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Life By The Glass

Carefully Curated. Completely Engaging.

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The 2018 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Wins at the 2021 North Coast Wine Challenge

Sonoma-Cutrer was awarded Best of Show Red Wine, out of over 600 wines in the category, for the 2018 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir at the 2021 Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge.

Sonoma-Cutrer has been making Russian River Valley Pinot Noir since 2004, yet it is still considered to be the winery’s “best kept secret.”  All four of our Pinot Noir  wines are produced in our separate Pinot Barn winery on the property in a very delicate and labor intensive winemaking process.

The 2018 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is a true classic Russian River Pinot Noir, the wine expresses aromas and flavors of lush red and black berry fruit. As you swirl the wine in your glass, you will open up scents of vanilla, baking spice, licorice, dark chocolate and black tea with just a hint of earth. On the palate, you will find the wine to be elegantly structured with fine grain tannins that add to its intensity. Sumptuous black cherry flavors mingle with the balanced acidity to make this a deliciously enjoyable Pinot Noir.


“While Mick was telling me the good news, I couldn’t help but feel this great joy and began to think of all the people who during that harvest were working hard to make the best Pinot Noir; and that’s what we say and do every single harvest! I feel privileged and happy to have such an excellent and dedicated team and of course great quality grapes.”

Zidanelia Arcidiacono, Pinot Noir Winemaker

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The 2014 Grand Cuvée – Best of the Best – 2021 Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge


Sonoma-Cutrer is well-known for Chardonnays, but our winemakers are always exploring artistic and innovative ways to showcase the unique terroir of our Russian River Valley. Recently, two of our varietals made big news in California’s wine world.


Both the 2014 Russian River Valley Grand Cuvée and the 2018 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir were awarded exceptional honors in the 2021 Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge. 


The 2014 Russian River Valley Grand Cuvée was awarded Best of Show Sparkling, Best of Sonoma County AND the top prize at the competition – The Best of the Best. Sonoma-Cutrer Grand Cuvée is the first sparkling wine in the history of The Press Democrat’s North Coast Wine Challenge to be awarded this top prize. 


The Grand Cuvée truly highlights the artistry and innovation of our winemakers, and the unique terroir of our vineyards. This wine was first introduced as a part of Sonoma-Cutrer Winemaker’s Release Program. Each year, Sonoma-Cutrer introduces a new limited production wine that focuses on a new offering with a unique story as part of the program. When the decision was made to introduce a sparkling focused on Sonoma-Cutrer’s two varietals – Chardonnay and Pinot Noir,   our winemakers consulted with Sonoma County’s premier sparkling house, Korbel.  The Sonoma-Cutrer team then proceeded with making their own unique version of sparkling.


The Sonoma-Cutrer winemakers held back some cases of the original release so they could experiment with a Late Disgorge version. This wine was allowed to age on the lees for an additional year. It was disgorged in May 2019, after almost four and a half years en tirage at the winery. The wine was then bottle aged an additional three months prior to release. 


This Our 2014 sparkling wine is delicate; fine beads rise up through your glass as the wine is poured. Fragrant aromas of red apple and pear are complemented with hints of hazelnut, brioche bread, mineral, and Meyer lemon notes. On the palate, apple fruit, nut, and light strawberry flavors are balanced with Sonoma-Cutrer’s signature acidity. The additional lees aging has added a beautiful layer of richness and complexity to the overall palate structure. The wine is only available for sale in the winery tasting room or at


Sonoma-Cutrer was also awarded Best of Show Red Wine, out of over 600 wines in the category, for the 2018 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.


Sonoma-Cutrer has been making Russian River Valley Pinot Noir since 2004, yet it is still considered to be the winery’s “best kept secret.”  All four of our Pinot Noir  wines are produced in our separate Pinot Barn winery on the property in a very delicate and labor intensive winemaking process.


The 2018 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is a true classic Russian River Pinot Noir, the wine expresses aromas and flavors of lush red and black berry fruit. As you swirl the wine in your glass, you will open up scents of vanilla, baking spice, licorice, dark chocolate and black tea with just a hint of earth. On the palate, you will find the wine to be elegantly structured with fine grain tannins that add to its intensity. Sumptuous black cherry flavors mingle with the balanced acidity to make this a deliciously enjoyable Pinot Noir. 


