It’s always great fun to taste wines in Wine Country. Yet it’s even better to pair that wine with food, prepared by winery chefs.
By matching wine and food, you get the best of both worlds, since it’s true that often drink tastes better with something to eat, and vice versa. More and more Northern California tasting rooms offer culinary experiences, and a top tour company can give you exceptional insight into some of the best.
For a truly fantastic experience, why not make a day of it, with a Pure Taste Wine Tour? You can sip and nibble through three wineries, and along the way, learn why certain foods works so marvelously with certain wines. It’s knowledge you can take home with you, to create your own “pure taste” explorations in your home kitchen.
Start at Arrowood Vineyards & Winery in Glen Ellen, for cheese, fruit, nuts and crackers paired with five wines. Featuring 100% Sonoma County sourced grapes, the wines emphasize red Bordeaux varieties, and particularly Cabernet Sauvignon. Tastings are held in a gracious hilltop two-story house with a classic wrap-around porch overlooking vineyards.
Next, you’re off to Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens in Santa Rosa, where you can tour the breathtakingly beautiful culinary gardens that provide much of the produce for the winery kitchen. Chef Justin Wangler prepares a lavish, seven course feast that changes seasonally. A recent menu included:
2014 Grand Reserve Sauvignon Blanc
Estate beets, Citrus Vinaigrette, Honey & Orange Roasted Almonds, Nicasio Valley Foggy Morning Cheese, Chrysanthemum
2014 Jackson Estate Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
Dungeness Crab Cakes, Carrot, Persimmon and Radish Slaw, Meyer Lemon, Carrot & Ginger Dressing
2013 Jackson Estate Outland Ridge Pinot Noir
Sunchoke Soup, Liberty Duck Confit, Dried Cherries, Mushroom, Sunchoke Chip
2012 Jackson Estate Hawkeye Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Braised Beef Short Ribs, Pickled Peppers, Celery Root Purée, Turnips
Grand Reserve Port, NV
Flourless Chocolate Cake, Candied Hibiscus, Taylor Maid Farms Coffee Mousse, Chicory Meringue
Cannelés de Bordeaux
There’s still more to enjoy, with a visit to La Crema, renowned for its Pinot Noirs. The Healdsburg tasting room is quite stylish, with windows opening onto the bustling downtown sidewalk. Here, you can savor vineyard select and limited-production releases only available directly from the winery.