Food & Wine

Because if it Grows Together it Goes Together

A common refrain for sommeliers and chefs when pairing wine with food is “if it grows together it goes together,” meaning that the traditional foods and dishes from a particular region always pair extremely well with the wines native to that region.

When asked by Wine Enthusiast magazine to suggest a recipe to pair with our 2012 Malbec, the first thing that came to mind was cassoulet. The traditional winter stew of beans and cured meats traces its origins to the French wine region of Cahors – where Malbec is the dominant grape variety.

While the balance and acidity in this particular Malbec make it versatile enough to pair with any grilled or roasted meat, there is certainly something magical to the traditional pairing with cassoulet; if you have the time and inclination I highly recommend giving it a shot.

This recipe from J. Kenji López-Alt at Serious Eats is a great one that will excite your taste buds and enhance the drinking pleasure of our Malbec. As they do in Cahors, we like to use duck confit for the poultry component, but Kenji makes a great case for using chicken instead – you be the judge! If you’d like to try out the pairing, use promo code WE50 in our online store for 50% off shipping on 3 or more bottles of our wine.

Traditional French Cassoulet


  • 1 pound dried cannellini beans
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 quart homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
  • 3 packets (3/4 ounces) unflavored gelatin (see note above)
  • 2 tablespoons duck fat (optional)
  • 8 ounces salt pork, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 6 to 8 pieces of chicken thighs and drumsticks, or 4 whole chicken leg quarters
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound garlic sausage (2 to 4 links depending on size)
  • 1 large onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 carrot, unpeeled, cut into 3-inch sections
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into 3-inch sections
  • 1 whole head garlic
  • 4 sprigs parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cloves


  1. In a large bowl, cover beans with 3 quarts water and add 3 tablespoons salt. Stir to combine and let sit at room temperature overnight. Drain and rinse beans and set aside.
  2. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and preheat oven to 300°F. Place stock in a large liquid measuring cup and sprinkle gelatin over the top. Set aside. Heat duck fat (if using) in a large Dutch oven over high heat until shimmering. Add salt pork and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned all over, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside. (If not using duck fat, cook pork with no additional fat.)
  3. Season chicken pieces with pepper (do not add salt) and place skin side-down in now-empty pan. Cook without moving until well browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Flip chicken pieces and continue cooking until lightly browned on second side, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer to bowl with salt pork.
  4. Add sausages and cook, turning occasionally, until well-browned on both sides. Transfer to bowl with salt pork and chicken. Drain all but 2 tablespoons fat from pot.
  5. Add onions to pot and cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Cook until onions are translucent but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add drained beans, carrot, celery, garlic, parsley, bay leaves, cloves, and stock/gelatin mixture. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce to low, cover Dutch oven and cook until beans are almost tender but retain a slight bite, about 45 minutes.
  6. Using tongs, remove carrots, celery, parsley, bay leaves, and cloves and discard. Add meats to pot and stir to incorporate, making sure that the chicken pieces end up on top of the beans with the skin facing upwards. Beans should be almost completely submerged. Transfer to oven and cook, uncovered, until a thin crust forms on top, about 2 hours, adding more water by pouring it carefully down the side of the pot as necessary to keep beans mostly covered.
  7. Break crust with a spoon and shake pot gently to redistribute. Return to oven and continue cooking, stopping to break and shake the crust every 30 minutes until you reach the 4 1/2 hour mark. Return to oven and continue cooking undisturbed until the crust is deep brown and thick, about 5 to 6 hours total. Serve immediately.


Because Hidden Gems Exist

We are very excited about the passionate network of wine bloggers on the internet and how they are influencing the future of wine consumption – no longer does the mainstream wine press have a stranglehold on “taste-making.”

Katrina Rene at “The Corkscrew Concierge” is the latest blogger to discover our wines. In addition to some of the typical wine blog tasting features, her beautifully composed site explores wine travel and food & wine pairing, and in approaching our wines she hints at the sublime experience of discovering a hidden gem off the beaten path… Take a look:

Finding Wine Greatness Off the Beaten Path at Judge Palmer Winery

Because Wine & Food Go Together

We are excited to announce that we will be hosting our first official winemaker dinner on Wednesday, April 13th in San Francisco at the fabulous A16 on Chestnut Street. Our friend Kurt Beitler from Bohème Wines will be co-hosting and pouring his stunning line-up of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay alongside the Judge Palmer wines. The 3-course prix fixe menu will be available throughout the restaurant all evening, but if you want to reserve a spot at the winemakers’ table on the back patio at 7 pm, RSVP to us ASAP.

A16 Wine Dinner Collage

A16 is the paragon of southern Italian cuisine in San Francisco, with an incomparable wine list curated by our friend Shelley Lindgren. We are proud that they currently serve our 2013 Sauvignon Blanc – one of only 4 California wines poured on their 20-deep selection of white wines by the glass. We highly recommend a visit here on your next trip to San Francisco – the hen of the woods mushrooms are a great pairing with our Sauvignon Blanc, and the pizzas and squid ink pasta are not to be missed.