For a French native and a charcuterie plate (dressed meats and meat dishes) lover, it’s not an easy task to find show-stopping charcuterie plates in the US. In the Napa Valley, many wineries offer wine and cheese pairings; but few of those offer wine and charcuterie pairings.
I recently discovered that Jamieson Ranch Vineyards, located in Napa Valley, offers a tasting featuring wine and charcuterie. This adventure not only stimulated my love for wine tasting, but also stimulated my taste buds in a very pleasant and unexpected way.
The location of the winery is pretty convenient for those living close to San Francisco. It’s the southernmost winery in the Napa Valley, which allows avoiding all the traffic normally found when tasting further up valley.
To get to the winery, I followed a path surrounded by high standing cypress trees, which created a warm welcome. I was greeted by Lucinda, the Wine Educator, who handed me a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and sat me on a couch by the fireplace. I could tell that I was in for a treat.
When the tasting began, the Chef himself brought the charcuterie assortment to my table, presenting the fruits of his labor: Prosciutto Cotto, Homemade Chicken Liver Mousse, Prosciutto di Parma, and Soppressata. The platter was plentiful and looked absolutely delicious.
Lucinda guided me through the tasting. I started with the Prosciutto Cotto (an Italian cooked ham) along with their 2012 Napa Valley Merlot. I hadn’t tasted such a delectable and delicate ham in the US since I arrived nearly 9 months ago. It tasted like an authentic meat from Europe. The Merlot was elegantly tannic and smoky, offering the perfect structure to emphasize the flavor profile of the meat.
I proceeded with a layer of Chicken Liver Mousse on a cracker, paired with the 2012 Single Vineyard Zinfandel. Don’t feel bad if the word “liver” doesn’t seem appealing at first. The creamy texture and rich flavor stand out and pair amazingly with wine. The mousse is made in-house by combining caramelized Fuji apples and shallots. It is then deglazed with Calvados (apple brandy). Simply amazing! A sip of the Zinfandel revealed the delicate sweet flavors of the Mousse.
Next, I took a bite of the Prosciutto di Parma (an Italian cured ham), along with the 2012 Napa Valley Petite Syrah. I’m a big fan of this kind of charcuterie meat so my expectations were high. It did not disappoint. The texture was velvety and seemed to melt in my mouth. The saltiness was perfectly balanced. The Petite Syrah even revealed a sweet note in the meat I did not pick up at first.
Last but not least, I tried the Soppressata (an Italian dry salami) paired with the 2012 “Strong Box” Cabernet Sauvignon. The meat was delicately seasoned with black pepper and garlic. The pairing with the Cab revealed a pleasant sweet spicy flavor in the salami that I can only describe as “flawless”.
Once my palate has been amazed by this fantastic tasting, it was time for a little tour of the property. Lucinda took me outside to show me the Veranda. Intimate seating with a fantastic view of the valley was found at every turn. Even in the middle of November, it’s warm and sunny. I took advantage of the sunshine filled terrace!
On one side of the veranda, walls were covered with amazing artistic graffiti, made by artists from New-York and San Francisco. It was pretty unique for a winery and I really liked the execution of the idea. Close to the painted walls, there was a fabulous seating area offering an incredible view of the scenic landscape.
This tasting exceeded my highest expectations. If you are fond of charcuterie and enjoy wine like I do, I recommend this tasting at Jamieson Ranch for you and your crew. It is worth the visit!
Price: $60/person – Duration: 1hr – Theme: foodie – Location: American Canyon
Louise Veron – firstname.lastname@example.org
Marketing and Social Media Coordinator at VinoVisit.com
Originally from Bordeaux (France), I moved to the Napa Valley to work for VinoVisit.com last February. I just finished my trilingual Master’s degree in Wine Tourism and International Marketing and graduated with honors. As a real food and wine lover, I’m enjoying exploring the area and relating my discoveries from a very French point of view.