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Fort Ross Vineyard

Fort Ross
January 9, 2024 | Fort Ross

Winter 2024 Wine & Food Pairings

New year, new releases, and new food pairings! 

2021 The Terraces Pinot Noir & Creamy Mushroom Soup with Crème Fraiche


This original recipe from our Estate Chef John Vong is a tribute to the wild mushrooms that we forage in the forest surrounding our vineyard. Umami-rich earthy flavors of mushrooms mingle with the savory flavors found in our 2021 The Terraces Pinot Noir.

Recipe here. 

2021 Chardonnay & Za'tar Chicken


With tangy acidity and lemon flavors coming from the sumac onions and rich creaminess in the tahini sauce, this recipe is ideally paired with our 2021 Chardonnay.

Recipe here.

2021 Pinot Noir &  Korean-style Short Ribs


Warm yourself up this winter with this recipe for short ribs and our 2021 Pinot Noir - with its fuller body and youthful fruitiness, our Pinot is an excellent match to this hearty dish.

Recipe here.

Time Posted: Jan 9, 2024 at 10:45 AM Permalink to Winter 2024 Wine & Food Pairings Permalink
Fort Ross
September 11, 2023 | Fort Ross

2018 Pinotage & Sausage and Peppers with Polenta and Grilled Toast

Fall wine pairing: 2018 Pinotage & Sausage and Peppers with Polenta and Grilled Toast

We love capturing the savory side of our 2018 Pinotage by pairing it with a spicy Italian sausage and grilled peppers

Recipe by Adam Dulye via Sunset Magazine



3 cups water 

1 ⅓ cups polenta 

1 tsp kosher salt 

2 tbsp butter 

¼ cup parmesan cheese, finely grated

Sausage & Peppers

4 links Italian or hot Italian sausage 

2 red bell peppers, cut lengthwise and thinly sliced 

1 red Fresno pepper, thinly sliced into rings (optional) 

1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced 

2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced 

1 cup cherry tomatoes, rinsed and stems removed, or 1 can diced tomatoes 

1 tsp thyme 

1 tsp dried basil or

¼ cup fresh basil 

¼ tsp red chile flake 

¼ cup dry white wine or crisp and clean craft beer 

2 tbsp olive oil kosher salt and black pepper



1. In a medium saucepan bring the water to a boil.

2. Slowly pour in the polenta while stirring with a whisk. Continue to stir constantly for one minute.

3. Turn the heat down to low, cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid.

4. Stir every five minutes for 40 minutes. Be careful not to let polenta stick to the bottom of pan. If sticking occurs stir constantly or turn heat lower.

5. Season with kosher salt and finish by stirring in butter and parmesan.

6. Apply butter to one side the bread and place face down on the grilling surface until crispy and lightly golden-brown.

7. Light a grill and bring to medium heat.

8. In a medium sauté pan over medium heat add the olive oil and once heated add the onions. Stir to coat with oil and cook 2-3 minutes.

9. Add the red pepper and Fresno pepper (if using) and cook 2-3 minutes.

10. Turn heat to low and allow peppers and onions to soften, about 7-10 minutes.

11. Bring the heat back up to medium and add the white wine or craft beer.

12. Reduce by half of the liquid, about one minute.

13. Add the cherry tomatoes, garlic, thyme, basil, and chile flake.

14. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

15. Use a fork or spoon to pop the cherry tomatoes that have not popped on their own.

16. Grill the sausages until cooked through, about 5-6 minutes per side.

 Pair with our 2018 Pinotage »


Time Posted: Sep 11, 2023 at 11:36 AM Permalink to 2018 Pinotage & Sausage and Peppers with Polenta and Grilled Toast Permalink
Fort Ross
September 11, 2023 | Fort Ross

2021 Bicentennial Chardonnay & Whole Wheat Lasagna with Butternut Squash and Kale

Fall wine pairing: 2021 Bicentennial Chardonnay & Whole Wheat Lasagna with Butternut Squash and Kale

A rich, flavorful, yet healthy twist on your classic lasagna, this fall favorite pairs best with our 2021 Bicentennial Chardonnay

Recipe by Annabelle Breakey and Karen Shinto via Sunset Magazine


4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 medium red onion, peeled and sliced

3 peeled garlic cloves (1 minced, 2 left whole) 

2 cans (14 oz. each) crushed tomatoes 

1 teaspoon dried oregano 

About 1 tsp. each salt and freshly ground black pepper, divided 

6 cups (about 2 lbs.) butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-in. cubes 

1/2 tsp. dried thyme 

1 pound Lacinato kale (often sold as dinosaur or Tuscan kale) 

9 whole-wheat lasagna noodles (about 8 oz.) 

