May #WinePW Preview Features A Journey to Slow Wine Guide Wineries Plus 9 Wines With Pairings


Wines made with grapes grown without chemicals and that are expressive of where they were grown: those are Slow Wines. Calling attention to these wines, and to the growers and the producers farming this week — that is the goal of the Slow Wine Movement. Last year, Sue Hill and I roamed California and I journeyed to Oregon in search of exemplary wines that meet the Slow Wine goals– good, clean, fair. This May we invited fellow wine writers to learn more about the wineries of Slow Wine Guide USA; the new edition can be preordered NOW from Amazon here, or order it here to support the Slow Food Movement. Print editions ship in June, and it will be widely available in stores, at wineries, and online.  

The US Slow Wine Guide, published annually as a pdf and in print, considers wine quality, adherence to terroir, value for money, and environmental sensitivity for inclusion and awards. Wineries that use herbicides, pesticides, and petroleum based fertilizers for example are not included. The book is produced by an international team including

  • Giancarlo Gariglio: Editor-in-chief
  • Deborah Parker Wong: Coordinating Editor
  • Pam Strayer: Senior Editor
  • Editorial Assistant: Jonathan Gebser
  • Contributing Editors: Gwendoyln Alley, Peg Champion, Catherine Fallis, MS, Charles Kelly, Laurie Love, Sally Ohlin, Karla Ravandi, Leslie Rosa, Amber Turpin, L.M. Archer, Sophia McDonald Bennett, Catherine Fallis, MS, Ellen Landis, Neal D. Hulkower, Ph.D., Nancy Crosier, Robin Shreeves, and Kathleen Wilcox 

cover to Slow Wine Guide 2022 edition

On our journey, we found many wonderful wineries where we had passionate conversations with winemakers and grape growers– more than I had time to write about and there wasn’t enough room in the guide either. Along the way we picnicked and camped in vineyards, backyards, and national forests.

Below you’ll find some of the wines we found — and the wines found by my fellow Wine Pairing Weekend Wine Writers! Scroll down for their titles and links. Please check them out and you’re invited to join us at 8am Pacific Sat. May 14 for our twitter chat on the topic of Slow Wine and food to pair with these wines. Read the invitation and learn more about Slow Wine and Slow Food here.


2017 Ampelos Syrah “gamma: the complex” Sta Rita Hills paired with blue cheese soufflé and beet salad


  • Cheese Board:
    D’Affinois sheep milk, triple creme brie, parmesan, Romano, St Augur blue cheese, salami, oil cured olives 
  • Tart: Triple creme Brie and fresh apple drizzled with honey with rosemary and black pepper  
  • Blue cheese soufflé 
  • Roast beet salad 
  • Cheese lasagna with sausage on the side
  • Nut butter cookies
  • Pot de Creme 

Slow Wine: Zin


  • 2019 Madrona Dry Riesling, El Dorado AVA
    with the tart 
  • 2016 Rucksack Cellars Zinfandel, El Dorado AVA
    with lasagna
  • 2017 Lucas Winery C’T’Z’N’ Zinfandel, Lodi
    with lasagna
  • 2016 Ojai Vineyard Pinot noir, Fe Ciega Vineyard, Sta Rita Hills
  • 2017 Ojai Vineyard Barbera, Rich Vineyard, Ventura County 
  • 2019 Turley Paso Robles Zinfandel, Pesenti Vineyard, Paso Robles AVA 
    with lasagna
  • 2019 Turley Paso Robles Zinfandel, Ueberroth Vineyard, Paso Robles 
    with lasagna
  • 2017 Ampelos Syrah “gamma: the complex” Sta Rita Hills
    with blue cheese soufflé’ and salad 
  • 2013 Ampelos Late Harvest Viognier “epsilon: the special” Sta Rita Hills
    with cookies and pot de creme

2019 Madrona Dry Riesling

2019 Madrona Dry Riesling

ABV 12.5%
Varietal: Riesling

Color: Very pale, platinum

Aroma: Very varietally correct, petrol, fresh and clean, fennel, lemon grass, meadow flowers, herbal, pollen, mint, very European

Palate: Nice roundness, dry, acidic, nice flushness to it. Clean finish, chaparral, lemon grass, 

Pairing: Loves the herbs; this tart would be a great dinner in the summer with a side salad. Daffinois sheep milk brie is also lovely. 

TO TRY: We were thinking it would be nice with Thai food. 

2016  Rucksack Cellars Zinfandel Sierra Foothills

2016  Rucksack Cellars Zinfandel Sierra Foothills 

ABV 14.5%
Varietal: Zinfandel

Color: Garnet with mauve rim, looks like a zinfandel, it seems to be really holding it’s color for a 2016

Aroma: Musk insense, lots of layers, peppery, clove, 

Palate: Nice texture, Sierra spice, mellow tannins, pine lingers in the finish, very herbaceous, bay leaves, iron richness, 

Pairing: Absolutely amazing with our lasagne and Watkins Italian sausages. Zinfandel goes so well with Italian food. 

