We Say “Kiwa’nan” to Kitá Wines with 3 Blends by Tara Gomez Paired with Soul Food #WinePW #BHM

Kita blends by Tara Gomez

 
When the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians invested in Kitá Wines, they became the very first Native American tribe to have a Native American winemaker, vineyard and winemaking operation run solely by their own people. Winemaker Tara Gomez was there from the beginning, masterfully managing every step and blending the wines. “When we embarked on this journey in 2010, my mission from the very beginning was to approach these wines the same way I approach life: with a heart full of gratitude and a healthy appetite for adventure,” says Tara on Kita’s Facebook page. “There wasn’t a lot of discussion happening around Native American-made wines when we first started, and I am so proud to be part of the movement happening around the world as people look toward the original stewards of the land for unique and amazing wine, beer and spirits.”
 

Chumash Winemaker Tara Gomez

 
“Every step of the way I have been grateful for the opportunities provided by my tribe; both through the education and experience they have made available to me, and by being entrusted to share the story of our ancestors through wine cultivated from our ancestral land.” 

On May 23, 2013 Kitá Wines opened their doors and officially launched but earlier this month, the Chumash Tribe decided to say  “Kiwa’nan” and stop making wine. This means Tara will be able to focus on her family’s winery, Camins2Dreams which she and her wife Mireia started in 2017 to make hand-crafted, low-intervention, natural wines, wines which we are including in the 2022 edition of the Slow Wine Guide.
 
“Growing wine grapes is truly a partnership with Mother Earth.  It is about finding that connection to the land, soil and climate.  It’s not only about taking what we need, but by giving back in sustainable ways so that we can preserve the land for the longevity of our future generations,”  says Tara Gomez, winemaker.
 

Camins 2 Dreams winemakers Tara Gomez and Mireia Taribó at their Camins 2 Dreams tasting room in Lompoc

“Being able to provide representation for the Indigenous community in the wine industry has been an honor and a privilege,” says Tara, “and I look forward to continuing to elevate our native brothers and sisters in the beverage industry as my journey continues.”
 
Kita wines can be purchased in the tasting room and online at 40% off; the Tasting Room is open Friday-Sunday. Learn more: https://kitawines.com/
 

Kita’s tasting room is open Fridays-Sunday until the inventory is gone

To say “Kiwa’nan” (good bye in the Chumash language of Samala or Šmuwič) to Kita Wines and Kaqinaš (thank you) to winemaker Tara Gomez, and with this month’s BIPOC Wine Pairing Weekend theme, we decided to open the three bottles of Kita wine we purchased with an industry discount when we visited last February when we wrote about Kita here, also for #WinePW.

Scroll down for more BIPOC wines, wineries, winemakers, and pairings.

Kita wines paired with soul food

3 of Kita’s Santa Barbara County WINES

Kita means “Our Valley Oak” and the label, the cork and the lead features an oak leaf with topographic lines. Blends are named after the elements in the Chumash language. Learn more about the Chumash language and how to pronounce words here; learn more about Ventura County’s Chumash history here.

With access to 19 varietals, Tara shared in our interview last February about the opportunity to blend them: “I created the blends trying to tell a story about the natural elements of life,” she says. 

“A blend is the winemaker becoming an artist,” says Tara. “I don’t want to be like everyone else.”

  • 2018 Kita T’Aya  White Blend
    T’aya translates to “abalone shell” — water element

  • 2016 Kita Spe’y Grenache Blend
    Spe’y translates to “flower” — earth element

  • 2014 Kita Kalaš Merlot/Cabernet Franc Blend 
    Breathe” in the Native Language of Samala–air element

Because it is Black History Month, and because the Wine Pairing Weekend Wine writers are sharing BIPOC wines and foods to go with them this month, we decided to focus on “Soul Food.”

Kita white blend with fish cakes

Soul Food Inspired MENU

  • Creole-Style African Fish Patties with Pontchartrain Sauce

These elevated Fish Patties with Pontchartrain Sauce African and Cajun flavors combine the past and the present. While the recipe called for flounder, we used catfish which is what I could find at Vallarta Market. The fish is seasoned and fried then combined with yellow potatoes with a traditional Cajun Pontchartrain sauce using spices from the African diaspora. I had some small salad shrimp so we garnished the cakes with that on top of greens. We will be making these again! Read more and find the recipe here.  PS I’m looking forward to putting the leftover sauce on SALMON! 

  • Macaroni and Cheese:

    Do you know why Southern baked mac and cheese is important to Black culture? 

