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In partnership with Serendipity, the following wines are available in the California market.

Are You Ready to Rumble?

Even though it’s our job year-round to match wine with food, there’s something different about November that brings out the foodie in us. Gathering, building traditions, recipes practiced and perfected until they seamlessly become a part of our favorite memories— it’s easy to get excited about the season when food and wine are your love language. To celebrate, we asked a handful of our most pairing-savvy teammates to compete and send us their top wine picks for popular fall dishes. Today we’re pitting market against market in this challenge that honors one of our favorite parts of the biz. Let us know your favorite wine pairing by voting at the end of this post…

Round 1: Thomas VS Michael

What would you pair with Steak Tartare?

Thomas, Sacramento Sales

Thomas’ Pick: Cru Beauj

“At the risk of seeming cliché, I would pair Jacky Janodet Moulin-à-Vent with steak tartare. What grows together goes together, and all that. This lovely Cru Beaujolais (made from the Gamay grape) is shiny and fresh, but with a little more earthy and granitic edge than other Crus in the appellation… And what I love about several single Cru Beaujolais is that they’re dynamic and versatile when it comes to food pairing. This wine would be just as happy cutting through the fatty richness of other Bistro classics like Boeuf Bourguignon and Coq-au-Vin, as it would be the fruity partner to a creamy and delicate steak tartare.”

Michael, LA & Beach City Sales

Michael’s Pick: Oregon Pinot Noir

“When I think of steak tartare I think of quality, fresh ingredients. Tangy capers, a burst of stone ground mustard, maybe an anchovy or two for that extra umami flavor and, of course, the most important part: top-grade beef. Despite all of the powerful flavors that go into this dish, the steak is the star of the show. And for a pairing, it needs a wine that is equally superior at its core– it needs Angela Vineyards Pinot Noir! This organic wine is a stunning expression of fruit from the Yamhill-Carlton District in the Willamette Valley. A subtle earthiness, ripe red fruit, and delicate herb notes match the complexity of flavors in the steak tartare. Not to mention that this Pinot has a velvety texture that, between bites, adds a craveable hint of luxury to every sip!”

Round 2: Michelle VS Leslie

What would you pair with Cioppino?

Michelle, San Francisco Sales

Michelle’s Picks: Paso Chardonnay & Pinot Noir

Ahh, a San Francisco favorite!  My perfect wine pairing for the classic San Francisco Cioppino would be hands down from lovely Paso Robles: Sextant Chardonnay. The Estate Chardonnay is an unoaked offering, which is very clean, and crisp– this is a great style and such a delight to pair with Cioppino. If you are traveling to San Francisco and want to try this dish together with the wine, you can have both the Lazy Man’s Cioppino with the Sextant Chardonnay at Scoma’s Restaurant. This is a very fresh pairing but if you have a table that also enjoys red wine, may I introduce to you the Sextant Pinot Noir? This is a silky, elegant Pinot Noir, giving a different experience with the pairing– there’s more of a focus on the base of tomato and herbs. The supple tannins of this overall classic Pinot Noir from the Santa Lucia Highlands gives a nice rich accent to your tastebuds. If you left your heart in San Francisco, here is the recipe for the foodie in you: Scoma’s Lazy Man’s Cioppino!

Leslie, Marketing Director

Leslie’s Pick: Piemontese Red

“Give me Marchesi Incisa Grignolino d’Asti! Piemontese red with seafood stew might not be your first pairing thought, but man, do Cioppino and Grignolino play well together (maybe it’s because they kinda rhyme?). Bright, lively and savory Grignolino complements the richness of the tomato broth beautifully. I love the fresh berry fruit notes of the wine against the herbs and fennel of the dish. And although Grignolino is technically a red wine, with a slight (or significant) chill, it drinks like a well-backboned rose – so it won’t clobber the delicate fresh fish and shellfish that are the star of the show. Beyond traditional holiday fare, I love the Marchesi Incisa Grignolino as a counterbalance to the heavy, richer stews and braises of the season. Grignolino is naturally high in tannin and acid so it has plenty of structure and grip and it stays light and lithe on the palate getting you ready for that next decadent bite.

Round 3: Jordan VS Ivy

What would you pair with Mole Negro?

Jordan, North Bay Sales

Jordan’s Pick: A Vibrant California Red

“What do you give the sauce that has everything? Because the 2016 Inheritance Estate Syrah by Kivelstadt Cellars has it all. And sometimes more is more. I enjoy balance and contrast in food & wine pairings and I often spend a lot of time finding the perfect foil for a dish I’m developing. But here we’re not being delicate. Sometimes bigger is better. Make no mistake, it’s a true powerhouse combination that will both delight and, perhaps even at times, overwhelm the senses. So while I’m not sure this is something I would enjoy regularly, who are we kidding? How often does one make Mole Negro? If this were a game of matchmaker we would likely be setting the stage for a doomed long-term marriage; it’s a little too much of a good thing. But for a grand occasion with select family and friends, a 12-round heavyweight bout at the table is sure to create lasting memories. Syrah’s naturally smoky, feral and brooding character has met its match here with the earthy, savory intensity of a dark mole. It’s an incendiary combination to be sure, but the wine and the sauce also share a sense of warmth, elegance, depth and complexity that provides fulfillment we are longing for.”

Ivy, LA Sales

Ivy’s Pick: Big, Bold Zin!

“I love me some mole! I would pair La Storia Zinfandel with a mole negro. La Storia Zin has a brooding, dark, luscious jammy fruitiness and a molten hot chocolate smokiness. The tannins are soft and leave no bitterness lingering on the tongue. I think this complements the rich dark chocolate, sweetness and earthy richness of the dark mole as long as it is not too spicy. If the mole is too spicy it may increase the spicy sensation of the chili peppers. Most dark moles that I have had are not too spicy (for me anyway). I also love the sweet rich pairing of this Zin with Barbeque ribs or chicken.”

Round 4: Katherine VS Jim

What would you pair with Ramen?

Katherine, Southern California Sales

Katherine’s Pick: Champagne!

“Bubbles aren’t just for brunch! As the leaves start to turn and the nights get colder, there’s nothing better than the aroma of rich, creamy ramen simmering. Although bubbles can be enjoyed anytime, day or night, I highly recommend it with a bowl of Tonkotsu Ramen. Champagne Canard-Duchene Leonie Brut pairs beautifully with its bright, fresh acidity and exotic spiciness with tiny bubbles dancing on the palate. This elegant and vegan Champagne also balances out the saltiness and richness of the broth and cuts through the pork belly fat. There are so many different types of ramen, as well, but have confidence that this taste of France can complement any style. Cheers!”

Jim, San Francisco Sales

Jim’s Picks: Zippy Whites

“My usual wines with ramen are Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc (especially Sancerre and Pouilly Fume) and Trocken Riesling. These styles of wines work because of their solid acidity and bright minerality that balance out the rich fats in the pork and the umami character of most broths. Trocken (aka ‘dry’) Riesling also has similar balancing characteristics– Riesling usually has high acidity, comparable minerality, and ample fruit. Try my top four choices from Serendipity: Yves Martin Sancerre, Dyckerhoff Reuilly Blanc, Basserman Jordan Riesling Trocken, and Stefan Muller Riesling Trocken. These wines are also great with most holiday proteins, like turkey, honey ham and pork roast.”

Who paired it better?

Let us know your faves by taking this quick pairing poll:

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