Future Reports

Report #44 -
The Wines of Sonoma

Sonoma County is California's largest producer of high quality premium wines with extensive plantings of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and very old vine Zinfandel in addition to Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. It is also especially diverse, with 14 AVAs offering distinct climates, soils and topography ranging from the cool climate Fort Ross-Seaview AVA overlooking the Pacific to the county's newest AVA, the high altitude Moon Mountain District. This report explores Sonoma's diversity of vineyards and wines in a Double Issue forthcoming in September/October.

Pairing Carmenere
with Food from Around the World 1

What’s Cooking with Carmenere? Carmenere goes terrifically with food. It’s a highly versatile red grape that goes well with a wide variety of dishes, especially spicy and savory ones. In this section, we provide readers with some suggestions on pairing Carmenere with different cuisines from around the world. Depending upon the dishes, Carmenere can be an adventurous and satisfying alternative to Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah, Chianti Classico, Tempranillo and Malbec.

As noted earlier, Carmenere comes in several styles, but the most common one is ripe and spicy dark red fruit with a soft, velvet texture on the palate and with accents of black pepper, possibly smoke and tar, or herbs and green pepper. It usually has some oak spice aromas and flavors, too. It is medium weight with good structure and acidity, due in part to blending with Cabernet Sauvignon. And it has soft, round tannins on the finish.

Taking Account of Ingredients. While highly versatile for pairing with food, we find that Carmenere goes particularly well with dishes that contain the following ingredients:

  • Herbs and spices: oregano, rosemary, and thyme, garlic, fennel, red and black pepper, curry powder, saffron, paprika, anise and cumin.

  • Fruits and vegetables: olives, black and green, mushrooms, tomatoes, green pepper, eggplant, piquillo peppers, onion, sweet potato, corn.

  • Meats and Fish: lamb, stewing beef, pork sausage, chicken, duck, rabbit, wild boar, venison, all depending upon the preparations.

Viña Errazuriz and Carmenere

CarmenereViña Errazuriz pairs their ethereal Kai Carmenere with a magnificent dish of Boar Tenderloin over Portobello Mushrooms and Grilled Vegetables with a Carmenére Reducation and Cilantro Foam.

Preparations. Carmenere is divine with savory dishes, especially earthy stews, and moderately spicy or even hot spicy dishes. It goes well with vegetables alone or meats and vegetables. It also handles well spicy dishes off the grill. As shown in thetable, Carmenere pairs well with the cuisines of many countries.

Country/Region

Dishes to Pair with Carmenere

Chile

Corn dishes such as Pastel de Choclo (corn and meat pie); Churrasco with Pebre (Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Chilean Cilantro Sauce)

India

Hot and spicy foods like lamb curry and many other Indian dishes, especially those with eggplant and tomatoes, and tandoori chicken

Morocco

Kefta, lamb meatballs. Kefta is usually made with tomato sauce, mint, cilantro, cayenne paper, cumin and paprika, even goat cheese. Lamb Tangine. Lamb shanks braised in a tangine, served with couscous and vegetables—or any earthy braised meat, paprika, anise, cumin, saffron, fennel.

Italy

Sweet and spicy pork sausages, especially those with fennel, red pepper, and oregano, Salami and cold sliced meats, Bistecca alla Fiorentina, Pizza,

France

Ratatouille or a spicy Mediterranean Vegetable Ragout, Roast Duck with Sausage and Lentils, Beef Bourguignon, Cassoulet,

Spain

Catalan bean and sausage stew with mint, paprika, tomatoes, and Chorizo or Botifarra, Roasted pig.

California & Texas

Braised short ribs, Rack of Lamb with Rosemary and Garlic, Chile con Carne, Texas Ribs, Steak au Poivre

1 Excerpted from International Wine Review Report #21: The Chilean Wine Revolution February 2010