American Winemakers Abroad
2007 Alex Gambal Chambolle Musigny Les Charmes 1er Cru
Winemaker: Alex Gambal
Pairing: Foie Gras Soup with Lentil Gnocchi and Balsamic Onions
"Earth, color, red things," are the words Pierre Gagnaire uses to describe the Hermès perfume that inspired his dish, Parfums de Terre. This marvelous soup is one of the dish's seven components. Both the foie gras that enriches the broth and the lentil gnocchi are earthy; the lightly pickled onion wedges add brightness and tang, not to mention a hint of color.
2009 Bieler Père et Fils Sabine Coteaux d'AixenProvence
Winemaker: Charles Bieler
This great value offers delicate floral aromas that shift to wild strawberry and watermelon flavors. An underlying spiciness on the palate carries through into a broad and crisp finish.
Pairing: Creamy Anchoïade with Crudités
2008 Valentin Bianchi Famiglia Bianchi Sauvignon Blanc
Winemaker: Robert Pepi
Pairing: Smoked-Trout Salad with Avocado and Grapefruit
When presenting their lemony smoked-fish salad, Animal co-chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo spread out the colorful ingredients—avocados, grapefruit, radishes, arugula and chunks of smoked trout—on plates. For a garnish, the pair ingeniously bake the smoked-trout skin until it's crisp, then break it up into shards.
2006 Golan Galilee Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Victor Schoenfeld
Though Victor Schoenfeld blends grapes from various vineyards located in the Golan Heights for this elegant Cabernet Sauvignon, you would never know there was any unrest in the region from tasting his wine. It's pretty, full of red and black plum fruit and violet floral notes.
Pairing: Lamb Chops with Frizzled Herbs
2006 Kingston Family Vineyards Tobiano Pinot Noir
Winemaker: Courtney Kingston
American vintner Courtney Kingston's great-grandfather headed to Chile to find gold. He never did, but five generations later, Kingston—along with her brother Tim and father, Michael—decided to plant vineyards on the family ranch there. Now, with American winemaker Byron Kosuge, she's producing some of Chile's best Pinots, like this one, which has ripe black raspberry notes and a satiny texture.
Pairing: Grilled Chicken Breasts with Sautéed Mushrooms
2006 Cobos Bramare Malbec
Winemaker: Paul Hobbs
Another blockbuster effort involving California winemaker Paul Hobbs, this impressive, multilayered Malbec offers expressive aromas that range from leather, cigar box and tobacco to ripe fig and cherry. Partly because the wine is unfined and unfiltered, it has a plush, broad palate balanced by supple tannins.
Pairing: Smoky Strip Steaks with Chimichurri Sauce
2008 A-Mano Primitivo
Winemaker: Mark Shannon
It took a winemaker from California, Mark Shannon, to put Primitivo from Puglia on supermarket shelves in the United States. His bright cherry-flavored A-Mano Primitivo (an Italian grape that's genetically identical to Zinfandel) is made from ancient vines in this up-and-coming region of Southern Italy.
Pairing: Baked Penne with Sausage and Creamy Ricotta
2009 Burn Cottage Pinot Noir
Winemaker: Ted Lemon
Pairing: Grilled Squid and Torpedo Onions with Sorrel
For this unexpectedly fun dish, Chef Matt Lightner tosses grilled torpedo onions (a sweet heirloom variety from Italy) with grilled squid bodies. Since the onions and the squid resemble each other so much in color and shape, each bite is a small surprise.