1 container (15 oz.) part-skim-milk ricotta cheese 

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided


1. Preheat oven to 400°. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a 2- to 3-qt. pot over medium heat. Add onion and minced garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent, 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, oregano, and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer until thick and flavors are combined, about 30 minutes. Set aside.

2. While sauce is cooking, in a 12- by 15-in. baking pan, sprinkle squash with thyme, remaining olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Add garlic cloves and toss squash mixture to coat with oil. Bake until soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, bring 3 qts. salted water to a boil in a large pot.

3. Reduce oven temperature to 350°. Transfer squash and garlic to a food processor and purée until smooth.

4. Tear kale leaves from center ribs and discard ribs. Boil leaves until soft, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain; let cool. Squeeze out as much water as possible and chop finely.

5. In the same pot, bring another 3 qts. salted water to a boil. Add noodles and cook until tender to the bite, about 10 minutes. Drain; rinse with cold water.

6. In a bowl, mix ricotta, nutmeg, 1 cup mozzarella, and remaining 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper.

7. Coat the bottom of a 9- by 13-in. pan with 1/3 of tomato sauce (about 1 1/2 cups). Lay 3 noodles in a single layer over sauce. Top noodles with squash, spreading evenly. Sprinkle 1/2 of kale evenly over squash. Arrange 3 more noodles on kale and top with ricotta, spreading evenly. Top with remaining kale and noodles. Cover noodles with remaining tomato sauce and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella.

8. Bake lasagna until juices are bubbling and cheese is melted, about 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

 Pair with our 2021 Bicentennial Chardonnay »


Time Posted: Sep 11, 2023 at 11:26 AM Permalink to 2021 Bicentennial Chardonnay & Whole Wheat Lasagna with Butternut Squash and Kale Permalink
Fort Ross
September 11, 2023 | Fort Ross

2021 Stagecoach Road Pinot Noir & Veggie Chili with Brown Butter Maple Corn Bread

Fall wine pairing: 2021 Stagecoach Road Pinot Noir & Veggie Chili

Jump into the fall spirit with this rich, flavorful, comforting chili recipe, paired with our 2021 Stagecoach Road Pinot Noir

Recipe by Thomas J. Story via Sunset Magazine



1 cup each dried pinto beans and dried kidney beans, sorted of debris and rinsed, and soaked separately for two nights in 3 cups water each

1 oz each dry guajillo chile and dry ancho chile, stemmed and seeded, and soaked separately overnight in 1 1/2 cups hot water each

1 tbsp 90/10 canola and olive oil blend

3 ½ cups cups diced yellow onion

1 ½ cups cups diced carrot

2 cups diced bell pepper

3 oz jalapeño chile, seeded and diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

 2 ½ tsp salt

1 tsp sweet paprika 

1 tsp smoked paprika 

1 tbsp chili powder 

½ tsp cayenne 

½ tbsp cumin 

1 tsp black pepper 

2 tbsp onion powder 

2 tbsp tomato paste 

½ can crushed tomatoes 

4 ½ tbsp apple cider vinegar 

2 oz canned chipotle chiles in adobo 

1 ½ tbsp tbsp. brown sugar 

1 cup fresh corn kernels 

3 tbsp finely chopped dark chocolate (80% cacao) 

Sour cream, sliced green onion, pepitas, parmesan crisps, for garnish (optional)

Brown butter maple corn bread:

11 tbsp unsalted butter

 ½ cup maple syrup 

2 ½ cups buttermilk 

4 eggs 

1 ½ cups cornmeal 

1 cup all-purpose flour 

3 tsp baking powder 

2 tsp salt 

1 tsp baking soda




1. Drain and rinse beans; set aside. Drain chiles and reserve 1/2 cup of each soaking liquid; set aside.

2. Heat a large pot over medium-low heat. Add oil, then onion, carrot, bell pepper, jalapeño, garlic, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Stir frequently on medium-low heat until liquid is released and vegetables start to stew down.

3. Add the paprikas, chili powder, cayenne, cumin, black pepper, onion powder, tomato paste, beans, and tomatoes and stir to incorporate.

4. In a medium bowl, use an immersion blender to purée the chiles, the reserved chile soaking liquids, 1 1/2 tbsp. vinegar, the chipotle in adobo, brown sugar, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, and 3 tbsp. water. Add mixture to pot, bring to a simmer, and simmer lightly for 1 1/2 hours.