“The cool thing in this year’s competition is that no one has taken two sweepstakes awards before. I couldn’t swipe the smile off my face. It’s so wonderful to win locally and there’s nothing better than winning in your own backyard.” 

Mick Schroeter, Winemaking Director




“I absolutely love this (Sonoma-Cutrer Grand Cuvee) Sparkling wine and now I know many people agree!  What an honor to receive such praise from our respected peers, especially with our first sparkling wine. Let the bubbles flow. 

At Sonoma-Cutrer we say, ‘do one thing and do it very well.’ We first only made Chardonnay until we felt we mastered the style, then after 20 years we started making a Pinot Noir and now we have stepped out to make a little Sparkling wine. What wonderful news from our peers that our Pinot Noir and Sparkling are loved as much as our Chardonnays.”

Cara Morrison, Chardonnay Winemaker

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“Share Your First Time” Contest Rules

“Share Your First Time”  (With Sonoma-Cutrer) 

Contest Terms and Conditions

Official Contest Rules


  1. CONTEST PERIOD: The Sonoma-Cutrer First Time Contest (“Contest”) begins at 9:00:00 AM Eastern Time (“ET”) on May 1, 2021, and ends at 4:59:59 PM ET on July 31, 2021 (“Contest Period”).
  2. ELIGIBILITY: The Contest is open only to legal residents of the United States of America who are 21 years of age or older as of the date of entry. Void where prohibited or restricted by law, regulation, rule, or otherwise. Employees, officers and directors of Brown-Forman Corporation (“Sponsor”), its parents, affiliates, subsidiaries, and advertising and promotion agencies (aforementioned individuals and organizations collectively, “Contest Entities”), alcoholic beverage wholesalers and retailers, and the immediate family members (spouses and siblings, children and parents and their spouses, regardless of where they live) or members of the same households (whether related or not) of such individuals are not eligible. Sponsor’s determinations of eligibility are final and may be made at any time. No Substitution permitted.
  3. TO ENTER: To enter, visit and complete the registration form, including your name, address, date of birth and other required information, including a paragraph describing your first time experiencing Sonoma-Cutrer Winery or Wines. Entry must include a photo representing the ‘first time’ and a caption that includes Sonoma-Cutrer wines and/or Sonoma-Cutrer’s winery.  Any entry must reflect a time when the entrant was 21+. 

All submissions must follow the photo guidelines listed here:

(a) All human photo subjects to be 21 years of age or older at time the photo was taken.

(b) No photo subjects to appear to be under the influence of beverage alcohol.

(c) No photo subjects to appear smoking.

(d) No photo subjects to appear drinking or pretending to drink in an irresponsible manner (e.g., from a bottle).

(e) No photo subjects to appear drinking another brand (including identifiable beer brands or if you can tell from the bottle).

(f) No photo subjects to appear who are wearing identifiable clothing logos.

(g) No photo subjects to appear making obscene gestures or simulating sexual activity.

(h) No photo to feature swear words.

(i) No nudity or near-nudity.

(j) No photo to feature any reference to drugs.

(k) Any photo submitted is your original work or one to which you have ownership rights/copyright.

(l) Entrant shall have the permission/authority of all whose image appears in the entry to use the image for this promotion. Sonoma-Cutrer may contact entrant(s) to confirm usage rights before sharing online or selecting winner.

(m) Winning image(s) will best illustrate a Sonoma-Cutrer moment or memory as judged by Sonoma Cutrer. 

(n) Entrants agree that all submissions may be used for promotional purposes. Entrants will be identified by first name, last initial, if images are used for promotional purposes, including, but not limited to social media.