2017 Lucas Winery C’T’Z’N’ Zinfandel, Lodi

2017 Lucas Winery C’T’Z’N’ Zinfandel, Lodi

457 cases produced

ABV 13.9%
Varietal: Zin

Color: Ruby, nice and bright, 

Aroma: Creekside, baking spices, like the smell of a pumpkin pie baking in the oven, gloves, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, the aroma on this wine is so fabulous, rich warm flavors

Palate: Fruit is very apparent on the palate, but it is not sweet, the wine is full of texture, fruit up front with such a long lingering finish. the old vines keep telling their story. great fruit with a minty finish. 

Pairing: Our earthy rich beet salad was right on with the wine. With a bit of blue cheese on bread it is fantastic. Would be great with blue cheese on grilled steak.


2016 Ojai Vineyard Pinot noir, Fe Ciega Vineyard, Sta Rita Hills

ABV 13.5%
Varietal: Pinot noir

Color: Medium density, garnet, 

Aroma: Insence, rich, sandalwood, strawberry, cherry cola, rhurbarb, 

Palate: Burgandian, clean and dry, delicate, elegant and refined, raspberry, wild strawberry, pommegranate, there is a purity to the fruit, great now and could continue to lay down. 

Pairing: Wow with the tart! The herbs in the wine and the rosemary int he tart works so well together bringing out the earthy richness in the wine. The tart apple with the tart fruit in the wine is delightful. 

TO TRY: Think grilled salmon with a citrus salad. 


2017 The Ojai Vineyard Barbera, Rich Vineyard, Ventura County 

ABV 14.5%
Varietal: Barbara

Color: Light density, garnet, copper rim

Aroma: So heady, rose petals, plum, cherry koolaid, cherry juice, hint of toasted vanilla, jackfruit

Palate: Fresh cherry, tart, very flavorful, lots of cherry fruit, bright acidity, 

Pairing: Fantastic with the beet salad, bringing out the sweet cherry fruit. The nuts are a bit sweet, but not too sweet to work nicely with the wine. Sourdough bread brings out nice sweet fruit in the wine.

The nose and all around characteristic of this wine it is so very special. Fruit, fruit and so much more fruit when paired with the wine. 

While the meal was so nice with the zinfandel wines, it was extra special with the Barbara. The salad makes the wine so spicy; the wine was so perfect with the meal. 

2019 Turley Paso Robles Zinfandel Pesenti Vineyard

2019 Turley Paso Robles Zinfandel Pesenti Vineyard

ABV 15.6%
Varietal: Zinfandel

Color: Ruby, mauve rim, medium density, it looks like a zinfandel

Aroma: Jammy fruity nose, cocoa, vanilla, plum, plum jam, 

Palate: Fruity clean, tart fruit, eucalyptus, minty from the front to the back, the herbaceous part of the wine balances out the big fruit in the wine. 

Pairing: So very nice with the cheesy lasagne. Zinfandel goes so nicely with Italian food. with a spicy Italian sausage, the wine balances out the heat of the sausage and leaves the wine fruity, fresh and so nice. Because the dessert was so melt in your mouth creamy, and only lightly sweetened made it a great match for the wine. 

2019 Turley Paso Robles Zinfandel Ueberroth Vineyard

2019 Turley Paso Robles Zinfandel Ueberroth Vineyard

ABV 15.9%
Varietal: Zinfandel 

Color: Looks like a zinfandel, but looks to have more pink and violet, 

Aroma: Hot springs, stewed plum, eucalyptus, dried plum, dried raisin, 

Palate: Bright tart fruit, cherry, rhurbarb, eucalyptus, raspberry, bright red fruit, 

Pairing: While the wine responded so nicely to the cheese lasagne, it really yearned for the salty umami of the slow cooked sausage in tomato sauce. So perfect with the melt in your mouth meat. While the wine went alright with the  pot du creme, it was so much better with the intense fruit in the Pesenti wine. 

2017 Ampelos Syrah “gamma: the complex” Sta Rita Hills

2017 Ampelos Syrah “gamma: the complex” Sta Rita Hills

ABV 14.0%
Varietal: Syrah

Color: Garnet, mauve rim

Aroma: Minerals, clean, very earthen, grounded, Cedar box, tobacco, blue fruit, 

Palate: Clean tart cherry, meaty, savory, textural, black pepper, blue fruit, the finish lingers with chaparral 

Pairing: Our blue cheese soufflé’s were so perfect with the wine. Also great with the beet salad, loving the earthy richness and sweet characteristic of the salad. 

