Almost 10 years ago to the date, Riva Cucina hosted their first winemaker dinner at Riva Cucina with our dear friends, Julien and Elan Fayard. It was a special night indeed, as the four of us were just starting our new ventures. We now have the wonderful opportunity to bring this amazing team together again for another first winemaker dinner, this time at the newly-opened Marina wine bar, Cultivar San Francisco. Massi will be guest chef, pairing his cuisine with Julien's award-winning wines.
We hope you can join us for a wonderful evening, as we celebrate the opening of Cultivar SF and the wines of Julien Fayard.
With Spring here and summer entertaining just around the corner we wanted to share this great blog post from Kit of The Kittchen sharing her favorite Cheese pairings with Cultivar Wine. For any Cultivar Wine Club members, this will be great inspiration guiding you on what recent wine club releases to pair best with which cheese. Lifestyle blog.
See the entire blog post on The Kittchen. Happy pairing, we hope you enjoy this delicious entertaining inspiration and fun!
Photos courtesy of Kit of The Kittchen
We are thrilled to share with you a post by one of our Cultivar Wine Bloggers, Kelly of A Side of Sweet. This is a sneak peak of the post. Please visit A Side of Sweet for the entire recipe (Cheese, crackers, greenery and other yummyness featured below). Kudos Kelly on such a fabulous casual cheese & wine spread. We love it and are thrilled to share it with our readers.
"Putting Together a Fancy Wine & Cheese Spread"
Cheese :: "I figured this was my chance to go crazy and get a whole bunch of cheese! I definitely went overboard, which was fine by me because it meant I got to eat my favorite meal of cheese and crackers for dinner the next few nights."
"My first stop was Trader Joe’s where you can get some delicious options that are great for a budget. The I hit up Whole Foods. Although it’s a bit more expensive, the nice thing about Whole Foods is that the staff is super knowledgable and will go out of their way to help you pick the perfect cheese for your occasion. They also had a better selection of local cheeses. Here are the cheeses I got."
Creamy Toscano soaked in Syrah
Italian Truffle Cheese
Le Delice de Bourgogne Triple Cream Soft Ripened Cheese
Assortment of Chèvre
Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam cheese
Point Reyes Original Blue cheese
Spanish Tapa’s Assortment
Goat’s Milk Feta
Wine :: "I wanted to go with local wine, so I served Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc from Cultivar Wines. Cultivar is a family-run winery in Napa Valley, California. They make their wines from some of the best grapes in Napa and it shows – when we opened our first bottle I almost fell over! This wine is some of the best I’ve had in California, even with all the trips to wine country that we’ve made since we moved here! I think it was one of the highlights of the night – our guests kept commenting on how good it was!"
To read more about the Charcuterie, Crackers and other tips for this amazing dish visit A Side Of Sweet.
Seafood and steak is a classic match. But when it comes to a wine that works for both you might find yourself scratching your head. Here’s the secret for ensuring wine connoisseurs as well as both beef and seafood lovers are satisfied:
Choose a wine that pairs with one of the proteins and a sauce for the other protein.
In February, Chef Jeffrey Jake of Silverado Resort and Spa paired two entrees with three of our Cabernet Sauvignons: 2011 Cultivar Leaky Lake Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012 St. Helena Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2010 Caspar Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.
With these entrees you’re not matching the wine to both of the proteins. The Braised Shortribs are a strong, classic pairing for Cabernet Sauvignon. So, the secret to the pairing for the seared tuna must lie with the sauce. Cabernet Sauvignon does pair with Tuna seasoned with black pepper, but not as strongly as the sauce: a Piperade stew.
Remember when pairing at home to focus on your main aromas and flavors. With the Tuna, the piperade stew, which is made with bell peppers, tomatoes, and onions, is a stronger flavor than the Tuna.
Want to serve Piperade in your house? Try Martha Stewart’s Piperade recipe. If using a different Piperade recipe, take care not to let the heat of the chilis dominate, as the spice accentuates the tannins. The recipe from Martha Stewart is made without chili peppers.
Nothing says Spring more than a Rose inspired by the Rivera. And we’re excited to announce our latest 2014 Cultivar Napa Valley Rose release, perfect to enjoy by itself, as a start to your springtime gatherings, or as the star of light meals.
For our 2014 release, we blended Pinot Noir, Syrah, Grenache, with a splash of Sauvignon Blanc. Its pale pink, copper color catches your eye. Strawberry and cranberry aromas with hints of floral notes entice your nose. Then once you sip, tantalize your palate with cranberry and tart cherry fruit with spice and floral notes. Enjoy this bright and refreshing wine chilled.
If you’re planning on serving Cultivar Wine for your Passover or Easter gatherings, be sure to get your orders in before Sunday, March 28th, weather permitting.
The secret to pairing a Rose is knowing how sweet it is. Unlike our 2013, which had a sweet finish, our 2014 release has a tart, dry, mineral finish. Here are three tips that will have your tastebuds singing.
Here’s how two Bay Area chefs paired our 2014 Cultivar Napa Valley Rose.
Chef Jake of Silverado Resort and Spa showcased the flexibility of our 2014 Rose, pairing it with a cornucopia of fresh local vegetables, prosciutto, and a variety of spreads: Black Garlic, Olive Tapenade, Salmon Rillettes, Aioli, and Roasted Pepper.
Impress your family and guests with your own Salmon Rillettes with this recipe from Anna Zepaltas inspired by a dish at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon bistro.
Chef Rosenblum of Causwells took toast, topped it with an herbed goat cheese spread and slice of radish.
If you want to enjoy this pairing yourself, try this radish, green onion, and herbed goat cheese spread recipe from Whole Foods Coop.
