When it comes time to enjoy a festive dinner with your family, friends and other loved ones this summer, we wanted to go a step further than just suggesting a few wines to try this season, so we have wine pairings directly from the source. While my personal favorites almost always includes a rich red with a steak, I know that we all need to venture out of our comfort zones sometimes, so we have a mix of flavors and influences to make you the hit of any dinner thanks to these expert wine pairings. Cheers!

Mumm Napa Brut Reserve Rosé, Napa Valley

Pairing: Chocolate-Hazelnut Truffle Tart (from renowned Napa Valley chef Cindy Pawlcyn)

“Rosé and chocolate is always a great pairing. The bittersweet character of this dish calls for a drier wine like our Brut Reserve Rosé with big mid-palate body and structure and complex red berry fruit tones. The raspberry garnish will perfectly mirror the flavors of the Brut Reserve Rosé. The rich and creamy texture of the dish, and the whipped cream garnish should also pair well with the roundness of the wine. The nutty flavors of the Brut reserve rose, coming from a partial aging in older French oak barrels, and three years of aging in bottle on the yeasts, will complement the Hazelnut truffle of the tart.” ~ Mumm Napa Winemaker Ludovic Dervin

Robert Mondavi Winery 2014 Maestro, Napa Valley

Pairing: Grilled Flat Iron Steak with Maitake Mushrooms and Basil Pesto (from Robert Mondavi Winery Chef Jeff Mosher)

“Steak with mushrooms is a natural match with Cabernet based blends. Big bold food flavors paired up with rich red wine characteristics are simply delicious together. To take it to the next level, I sometimes add in pesto sauce as a condiment. The Parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts in the pesto bring savory and umami flavors that help to bring the food into balance with the wine’s rich bold flavors. Also, the lemon in the pesto helps to create a balance with the acidity and tannins in the wine. These two things together let the fruit characteristics shine alongside the basil flavor, creating a delicious and unique match.” ~ Robert Mondavi Winery Chef Jeff Mosher

Fort Ross Winery 2016 ‘Sea Slopes’ Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast

Pairing: Grilled Pacific salmon with salt, pepper, minced garlic and fresh Meyer lemon

“I love our Sea Slopes Pinot Noir from the cool-climate Sonoma Coast teamed with grilled Pacific salmon. The wine’s elegant structure, layers of vibrant fruit and lovely floral notes are the perfect foil for the salmon’s rich flavors and texture. Together, they make a perfect summertime pairing.” ~ Fort Ross Winery Winemaker Jeff Pisoni

Gehricke 2015 Zinfandel, Russian River Valley

Pairing: Herb-marinated lamb kebabs

“Our Zinfandel is quite fruit forward and spicy. It’s full bodied and rich on the palate so it can stand up to a lot of the heartier fare. I’m thinking Mediterranean herbs and spices and Middle Eastern cuisine. The lamb kebabs are perfection.” ~ Gehricke Winemaker Alex Beloz

Clos Pegase 2016 Chardonnay, Mitsuko’s Vineyard, Carneros

Pairing: Roasted Pork loin, served on a bed of polenta and topped with a wild mushroom sauce

“The reason that our 2016 Mitsuko Vineyard chardonnay goes so well with roasted pork loin, polenta and wild mushroom sauce is down to the acidity and nature of the fruit expressed by the wine. The vineyard site is comparatively cool climate, which allows the grapes to retain their natural acidity, which helps cut through the fat and richness of the polenta. The wild mushroom sauce has the earthy tones that really complement the barrel-fermented nature of this wine, bringing together oak and earth in a delicious savory expression. Chardonnay’s flavor spectrum of melon and pear notes match well with the less dominating pork meat, which when roasted slightly caramelizes the fat, complementing the fresh fruit character of the wine.” ~ Clos Pegase Winemaker Robin Akhurst