Local Wine Pairings From O.C. Chefs

Top chefs suggest dishes to pair with a local bottle on their wine list.

Costa Mesa
Chef-owner Mark McDonald suggests the 2014 Penville Grenache Chingon Ballard Canyon (Page 121) with his rosemary infused Duck Leg Confit with dried cherry grenache reduction.

If you haven’t tried it already, Old Vine Café offers a 6-for-$60 wine deal that allows wine lovers the opportunity to try new wines with confidence. Chef McDonald, a wine connoisseur himself, and the restaurant’s Wine Director, Kate Perry, personally select six bottles of interesting wines which they package together for sale at the restaurant. Customers can purchase the six-pack at an affordable price. Better yet, they create suggested food pairings for each wine, with tasting notes, meaning you can comfortably entertain and play hostess with a wine that’s unfamiliar to you.

Rancho Santa Margarita
The restaurant’s Asian Braised Short Ribs with edamame ginger purée and Fresno chile pairs beautifully with the 2013 Frisby Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Paso Robles says General Manager Mandy Graniere.

The special-occasion restaurant also offers all the steakhouse classics, from bone-in filet mignon ($52) to Skuna Bay salmon ($31), and has a long list of martinis ($11 to $13). Save room for the warm butter cake ($12). 22195 El Paseo, 949-709-2300, hannasprimesteak.com

Chef-partner and recent winemaker David Slay pairs his 2014 Slay Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills with Seared Wild Scallops, grainy mustard sauce, and seasonal vegetables picked from Park Ave’s garden.

Try: Park Ave’s burrata which has a unique take using the restaurant’s own kumquats and honey instead of the usual tomatoes.

Newport Beach, Tustin
Chef-partner Yvon Goetz’s signature Zinfandel-Braised Prime Beef Short Ribs with pearl couscous, BELOW, is paired with 2013 Frisby Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles


As to be expected, wine takes center stage at The Winery. Diners will be impressed by the extensive wine list which includes over 600 wine selections. Cabernet sauvignon is a meat lover’s catnip, and the menu delivers many suitable complements that included, when I visited, a man-sized bone-in rib eye, and a hearty venison chop (yum!). Seafood options are plentiful as well, and the wine list offers many suitable white wines, including 38 chardonnays.

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