Spice Trade

Wineries get in the canned goods business

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Tasting rooms are offering more than wine.

It’s nice to have your go-to blend of herbs and salt that’s good for potatoes and eggs in the morning, stir-fry in the evening and maybe even Bloody Marys some other morning. I thought I’d found that spice in Bohemian Forest, a mustard-based, lavender-laced number from Santa Rosa’s Savory Spice Shop.

Then a contender showed up. Tucked in with a wine sample from Quivira Vineyards, a shaker of house-made spice mix called “Tuscan herb salt.” Two shakers, actually. Twice as nice.

This sort of swag is nothing new. But the moment I opened this Tuscan shaker, it sang to me. It sang with potatoes and eggs, roasted vegetables, tofu and sausage alike. It’s made with estate-grown rosemary, garlic and sage from Quivira’s formerly certified biodynamic garden—which they claim is still more than half as nice, as they employ the very same biodynamic methods—and sea salt, which hails from the sea. I can’t say whether it’s the Steiner-esque dynamic energies of the herbs, or just that I don’t get around much in the spice aisle, but I like this. It’s recently returned to the tasting room for $10, along with a Provençal blend, lemon herb salt and fig preserves.

It’s meant to pair with Zin, like Quivira’s 2016 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel ($25). Think blackberry liqueur here, instead of jam, and cassis, giving the impression of a mannerly, mid-priced Bordeaux. With floral hints of sage and mustard blossom, a dry, yet plush palate, and easy screw-top cap, what’s not to like about this Zin?

Next, a jar each of Zinfandel mustard ($9) and Zinfandel barbecue sauce ($12) from Seghesio Family Vineyards showed up. Careful readers will recall how much we love mustard here at the Sun, but this is no sour, yellow stuff, nor simply stoneground and loaded with seeds. This deep brown mustard has a hint of oaky cask, without being too “winey.” I find it lends earthy depth to a Reuben sandwich.

Stir-frying with the sauce was a miss, but baking with tofu worked out. Redolent of smoky adobo sauce, it’s aimed at a pairing with a wine like Seghesio’s 2016 Old Vine Sonoma County Zinfandel ($40). Supple and knit together with warm, fuzzy sweater tannins, this classic Seghesio Zin’s got milk chocolate highlights and strawberry, cranberry, and spicy, seeded raspberry jam flavors.

Check out how Seghesio’s executive chef Peter Janiak cooks it up at the winery’s Annual Zin + BBQ Festival, Saturday, July 20, 4–7pm.

Seghesio Family Vineyards, 700 Grove Street, Healdsburg. 707.433.3579.

Quivira Vineyards, 4900 West Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg. 707.431.8333

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