainless steel tanks to preserve the purity of the grape; some have a portion of the blend aged in egg-shaped concrete fermenters; and others have a touch of neutral or new oak. The Chardonnays tend to be riper and more full-bodied than those from the more coastal regions of California. And in addition to being blended with Sauvignon Blanc to make a more complex, Bordeaux-style white wine; Semillon is also used to make aromatic sweet wines with flavors of ripe tropical fruits.
Red Wines: There’s no denying that Cabernet Sauvignon is the king of Napa Valley. The styles of the region range from earthy, tangy and spicy with emphasis on red fruits; to bolder styles with notes of dark berries, cherry, chocolate and varying levels of oak; to the more full-bodied opulent flavors, and the potential to age for decades in the cellar. Most of the Merlots are medium to full-bodied with emphasis on ripe red fruits, milk chocolate, and spice. The Zinfandels and Petite Sirahs are mainly from old vines—many of which are still farmed by the families who planted these vineyards before the focus of the valley shifted towards Bordeaux varietals. For that reason, many of the wines made with these grapes have distinctive fruit flavors and layers of spice.
As a rule, many of the Sauvignon Blancs from Napa Valley match perfectly with a wide range of cuisine, including oysters on the half-shell, goat cheese, gourmet salads, sushi and lighter meats on the grill, to spicier dishes that fall under the categories of Mexican, Vietnamese and Thai cuisine. For Chardonnay, the lighter styles pair nicely with appetizers and starting courses; while the more full-bodied offerings are fantastic to pair with seafood, poultry, pork, pasta, and white sauces.
In the red wine category, the more elegant styles of Cabernet Sauvignon are very compatible with daintier dishes like grilled vegetables, seared Ahi tuna, roasted chicken and Asian cuisine with plum sauce. For the bolder and more complex styles, rib-eye steak, lamb and blue cheese are great choices. For Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Bordeaux-style blends; think wild mushrooms, quinoa, salmon, quail, and meats seasoned with herb-based rubs. While Zinfandels and Petite Sirahs are sassy, savory, and ideal for pairing with grilled red meats, veggies, and elaborate pizza.
Join this Thirsty Thursday fundraiser at Suite D (21800 Schellville Road, Sonoma)! An amazing opportunity to learn more about how you can get involved with Rhone Rangers as a winery or Rhone fan.
February 2nd @6pm
Get tickets here!
cheese, salumi & antipasti
gougere blt, pancetta, oven-dried tomato, basil- mini burgers, brie, red onion confit-shrimp po’boy
Sonoma-goat cheese, leeks, scallions, bacon
Funghi-quattro formaggio, wild mushrooms, chili flakes,
custom flavors & toppings
Time to get your tickets, while they last, to these two exclusive events at Flavor! Napa Valley.
From Vineyard to Bottle: Exploring Napa Valley with Iconic Winemaker Heidi Barrett
Moderated by wine, food and television star Leslie Hartley-Sbrocco of KQED’s “Check, Please!”, this exclusive seminar and tasting is focused on Heidi’s secrets behind the way she captures the deep, rich and complex flavors of the fruit she works with from premier vineyards in the wines she makes for her La Sirena and Barrett & Barrett labels, as well as other special selections from the highly-touted Napa Valley brands Paradigm, Fantesca, Kenzo Estate and Lamborn Family Vineyards.
Thursday, March 23, 2017 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM
Icons Dinner honoring legendary winemaker Heidi Barrett
Celebrate some of our favorite food and wine icons at this exclusive dinner at the Silverado Resort and Spa: A multi-course dinner will be paired with outstanding, rare Napa wines.
Host Chef Jeffrey Jake (Silverado Resort and Spa), Matthew Accarrino (SPQR), Stuart Brioza & Nicole Krasinski (State Bird Provisions and The Progress), Waldy Malouf (CIA), Ken Frank (La Toque) and Michael Schulson (Schulson Collective)
Thursday, March 23, 2017 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Hope to see you there to celebrate and imbibe!