We are excited to announce our first Napa Valley Chardonnay: our 2013 Oak Knoll District Chardonnay. This Chardonnay is the perfect wine to drink now: on its own, with a light meal, or with your starter course at dinner.
Stock up now to be ready for the Spring weather that’s just around the corner! Bottles are $28 / $22.40 Wine Club and Cases are $285 / $268 Wine Club.
Swirl your Chardonnay to coat the glass and then bring up to your nose. Inhale aromas of baked apples, pear and melon with a hint of spice. Close your eyes and savor the wine as it hits your tongue. Enjoy baked apple, caramel, and a hint of brown butter that ends with a delicate finish. Serve chilled.
The Oak Knoll appellation, located south of Yountville in the heart of Napa Valley is known for a climate that is cooler and more moderate than any region in Napa Valley outside of Carneros. This cooler climate delivers restrained, delicate Chardonnays with the perfect balance of sugar and acid.
One of the most popular and traditional California Chardonnay pairings is with Dungeness Crab or crab cakes. And you won’t go wrong with this match up.
To shake things up a bit and truly delight the taste buds of your guests, pick a few goat cheeses to start your evening: Bucheron, a fresh French goat cheese; Garrotxa, an aged Spanish goat cheese; or mild American goat cheddar. Goat cheese further heightens the fruit in the 2013 Cultivar Oak Knoll District Chardonnay.
Another less common match you should experiment with is sweet corn. For something off the beaten path that our guests may not have enjoyed, match our Chardonnay with either a Corn Chowder or Corn Salsa.
What will you pair your Chardonnay with?
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and you’re being barraged with reminders. Reminders to buy jewelry. Get flowers. Pair chocolate with wine.
Before you rush out and grab your favorite bottle of Cultivar and box of local artisan chocolates or truffles, stop. Not all chocolate and wine is a match made in heaven. (If you’re unsure, finish your wine before sampling your chocolate.)
Between the wine and the chocolate you are looking for a balance of sweetness, fruit, and acidity. To help you achieve this balance, there are a couple of general guidelines to keep in mind.
Truly successful matches go beyond these guidelines.
What are the exact characteristics of a successful match? It depends; it’s a matter of personal taste. Some feel chocolate never pairs with wine. I believe it’s not that straightforward, and matches can only be found through experimentation. When pairing wine with chocolates, I look first to the aromas I’m inhaling when I first raise my glass. Then I think about the nuanced flavors I’m tasting.
Interested in learning more about the art of chocolate and wine pairing? Check out the three-part series on The Nibble: Part 1 – Introduction; Part II – Pairing Chart; and Hosting a Chocolate Tasting Party.
If you want a memorable bite, try one or all of these three pairings.
Rose is the perfect Spring wine. For Valentine’s Day, our 2014 Cultivar Napa Valley Rose is a great way to start your evening, light and crisp with just the right balance of tart cranberry and hint of strawberry.
Why this pairing works: The interplay between cranberry and strawberry notes is why our 2014 Cultivar Napa Valley Rose pairs with a Peanut Butter and Strawberry chocolate. The fresh strawberry jam in the chocolate brings the strawberry notes of the wine to center stage while the creamy peanut butter softens the sweetness of the milk chocolate with its saltiness for a soft finish.
Our 2013 Cultivar Napa Valley Rose (currently only available in keg), on the other hand, which is sweeter than our 2014 vintage, paired with a Candy Cane chocolate. This unusual pairing worked because organic candy canes were crushed into Strauss cream, organic butter, and white chocolate. The peppermint accented the strawberry notes while the cream coated the mouth and balanced the wine’s crisp finish.
A wine for scotch drinkers is how our 2013 Cultivar Oak Knoll District Chardonnay has been described. This characteristic is why when chilled you can enjoy with an Old Fashioned Chocolate which is a combination of single barrel bourbon, Fee Brothers bitters, a twist of orange all blended into Solstice Madagascar chocolate.
Why this pairing works: Our 2013 Cultivar Oak Knoll District Chardonnay, fermented in neutral oak barrels, delivers fruit on the nose and hints of baking spices that finishes with caramel and brown butter. These apple, pear, and melon notes in the wine balance the bitters and hint of orange in the chocolate for a richer experience. Where alone the wine has a delicate finish, the single barrel bourbon in the chocolate intensifies the wine’s caramel finish and adds a touch of oakiness.
At first glance, our last pairing looks as if the caramel might be sweeter than the wine. It’s not. Passion fruit is a tad bit sweet and yet also slightly sour. It is this contradiction that makes this match complementing the structure of our 2011 Cultivar Leaky Lake Cabernet Sauvignon.
Why this pairing works: On your inhale, nutmeg and cinnamon tantalize with a hint of mocha and cedar. These aromas scream for caramel and passion fruit. The Passion Fruit caramel combines these flavors into a creamy decadent bite that’s slightly bittersweet. Because the chocolate isn’t overly sweet and the flavors are those present in the 2011 Cultivar Leaky Lake Cabernet Sauvignon you have a match made in heaven.
Which ever way you enjoy your chocolate and your wine--together or separately, have fun this Valentine’s! Jot down notes about what you like as well as what you dislike. Then, the next time you’re standing in front of a chocolate counter pick up a few more to try.
Want to be daring while reducing the likelihood of a mismatch? Check out The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg. Simply find the wine you’re trying to match, for example Cabernet Sauvignon, and see what fruit flavors or dessert ingredients work with it, for example strawberries. (If there’s no fruit or dessert ingredient such as butter or cream, start with one of the aromas or one of the flavors on your palette that you experience with the wine.) Then look up strawberries (or the other fruit).
What chocolates do you enjoy with your Cultivar Wine?