Five Wine & Food Pairings That Would Be Perfect For Your Next Dinner Party
April 24, 2017

Five Wine & Food Pairings That Would Be Perfect For Your Next Dinner Party

By Amy Fuentes, 
Fresno Food Expo Manager

These combinations of Central California food and wines are sure to satisfy your dinner party guests
With enough land to take up around three-quarters of France (our biggest winemaking rival), 90% of America's wine and much of its freshest food is produced in California, with the Central California region being perhaps our state's lushest agricultural area. Given the seemingly endless vineyards, eternal sunshine, and a perfect year-round climate, who would want to eat (or drink) anywhere else?

To celebrate the greatness of the central part our state and its dizzying variety of fresh agricultural products, we've compiled a list of some of the best locally produced food and wine combos just in time for your next dinner party. Each wine is from right here in Central California, and we’ve provided local pairing options in every dish to give you a taste of what our region has to offer: fresh fruits and veggies, wild-caught fish, farm, open-range, and grass-fed beef and poultry products, and the freshest herbs and spices. Sit back and get ready to have your mind (and your taste buds) blown by these amazing combos.

1. San Joaquin Wine Company Green Eyes Merlot  

Paired with:
California Tri-tip Sirloin
Chargrilled Asparagus with Garlic
Squid-Ink Risotto 
With notes of sweet berries, light wooden notes, and a touch of citrus, this mild San Joaquin Valley merlot is sure to be a crowd pleaser-- and nothing pleases a crowd more than combining merlot with a nice, juicy steak. Complete with squid ink risotto, which has creamy and salty notes that balance out the steak’s rich, savory flavors and crunchy, garlicky asparagus providing some needed greenery to the table.

Local Ingredients:
California Beef: Harris Ranch, Coalinga, CA
Tri-Tip: Barnett Meats, Oakhurst, CA
Garlic: The Garlic Company of California, Bakersfield, CA

2. Papagni Wines 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon 

Paired with:
Grass-fed, Balsamic Marinated Lamb Chops
Saffron mashed potatoes
This rich Cabernet from Madera, CA features rich tones of plums and ripe raspberries and light notes of cherry – making it an excellent wine to pair with beef, lamb, and pork. That means it should pair especially well with lamb chops and bold, savory seasonings. The mashed potatoes act as an unconventional form of palate cleanser, while the addition of exotic saffron ensures that the side dish is remembered in its own right.

Local Ingredients:
Potatoes: RPE Produce,Bakersfield, CA
Balsamic Glazes: Star Fine FoodsFresno, CA

3. 2014 CRŪ Vineyard Montage Pinot Noir

Paired with:
Wild Mushroom & Artichoke Dip– Served with Cracker Bread
Creamy Polenta with Peppers and Onions
Originating in Berenda, just half an hour outside Fresno, this selection contains notes of cherry cola and earthy forest cedar, as well as hints of blueberry, pomegranate, and raspberry, all which make this wine feel just a bit more decadent than your average Pinot Noir. That’s a good thing, because well-done mushrooms almost take on the consistency of meat when cooked just right and used as a cracker bread topping.  These flavors complement each other nicely, especially when combined with the additional starch and spice of the polenta side dish.

Local Ingredients:
Onions and peppers: Sunnyside Packing, Selma, CA
Round Cracker Bread: Valley Lahvosh Baking Company, Fresno, CA

4. Toca Madera Moscato

Paired with:
Prosciutto, Burrata, Fig Jelly & Arugula on Sourdough Bread
Parmesan Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Toca Madera presents us this new version of an old classic with tones of sweet grass, lemon meringue, quince, and bright citrus. This should go well with the arugula sandwich, aptly complemented by the cheesy, crunchy goodness of sweet potato fries.

Local Ingredients:
Prosciutto: Busseto Foods, Fresno, CA
Fig jelly: Valley Fig Growers, Fresno, CA
Sourdough Bread: Max’s Artisan Breads, Fresno, CA

5. Birdstone Winery 2016 Alegria Reserve Chardonnay

Paired with:                             
Extra Crispy Duck Fat Fried Fingerling Potatoes
California Salmon with Tarragon Butter
This Chardonnay, also from Madera, CA, has intense notes of apple and pear and a crisp, yet lush finish. The wine’s light warmth complements the rich, flaky, texture of the California salmon, while the duck fat fried fingerling potatoes offer meaty, starchy flavors that boldly contrast with the rest of the dish.

Local Ingredients:
Duck Fat: Mary’s DucksSanger, CA 
California Salmon: Central Fish Company, Fresno, CA
Butter: Top O The Morn Farms Sweet Cream Butter, Tulare, CA

Enjoy more of the tastes of Central California at the Fresno Food Expo
If you had any doubt before, now you know: Central California is one of the richest culinary and agricultural production regions on Earth. And whether you’re searching out gourmet goodies for a special someone or looking to find a new bulk produce supplier for a chain of restaurants, you’ll probably find something you love at the Fresno Food Expo.

To learn more about the sights, sounds, and tastes of Central California, and to our region’s thriving food community, check out our website to learn more.

The Fresno Food Expo is the nation’s largest regional food tradeshow. The Expo will be held on July 26-27, 2017 in Fresno, California, during Central California’s prime growing season. Our mission is to provide a platform that increases the commerce and connectivity of Central California’s food and beverage related companies, while creating a regional identity centered around the celebration of food production and the experience food inspires.

Photos courtesy of:
Dave Lastovskiy


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