Announcing the judging results from my trip to Miami over MLK weekend for The American Fine Wine Invitational (AFWI)! This year 850 wines from 230 wineries were included.
The event took place January 15 & 16 at FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. The AFWI is the most exclusive, top tier, all-American Wine Invitational in the world, and it takes place in our back yard. Over the course of two full days, 24 judges tasted and awarded medals to the invited wines. Here are the top winners:
BEST OF SHOW
Best of Show Red –
’13 Baldacci Family, Cabernet Sauvignon “Ruppert”, Napa $125
Best of Show White
’15 Chehalem Vineyards, Gruner Veltliner, Ribbon Ridge, OR $24
Best of Show Sparkling
NV Mumm Napa, “Santana” Brut, Napa (also Best Of in 2015) $50
Best of Show Dessert Wine
’11 John Anthony Vyds Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, Napa $65
All of the wines entered into the judging will be available for tasting at the highly anticipated 10th annual AFWI Charity Wine Gala being hosted this year at the DCOTA, and taking place on April 29th. The Gala includes a “Sparkling” reception, The Wine Walk, a magnificent wine-centric dinner, during which, the award winning wines will be poured by the AFWI “Wine Angels”, and The Winemaker of the Year Awards. There will be a live auction, a silent auction and a “Premium” wine auction, as well as live entertainment and the opportunity to dine with your favorite Dolphin player all while raising money to support The Dolphins Cancer Challenge.
More information available at www.americanfinewinecompetition.org
Taste Restaurant in Plymouth, CA (Amador County) will have 20 different bubblies from around the world to be paired with a delectable selection of appetizers on Wednesday January 25th, 5:30-8:30pm. This walk around educational event is fifty dollars per person. Attendees will have the opportunity to purchase their favorites at a special discounted rate. Reserve your flute here!
Delicious treats include
Prawn and Sausage Skewers
Goat Cheese and Bacon Tartlette
Oysters on the Half Shell
Caviar, Crème Fraiche and Potato
Beef skewers with peanut and red thai curry
Rice Noodle Salad
Roasted Squash Risotto Cups
Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese
Romesco and Prosciutto Deviled Eggs
Fish Cakes and Siracha Aioli
Meyer lemon tartlette
In anticipation of the upcoming Flavor! Napa Valley, March 22-26, I would like to share some summaries I have written about the area. Read more about Oakville below: This article and others in the region are posted at BuyWine.com. A note about Flavor! Many of my seminars are SOLD OUT already, but some still have tickets available. Get them while you can!
Oakville, Napa Valley, CA
If there is an epicenter of high-end Cabernet Sauvignons in the United States, there’s a good argument that it’s the Oakville appellation in Napa Valley.
Named after the beautiful oak trees native to the area, Oakville is located between the small towns of Yountville and Rutherford in Napa Valley. With a population of less than 300 people, the region is easy to recognize by nearly 4,000 acres of sweeping vineyards; the dazzling architecture of pristine wine destinations which include Robert Mondavi Winery, Far Niente, Turnbull and Opus One; a historic wine production building and current home of Napa Wine Company on the corner of Highway 29 and Oakville Crossroad, which was originally constructed by Brun & Chaix Winery in the 1880s; and the iconic gourmet food stop, the Oakville Grocery.
The first major grape plantings were developed by Hiram Crabb, who purchased 240-acres of property in the region in 1865. After initially selling table grapes and raisins, Crabb changed his focus to making wine with grapes in 1872. And by the end of the 1880s, he had over 400 grape varieties planted at his To Kalon Estate.
In Greek, To Kalon means beautiful. Following Crabb’s death, the property was sold to E.W. Churchill family in 1899. After the lovely wooden winemaking facility burned to the ground in 1939, the Churchills sold the property the following year. The section with the most diverse plantings, the Old Federal Vineyard, eventually became home to the University of California Davis Station, one of the greatest vineyard test-sites in the world. Another section became the coveted vineyard blocks owned by Robert Mondavi Winery.