5. Add corn and 1/3 cup water to pot, bring back to a simmer, and let simmer lightly for 1 hour.

6. Remove pot from heat. Stir in the chocolate, 1/2 tsp. salt, and the remaining 3 tbsp. vinegar. Serve warm, topped with garnishes, if using.


1. Preheat oven to 375°. Cut butter into cubes, then brown the butter in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Swirl butter all over the sides and corners of pan. Pour butter into a large bowl. Place the skillet in the oven to heat before baking.

2. Whisk syrup into the brown butter. Whisk buttermilk into the mixture (which should be cool to the touch at this point). Whisk in eggs until smooth.

3. In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Whisk into wet ingredients until just incorporated.

4. Remove skillet from oven. Pour batter into skillet and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. 

Pair with our 2021 Stagecoach Road Pinot Noir »


Time Posted: Sep 11, 2023 at 10:55 AM Permalink to 2021 Stagecoach Road Pinot Noir & Veggie Chili with Brown Butter Maple Corn Bread Permalink
Fort Ross
April 15, 2023 | Fort Ross

Spring 2023 Releases & Food Pairings

Embrace the warm spring weather and longer evenings with our latest releases and suggested pairings.

2020 Mother of Pearl Chardonnay & Spring Greens and Peas with Ricotta and Preserved Lemon


With fava beans, pea shoots, and dandelion greens, this lovely green salad pairs beautifull with our 2020 Mother of Pearl Chardonnay.

Recipe here.

2021 Bicentennial Pinot Noir & Portobello Mushroom & Red Pepper Pizza


Our 2021 Bicentennial Pinot Noir s a gorgeous, savory pairing for this mushroom & roasted red pepper pizza. A great plan for a Friday evening!

Recipe here.

2021 Top of Land Pinot Noir & Italian Sausage Burgers with Garlicky Spinach


Fire up the grill and open a bottle of the 2021 Top of Land Pinot Noir

Recipe here. 

Time Posted: Apr 15, 2023 at 6:45 AM Permalink to Spring 2023 Releases & Food Pairings Permalink
Fort Ross
April 14, 2023 | Fort Ross

2021 Top of Land Pinot Noir & Italian Sausage Burgers with Garlicky Spinach

Spring 2023 selections: Italian Sausage Burgers with Garlicky Spinach

Fire up the grill and open a bottle of the 2021 Top of Land Pinot Noir.

Recipe by Grace Parisi via Food & Wine Magazine


10 ounces baby spinach

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)


1 pound sweet or hot Italian sausages (or a combination of both), casings removed

4 slices of provolone cheese

1/4 cup sun-dried-tomato pesto

4 round ciabatta rolls, split and toasted


1. In a large skillet, bring 1/4 inch of water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until just wilted, about 1 minute; drain and press out as much water as possible. Wipe out the skillet.

2. In the same skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and anchovy paste and cook over high heat, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the spinach, season with salt and stir just until coated, about 10 seconds.

3. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Using slightly moistened hands, form the sausage meat into four 4-inch patties, about 3/4 inch thick. Brush the burgers with oil and grill over moderate heat until browned and crusty on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Carefully flip the burgers. Top with the cheese and grill until the burgers are cooked through and the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes longer. Spread the pesto on the rolls. Top with the burgers and spinach and serve.

Pair with our 2021 Top of Land Pinot Noir »

Why It Works 

The intensely concentrated dark fruit flavors of our 2021 Top of Land Pinot Noir provide a pleasing contrast to the spicy and savory characteristics of the Italian sausage.  

Time Posted: Apr 14, 2023 at 9:30 AM Permalink to 2021 Top of Land Pinot Noir & Italian Sausage Burgers with Garlicky Spinach Permalink
Fort Ross
April 12, 2023 | Fort Ross

2020 Mother of Pearl Chardonnay & Spring Greens and Peas with Ricotta and Preserved Lemon

Spring 2023 selections: Spring Greens and Peas with Ricotta and Preserved Lemon

With fava beans, pea shoots, and dandelion greens, this lovely green salad pairs beautifull with our 2020 Mother of Pearl Chardonnay. Place the bottle in the fridge for about two hours, then enjoy!

Recipe by Michelle McKenzie via Sunset Magazine


10 ounces (2 cups) shelled fresh peas (from about 1 lb. pods)* or frozen peas, thawed

12 ounces ricotta, preferably sheep’s milk

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup Preserved Lemon

Herb Oil (recipe at right) or best quality extra-virgin olive oil

4 ounces (about 4 cups) mixed spring greens

1 ounce (about 2 cups) of at least 3 mixed fresh herb leaves

About 1/2 ounce (1 bunch) chives, trimmed and snipped into 1⁄2-in. pieces

Flaky sea salt

Edible flowers, such as Johnny jump-up violas, sage, thyme, or arugula (optional)

Preserved Lemon Herb Oil


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt until it tastes like the sea. Set a large bowl of ice water near the stove.

