General Guidelines

White wines traditionally work best with delicate to light fare, just as red wines traditionally work best with heavier, richer foods. This isn’t always the case, but it’s convenient to use as a starting point. One thing to keep in mind: In the world of food and wine pairing, opposites do not attract. The combination is either going to elevate the flavors of both the food and the wine, or when paired improperly the two will may even lessen your experience. Remember, we’re looking for “like with like” – a lasting relationship, a marriage of flavors that will endure and continue to perform with every bite/sip.

Example: Say you grill some wild Alaskan salmon on an alder plank and plan to pair that with some Asian-inspired rice and grilled asparagus. Now, you need to pair Castle Rock Wine with the fruits of your labor. You don’t want an overpowering wine to clobber the flavors of the salmon such as an aggressive young (tannic) Cabernet Sauvignon. Many people would gravitate this pairing toward our Central Coast Chardonnay. Not a terrible idea by any means, however it’s not the absolute best choice as delicious as it is. Why? The Chardonnay has a voluptuous body style and ripe, luscious tropical fruit with some oaky notes, all of which lead to an overall full mouth feel, but it may not stand up to the smokiness and weight of salmon that’s been lightly smoked by a smoldering alder plank. Strange as it may sound when talking fish, I would suggest a medium bodied red that isn’t too tannic such as our Mendocino County Pinot Noir and save our Chardonnay for a more buttery dish like crab cakes or lobster.


Castle Rock, Central Coast Chardonnay:

Farro risotto with freshly shelled English Peas and roasted butternut squash.
Do not be intimidated by this nutty Italian grain. Try it instead of the traditional rice risotto and feel less heavy.

The Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups farro
  • 1/4 cup dry white Castle Rock wine
  • 3-4 cups of Chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Pat of salted butter
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

Chop a butternut squash into large chunks. Coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss in four/five cloves of whole garlic and roast all together until tender to the core. Blanch the shelled English peas to retain color and texture. Set aside until farro risotto is done.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the farro and cook for 1 minute, stirring to coat with oil. Turn up the heat and add the wine, stirring until it is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium/low and add the broth, 1 cup at a time, and cook, stirring until absorbed.

Once the farro risotto is ready, add a pat of butter and a ¼ cup grated Parmigiano. Gently stir in the squash and peas. Garnish with nasturtium blossoms

Castle Rock, Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon:

Cognac, green peppercorn, cream sauce over Filet Mignon.
In a saucepan, take one minced shallot and cook with a glug of olive oil until soft. Add one small airplane sized bottle of Cognac, ½ cup heavy whipping cream, ¼ cup beef stock, and a handful of green peppercorns to saucepan. Reduce until mixture is suitably concentrated. Salt and Pepper to taste. Grill or broil your filets. When cooked to your individual specifications plate and generously ladle sauce over the meat. Garnish with a drizzle of white truffle oil. Pop open the Castle Rock Paso Robles Cab and dig in!

Check back for more pairing suggestions. in the meantime, here are a few more:

Italian basil sausage lentil soup with roasted garlic, pureed Dino kale, and sun-dried tomatoes or orange and herb marinated Pork tenderloin on a cedar plank. Pinot Noir is naturally food friendly and versatile. Keep the basic rules in mind, take risks and have fun.

Our Rosé is great with with a traditional cheese board. Arrange out some seedy crackers, baguette slices, olives, prosciutto, red wine soaked cheddar, Gorgonzola, and brie, and almonds onto a nice board or slate.

While Pinot Noir is naturally food friendly, this Rosé version is produced by removing the fermenting juice from the skins right as the preferred color is achieved. It’s also perfect accompaniment for salads with vinaigrette, goat cheese, and simple Italian cold cut sandwiches.

As an appetizer, try something as simple as Prosciutto wrapped melon. Castle Rock's Monterey County Rosé of Pinot Noir pairs perfectly with hors d'oeuvres, goats’ cheeses, many salads, light pasta and rice dishes, and especially with shellfish and grilled fish.

Drink, Eat and Enjoy! The Castle Rock Team