I learned here that James Hemings, an African American enslaved by Thomas Jefferson, trained as a culinary chef at 19 in France when Jefferson took him there. Based on his training, he created “Macaroni pie” or baked mac and cheese where he boiled the noodles in a combination of water and milk and then baked it. What makes it distinct “soul food” today is this process plus seasonings like dried or powdered garlic, onion, paprika, mustard and a mix of cheeses including mozzarella, cheddar, and American cheese. This recipe uses an Instant pot then bakes it off but after following the recipe, Sue feels it’s just easier to make it stove top then bake it. We put parmesan cheese on top.

  • Collard Greens

Kathy’s special recipe using this traditional vegetable calls for garlic and lemon. We used some with the Short Ribs as well as extra for our plates. YUM!

  • Oysters

But of course! Purchased at Vallarta. Straight no chaser.

  • Coffee Bourbon Braised Beef Short Ribs on polenta with greens 

“With the origin of coffee being birthed out of the continent of Africa, it has also become a staple worldwide,” writes recipe author My Pretty Brown Fit + Eats. “Growing up in the deep south, this recipe is a beautiful fusion of our parents, grandparents as well as our ancestors. The rich flavors of beef cooked slowly with notes of coffee and bourbon joined by stewed greens and golden grit cakes” offers “traditional soul food with modern ingenuity and social flair. Hearty meals are a reminder of our perseverance, remind us how to slow down, reflect on how far we’ve come and appreciate the sacrifices made in the kitchen, the gardens, and the fields that came before us.”

Vallarta Market had the beef short ribs on sale for the Super Bowl, and they were beautiful. I combined the dry rub ingredients and pulsed them in my coffee grinder since I don’t have a food processor. They were on the meat for almost 6 hours; could have gone longer. My husband adapted the recipe to use his smoker and his grill. He would have loved to slow cook them longer and since I have extra rub, we’ll do this again! Instead of making polenta, next time I’d buy it already prepared and slice it, fry it, and plate it with greens. Find the recipe here. 

  • Caramel apple bundt cake 

When she found a recipe on a soul food site, Kathy offered to make a sweet potato bundt cake but lacking a bundt cake plus with record high temperatures I convinced her to use her gift certificate and buy a bundt cake!

Kita’s T’AYA white wine blend by Tara Gomez

2018 Kita T’aya  White Blend 

ABV
SRP $40
Blend: Marsanne 56%, Roussanne 40%, Grenache Blanc 4% 

T’aya, the Samala word for “abalone shell,” and like the abalone shell, this white Rhone blend offers the minerality of the ocean with a creamy texture from lees aging.
 
T’aya seemed the right name to Tara she told us because “When I was writing the tasting notes the T’aya reminded me so much of the ocean — salt brininess of the ocean natural element of water.”

Color:  Pale lemon, golden sunlight, 

Aroma:
Herbal notes, kefir lime, butterscotch.  

Palate:
Herbs, sage, chaparral, distinct slick creamy mouthfeel, tart kefir lime, minerals, salinity.  Butterscotch on the finish. 

Pairing:
 Oysters bring out such bright fruit in the wine, such a beautiful combination. Guava, melon, and kiwi flavors emerged when pairing the two. The fish cakes and the wine, while not horrible, surprised us as not the best pairing of the evening because it didn’t work with the spices in the cakes and the sauce. I’d love to try it with local lobster or prawns. The Mac and cheese and the wine on the other hand does; here the wine loves all of the spices in the Macaroni and cheese. Fantastic with the collard greens with layered flavors of lemon, butter, and spices. Our caramel apple spiced bundt cake is so lovely with it also. This is a wine that can stay the course from greeter to good bye! 

Kita’s Spe’Y blend leads with grenache

2016 Kita Spe’y 

ABV 14.2%
SRP $34
Blend 70% Grenache, 24% Carignane, 6% Syrah
Camp 4 Vineyard – Santa Ynez Valley

Spe’y means flower – 

Color: “Wow, that is pretty, and that is not something that usually comes out of my mouth,” said Kathy. Clear ruby color, very pale pink rim

Aroma:
Subtle florals, a bit of carnation, eucalyptus, baking spice, pepper, wild strawberry, cinnamon, 

Palate: 
Wild strawberry, cherry,  cranberry, pomegranate, rhubarb, very tart, bright tart fruit, minerals, chalk, chalky tannins.  The wild strawberry and black pepper lingers on the finish. 

Pairing:
 The coffee flavoring on the crust of the meat enhance the wine nicely. The spices in the Mac and cheese are quite nice with the wine. The cream in the dish are perfect with the wine.  The polenta and the flavors from the juices of the meat are a fantastic combination.  