2. If using fresh peas, boil until bright green and tender, 30 seconds to 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, transfer to ice bath to cool. Drain well, spread on a kitchen towel, and pat dry. If using thawed frozen peas, dry them the same way, uncooked.

3. To 4 to 6 large shallow bowls, add a large spoonful of ricotta on one side.

4. In a large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, a pinch of fine sea salt, a few grinds of pepper, and 1/4 cup preserved lemon herb oil. Add peas, greens, herb leaves, chives, and another pinch of fine salt. Gently toss with clean hands. Season with more lemon juice, oil, or salt, depending on the greens used.

5. Mound salad next to cheese. Drizzle a spoonful of extra preserved lemon herb oil around each salad so that it forms a shallow, bright green pool. Top salads with flaky sea salt and a few edible flowers, if using. Serve at once.

Pair with our 2020 Mother of Pearl Chardonnay »

Why It Works 

The 2020 Mother of Pearl Chardonnay highlights the lemon and ricotta flavors excpetionally well, while dancing with the sweet greens and herbs that make this salad so refreshing.

Time Posted: Apr 12, 2023 at 9:25 PM Permalink to 2020 Mother of Pearl Chardonnay & Spring Greens and Peas with Ricotta and Preserved Lemon Permalink
Fort Ross
January 7, 2023 | Fort Ross

2019 "FRV" Pinot Noir & Gnocchi with Roast Chicken, Bacon, and Kale

Winter 2023 selections: Gnocchi with Roast Chicken, Bacon, and Kale

This recipe is an easy go-to for a weeknight. Paired with our 2019 "FRV" Pinot Noir, it's a lovely way to enjoy a cozy night in. 

Recipe by Chandra Ram via Food and Wine Magazine


1 (6-ounce) bunch Lacinato kale

6 thick-cut bacon slices

1 small (about 8-ounce) red onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)

1 (1-pound) whole rotisserie chicken, pulled into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)

1 pound potato gnocchi, or one (1-pound) package refrigerated or frozen potato gnocchi

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ ounce Parmesan cheese, shaved (about 1/4 cup)


1. Remove stems from kale, and chop stems (you should have about 3/4 cup); chop kale leaves (you should have about 6 cups). Set chopped stems and leaves aside until ready to use.

2. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium until crispy, about 8 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time. Remove skillet from heat; do not wipe clean. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate; let stand until cooled, about 5 minutes. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces; set aside.

3. Heat bacon drippings in skillet over medium. Add onion and kale stems; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and kale stems are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in kale leaves, and cook until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Add chicken, and toss with onion and kale; cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes.

4. While onion and kale are cooking, bring a large pot of boiling salted water to a boil over medium-high; add gnocchi, and boil until gnocchi float to the surface, about 3 minutes. Drain well. Add gnocchi to chicken mixture in skillet, and toss. Stir in lemon zest, salt, pepper, and reserved bacon. Divide gnocchi mixture evenly among 4 bowls, and top evenly with Parmesan.

Pair with our 2019 "FRV" Pinot Noir »

Why It Works 

Our 2019 "FRV" Pinot Noir maintains its youthful, fruity highlights, that add pleasant contrast to the richness of the dish. Developing aromas of earthiness mingle with the smokiness of the bacon and chicken, creating a pleasant harmony with every bite.

Time Posted: Jan 7, 2023 at 4:30 AM Permalink to 2019 Permalink
Fort Ross
November 10, 2022 | Fort Ross

Butternut Squash Soup with Brioche Crouton

Butternut Squash Soup with Brioche Crouton

Fort Ross Estate Chef John Vong offers his take on a classic autumn favorite. The richness of the squash and cream and completemented by sherry vinegar and lemon zest, making an ideal match for our 2019 Chardonnay


1 butternut squash, about 2lb

2 quarts vegetable stock

2 cups cream

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced

1⁄2 teaspoon ground green cardamom

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

Zest of one lemon

Kosher salt to taste

 Brioche crouton:
2 slices Brioche bread, cut into 1 inch sticks

2 tablespoons olive oil

Zest of half of a lemon

1⁄4 teaspoon ground green cardamom


1. Split squash in half, and scoop out seeds. Season with salt and green cardamom. Roast at 350F for one hour. Set aside to cool, then scoop the squash out of it’s skin.

