Okay, okay, I know I said that all we drink during harvest is beer, but I lied. We drink wine too. At least we do at our house. In fact, in the last few weeks I’ve posted on Facebook about three different wines we’ve enjoyed for dinner with some yummy fall-leaning dinners at home. Although we very often drink our own wines, we really enjoy drinking wine from friends and neighbors as well. These past few weeks we’ve been digging in the cellar to find some of these, and two of the three pairings are from others’ wines. Here’s a brief summary of the dinners and the wines we enjoyed with them:
I pulled out this Benovia Zinfandel, from winemaker Mike Sullivan, because we had just dug our beautiful purple potatoes out of the garden, and I was in the mood for roasted potatoes and roast lamb. This hearty Zinfandel seemed like a great choice – and it was. This Zinfandel was grown on the Benovia estate Cohn Vineyard, which is about 40 years old, and dry-farmed. It has some real fruit intensity and nice bright acidity, with a long spicy finish. I roasted a leg of lamb, roasted the purple potatoes fresh-dug from the garden and (of course) sauteed some zucchini from the garden as well.
Next up was a completely different wine for us – a Tempranillo. This is unlike any wine we make at Ancient Oak Cellars, so is a particular treat for us. This time I chose the wine, and then needed to figure out what to make to stand up to this rugged beauty. This wine is from Mark Beringer, a fifth-generation winemaker. The Tempranillo vineyard is at about 800 feet above the Alexander Valley floor. It produces small berries, resulting in a bold, concentrated wine with dark berry and cherry flavors and some white pepper spice. What to pair with it? Well, again I looked to the bountiful Siebert Ranch. This time I decided our huge crop of sweet peppers would be featured. I seared them on high heat in the pan, then removed them, while I sauteed some onions from the garden, and then cooked some Siebert Ranch lamb Merguez sausage., and then combined it all and served it over pasta. The heat of the Merguez and the sweet of the peppers were a fantastic pairing with the bold Artesa Tempranillo.
Finally to an Ancient Oak Cellars wine. One night after a day of harvesting grapes, we needed comfort food. One of the recipes that fits that bill in our family is chicken baked with tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and capers. We always have these ingredients on hand, so it’s an easy “I’m tired from a day of picking grapes (or whatever) and I don’t know what to cook” meal. This evening – as often happens – we paired it with our lovely “Lucy” Rosé of Pinot Noir. The cool, crisp, sweet (but dry) fruit of this wine was the perfect foil for the piquant flavors of the olives and capers, and cut through the acidity of the tomatoes.
How lucky we are to have such an abundance of food that we raise ourselves, and wine that we and our talented and generous neighbors make.
I’d love to hear what you’re cooking and drinking. Comment here, or send me photos and recipes that I can share. Here’s to the good life!