I had the luxury of meeting Julie Pedroncelli St. John, third generation member of an iconic winemaking family in Sonoma County, during her winter trip to Chicago.  On the heels of my participation in a twitter chat featuring three Pedroncelli wines paired one of Julie’s favorite recipes a few days prior, I was thrilled. During dinner, Julie and I had an intriguing discussion about her family, the wines produced over the years, her role to help uphold the mission of her grandparents, and the Pedroncelli legacy moving forward.

2017 marks the 90th anniversary of this legendary winemaking family and I’m fortunate to be a small part of the celebration. For the complete article about our conversation and more, Pedroncelli Winery and Vineyards: A 90 Year Legacy of Family and Wine, please click here.

 

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Photo Credit: www.pedroncelli.com

One of the many insightful comments I noted during our conversation was that Julie and other members of the Pedroncelli family are proud to produce delicious wines that are meant to be paired with food. It’s that simple: Pedroncelli wines pair exceptionally well with whatever food is on the table.

During our dinner at The Gage on that chilly January evening, Julie shared a plethora of new releases that complemented our dinner: griddled Bucheron cheese with quince and sprouted grain salad under a soft blanket of winter spice vinaigrette, a farmer’s salad with market greens, radish, shaved fennel, feta, and hazelnut dressed with honey-vermouth vinaigrette, and pan roasted Faroe Island salmon over butternut squash puree with roasted cremini mushrooms. Cue the Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Cabernet Sauvignon. I was in foodie/winelover heaven!

Naturally, some of the wines we tasted paired more effectively with one dish than another, but the premise that Pedroncelli wines are food friendly is an understatement. Each had a special place on the table, in my glass, and with a bite of something downright delectable.

Fast forward from January to a few weeks ago.

I was invited, along with some of my wine savvy colleagues in the blogging world, to participate in another twitter chat featuring three wines from Pedroncelli Winery: Pedroncelli Dry Rose of Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley 2016, Pedroncelli Sauvignon Blanc 2016, and Pedroncelli Sangiovese Alto Vineyards 2015. Our marching orders (or rather, tasting orders) were to make a recipe for Feta and Kalamata Lemon Chicken, pair the dish with each of the wines, and engage in a virtual discussion at a specified time. Our “research” proved, yet again, Pedroncelli Winery is producing the food friendly wines everyone is searching for.

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Feta and Kalamata Lemon Chicken

A snap to make (thank you!), the Feta and Kalamata Lemon Chicken (click here for the recipe) is a delightful springtime entrée. With each bite, I was reminded of the palate pleasing tastes of dishes I enjoyed while on the Mediterranean coast this past fall. Distinctive notes of olives, oregano, and garlic were flavorful, the feta cheese contributed texture, and the lemons added a burst of acidity; my family craved each forkful. But which wines were my preferred pairings?

Feta and Kalamata Lemon Chicken with Pedroncelli wines

The Wines of Pedroncelli

The first wine I poured was the Pedroncelli Dry Rosé of Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley 2016 ($15). The Pedroncelli family has been producing a Zinfandel based Rosé since the mid-1950s and since, their style has evolved. Now, the focus is “on crisp acidity and true varietal character allowing the fresh fruit flavors to shine”. And do they ever! On the nose, refreshing aromas of bright red cherries, raspberries, touch of orange peel, and a veritable rose garden were intense. My palate discovered notes of spice, generous amounts of fruit, and candied rose petals with bright acidity and barely-there tannins, leading to a balanced, lingering finish. Admittedly, I opened the Rosé while preparing the dish and sipped while noshing on a few parmesan crisps and soft cheeses, a luscious combination. Paired with the Feta and Kalamata Lemon Chicken, though, the Rosé was delightful, thanks in part to its bow to both tart and fruit elements.

pedroncelli rose
 Next, I opened a chilled bottle of Pedroncelli Sauvignon Blanc 2016 ($15) when dinner was served. Grapes were sourced from three vineyards (one of which was their estate vineyard) in the Dry Creek Valley, an area noted for cultivating and developing brilliant fruit characteristics and vivid acidity in Sauvignon Blanc wines. Fresh and lush, with no oak or malolactic fermentation prior to bottling, this Sauvignon Blanc was a stunning pairing with the Feta and Kalamata Lemon Chicken. Fresh squeezed citrus and grassy notes on the nose were mesmerizing and I couldn’t wait to have that first sip. There, I discovered that famed burst of acidity, notes of juicy tropical fruit, and a long, crisp finish that complemented the Mediterranean flavors of the dish. Bravo!

pedroncelli sauvignon blanc
Sangiovese grapes, planted in honor of the Pedroncelli family heritage over 20 years ago, clearly create a unique addition to the portfolio. Our final wine, Pedroncelli Sangiovese Alto Vineyards 2015 ($17), was delicious, but the pairing with Feta and Kalamata Lemon Chicken didn’t allow the wine to show its true profile. In the spirit of continued research, I swirled, sipped, and savored this scrumptious wine with the vegetarian pizza I had the following night. Wafting from the glass were notes of tart cherries, raspberries, and spice. On the palate, this medium bodied wine boasted gentle tannins and food friendly acidity over which rich flavors of vanilla, cranberry, pomegranate, those lovely cherries, and just a hint of oak shone brightly. The finish, lingering and satisfying, begged for another pour.

pedroncelli sangiovese

Exquisite, versatile wines that pair exceptionally well with any food you crave? Pedroncelli Winery has the wine for you.

Cheers! ~ Cindy

 

 

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