2013 Ampelos Late Harvest Viognier “epsilon: the special” Sta Rita Hills

2013 Ampelos Late Harvest Viognier “epsilon: the special” Sta Rita Hills


Color: Golden,  buttercup, orange almost amber

Aroma: apricot, apricot nectar, honeysuckle, coconut milk, key lime pie, hint of mango

Palate: Honeysuckle nectar, richness of coconut milk, apricot kernel, mango

Pairing: The nut butter cookies make the wine a bit too sweet. Very nice with the pot du creme. Because the dessert has a saltiness to it, it is like eating a salty caramel. If a bit of lavender was added, it may take it a step up from where it is . 

Here are links to learn about the wines found by my fellow Wine Pairing Weekend Wine Writers! Please check them out and you’re invited to join us at 8am Pacific Sat. May 14 for our twitter chat on the topic of Slow Wine and food to pair with these wines. Read the invitation and learn more about Slow Wine and Slow Food here.

  • Cam Mann says “İyi ki doğdun! Turkish Meze, Ekşili Balık, and Donkey & Goat’s 2021 Sparkling Grüner & Chard Pét-Nat”  on Culinary Adventures with Camilla.
  • Martin Redmond offers us a “2017 Prima Materia Sangiovese + Chicken Liver Truffle Ragu Rigatoni” on Enofylz.
  • Deanna Kang has “A Springtime Vegetable Menu with Biodynamic Troon Wines” on Wineivore
  • David Crowley suggests “Exploring Slow Wine with Pairings”  on Cooking Chat. 
  • Wendy Klik is “Slowing Down and Enjoying Life with Castoro Cellars Zinfusion” on A Day in the Life on the Farm/
  • “Exploring Custoza wines from Cantina Gorgo paired with Shrimp in Green Sauce” on avvinare by Susannah Gold
  • On Wine Predator Gwendolyn Alley features “Southern Oregon’s Biodynamic Troon Vineyards Fizzante and Vermentino Paired with Pizza”

You’re invited to join our twitter chat Saturday May 14 at 8am Pacific by searching for the hashtag #WinePW.

Here’s the discussion questions:

  • 8a PACIFIC TIME Q1 Good morning! Welcome to the May Wine Pairing Weekend  chat on American #SlowWine, paired with #SlowFood. Say hi, introduce yourself, share a selfie, and a link to your blog if you want. Remember to use the #WinePW hashtag.
  • 8:05 Q2 Today’s #WinePW chat celebrates the expression of Italy’s #SlowWine #SlowFood movements in the US. Slow Wine Guide reviewers met with grape growers and wine makers from almost 300 cellars for the 2022 edition. Was it challenging to find a wine to write about? Details here:
  • 8:10a Q3 Which Slow Wine from the United States did you choose to write about and what region is it from? Why did you choose it? Is it in the 2021 or 2022 Slow Wine Guide? #WinePW
  • 8:15 Q4 In five words, can you describe your #WinePW tasting experience th9gh’is month with your Slow Wines or wines?  wine? Please share the link to your Slow Food, Slow Wine article with us! 
  • 8:20 Q5 Tell us more about the winery or the wine!  Are they certified #organic or #biodynamic? What makes them SLOW? Please share photographs if you have them! #WinePW
  • 8:25 Q6 Did you prepare a #SlowFood to enjoy with your #SlowWine? Share with us the pairing, pictures, recipe link if you have one. What does Slow Food mean to you and why did you choose this pairing? #WinePw 
  • 8:30 Q7 Did you find the pairing successful? Why or why not? What did you learn? What would you pair with a second time around? #WinePW
  • 8:35 Q8 What else did you learn about #SlowWine or #SlowFood, the winery, the wine, or the region that you would like to share? Will you be recommending Slow Wine Guide which can be purchased here: #WinePW
  • 8:40 Q9 Have you visited the region or the winery? If so, please share fun facts and photos about the trip!  If you haven’t gone yet, why is it on your bucket list or do you wish to return? Highlights for you? #WinePW
  • 8:45 Q10  According to research, certified #organic and #biodynamic wines score higher making them better for ME and WE! Details: Do you seek #SlowWines? Why? Have you observed differences? #WinePW
  • 8:50 Q11 Any last comments or questions about #SlowWine or #SlowFood? Wineries you want to visit or wines you want to taste next? To support Slow Food, purchase the 2022 Slow Wine Guide edited in US by @parkerwong and @winecountrygeo here: #WinePW 
  • 8:55 Shoutout to those who participated today: @WendyKlik @Vignetocomm @culinary_cam  @asiantestkitchn @cookingchat @MartinRedmond. Thanks for participating with host @ArtPredator! #SlowWineGuide #WinePW
  • 9a Thank you for joining us for our #WinePW #SlowWine US chat today! Thanks to support from editors @parkerwong and @winecountrygeo. Find links to our published articles here: Please join us the second Saturday in June for “picnic” with @dr_tsteffes

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