Limit one (1) entry per person/per email address. Participation in the Contest constitutes participant’s full and unconditional agreement to and acceptance of these Official Rules and the decisions of Sponsor, which are final and binding. Entries and other submitted material become the property of Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned. Late entries will be void and ineligible. Purported proof of submission of entry does not constitute proof of receipt of entry. By participating, each entrant warrants and represents that all personal information associated with his/her participation is truthful, current and accurate, and is his/her own information. Entry information becomes the exclusive property of Sponsor upon submission. Entries that are deemed by Sponsor in its sole discretion to be immoral, obscene, profane or not in keeping with Sponsor’s image will be disqualified, and associated posts or messages will be invalid. Any attempt by any entrant to obtain more than the stated maximum number of entries by using multiple/different names or email accounts, identities, registrations, or logins, or through any other methods, may void all of that entrant’s entries and that entrant may be disqualified. Entries which are incomplete or do not conform to all requirements will be disqualified. Sponsor’s computer is the official timekeeper for all matters related to this Contest. It is the sole responsibility of the entrant to notify the Sponsor in writing if the entrant changes his or her contact information during the Contest. In the event of a dispute regarding the identity of the person submitting an online entry, the entry will be deemed to be submitted by the person in whose name the email account is registered at the time of entry. Potential winner may be required to provide evidence that winner is the authorized account holder of the email account associated with the winning entry. In the event a dispute regarding the identity of the person who actually submitted an entry cannot be resolved to Sponsor’s satisfaction, the affected entry will be deemed ineligible.

  1. PRIZE DESCRIPTION/ODDS: On or about August 10, 2021 one winner will be selected by a panel of judges selected by Sonoma-Cutrer.  The entries will be judged according to the following criteria: Originality; Creativity, Representation of the Theme and Quality of the photo.  In the event of a tie the winner will be selected at random from among the tied entries. 

There will be one (1) Prize awarded. Prize consists of a 4-day, 3-night trip to the Sonoma-Cutrer Winery in California on October 1, 2021 – October 4, 2021,  for winner and one guest. Prize includes: round trip coach class air transportation from commercial airport closest to winner’s home, local accommodations (double occupancy), and Sonoma-Cutrer hospitality.  Approximate retail value of trip is $10,000. Winner and guest must be of legal drinking age and will be required to provide legal identification and complete other documents prior to award.  Sponsor or an independent judging organization will judge on  the date identified. Limit one (1) prize per entrant. Beverage alcohol is not part of any prize.  See Section 5 below for winner notification details and additional prize restrictions.  If a potential prize winner cannot travel on designated dates, he/she must forfeit the prize and an alternate potential winner may be selected. Unclaimed prize may not be awarded.  All decisions of the judges for this promotion shall be final.  Prize may not be transferred.  In the event the prize becomes unavailable, Sonoma-Cutrer may substitute a prize of equal or great value in its sole discretion.  Prize may not be redeemed for cash value.  

  1. WINNER NOTIFICATION/VERIFICATION/ADDITIONAL PRIZE RESTRICTIONS: On or about August 16, 2021 one potential prize winner will be notified.  The potential winner will be notified by direct message through phone and/or email to verify his/her eligibility and ability to accept the prize. Any such message will instruct the potential winner to reply as instructed within  five (5) full business days (measured in the local time zone) after the time that the notification message was left. Potential winner must reply as instructed within such three (3) full business day period, or he/she will be disqualified. In Sponsor’s sole discretion, potential winner may only be notified one time as set forth above for attempted prize notification. At Sponsor’s sole discretion, potential winner may be required to complete a notarized affidavit of eligibility, a liability release and (where legal) a publicity release, which must be returned, along with a copy of potential winner’s government-issued photo identification as proof of age, within the time period specified in potential winner’s notification letter. Proof of identity, age, and legal residence may be required to claim a prize. Any winner or potential winner may be disqualified in Sponsor’s sole discretion if: (a) he/she fails to reply as instructed within the required time period;  (b) he/she fails to provide Sponsor with satisfactory proof of age, identity and residency; (c) he/she fails to complete and return any required documents by the date specified in his/her notification message/letter; (d) if any prize or prize notification is returned as undeliverable, or (e) he/she fails to comply with any of the terms of these Official Rules. In the event of disqualification of a winner, at Sponsor’s sole discretion the prize may be awarded to an alternate winner selected from among the remaining applicable eligible entries via the means of winner determination described herein with timelines reduced at Sponsor’s discretion, pending verification of eligibility. If any prize remains unclaimed after six (6) potential winners have been notified for that prize, or the time for the trip expires, the prize may remain unawarded, in Sponsor’s sole discretion. No responsibility is assumed by Sponsor for any incorrect or missing contact information associated with an entry, or any change of contact information after entry submission. Any prize details not specified will be determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion. No prize transfer. Unless otherwise specified herein, no prize substitution except at Sponsor’s sole discretion due to unavailability, in which case a prize of comparable or greater value will be awarded. All other costs and expenses associated with acceptance and use of a prize not specified herein as being awarded are winner’s sole responsibility. Sponsor will not replace any lost, damaged or stolen prizes. Taxes on prizes and all expenses related to acceptance and use of prizes and not specified are the sole responsibility of the winner. Winner may be issued a 1099 tax document. Winner will need to RSVP with Sonoma-Cutrer representative to arrange prize delivery. If, for any reason, the prize cannot be fulfilled due to uncontrollable and unforeseen circumstances causing the winery to be closed to the public at the planned time of prize fulfillment, or a similar circumstance due to pandemic, disease or other Force Majeure conditions,  the prize may be postponed to a date determined by Sonoma-Cutrer. 

