Alli, Dan and Friends: April 15th, 2017

Below you'll find the six wines we tasted at the event, along with the tasting notes and food pairing suggestions. I've even included links to my videos where applicable. Cheers, and thanks everybody!

Mirabella Franciacorta Saten (Italy)
Made from: Chardonnay
Price: $15

This sparkling wine from the northern part of Italy has smooth, silky bubbles and smells like toasted bread, peaches, citrus and flint. It's crisp, refreshing, zingy and a great way to wake up the palate at the beginning of a meal.

Pairs excellently with salty snacks including popcorn and potato chips, crusty bread with olive oil, caviar and goat cheese. We paired it with crusty bread smeared with honey goat cheese, toasted almonds and rosemary.

Make this easy appetizer that pairs with Sparkling wine.

Lionel Osmin Malbec (France)
Made from: Malbec
Price: $10

This is the true, original Malbec from southwest France. It's full of dried cherry and cranberry flavor, with a subtle touch of cinnamon spice and cedar on the finish. There's an added nuance of black pepper that comes in after you swallow.

French Malbec pairs well with soft, stinky cheeses, grilled or roasted poultry and is commonly paired with duck. It would be great with a bowl of chili.

We partnered this wine with a mixed plate of stinky cheese and duck liver paté with brandied Morello cherries.

Red wine and chili pairing.

Martin Codax Albariño (Spain)
Made from: Albariño
Price: $13

This white wine comes from the northwest part of Spain near the border with Portugal, and is floral, juicy and full-bodied. It tastes of green apples, white peaches, and has a faint, lily-like aroma.

A great match for shellfish and seafood, tuna tartare or ceviche. I'd drink it with raw oysters or grilled sardines!

We partnered this wine up with a simple and easy-to-make crab and avocado dish.

Baltos Mencia (Spain)
Made from: Mencia
Price: $16

This red wine from the northwest corner of Spain is full-bodied, slightly funky and has flavors of plum, red currant, tobacco, and vanilla spice. It's a big wine and needs big foods to tame it down.

Mencia is a good pairing for lamb, beef and venison. This is your "summertime grill" wine.

We paired it with, "Sweets and Beets:"


- 3 sweet potatoes
- 3 beets
- 1 onion
- 1 garlic bulb
- tsp. cumin
- Tbsp. coriander
- 2 Tbsp. fennel seed
- salt and pepper

Peel and cut sweet potatoes and beets into 1-inch cubes. In a bowl, coat with olive oil and add the spices. Cut up the onion and peel the garlic into individual cloves. Spread everything out on a cooking sheet and roast in the oven at 400° until soft enough to pierce with a fork.

Gerard Bertrand Cotes des Roses (France)
Made from: Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah
Price: $15

This is a pretty, delicate and elegant pink wine that has a strong aroma of kiwi, raspberries and strawberries. It's tart, fresh and acidic and tastes like ruby red grapefruit and strawberry.

Provencal rosé is a great match for charcuterie, appetizers and grilled poultry. It's versatile enough to partner with shellfish and oysters, or a bowl of pasta with garlic aioli.


We paired this lovely rosé with a watermelon and arugula salad. I added orange & grapefruit pieces to customize my recipe.

Collesole Sagrantino de Montefalco (Italy)
Made from:  Sagrantino
Price: $16

Hailing from the Umbria region, legend has it that this is the wine that St. Francis of Assissi brought with him for the Sacraments. It's big, brambly and has aromas and flavors of black cherry, leather, cigar box and vanilla candle wax.

A big, tannic wine like this is ideal with grilled or roasted meats, lamb, beef and venison.

Since truffles are a big part of the Umbrian culture, I made a truffle-cheese risotto. For instructions on how to make risotto, check out my video here. Simply add truffle oil, or truffled cheese to the rice when finished.