Another lovely weekend in Sonoma County, another stack of recipes to try. Earlier this month, we enjoyed the Wine Road’s annual A Wine & Food Affair, savoring fantastic wine and food in the Russian River, Dry Creek, and Alexander Valley areas. We came home with a few cases of wine for the cellar and several recipes flagged to try and make at home.
At the Affair, each participating winery prepared a special recipe to pair with one of their wines. Affair attendees were able to visit the wineries, taste the food/wine pairings, try other wines from the wineries, and then take home a cookbook (included in their ticket price) that had recipes from the wineries’ offerings in it. Some of the items from past years’ cookbooks which we have successfully made at home are Honey Harvest Tomato Bisque, Rigatoni Salsiccia, and Apple Streusel Muffins.
Keep reading, and we’ll let you know what we considered our favorite white wines, red wines, and food items at this year’s event. Some of our favorite small bites were actually served in addition to items from the cookbook. If you get the chance, please seek these wineries and food purveyors out so you can enjoy their products as much as we did. Over 100 wineries participated this year, so we clearly couldn’t make it to all of them and would love to hear about other peoples’ experiences at the event. In case you’re interested, this year’s Tasting Along the Wine Road Cookbook (Volume 15) is now available for sale through the Wine Road office (800-723-6336) for $30.
Favorite White Wines at A Wine & Food Affair
- Hawley Winery – 2012 Viognier
- Kendall-Jackson – 2007 Grand Reserve Late Harvest Chardonnay
- Kokomo Winery – 2011 Peters Vineyard Chardonnay
- Longboard Vineyards – 2012 Sauvignon Blanc
- Lost Canyon Winery – 2011 Ruxton Vineyard Chardonnay
- Martin Ray Winery – 2012 Russian River Valley Chardonnay
- Mueller Winery – 2011 “LB” Chardonnay
- Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards – 2012 Russian River Valley Chardonnay, 2011 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
- Trattore Estate Wines – 2011 Tractor White (Roussanne, Marsanne)
- West Wines – 2012 Sauvignon Blanc
Favorite Red Wines
- Acorn Winery – 2010 Sangiovese, 2011 Heritage Vines Zinfandel, 2010 Medley (Vineyard blend of Syrah, Cabernet Franc, and many other varieties)
- Hawley Winery – 2011 Ponzo Vineyard Zinfandel
- Kokomo Winery – 2011 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel, 2011 Claret (Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot), 2010 Primitivo
- Lauterbach Cellars – 2012 Pinot Noir
- Longboard Vineyards – 2010 Redgrav Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
- Lost Canyon Winery – 20110 Saralee’s Vineyard Pinot Noir
- Martin Ray Winery – 2011 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009 Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
- Martorana Family Winery – 2008 Merlot, 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
- Mueller Winery – 2010 “Tempi” Pinot Noir
- Ridge Vineyards – 2011 Lytton Springs, 2009 Mazzoni Home Ranch, 2011 East Bench (all Zinfandels)
- Robert Rue Vineyard – 2009 Wood Road Reserve Zindandel
- Sanglier Cellars – 2011 Pinot Noir, 2010 Rouge du Tusque (Syrah, Petite Sirah, Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvedre)
- Stonestreet Winery – 2010 Monument Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon
- Trattore Estate Wines – 2011 Grenache
- West Wines – 2009 Crest Cuvée (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec)
Favorite Food Offerings at A Wine & Food Affair
Butternut Squash Arancini with Parmesan Fondue (page 82)
The grazing options at Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards included cheeses, nuts, and dried fruits but the highlight was this Arancini honoring the season by incorporating Butternut Squash. Offered by Chef Jennifer McMurry of Viola Pastry Boutique and Café, it was a targeted pairing for the 2010 Russian River Pinot Noir.
Apple Chutney with Verjus and Goat Cheese Bruschetta
A great way to start a meal, this Bruschetta was paired at Kokomo Winery with their 2011 Chardonnay. The recipe for the Chutney is not in the cookbook but can be found here on the website for Kokomo Culinary, a collaboration between Erik Miller (owner and winemaker at Kokomo Winery) and food industry veteran Dale Peters (manager at Timber Crest Farms) who have combined forces to create a sustainable food and condiment company.
Truffled Croque Madame with Quail Egg (page 68)
Epicurean Escape Catering, headed by Chef Matt Paille, was the food purveyor for several wineries at this year’s A Wine & Food Affair. At Lost Canyon Winery, we tasted this adorable and impressive dish alongside their Whitton Vineyard Pinot Noir.
Slider Burger with Cabernet-Caramelized Onions & Blue Cheese (page 188)
The Sliders from Park Avenue Catering’s Chef Bruce Riezenman didn’t last long with the ravenous crowds at Martin Ray Winery. Guests could successfully pair this fresh-off-the-grill item with either their 2011 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon or their 2009 Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Wild Mushroom Ragu over Polenta (page 200)
We are enormous fans of Baci Café and Wine Bar and Chef Shari Sarabi’s cooking. Tasting Mueller Winery’s wines is a lot more convenient now, thanks to their new tasting room in downtown Healdsburg just around the corner from Baci. This outstanding Ragu, featuring funghi from Sebastopol’s Gourmet Mushrooms, made a good match for several of Mueller’s Pinot Noirs.
Chocolate Mousse (Ode to Julia Mousse) (pg 258)
From Chefs Matt McNally and Laurel Timms of Laurel’s Catering, this is their version of Julia Child’s famous Chocolate Mousse recipe (using butter instead of cream). The presentation of this dish in individualized parfaits reflected the same amount of care that went into preparing it. Lauterbach Cellars was pairing this Mousse with their Syrah Dessert Wine.
Mama Frischkorn’s Caramel Corn
Another dish without a recipe in this year’s Cookbook, Kendall-Jackson served this Caramel Corn with their 2007 Grand Reserve Late Harvest Chardonnay. Luckily, they have shared the recipe on their website, so you can just go here to get the recipe from Chef Erik Frischkorn.
Wine Road, an association of wineries and lodgings in the Alexander, Dry Creek, and Russian River Valleys, presents three events each year: Winter WINEland in January; Barrel Tasting in March; and A Wine & Food Affair in November. You can read more about the events, play with interactive maps of the region, and/or learn about local lodging options here to help you better plan your next trip to the region.