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Dan the Wine Man

Dan Dawson, Dan the Wine Man: What to eat and drink this weekend if you’re not at BottleRock

From the Napa Valley Wine Insider Digest: Sept. 4, 2021 series
  • Updated
Dan Dawson

Dan Dawson 

If you’re staying away from BottleRock, like I am, let’s eat and drink well from the comforts of home, and for a fraction of the price. While there are a million ways to do it, Ken and I have one of the best. Crank up The Foo Fighters (unless you’re within earshot of the real thing) and dig into Ken’s recipes and my wines to match.

We love feedback, so if you’ve made one of Ken’s recipes and followed my wine recommendation, please let me know what you think. In full disclosure, I haven’t necessarily enjoyed the pairings before going to print. I am sure they are at the minimum very good, but I can’t be certain of a celestial wine and food match until I’ve experienced it. You may beat me to it!

Before I go any further, we know all well that grilling is a year-round activity in Napa. Too year-round the last few years, frankly. Let us bow our heads and pray that inclement weather (read RAIN) alters our grilling plans a lot this fall and winter.

My wine suggestions with this week’s “Cooking For Comfort” recipes

• Maison l’Envoyé Gamay Rosé “Le Saint Pale” 2020, $15 at Old Bridge Cellars, with Israeli-Spiced Tomatoes, Yogurt Sauce, and Chickpeas

• Brockmeyer Grenache “Cederquist Vineyard” 2020, $25 at Brockmeyer Winery, with Dutch West Indian Chicken Kebabs and Thai Peanut Sauce

• Kilikanoon “The Lackey” Shiraz, South Australia 2018, $15 at Old Bridge Cellars with Santa Maria Tri-Tip

While the symphony of pungent herbs and spices in the Israeli-spiced Tomato, Yogurt and Chickpea salad can hold up to a stronger white and many reds, the soul wants Rosé wine. Don’t you think? Maison l’Envoyé Gamay Rosé “Le Saint Pale” 2020 ($15) is from France’s Beaujolais region. Light orange/red color, real dry, textured, red berries, tangerine, dry herbs, dusting of black pepper. A superfood companion and so satisfying with the garden’s bounty. Sip it as you grill the flatbread.

Buy Maison l’Envoyé Rosé from Napa’s Old Bridge Cellars, a wine importer and under-the-radar retailer. Buy online at and pick up from their office at 703 Jefferson St. (corner of Jefferson and Oak, kitty-corner from Fuller Park). Use discount code NAPAREGISTER for 20% off.


The recipe for Dutch West Indian Chicken Kebabs with Thai Peanut Sauce reminds me of my flavor checks for my wife’s Thai cooking. How’s the salt, sweet, spice, and tang? Making these aggressive flavors harmonize leaves little room for big, bold wines…beer is a good choice here. On the wine side, I want a light red with lower alcohol, bright acidity, and floral and spicy undertones. What do I have in mind?

Brockmeyer Family Grenache “Cederquist Vineyard” 2020 ($25) comes from 125-year-old vines on the Brockmeyer’s family vineyard in Fresno County. The grapes come to Napa where the three generations of Brockmeyers live and work in the wine business. Call this a passion project. The translucent Grenache tastes of tangy raspberries, hibiscus tea, blood oranges, and fennel. Sub-13% alcohol, low tannins and fresh, serve this with a slight chill. Great match with all the flavors in the Chicken Kebabs.

Contact Brockmeyer Family through their website, It’s old-school wine buying at Brockmeyer - no e-commerce. When you speak with patriarch Richard “Brock” Brockmeyer, ask him about the Dawson Wine Advisor discount and the delicious Brockmeyer Rosé of Grenache.


Ken acknowledged his Santa Maria tri-tip is an interpretation. Noted, along with his permission to use another cut of beef. I’m naturally drawn to the philosophical question, if everything has been replaced what is its connection to the original? I don’t know, but I do know that Ken’s Santa Maria rub on ribeye steak is DARN GOOD! Make it, and be happy you have extra rub for next time. And thanks to Whole Spice at The Oxbow Public Market for filling in my missing ingredients.

My wine pick for the Santa Maria (?) Ribeye-Instead-of-Tri-Tip is another Old Bridge Cellars selection. Kilikanoon “The Lackey” Shiraz Southern Australia 2018 ($15) is soft, floral, juicy, and happy as can be. Bold Australian flavors and cushy texture make a nice match with the sweet spices and rich red meat. Can’t beat the price for the quality either. Picture yourself at the grill on a warm late summer day, grilling and eating, and Miss Congeniality-winner The Lackey Shiraz is perfect for the occasion. Another direction to go is good-old Napa Cabernet. Pull one out if you’re so lucky to have a collection. Wine aside, I encourage you to make the Santa Maria (?) Ribeye-Instead-of-Tri-Tip. 5-star recipe.

Buy The Lackey Shiraz from Old Bridge Cellars at Use discount code NAPAREGISTER for 20% off, and choose the pickup option.

It’s a pleasure to recommend and write for you.

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Dan Dawson is a former Napa Valley wine merchant and sommelier. These days he helps small California wineries connect with folks who want their wine but don’t know it yet. You can reach Dan via his website, and @dawsonwineadvisor on Facebook and Instagram.

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