The Robert Young estate in California.

Food & Drink

Wine of the Month

January 2011

By James Bifferato |

As we settle in to winter, it’s a time to enjoy a fine wine and a delicious meal. I have a couple of suggestions that will brighten even these short, dark days.

The first is a Bouchaine Carneros Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir is the most versatile red wine to pair with an extensive variety of foods, since it evokes flavors found in so many fares. Even so, we love to serve this Pinot with grilled or smoked foods. Suggestions include pan-seared ahi tuna steaks, pepper-crusted grilled salmon, and pork tenderloin with a dried-cherry relish. Or for a flavorful yet simple pasta dinner, pair this wine with a wild mushroom risotto accented with truffle oil.

My next suggestion is a Chateau St. Jean Robert Young Vineyard Chardonnay, from the historic Robert Young Vineyard. That vineyard, in the Alexander Valley region of California’s Sonoma County, has been farmed by the Young family since 1861. This complex Chardonnay showcases the aromas and flavors of honeysuckle, apple, and citrus.  This wine is aged in small oak barrels, then receives extended bottle aging before being released. We suggest serving it with seafood dishes such as mahi mahi grilled with lemon zest or pan-seared scallops.

The Robert Young estate in California.

It pairs nicely with fowl, too, such as herb-roasted chicken as well as baked lemon pepper chicken.  For a quick dinner to accompany this wine, pasta tossed with olive oil, lemon and peas works well.

My final suggestion is Malbec from Lopez Noceti. This 100% estate Malbec from a 60-year-old estate vineyard is aged for six months in French and American oak. This wine offers a red-purple color, aromas of crushed berries, followed by jammy blue and blackberry fruit flavors, medium body texture, and low acidity and soft tannins in the finish. We like to enjoy it with grilled flank steak with a horseradish cream sauce, a puttanesca sauce over spaghetti, and mild cheeses and spicy salami.

James Bifferato is the manager of The Wine & Spirit Co. of Greenville.