From Ribs to Empanadas: Favorites from the 2014 A Wine & Food Affair

Country Pate

Country Pâté with Cherry Jam and Pinot Noir at Sanglier Cellars

Thanks to wineries along the Wine Road, we started November with another lovely weekend in Sonoma County enjoying wine and food pairings at the 2014 A Wine & Food Affair. At the 16th annual Affair, each participating winery prepared a special recipe to pair with one of their wines so for two days we traveled the Russian River, Dry Creek, and Alexander Valleys knowing we could easily access recipes for our favorite dishes once we got home. We ended the weekend with a few cases of wine for the cellar and many recipes downloaded and ready to try and make at home.

Honey Harvest Tomato Bisque

Honey Harvest Tomato Bisque

In the past, A Wine & Food Affair attendees were able to visit the wineries, taste the food/wine pairings, and then take home a cookbook (included in their ticket price) that had all of the recipes from the wineries’ offerings in it. Starting this year, the cookbook has been replaced by a calendar but the recipes are very easy to find and print out from the Wine Road’s website. Some of the items from past years’ events which we have successfully made at home are Honey Harvest Tomato BisqueRigatoni Salsiccia, and Apple Streusel Muffins.

Baby Back Ribs

Baby Back Ribs from Portalupi Wine Co.

Keep reading, and we’ll let you know what we considered our favorite white wines, red wines, and food items at this year’s Affair. If you get the chance, please seek these wineries and food purveyors out so you can enjoy their products as much as we did. In addition to links to winery websites, we’ve also tried to provide links to the recipes for our most favorite food items.

Favorite Wine and Food Pairings at the 2014 A Wine & Food Affair

Mushroom Risotto

Mushroom Risotto with Duck Confit at Martin Ray Winery

At the A Wine & Food Affair, we found many effective and interesting pairings of food ingredients and spices with the flavor components of the wines they were partnered with, but these were our favorite combinations. Each time, we were impressed three ways: the wine itself, the food alone, and how well the elements of the food offering complimented the flavor nuances of the wine.  So, if any of these intrigue you, we encourage you to print out the recipe, purchase the wine, and then duplicate the pairing in your own home.

These were our favorite pairings with white wines:

Chicken, Black Bean and Plantain Empanadas

Chicken, Black Bean and Plantain Empanadas at White Oak Vineyards & WInery

And, the most impressive pairings of dishes with red wines were:

Roasted Garlic, Brie and Fig Tartlet

Roasted Garlic, Brie and Fig Tartlet


Favorite White and Rosé Wines at the 2014 A Wine & Food Affair

Out of all the wines we tasted at the 2014 A Wine & Food Affair, these were our favorite white wines and rosés:

Fog Crest Vineyard

View from Fog Crest Vineyard


Favorite Red Wines at the 2014 A Wine & Food Affair

Overall, these were our favorite red wines from this year’s A Wine & Food Affair:

Acorn Winery

Acorn Winery

  • Acorn Winery – 2012 and 2006 Sangioveses, 2011 Axiom Syrah, 2012 Heritage Vines Zinfandel, 2011 Medley (field blend of Syrah, Zinfandel, Alicante Bouschet, Cinsaut, Muscats, Dolcetto, Petite Sirah, and other varieties)  
  • Balletto Vineyards – 2012 Estate Pinot Noir, 2012 Winery Block Pinot Noir
  • Fog Crest Vineyard – 2012 Estate Pinot Noir
  • Göpfrich Winery – 2012 Estate Cuvée (Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel)
  • Kobler Estate Winery – 2012 Santa Ynez Valley Grenache
  • Kokomo Winery – 2012 Gopher Hill Block Pinot Noir, 2011 Ruth’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Martin Ray Winery – 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, 2011 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Martorana Family Winery – 2009 Zinfandel, 2010 Merlot, 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Portalupi Wine Co. – 2013 Charbono
  • Ridge Vineyards – 2012 Lytton Springs (Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignane, Mataro), 2012 Pagani Ranch Zinfandel
  • Roth Estate – 2011 Sonoma County Heritage (Zinfandel, Malbec, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah)
  • Sanglier Cellars – 2012 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, 2012 Left Tusque Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards – 2011 Vine Hill Pinot Noir
  • Stonestreet Winery – 2008 Monument Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Stuhlmuller Vineyards – 2012 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011 Rogers Schoolhouse Estate Zinfandel, 2010 Block 6 South Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010 Block 11 North Cabernet Sauvignon


Favorite Dessert Wines at the 2014 A Wine & Food Affair


Caramel Corn and Late Harvest Chardonnay at the Kendall-Jackson Wine Center

We highly enjoyed two dessert wines at this year’s A Wine & Food Affair. One was Stuhlmuller Vineyards’ “Sticky,” a fortified Cabernet Sauvignon. The other was Kendall-Jackson’s 2007 Late Harvest Chardonnay which they were serving along with Mama Frischkorn’s Caramel Corn and it was an excellent pairing. You can find the recipe here.


Our Other Favorite Foods at the 2014 A Wine & Food Affair

We’ve already listed the dishes we felt best matched the wines they were paired with.  Below are the other food offerings we found particularly noteworthy in our travels at the Affair.  If their recipes seem do-able to you, we can confirm the end product is worth the effort.

Acorn Winery – Barley Risotto with Mushrooms, Topped with Zinfandel Braised Beef Short Ribs (from Zin Restaurant & Wine Bar)

Rabbit Tartelette

Rabbit Tartelette at Fog Crest Vineyard

Balletto Vineyards – Wild Mushroom Soup (from La Gare Restaurant)

Fog Crest VineyardRabbit Tartelette with Caramelized Onion and Gruyere (from Fork Catering)

Kendall-JacksonEstate Lamb Stew with Dried Plums & Olives (from the Kendall-Jackson Culinary Team)

Chard and Lentil Soup

Chard and Lentil Soup

Portalupi Wine Co.“Fall Off the Bone” Baby Back Ribs Grilled Over Apple-Juice-Soaked Wood Chips (from Portalupi owner Tim Borges)

Roth Estate – Warm Goat Cheese and Heirloom Beet Terrine (from Executive Chef Carlo Cavallo)

Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards – Middle Eastern Chard and Lentil Soup (from Chef John Ash)



2015 Winter WINElandWine 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.  Their next major event, the 2015 Winter WINEland, is scheduled for January 17-18, 2015 and will involve about 140 wineries offering limited production wines, new releases, library wines, and a chance to meet the winemakers. If you’d like to read about how much we enjoyed Winter WINEland in the past, please go here.



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