2. In a large pot, sweat shallots over medium heat until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add roasted squash, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add sherry vinegar to deglaze.

3. Add cream and stock and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 5 minutes, then blend until smooth.

4. Pour soup through a strainer into a clean pot a bring to a simmer. Season with salt and lemon zest.

5. Serve with crème fraiche on top and brioche crouton.

Brioche Crouton
1. Coat brioche with olive oil

2. Sprinkle on lemon zest and green cardamom.

3. Toast at 350F for 7 minutes, or until crispy

Pair with 2019 Chardonnay »

Why It Works 

Our 2019 Chardonnay shows contrasting notes of creaminess and minerality; hazelnut and pastry dough flavors are layered with Meyer lemon and our signature minerality. This round, creamy texture is in perfect harmony with the weight of this soup, and the minerality brings out the subtle lemony notes in the soup.

Time Posted: Nov 10, 2022 at 8:40 AM Permalink to Butternut Squash Soup with Brioche Crouton Permalink
Fort Ross
September 11, 2022 | Fort Ross

2017 Pinotage & Grilled Rib-Eye with Blistered Padrón Peppers

Fall 2022 selections: Grilled Rib-Eye with Blistered Padrón Peppers

Take advantage of the last bit of warm weather this September by opening up the grill. This recipe recommends using a smoker to infuse fruit flavors into the rib-eye, a perfect match to our 2017 Pinotage

Recipe by Matthew Dillon via Sunset Magazine


2 beef rib-eye steaks, each 16 oz. and 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 in. thick, preferably well-marbled, grass-fed, and dry-aged

 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided

 2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

 About 1 1/4 tsp. pepper, divided

 1/4 cup butter, divided, softened

 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, divided

 2 tablespoons honey, divided

 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, divided

 2 cups (5 oz.) Padrón or shishito peppers

 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced


1. An hour before cooking, season steaks with 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper and set on a plate to come to room temperature. Then, brush steaks with 1 tbsp. oil. Meanwhile, soak 1 cup fruitwood chips in a bowl of water about 30 minutes.

2. Put 2 tbsp. butter in a shallow baking dish big enough to hold steaks. Add a few cracks of pepper and 1 tbsp. each thyme, honey, and vinegar; bring to grill area. Bring ingredients for peppers to grill: the Padróns; remaining 1 tbsp. oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 2 tbsp. butter; a dish with remaining 1 tbsp. thyme and the garlic; and another dish with remaining 1 tbsp. each honey and vinegar. Also bring a large cast-iron skillet, wooden spoon, grilling tongs, and foil.

3. For charcoal, ignite a very full chimney of hardwood mesquite charcoal on firegrate of a charcoal grill. Arrange coals on firegrate in a slope so there's a hotter area and a cooler one. Drain wood chips and scatter over charcoal. Set cooking grate in place. For gas, heat a gas grill to high (450° to 550°). Put drained wood chips in the grill's smoking box, or seal chips in a packet of foil, cut dime-size holes, and set directly on a burner. Cover grill.

4. When wood chips start to smoke (1 to 2 minutes for charcoal, 10 to 15 minutes for gas), set steaks over hottest part of charcoal fire (or anywhere on gas grill). Grill steaks covered, turning once and moving to cooler part of charcoal fire if they start to flare up, until well browned and done the way you like, about 10 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer steaks to baking dish with butter mixture, turn to coat, and tent loosely with foil.

5. Heat cast-iron skillet on cooking grate. When hot, add 1 tbsp. oil and swirl to coat. Then add peppers and 1/4 tsp. salt. Cook, shaking skillet and stirring occasionally, until peppers are browned and blistered, about 5 minutes. Add butter and let it foam and brown, 45 to 60 seconds. Stir in thyme, garlic, and honey-vinegar, then pour mixture over steaks. Let steaks rest about 1 minute more.

6. Transfer steaks to a cutting board, leaving juices and peppers in baking dish. Slice steaks crosswise into 1/2- to 3/4-in. strips. Using a spatula, pick up strips in original shape of steaks and set on a platter. Spoon about half of juices and peppers over steaks and serve the rest in a bowl on the side.

Pair with 2017 Pinotage »

Why It Works 

With its savory, leathery characteristics, our 2017 Pinotage is made for red meat off the grill. Its bold plum and blueberry notes mingle with the smoked, fruity character of the rib-eye, while firm tannins, cedar, peppercorn, and herbal spicy character are enlivened by the blistered padróns. 

Time Posted: Sep 11, 2022 at 10:00 AM Permalink to 2017 Pinotage & Grilled Rib-Eye with Blistered Padrón Peppers Permalink