Best place for food paired with wine (not the other way around)

The Restaurant at Wente Vineyard

It should be no surprise that the centerpiece of the dining room at the Restaurant at Wente Vineyards is a wine barrel. But for every season, that barrel adds more to the dining experience than good feng shui. During the week-long barrel wine dinner series, servers dip a long glass tube into the oak, suctioning Merlot or Syrah or whatever the winery’s brand new release is from the barrel and releasing it into your glass. The $39 three-course, prix-fixe dinner is designed to match the flavors of the wine, rather than the other way around — a serious feat for Chef Eric Berg, who must essentially guess what the as-yet released wine will taste like. The food, of course, is seasonal and grown in the restaurant’s garden out back. Last spring, Chef Berg put grass-fed lamb and fava beans together with the Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre GSM. Before that he paired pork and spinach with a Grenache. This August, he takes on the Sonata Cabernet-Syrah blend.

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