Monthly Food & Wine Pairing Challenge

with Josh Davis and Jay Harmon

 Gentile's The Wine Sellers



It would appear that I am on somewhat of a kick, and that kick is Spain. These stellar values keep appearing to me, and I know you were as impressed as I was when we tasted that hot little Ribero del Duero the other day. So let us talk about the 2015 Rios de Tinta from Isaac Fernandez.


Made from 100% Tinta del Pais, the local name for Tempranillo, the wine immediately sets itself apart from it’s old world neighbors in Rioja. The opaque, brilliant plum color is followed by fresh fruit aromas, with notes of ripe black raspberry, pomegranate, and cut violet. The stainless steel aging is immediately present with the aromas, but is furthered on the palate with a definite juiciness and a fleshy, full body that still remains structured. The wine finishes cleanly and has a beautiful balance of both power and finesse. Isaac Fernandez has been making wine in Spain for over 25 years, and his experience and commitment to quality are quite evident in this venture. I have some immediate thoughts as to what would pair well with the stuff, but I am going to leave your job up to you. 


It’s rather rare to see such a well executed wine at such a low price, and I even think the Rios de Tinta will gain some complexity given a couple years laid down, although it is quite delicious in the present. Isaac Fernandez 2015 Rios de Tinta retails for $12.99 a bottle or $151.10 for the case which includes your 10% case discount. Turns out those fellows over at Vinous agree with me as well, as the wine just recently received 90 points.


Now Jay, what will you pair with these explosive fruit flavors contained within that hot little $12.99 bottle?



Alright Josh, I’m on a bit of a kick myself, and that is one celebrating the fall season.  All the wines, beers, and foodstuffs that pair nicely with this ‘sweater weather’ rank among some of my favorites.  So while I am indeed fond of this ‘hot little’ Ribero del Duero, I see it more as a ‘cool weather companion’.  That pomegranate note you mention reminds me more of cranberry, and I immediately  thought of one of my go-to dishes in this all-too-brief Autumn season—stuffed porkchops!  


Now I’m sure there’s a fancier way to prepare these with fresh cranberries, and by all means experiment as you please; but this recipe from my girlfriend Emily’s family is quick, simple, and delicious:




4 boneless pork chops

4 slices bread, cubed 

    (can substitute 1 cup breadcrumbs)

1/4 cup Craisins

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 tablespoon brown sugar


  1. Heat broiler with rack 4” from heat.

  2. In medium bowl, combine all the ingredients besides the pork chops with 1 tablespoon of water.  Season with salt & pepper to taste.

  3. Make a small slit on the side of each pork chop, & stuff with mixture.

  4. Broil for 8-10 minutes

  5. Serve with wild rice & pumpkin pie for dessert