A new twist on my food and wine paring series. You HAVE been reading those, right? I’m often sent wines to try. Some you hear about and some you don’t. But in addition to wine, the folks at Pedroncelli take it up a notch and have a specific dish that they’d like for you to pair with the wine – and they send you the recipe! Which means I don’t have to be all mad scientist trying to figure out an appropriate pairing. #Winning! This was right up my alley as I’m always up for a great wine and food pairing.
A trio of wines from Pedroncelli – a White Blend, a Rosé, and a Cabernet Sauvignon. Pedroncelli is the oldest family-owned winery in the Dry Creek Valley and celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2017. You must be doing something right if you’re still around after 90 years! What’s more, they are known for crafting quality wines using sustainable practices at affordable prices (most wines clock in at $20 or less). So, it’s never an issue to pop one open on any day of the week. They are able to keep prices so low since they own their vineyards, and have for decades, as well as have some long-term agreements with neighbors. Additionally, the business is very much family owned and operated with three generations currently working at the winery. All of this means we can get high quality wines at almost too good to be true prices.
2017 Pedroncelli Friends White Wine Blend, Sonoma County ($13)
Part of the Pedroncelli “Friends” series of wines, this is a wine that is meant to be easy-drinking and shared with friends. No fussiness. No stressing over the proper glass or a particular grape’s characteristics. A wine simply to be enjoyed for what it is. Crafted of Sauvignon Blanc and Gewurztraminer, this was such a fun wine to drink. Pale lemon color with a bit of green tinge in the glass. The wine was clean and crisp with medium acidity and offered up nice aromatics of lemon-lime, green melon, white flowers, and a bit of grass. Similar flavors emerged on the palate along with honey and tart lemon. Great on its own, but could also be paired with dishes that show some light spice.
2017 Pedroncelli Dry Rosé of Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley ($17)
Comprised of 100% Zinfandel (no it’s not that awful White Zinfandel that was produced back in the day!) this was such an intense dark pink in the glass. The nose bursts with strawberries, watermelon, and tangerine and transports you to warmer temperatures. Quite simply, summer in a glass. On the palate, the wine offered strawberry cream, juicy crisp watermelon, and generous acidity. This is a bit heavier than a typical Provencal style of Rosé which means it can hold its own with heartier fare. In fact, it was my favorite wine to pair with the recipe provided. More on that below.
2015 Pedroncelli Three Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Creek Valley ($20)
Comprised of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc, 3% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot and a tinge of Malbec, the wine is made with estate fruit that is picked a mere mile from the winery. It offers up plum, dates, figs, and cedar aromas. On the palate, the wine showed medium acidity with soft and smooth tannins. In addition to dark plum and blackberry flavors, there was an undercurrent of herbaceousness present. A great quality Cab at an even more amazing value.
I was given a recipe for Chicken with Prunes & Chiles to cook and pair specifically with the Cabernet Sauvignon. This is one of the many wine friendly recipes that you’ll find on the Pedroncelli website, all with tips on pairing with their wines. Being an Italian family, food is always at the forefront of the conversation and they craft their wines with food in mind. Definitely my kind of folks!
So off I went to prepare the chicken. I’ll admit that I’m one of those people that almost always modifies a recipe to fit my needs. But in this instance as I was cooking with things I don’t ordinarily cook with (Fino Sherry and Red Miso, not to mention prunes) I followed it to the letter.
And it was executed quite well, if I say so myself. My nice was over for dinner that night and really enjoyed the dish. Even Thing 1 & Thing 2 didn’t complain and finished their chicken as well. Go figure!
As for the parings, I tried the dish with all three wines.
While I liked the white wine with its acid to act as a palate cleanser, it was a bit overwhelmed by the flavor of the dish. If this dish had a bit more spice, I think it would have worked better with the white wine. The Cabernet Sauvignon was the recommended pairing, and while I didn’t mind it with the chicken, I actually preferred the Rosé for a couple of reasons. First, the fruit in the Rosé complemented the fruit in the chicken from the prunes. But more importantly, the dish got to be a bit rich and heavy when the sauce and prunes reduced. It needed something to lighten it up and the crisp, bright acid in the wine was a welcome pairing. It cleared the palate just enough so that you went back for more. But in either instance, it would be hard to go wrong.
I would love to know if you have the chance to taste any of the Pedroncelli wines. They really do craft some nice wines at amazingly affordable prices. Cheers y’all!