CLAIMING PRIZES/RELEASE:  Potential Grand Prize Winner will be notified by email and/or phone on or about August 16, 2021. Potential winner must accept the prize within five (5) days of notification. Potential Grand Prize Winner may be required to provide physical address for official documents relating to prize. Potential Grand Prize Winner may be required to execute an Affidavit of Eligibility, Affidavit of Ownership of rights in materials submitted (including copyright in all materials), and Publicity Release. If the notarized Affidavits and Release are not returned with 5 days of receipt/notification, the winner may have waived any claim to the prize and an alternate winner may be selected.  The return of the affidavits/release of liability within the allotted time shall be solely the responsibility of the winner; Brown-Forman is not responsible for delays in delivery. Brown–Forman reserves the right to edit and to publish all materials received whether or not entrant receives a prize. By entering this Contest, all entrants warrant and represent ownership of rights in story and materials submitted. Winner releases Brown-Forman from all liability regarding prize awarded. Entry constitutes entrants’ permission to print/post entrants’ names and submission in promotional materials including, but not limited to, the World Wide Web, social network and entrants’ consent to use their names, submissions, photographs, videos and/or voice recordings and likenesses for advertising or publicity purposes, in all media, without compensation or permission, except where prohibited by law.  By accepting his or her prize, the winner: (a) releases Brown-Forman and their affiliated companies and licensed  alcohol wholesalers and retailers from any all liability claims, action or proceedings arising out of or for injuries or damages sustained while involved in a promotion activity or connection with the use of the prizes; as well as (b) consents to the use by Brown-Forman for promotional purposes in connection with this promotion, of his or her name and/or likeness and/or voice without further compensation.

Any traveling companion of the winner must execute a similar Affidavit of Release prior to participating in any trip. Any traveling companion must be at least 21 years old to participate in the Prize trip.