2014 Kita Kalaš

ABV 13.5%
SRP $50
Blend 48% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Franc, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot
520 cases produced.

In Samala, the word “Kalas” means air and it signifies to breathe. Tara explained to us that Bordeaux wine needs time to open up and breathe, which this wine needs. In this wine, she’s trying to being merlot back, right bank versus left.


Color: Deep and dense, maroon curtains, garnet with a ruby rim.

Aroma:
Bell pepper, jalapeno pepper jelly. Sue, “This is my kind of nose” truffles and earth, mint, subtle fruit, cherry, rhubarb, perfume and herbasious, vanilla, sandalwood, amber

Palate:  
Tart cherry, big bold tannins, very smooth and elegant to sip, Cherry cola, mint, the vegetal quality that is there on the nose is not present on the palate. The merlot mellows the Cabernet Franc nicely. This is a very soft and pretty Bordeaux blend. 

Pairing:
 The Mac and cheese brings out the cherry fruit and baking spices in the wine. It loves the milky creaminess. The wine also really loves the coffee flavors in the crust of the ribs. It loves the coffee and the fat in the ribs. 

Kitá: Very interesting well made wines. They will be missed but we’re looking forward to more wines from Camins 2 Dreams!

MORE RESOURCES FOR FINDING BIPOC WINES AND RECIPES 

More ideas for BIPOC wines with pairings from the Wine Pairing weekend crew of wine writers! Join our twitter chat 8am Pacific Saturday. Writers offer these topics:

  • Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm shares “Here’s to Longevity. Cheers!!”
  • Culinary Adventures with Camilla is sharing “Cherry-Kissed Pairing: Maison Noir’s Horseshoes and Handgrenades + Steaks in a Cherry Pan Sauce” 
  • Linda from My Full Wine Glass shares “Back to Brown Estate – for Zin this time”
  • Deanna from Wineivore pairs Long Life Noodles + Longevity Chardonnay with a Unique Twist /
  • Susannah from Avvinare features “a “a trio of delightful wines from Theopolis Vineyards
  • Gwendolyn from Wine Predator…Gwendolyn Alley “Organic Field Number Fifteen Fulfills a Lifelong Dream in El Dorado #winePW #BHM” and “NFL Super Star Charles Woodson’s “Intercept” Pinot Noir Paired with Smoked Ham #winePW #BHM”
  • Nicole from SommsTable is “Cooking to the Wine: Longevity Pinot Grigio with Crab Cakes
  • David from Cooking Chat will pair “Berbere Lentil Chili with Rosé from the McBride Sisters”

We will be discussing:

  • 11:00 a.m. EST  
  • Welcome to the #winepw chat on BIPOC owned wineries & winemakers  Introduce yourself and where you are tweeting from. Share a link to your blog if applicable.
  • 11:07 a.m. EST
  • Q1 Issues of racial justice and equity have been prominent over the past two years. Have you seen the topic come up when it comes to wine, or is this the first time you’ve focused on it? #winePW #DEI 
  • 11:13 a.m. EST 
  • Q2 Is your sense that issues of diversity, equity & inclusion ( #DEI) are similar in wine to other industries, or different in some way? #winepw
  • 11:20 a.m. EST 
  • Q3 Tell us about the wine you featured for today’s #winepw event! Include a link to your blog.
  • 11:25 a.m. EST 
  • Q4 Share something you learned about the producer of the wine. #winepw
  • 11:32 a.m. EST 
  • Q5 Let’s talk about food pairings! What did you serve with the wine you featured? Pictures please! #winepw 
  • 11:39 a.m. EST 
  • Q6 Did the food you served tie into the theme in some way? E.g. perhaps a traditional recipe, or uplifting a #BIPOC owned business or food producer?  #winepw
  • 11:45 a.m. EST 
  • Q7 Are there resources you found for finding BIPOC owned wineries / winemakers? Other wineries you hope to try on this theme? #winepw 
  • 11:50 a.m. EST
  • Q8 Are there other ways you’ve found to support equity & inclusion goals with your wine and food purchases? Other thoughts on this topic? #winePW 
  • 11:55 a.m.
  • Shout out to @cookingchat @Culinary_Cam @wendyklik @artpredator @linda_lbwcsw @Vignetocomm @sommstable @wineivore for participating in this month’s #winePW event!
  • 11:59 a.m. EST 
  • Thanks for joining the January #winepw chat on BIPOC owned wineries & winemakers. Stay tuned for the next #winepw chat on 3/12.  Join @wendyklik to explore wine grapes that are new to us!

Please Comment! I'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s