Best Spring Wine & Food Pairings
From the soil to the bottle, good wine is a celebration of creativity and elegance.
Oceana’s wine list is a tribute to the best, from local, California grapes to some of the most well-crafted varietals from around the world. Nurtured with generations of viticultural expertise, these wines can be savored alone or combined with dishes for unforgettable meals.
Oceana’s Chef Ryan Crawford curates his current favorite wine and food pairings from our menu, along with recommendations for how best to enjoy a glass at home.
Ulysses Cabernet Sauvignon (2015)
We would be repentant not to mention one of our most acclaimed bottles, an opulent, Old World-style cabernet sauvignon from Ulysses Vineyards that revels in dark fruit, tobacco and sage. Big, bold and smooth, it’s a wine that knows how to impress and demands the spotlight. “Nothing says classic red wine like a well-balanced Cab,” says Chef Ryan.
Enjoy with: The Ulysses Cabernet Sauvignon can elevate a variety of meals, from classic venison or beef dishes to Asian-inspired flavors. For a more seasonal option, pair with salmon, tuna and pasta. At Oceana, savor it with a meal of filet and frites.
Summerland Syrah (2016)
The bold and full-bodied Summerland Syrah hails from a boutique winery in Ballard Canyon, where grapes are hand-farmed and hand-harvested.. This is a serious wine, rich and spicy, weaving fruit-forward flavors with earthy notes. But its balance of flavors and tannins will satisfy drinkers who typically opt for lighter reds.
Enjoy with: “It’s the perfect finisher for a great night with friends around the fire pit, with cheese and charcuterie,” says Chef Ryan. For a main dish, it’s most enticing with red meats, particularly lamb and game meats, that can stand up to its own intensity.
Sea Smoke Southing Pinot Noir (2016)
This Pinot Noir is a study in craftsmanship, grown in a coveted microclimate that offers the optimal conditions such a delicate grape demands. During the summer growing season, the vineyards are draped in maritime fog, which extends the grapes’ maturation period for complex and elegant wines. In this bottle, expect notes of dark fruit paired with savory spices, elevated by citrus and finished with sandalwood.
Enjoy with: The wine’s acidity fares well with richer meats, like beef or pork, and adds a beguiling edge to more casual fare, like a pepperoni pizza or a roasted chicken salad.
Illumination by Quintessa Sauvignon Blanc (2017)
Bright with grapefruit and kiwi with a playful acidity, this Sauvignon Blanc balances acidity with creaminess for a fruit-driven complexity. It’s an energetic wine that pays tribute to all things fresh, from fruit to herbs, with an intriguing, lingering finish. Originally planted in 2002 as a passion project, its limited production has now become some of the most sought after bottles in the region.
Enjoy with: The wine’s vibrance brings out summer and spring flavors and is best served with seafood, like seared scallops, shellfish, or alongside a cheese board For a night limiting dinner preparation to ordering takeout and opening a wine bottle, the Sauvignon Blanc adds an elegant touch to sushi.
Fess Parker Viognier, Rodney’s Vineyard (2016)
Viognier is known for its “apricots and steel” tasting notes, pairing strong textures with stone fruits. The Fess Parker bottle is no different. Led by notes of apricot and yellow peach, with accents of vanilla and honeysuckle, it’s a well-balanced, memorable white.
Enjoy with: The Voignier’s floral and fruit notes are well-balanced by rich meats and fish, such as pork and salmon, as well as spicy dishes, from curries to noodle dishes. If a dish pairs well with Chardonnay, it will likely be a good fit for a Viognier, too.
Patz & Hall Dutton Ranch Chardonnay (2016)
This Chardonnay is a nuanced expression of just how playful the varietal can be. Here is a Chardonnay that speaks to a sense of place: fruity, nutty and creamy, with floral notes integrated throughout. Expect zesty lemon warmed by subtle hints of toffee. A complementary interplay of oakiness and crispness makes a versatile glass that drinks well when paired with a variety of dishes.
Enjoy with: This Chardonnay is customized for easy sipping, whether on its own, with a side of fresh fruit or light pastas. At Oceana, order it alongside the grilled chicken chop salad, which highlights seasonal produce including zucchini, corn and asparagus.