July 7, 2020
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Malbec and Dry-Brined New York Strips

The Perfect Pairing

Jeff James
Pair it with Pinot Gris and Salmon and grains salad bowl
April 17, 2020

A nice fresh salad matches the season wonderfully and a hearty salad like the salmon and quinoa version in this month’s recipe can be a satisfying way to fight back against the “pandemic pounds” we’ve been putting on lately. I suspect that we are not unique in my house for having turned to more comfort food lately. Somehow the old favorites that have sounded, and tasted, so good while we have been dealing with the uncertainty of the Covid 19 pandemic have been more caloric than we would have liked. After lots of steak and potatoes and meatloaf and pizza and spaghetti and meatballs, a nice salad sounds like a good idea. Of course, a nice glass of wine to accompany the meal sounds like a good idea as well.

Pinot Gris, which is also known as Pinot Grigio, is a grape varietal which can produce a fairly wide range of full-bodied white wine styles. The specific characteristics of the finished wine will depend on where the grapes are grown and how they are vinified in the winery. For instance, a Pinot Grigio that is grown in the northern part of Italy near Venice will have more minerality and acidity than the same grapes grown in the warmer environment further south in that country. This versatile grape is grown commercially in many places around the globe, including Italy, France, Germany, South America, South Africa, Australia, Oregon and California. Some very fine versions are grown and produced right here in Sonoma County.

Pinot Gris has enough body to stand up to the chickpeas and quinoa in the recipe, while the wine’s acidity will nicely frame the fattiness in the salmon and the ranch dressing. The fruit flavors and aromas characteristic of this varietal lean toward apples, pears, peaches and tropical fruits, all of which can enhance the delicate lettuce and meld nicely with the paprika in the dish.

While we are sheltering in place, one of the ways that we can take care of ourselves is to make sure we are well nourished. Take advantage of being at home by putting together some nice meals and enjoying them with some of the world-class wines that are produced right here in our county. With all of the restaurants and tasting rooms that are closed at this time, many local wineries are having a difficult time. Please consider supporting them by buying and enjoying their delicious product. Thank you.


Jeff James is the founder and co-owner, with his wife Judy, of Stony Point Vineyard and James Family Cellars. Their Cotati vineyard and winery have consistently produced award-winning wines. Jeff can be reached at or