Volume XIV Food Pairings

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago when I interviewed Chris Broomell from Vesper Vineyards – who provided this month’s food pairing suggestions – he really saved the day when I was assembling this collection of domestic wines. There were a lot of options on the table (literally) and some tough calls to be made, as well as my son crawling around underfoot. It was an overwhelming tasting, and I’m not sure how I would have handled it without Chris. I’m thrilled to share with you his culinary advice for the wines that I selected. Thanks, Chris!

From Sea to Shining Sea features a truly unique set of wines, and I couldn’t be more proud of this one. It was even more fun thanks to Chris’s involvement. Check out what Dave McIntyre from the Washington Post had to say about this edition on his blog, DM WineLine!

Aaron Epstein, Curator

1. La Garagista, 2013 Coup de Foudre Pétillant Naturel, Vermont: Light up some charcoal in the BBQ and once ready throw some halved peaches on to enjoy with these bubbles. A great way to kick off any summer BBQ.

2. Ravines Wine Cellars, 2012 Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes, New York: Time to shuck some oysters to let the flavors play together on this one.

3. McPherson Cellars, 2013 Les Copains Rosé, Texas High Plains, Texas: Thinking about some prosciutto wrapped melon with this rosé is just making me thirsty.

4. Wollersheim Winery, 2013 Domaine du Sac, Lake Wisconsin Viticultural Area, Wisconsin: What comes to mind for a glass of this is sitting on my deck on a warm summer evening with BBQ Chipotle chicken and bell peppers.

5. Ankida Ridge, 2012 Pinot Noir, Virginia: Mmm… Lamb… Pan-seared lamb chops!

6. Creekside Cellars, 2011 Cabernet Franc “Franc:” Colorado Grand Valley, Colorado: Something about this wine just had me imagining a Santa Maria tri tip under some oaks withs a bunch of friends enjoying the day.

Chris Broomell, Winemaker, Vesper Vineyards


An interview with Vesper Vineyards’ Chris Broomell

When I was preparing to taste the samples for Volume XIV: From Sea to Shining Sea, I had a moment of panic. I wasn’t sure how I would even get from one end of the table to the other; it was literally covered with bottles, not to mention my eight-month old son crawling around beneath it. So I called my friend Chris Broomell, winemaker at Vesper Vineyards, and invited him to join me. As well as a fine palate and strong (yet humbly-expressed) opinions, Chris possesses a gentle demeanor that has a uniquely calming effect on both myself and the baby.

And thank God I did. This was easily one of the most dynamic collections of wines I have ever sat down to taste, full of surprises and overflowing with possibilities. Selecting six wines for this edition was not easy, although it was simplified somewhat by Chris’s company and conversation. When all was said and done, who else was I going to ask to suggest food pairings for these wines?

I’m excited to share Chris’s culinary recommendations with you later this week, but as usual I wanted to start by introducing Chris himself. I hope you enjoy the interview below – check back soon for the pairings!

Aaron Epstein, Curator

PS: Volume XIV is already sold out, but tickets for our Aboveground dinner at Cowboy Star on July 31 are available here.

AE: Tell me about that pivotal moment when you decided to dedicate your life to wine. (Come on, we’ve all got one…)

CB: Thinking back, it has to be the first day of de-stemming red at Jaffurs Wine Cellars for the 2006 harvest. I had a strong interest in wine before that, but that day sealed the deal. 

AE: What food(s) did you find most comforting as a child?

CB: Lamb, pasta and fresh squeezed orange juice.

AE: And what does “comfort food” mean to you today?

CB: Anything that makes me smile!

AE: Do you have a go-to “house wine” that you always have stocked at home?

CB: I tend to explore a lot of different wines, so we don’t really have one. We’re currently working our way through several back-issues of Le Metro. Does the rotating keg of Societe beer work for our house beverage?

AE: When you’re planning a meal, do you generally develop it around the food, or the wine?

CB: It usually starts with the food and then I’ll go through our cellar to find some fun wines to go along with it. 

AE: Is there a dish that you’re famous for among your friends?

CB: Not really, I haven’t cooked anything except pasta & tacos in a while.

AE: How do you decide where to eat when you’re traveling?

CB: I’ll ask people who live there for suggestions or wander around to find places I’ve not heard of.

AE: What is your favorite place to shop for food?

CB: [My wife] Alysha normally gets the food, but I like getting stuff from our garden and other farms. When the time allows I’ll go to some of the farmers markets in San Diego. I have a weird anxiety in stores.

AE: Imagine yourself as a culinary ingredient or grape variety.

CB: What would you be, and why? First variety in my mind is Grenache. I asked Alysha this question and she said, “Carignan.” Both have mutants (noir, gris & blanc) which I absolutely love! And someday I’ll get my hands on Carignan Gris and Blanc vines (figures crossed). I love how the vines act and grow with the right care and the wines can just be beautiful in there expression.

AE: Would you consider your approach to food & wine pairing to be more scientific or intuitive?

CB: Intuitive! I’m always trying to push the envelope and shatter preconceived notions.



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