  1. GENERAL CONDITIONS: The Contest Entities, and alcoholic beverage wholesalers and retailers, together with the employees, officers, directors, and agents of each (aforementioned individuals and organizations collectively, the “Released Parties”) are not responsible and shall not be liable for: (a) failures or malfunctions of phones (including wireless phones/handsets), phone lines or telephone systems or other communications malfunctions; cellular equipment towers, telephone systems or wireless services; (b) interrupted or unavailable network, server or other connections including those through and/or by the Website; (c) electronic, hardware or software program, network, Internet or computer malfunctions, failures, or difficulties of any kind, including without limitation, server malfunction or by any human error which may occur in the processing of entries; (d) failed, garbled, lost, misrouted or scrambled transmissions; (e) any error, omission, interruption, defect or delay in any transmission or communication or other errors or problems of any kind whether mechanical, human, technical, electronic, cellular telephone related or otherwise; (f) traffic congestion on the Internet or for any technical problem, including but not limited to any injury or damage to entrant’s or any other person’s computer or wireless phone/handset related to or resulting from participation in this Contest; (g) late, lost, incomplete, damaged, or misdirected entries, messages, or postage-due mail; (h) any condition caused by events beyond the control of the Sponsor that may cause the Contest to be disrupted or corrupted; or (i) printing errors in Contest / advertising materials. By entering and participating, entrants agree to: (a) abide by these Official Rules and by the decisions of the Sponsor, whose decisions are final and binding on all matters pertaining to this Contest; (b) the use of their names, photographs, testimonials or other likeness and/or prize information or personal exposition (and/or any edited portion thereof) by Sponsor and its designee(s) for promotional, advertising and/or publicity purposes in any media, now or hereafter known throughout the universe in perpetuity, including but not limited to the posting of their names on the Website, without compensation or notice to, or further consent of, to the winner to the extent permitted by law; and (c) to release, discharge and hold harmless the Released Parties from any and all injuries, liability, losses and damages of any kind resulting from their participation in the Contest or their acceptance, use or misuse of any prize awarded in this Contest, including, without limitation, personal injury, death and property damage. Failure to comply with the Official Rules may result in disqualification at Sponsor’s sole discretion and selection of an alternate winner. All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY A CONTEST ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE ANY WEB SITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE CONTEST IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS AND SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR AND ITS DESIGNEES RESERVE THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH CONTEST ENTRANT TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Internet entry must be made by the entrant only at the authorized web site address. Entries may not be made by any other individual or any entity, and/or originate at any unauthorized Internet web site, including, but not limited to, commercial contest subscription notification and/or entering service sites. Any potential winner who entered by any of the prohibited methods described above will be disqualified and an alternate winner will be selected. Sponsor reserves the right at its sole discretion to disqualify any individual it finds to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Contest or any web site associated therewith; to be acting in violation of the Official Rules; or to be acting in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. If, for any reason, the Contest is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer virus, worms, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, strikes, industry conditions, bankruptcy or liquidation, marketplace demands, applicable law, unforeseen obstacles, or any other causes which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine, or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability, or proper conduct of the Contest, Sponsor reserves the right in its sole and absolute discretion to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend all or any part of the Contest, and to select the winners from among all eligible, non-suspect entries received up to the time of such cancellation, termination, modification, or suspension, as applicable, or to proceed in such a manner as may be deemed fair and equitable by Sponsor in its sole discretion.
  2. DISPUTES/GOVERNING LAW: Except where prohibited, each entrant agrees: (a) that any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of, or connected with, the Contest or any prize awarded shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, and exclusively by the appropriate court located in the Commonwealth of Kentucky; (b) that any and all claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with entering this Contest but in no event attorneys’ fees; (c) to hereby waive all rights to claim punitive, incidental and consequential damages and any other damages, other than for actual out-of-pocket expenses, and any and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased; and (d) to waive any right to seek injunctive or equitable relief. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, entrant’s rights and obligations, or the rights and obligations of Sponsor in connection with the Contest, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules (whether of the Commonwealth of Kentucky or any other jurisdiction), which would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
  3. COLLECTION AND USE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION: By entering the Contest, entrants agree and consent to Sponsor’s collection, use and retention of their personal information provided in their entries for all purposes related to the Contest (including, without limitation, processing and administering entries, sharing an entrant’s personal information with Sponsor’s service providers and contractors, as necessary to conduct and operate the Contest, communicating with and awarding prizes to winners, making public announcements about winners, and advertising, promoting and publicizing the Contest), as well as in accordance with Sponsor’s Privacy Policy published at , provided that in the event of any conflict between these Official Rules and such Privacy Policy, the terms and conditions of these Official Rules shall prevail.
  4. INDEMNITY: You agree to indemnify and hold the Released Parties harmless from any and all claims, damages, expenses, costs (including reasonable attorneys’ fees) and liabilities (including settlements), brought or asserted by any third party against any of the Released Parties due to or arising out of your entry, or your conduct in creating an entry or otherwise in connection with this Contest, including but not limited to: claims for trademark infringement; copyright infringement; violation of an individual’s right of publicity or right of privacy; or defamation.
  5. WINNER’S LIST: For the name of the winner (name, city, and state), mail a self-addressed, stamped envelope to be received by October 1, 2021 to: Sonoma-Cutrer First Time Contest Winner List, Red Moon Marketing, 7804 Fairview Road, Box #309, Charlotte, NC 28226.



Please Enjoy Our Wines Responsibly.

SONOMA-CUTRER is a registered trademark ©2021 Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards, Windsor, CA. All rights reserved. To find out more about responsible consumption, visit and


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Chicken Piccata


Serves 4.


