For years, many tasting rooms in California’s Napa Valley offered, at most, a dry cracker to accompany their wines. Now, thanks to a local ordinance change, an increasing number of wineries are joining such pairing pioneers as Cakebread Cellars and Robert Sinskey Vineyards with enticing food-and-wine offerings.
The DetailsB Cellars
400 Silverado Trail, Calistoga
4500 Silverado Trail, Napa
Round Pond Estate
875 Rutherford Road, Rutherford
1240 Duhig Road, Napa
Artesa Vineyards & Winery
1345 Henry Road, Napa
“If you travel in Europe, it’s unheard of to have wine without some food,” says Christina Machamer, winner of season four of Hell’s Kitchen and now chef at B CELLARS in Calistoga. “It creates a better experience and elevates wine from just being a cocktail.” Machamer creates seasonal “B-bites” to accompany its five wines as part of B Cellars’ flagship tasting ($25). One day, she might pair sauvignon blanc with a smoked-salmon-and-cream-cheese roulade; the next, perhaps with a Meyer lemon-salted caramel from San Francisco chocolatier Kai Kronfield of Nosh This.
SIGNORELLO ESTATE in Napa stakes its culinary claim on, well, steak. For its Terrazzo Summer Pairing ($35, weekends from May through October), the winery serves its two cabernet sauvignons — estate and Padrone — with two Kobe-style sliders made with Snake River Farms Kobe beef. Up the Silverado Trail in Rutherford, ROUND POND ESTATE highlights its own olive oils and red-wine vinegar in its family-style Il Pranzo Lunch ($80 per person). Guests pass around plates of meat and veggies from the winery’s garden, all paired with wines.
Visitors seeking a less-structured affair will find it on the patio at DOMAINE CARNEROS in Napa. Kick back with a leisurely sparkling-wine sampler ($20), a plate of California artisanal cheeses ($18) or perhaps some caviar ($85) while taking in the vineyard’s views. As for dessert, hop north across Carneros Highway to ARTESA VINEYARDS & WINERY for the Chocolate Indulgence tasting ($50). Chocolate purists in particular will appreciate the mix of single-origin and blended chocolates selected by Napa’s acclaimed chocolatier La Forêt to complement five of Artesa’s red wines.