When Mondavi finished building his winery in Oakville in 1966, his vision for the Oakville region and Napa Valley quickly blossomed. The elegant California mission-design of the winery was appealing to tourists and Mondavi’s focus on producing world-class wines made with Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc was a big departure from the old wines made in the region with Zinfandel and German white grape varieties.
Another legendary site in the region is Martha’s Vineyard, which was planted by Bernard and Belle Rhodes near the UC Davis experimental station in 1959. The original vineyard was 14 acres of White Riesling and 12 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, but eventually was converted to all Cabernet before Martha and Tom May purchased the property in 1963. In 1965, the family started selling grapes to Joe Heitz, a talented winemaker who went on to make a huge name for his brand and the site with a series of Martha’s Vineyard designate wines he made in the 1960s and 1970s.
As the number of vineyards increased during the late 1970s to the present, many important new brands and cult wineries were developed in Oakville, including Groth, Joseph Phelps, Franciscan Estate, Silver Oak, Swanson, Turnbull, Rudd Estate, Miner Family, Dalla Valle, Harlan Estate, and Screaming Eagle.
In 1993, Oakville became an official appellation. Stretching across the valley from the Mayacamas Mountains to the Vaca Mountains, the region is two miles wide. From a geographical standpoint, the vineyards are influenced by sunny days, cool nights, and well-drained soils that produce a plethora of elegant, complex and age worthy wines on a yearly basis. www.oakvillewinegrowers.com.
Whites: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay.
Reds: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Zinfandel, Sangiovese.
White Wines: The Sauvignon Blancs from Oakville typically feature lively aromas of fresh fruit, citrus, lemongrass, ginger, herbs, and fresh-cut grass. The flavors are vibrant with notes of green apple, ripe melon, grapefruit, fig, passion fruit, mineral, spice, and tangy acidity.
The Chardonnays are elegant and refined with notes of ripe apple, stone fruits, caramel, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon.
Red Wines: There is no doubt that Cabernet Sauvignon is the definitive red grape variety grown in Oakville. The profiles of the finished wines are broad, elegant and sophisticated with enticing floral aromas and concentrated flavors of dark fruits, dark cherry, black currants, blackberry, cassis, plum, fresh mint, dried herbs, and cedar; lush texture; firm tannins; and long, rewarding finishes. Many of the Cabernets are made like Bordeaux blends with smaller portions of Merlot to provide smooth, soft and elegant texture; Cabernet Franc to add balance and spice; Malbec and Petit Verdot to add more color, tannins, and depth of flavor. Although it is no longer as widely planted in the region, the Zinfandel vines that still remain produce magnificent wines with bright and expressive jammy flavors of ripe berries, licorice, and black pepper. And the Sangiovese produced by Showket, Swanson and a few other wineries in Oakville feature lively notes of ripe red fruits, cherry, plum, mineral and allspice.
The vibrant flavors of the Sauvignon Blancs from Oakville pair nicely with oysters and a tangy citrus-based mignonette, prosciutto with melon, chilled soups, arugula salads with goat cheese, grilled asparagus, pan-seared white fish, and tarragon chicken. The complex Chardonnays are better to pair with fine cheeses; rich soups; salads with creamy dressings; seared scallops; lobster risotto; roasted game hens; and pork chops.
With the Cabernet Sauvignons and Bordeaux-style blends, try roasted vegetables, gourmet mac & cheese, char-grilled steaks, rack of lamb, hearty stews, and dark chocolate truffles. Zinfandels are fantastic with gourmet sausages, barbecued ribs, and spicy Mexican or Indian cuisine.
Sangiovese is a great match with ripe cheeses, salumi, creamy soups, roasted beets, pasta in a hearty red sauce, gnocchi, pork tenderloin, and grilled meats.