“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.
“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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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!
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!
2018 Kita T’aya White Blend
Blend: Marsanne 56%, Roussanne 40%, Grenache Blanc 4%
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!
2016 Kita Spe’y
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
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
- 23 Black Owned Wine Businesses in the US — list from Melanin is Life
- The Urban Grape, a Black owned wine shop here in Boston, has a collection of wines from BIPOC Producers.
- 11 BIPOC Owned Wine Brands from Well + Good
- Black History Month roundup from Eat The Culture provided inspiration for our menu
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!