Everyone craves a knock-your-socks off dessert from time to time…with a delicious wine or two for sipping! Now, we’re not only in the middle of “sweets” season (the holidays, you know…) but the year-end celebration of family owned Pedroncelli Winery’s 90th birthday. I can’t think of a better finale to a very special year than to savor each bite of sumptuous Port Fruit Bars with two extraordinary wines (sent as samples): Pedroncelli Sonoma Classico Red Blend 2015 and 4 Grapes Vintage Port 2012.
The Pedroncelli family is proud of their 90-year heritage. This year, they’ve shared fascinating stories of years gone by (and those that are happening right now) and their award-winning wines at events in the United States and abroad. I was honored to participate in more than a few celebratory gatherings. Beginning with a lovely dinner in Chicago with Julie St. John, third generation member of the Pedroncelli family, and a range of twitter chats that focused on memorable recipes and wine pairings (see below for links to articles written about the chats), I’ve been inspired to find and enjoy more of their food friendly, affordable wines and pair with favorite recipes. And the genuine members of the Pedroncelli team? Each has made me feel like a part of the family.
A few weeks ago, a group of food loving wine writers and I were sent a recipe for Port Fruit Bars (click here for the recipe) and two wines for tasting, pairing, and reviewing. As we engaged in an hour-long twitter chat, all of us agreed that the dessert recipe was perfect for the holidays (and anytime, for that matter). This was the best riff on fruit cake that we could imagine!
As I mixed, stirred, and baked, my kitchen was filled with aromas of allspice, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. The final product was beautiful. Dried tart cherries, chopped prunes, golden raisins, dark raisins, and pecans offered a chewy texture to the sweet dessert bars. Did I mention there was a generous amount of Four Grapes Port included in the blend? Nirvana!
Savoring the Port Fruit Bars was only one element of this memorable evening…there were two more.
The Pedroncelli Sonoma Classico Red Blend 2015 ($20) is comprised of Merlot, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, and Syrah. Mesmerizing aromas of black cherries, cinnamon rolls, juicy plums, ripe blueberries, and exotic spice wafted from the glass. On the palate, fresh flavors of chocolate, dark red and black fruit, licorice, toasted walnuts, and spice were braided with bright acidity and firm tannins. The finish was supple and lush as it exuded plenty of spice. Only 600 cases have been made of this high quality red blend.
It’s the sharing of this wine with family and friends that defines it as a classic. Ed St. John, Pedroncelli Winery
As much as I craved each sip of the Red Blend with the Port Fruit Bars, the Pedroncelli 4 Grapes Vintage Port 2012 ($16) was an exceptional pairing and perhaps my favorite. From a four-acre vineyard established in 1995 by the Pedroncelli family, estate grown grapes Tinta Madeira, Tinta Cao, Souzao, and Touriga Nacional are in the blend. Red fruit, raisins, honey, and roasted nuts were just a few aromas I discovered when I poured my first glass. With a balanced, medium sweet profile that was anything but cloying, flavorful notes of dried fruit, ripe blackberries, sweet plums, and rich toffee flavors were lifted with plenty of acidity. Not only are the Port Fruit Bars a terrific pairing with the 4 Grapes Vintage Port, I’ll be savoring dark chocolate, blue cheeses, or roasted nuts with another glass (or two!).
Thank you, Pedroncelli Winery, for including me (and my appreciative palate) in so many memorable events through the year. Cheers to another 90+ years of beautiful wines and continued success! ~ Cindy
For more fascinating articles about the Pedroncelli family and food and wine pairings, please click on the links below.