This is a classic American-Italian recipe that is easy and quick.  Since it’s done in one pan it makes cleanup a breeze.  Great adapted to other meats like pork tenderloin or turkey breast.  The bright, citrusy notes of the Russian River Ranches Chardonnay would be a perfect choice to serve with this.


2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each 10 to 12 ounces each 

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

½ cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot

¼ cup dry white wine

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or to taste

1/3 cup chicken broth

2 tablespoon drained capers

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

1 tablespoon finely chopped chives


  1. Butterfly the chicken breasts and cut them in half horizontally. Working with one breast half at a time, place the chicken between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and, using a meat pounder or other heavy, flat object like a skillet, gently pound to an even thickness of about ¼ inch thick.
  2. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the flour in a shallow bowl and dredge the chicken in it. Shake off the excess.
  3. In the nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Place 2 pieces of chicken in the pan and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter or individual plates. Warm the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the pan and repeat with the remaining chicken.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium and add 1 tablespoon butter in the pan. Add the shallot and cook until softened and lightly brown, about 1 minute. Add the wine, lemon juice and broth, increase the heat to medium-high and cook until the liquid is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, the capers and parsley. Season to your taste with salt and pepper and additional drops of lemon juice if desired. Splash the sauce over the chicken and serve immediately topped with a sprinkling of chives.



Photo by John Burgess, Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Recipe by John Ash:

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Pasta with Salmon Caviar


4 main or 6 first-course servings.


Salmon or trout roe is delicious and much more affordable than sturgeon caviar.  It adds a delicate crunch to this luxurious pasta dish.  The Rosé of Pinot Noir would be a beautiful visual and flavor match.


1-pound bucatini or other long pasta such as spaghetti

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1/2 cup crème fraiche plus a little extra for garnish

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon (1 teaspoon dried)

Freshly ground black pepper

4 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon cut into 1/2-inch ribbons

4 ounces salmon caviar 

1/4 cup chopped chives


  1. Bring a large pot of salter water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.
  2. In a large, deep skillet, melt the butter over moderate heat.
  3. When the foam subsides, add the minced shallot, and cook over moderately low heat for 2 minutes, stirring.
  4. Add the crème fraîche, parsley and tarragon. Stir in about 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water and season to your taste with pepper.
  5. Add the pasta and toss well. Add up to 2 more tablespoons of the reserved cooking water if the pasta seems too dry. Remove from the heat.
  6. Add the smoked salmon and three-fourths of the caviar and toss gently.
  7. Serve in shallow bowls, garnished with the remaining caviar, a little crème fraiche and chopped chives.



Photo by John Burgess, Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Recipe by John Ash:


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Mushroom Pate


Makes enough to fill a 3-cup mold or dish.


The simplicity of this recipe belies its great taste.  Traditionally served in a small glass jar with a bail lid.   Serve with crisp little croutes, toasts, or crackers of your choice and, as the French do, with some little cornichons and grainy mustard on the side.  Mushrooms are a great match with Pinot Noir.  Serve a glass of the Russian River Valley Pinot Noir with this for your spring gathering.


1-ounce dried wild mushrooms such as porcini

5 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup chopped shallots or green onions (white part only)

1-1/4 pounds thickly sliced fresh wild or exotic cultivated mushrooms*

2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic

2 teaspoons curry powder or to your taste

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 cup toasted, preferably unsalted cashews

2 tablespoons toasted nut oil such as walnut or olive oil

2 tablespoons finely chopped mixed herbs such as parsley, chives and/or basil

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Rinse the dried mushrooms quickly and let soak in warm water to cover for 15 minutes.  Drain, squeeze dry and chop.
  2. Heat the butter in a large sauté pan over moderately high heat.  Add the shallots, all mushrooms, garlic, curry and cumin and sauté and stir until mixture is just beginning to brown and all liquid has evaporated.
  3. While mushrooms are cooking add the cashews to a food processor and process till finely chopped.  Add oil and continue to process to make a paste or butter.  Add the mushroom mixture and process till almost smooth.  Stir in the herbs and zest and season with salt and pepper to your taste and place in a 3-cup pate mold or other ceramic dish.  Can be stored covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.  Allow to return to room temperature to serve.


Photo by John Burgess, Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Recipe by John Ash:

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