We asked local chefs and winemakers to conjure their favorite healthful dishes for warm-weather wine pairings.
Wine country sips and restaurants pair beautifully this spring.
Spring has arrived and so have the crisp, fresh wines and foods that come with the season. To get into the spirit, we found some deliciously healthful spring dishes and wines to pair from the region’s top chefs and wineries.
WINE 2021 M Rosé, Pinot Noir
CHEF AND RESTAURANT Stephen Barber, Farmstead Napa Valley, St. Helena
“The 2021 M Rosé is a handcrafted rosé that relays a silky textural quality while maintaining beautiful floral aromatics and bright, crisp freshness,” says M Rosé vintner Meghan Vergara. “This pairs perfectly with Farmstead Napa Valley’s caramelized beets, Skyhill goat cheese crema, greens and chimichurri appetizer. The balanced flavor profile of the wine interacts nicely with the creaminess of the herbed goat cheese, the red berry and citrus notes on the palate complement the richly flavored caramelized beets, and the minerality on the rosé’s finish with the greens.
Seared wild salmon accompanied by Arnot-Roberts sauvignon blanc from Randle Hill Vineyard, served at Compline Restaurant and Wine Shop
WINE Arnot-Roberts Sauvignon Blanc, Randle Hill Vineyard 2020
CHEF AND RESTAURANT Jammir Gray, Compline Restaurant and Wine Shop, Napa
PAIRING Seared Wild Salmon
“This sauvignon blanc comes from Randle Hill Vineyard,” says Matt Stamp, Compline’s co-owner. “The grapes have a vibrant personality with fine tannins and bright acidity. This pairs beautifully with the seared wild salmon with asparagus, spring onion chimichurri and celery-root puree. The brightness and acidity of this fresh white dances with the fresh, oily fish and the earthy notes of the celery root puree.”
Lang & Reed cabernet with seafood tostada at Mustards Grill
WINE Lang & Reed Cabernet Franc, California 2019
CHEF AND RESTAURANT Cindy Pawlcyn, Mustards Grill, Napa
PAIRING Seafood Tostada
“Mustards Grill’s seafood tostada offers a variety of textures and lively flavors—fresh fish, crispy corn tortilla, velvety organic black beans and spicy guajillo chile salsa—that are naturally complemented by the zippy and zesty Lang & Reed cabernet franc,” says Pawlcyn. “The hint of char and smoke from the grilled fish highlights the wine’s cedar flavors, while the acidity merges well with heat, and the energetic bite balances the creaminess of the beans. With a lower tannin structure, brightness and slight peppery tones, cabernet franc is a red wine that lends itself to being part of a dish instead of overpowering or underwhelming it.”
WINE Napa Valley Blanc De Noirs, Paula Kornell Sparkling Wine
CHEF AND RESTAURANT Bettina Rouas, Angèle Restaurant + Bar, Napa
PAIRING Roasted Striped Bass
“The Napa Valley blanc de noirs pair beautifully with a diverse array of foods, but especially so with the seasonal roasted sea bass from Angèle Restaurant & Bar,” says Rouas. “The bright acidity of the blanc de noirs makes it an ideal pairing for the oven-baked flavors and aromas of the sea bass on a bed of braised artichokes. The subtle sweetness of the freshly caught fish is enhanced by the light dosage of the bubbles, adding a lift to the citrus undertones of this dish.”
Folktable’s farm harvest salad.
WINE Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2020, Sojourn Cellars
CHEF AND RESTAURANT Casey Thompson, Folktable, Sonoma
PAIRING Farm Harvest Salad
“The bright acidity of this Sonoma Coast chardonnay complements the zing from the pickled apples, pomegranate and fennel of the farm harvest salad,” says Randy Bennett, Sojourn’s winemaker. “And the toasted pecan and sumac dressing is heightened by the wine’s round body. The savory ricotta salata dances with the succulent fruit notes in this chardonnay and keeps you coming back for sips between each bite.”
Pork belly ramen pairs well with Spanish Springs Vineyard’s syrah (2020) from Dunites Wine Co., found at The Spoon Trade.
WINE Spanish Springs Vineyard Syrah 2020, Dunites Wine Co.
CHEF AND RESTAURANT Jacob Towne, The Spoon Trade, Grover Beach
PAIRING Pork Dishes and Bone Broth
“This syrah blends the best of New and Old World profiles with fresh, dark fruits and bright acid,” says Towne. “The acid plays well with richer foods and cuts through the deep flavors of the bone broth. The braised pork belly sits front and center, bringing out the meaty characteristics of the wine.”
WINE Day Owl Rosé 2019, O’Neill Vintners & Distillers
CHEF AND RESTAURANT Esteban Gallardo, Palm House, San Francisco
PAIRING Fish Tacos
“Day Owl rosé boasts flavors of ruby red grapefruit, tangerine and strawberry, which make this bright rosé an easy pairing for Baja fish tacos,” says Gallardo. “The wine’s balanced sweetness of rose water and white peach on the palate are followed by a crisp mineral finish, so it complements warm-weather foods—one sip and you’ll feel like you’re on vacation.”
WINE Bare Necessity Sparkling Rosé, Sosie Wines
CHEF AND RESTAURANT Ari Weiswasser, Glen Ellen Star, Glen Ellen
PAIRING Grilled Chicken
“The 2019 Sosie Bare Necessity sparkling rosé from Sonoma is both zesty and creamy on the palate with flavors of strawberry, watermelon and the citrusy-sour tang of kumquats,” says Weiswasser. “The refreshing fruit and bright acidity of this wine complement the rich umami taste of the chicken.”
WINE Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc 2021, Saber Selection, William Knuttel
CHEF AND RESTAURANT Anne Le Zlatt, Warung Siska, Redwood City
PAIRING Rockfish Otak Otak
“This dish—rockfish, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves and coconut steamed and then grilled in a banana leaf—showcases herbaceous notes of the fresh herbs, coupled with the green flavors of the banana leaf,” says Le Zlatt. “It plays very well with the vibrant herb and tropical fruit flavors found in the sauvignon blanc.”
Photography by: FROM TOP: PHOTO BY RACHEL CLAIRE/PEXELS; PHOTO BY ALEXANDER RUBIN; PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANDS; PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANDS; PHOTO BY JENNIFER OLSON;