by Fred McMillin
for August 15, 1997

Winery of the Week

The Cook at Alderbrook

Prologue: "A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine."

... Brillat-Savarin, 18th-Century French Gastronome

The Rest of the Story: Alderbrook Winery owners Dorothy and Bob Gillemot agree with Savarin about the importance of the bond between food and wine. So, they do not simply release a wine, they have winery chef Jim May create a dish from local Sonoma ingredients to pair with it. Here are some examples.

    Sauvignon Blanc—Sonoma Seafood Soup with crab, clams, snapper, fennel, etc. A recent Blanc garnered a double gold, incidentally.

    Chardonnay—Fettucine with Smoked Chicken Breast and Orange Tarragon Sauce...use Mendocino Pasta Co.'s Lemon Pepper Fettuccine. (Chardonnay is Alderbrook's flagship varietal, and dominates their 60-acre estate vineyard.)

    Pinot Noir—Sonoma-Style Quesadillas with Sweet-Tart Cherry Salsa. Chef May says, "The Timber Crest sweet-tart dried cherries in the salsa make a luscious combination with the black cherry flavors of the Pinot."

    Merlot—The winery Merlot recipes include Swordfish Provencale with garlic, tomatoes and olives.

    Cabernet Sauvignon—Poached Pears Stuffed with Blue Cheese. (Alderbrook Cab comes from 26-year-old vineyard; enhanced with generous splash of Cabernet Franc).

    Alderbrook Port—Chocolate Port Torte, an intensely-flavored chocolate cake.

You can get the wines, the recipes and even some of the special local ingredients from Catherine Bartolomei, phone (800) 655-3838, fax (707) 433-1862. As to the wines, Bob Cabral took over the winemaking three years ago, after experience with DeLoach and Kunde. His assignment was to raise Alderbrook wines to premium levels, and it looks like he's doing just that. His 1996 wines were rated in the top twelve of all California wineries. Way to go, Bob!

Just the Facts

Name Alderbrook Vineyards & Winery
Location Healdsburg, Sonoma County, CA
Owners Dorothy and Bob Gillemot
Founding While the Pinot Noir is best known, the white Pinot Gris also is drawing high praise.
Winemaker   Bob Cabral (he works closely with Chef May on developing the food-wine pairings).
Capacity 30,000 case range
Phone (800) 655-3838

Postscript: About that opening Savarin quote...while it is attributed to him in various publications, he did not write it. He published but one book. It opens with 30 Aphorisms of the Professor, but there is nothing about a meal without wine.

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

Read more articles by Fred McMillin in the eGGsf

Welcome to WineDay, the electronic Gourmet Guide's daily update. Monday through Thursday, WineDay presents a wine profile. Then on Fridays we present the Winery of the Week to take you through the weekend

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