"Elegance" is the first word that comes to mind with SOGGÉ Gold Blossom Syrah. Where other producers drive toward the heavy, inky, cooked-fruit-in-your-face style, SOGGÉ artfully brings out Syrah’s lighter, more vibrant, character. The color is bright ruby with a fragrance that artfully balances ripe berries and gentle herbs. Take a sip and you will move from blueberries to blackberries and back again, all wrapped in a balance of pepper, light mint, and star anise. Medium in acid with velvety soft tannins. When talking about mouthfeel, again the word is elegance. The lighter, brighter qualities come from the warmer days and cooler nights of the Sierra Foothills. The finish tapers slowly from berries to just a hint of pepper.

When tasting with several varieties of food, one interesting character of this wine is that pepper and bright, though not hot, spices bring out more of the berry character, adding raspberry to the mix. We love it with antipasto, especially the peppered salami and hard cheeses. It paired well with a rib eye seasoned only with salt and pepper. Pasta worked well with both a roasted tomato and cream-based sauce, although the favorite was classic lasagna.  

On the spicier side, the following day, I tried it with Mole. What a treat! Because mole is a bit more complex than most people want to attempt, I devised a Mole spice rub, great on pork and chicken. I made just enough for a single meal. It will multiply easily.

What I have here makes about enough for a couple of chicken breasts, thighs or even a pork loin. It works best with milder meats. Feel free to call it your own.

Mole Spice Rub

1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground anise (seeds will work if you can find it)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Brush your preferred meat with olive oil. Sprinkle the spice a little at a time on a flat surface like a dinner plate.  Gently press your meat into the spice making sure it is covered evenly. It also works well if it can sit for a couple of hours. I do this ahead of time, putting the spiced meat in a Zip-loc bag and then freeze the meat so it marinades as it freezes. The marinade finishes as it defrosts. Defrost in a warm water bath for about a 1/2 hour.

You can pan sear the meat, then roast, tented, on a bed of veggies with about half an onion sliced and a couple of potatoes cut in bite-sized pieces at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes for most meats or until done (be sure to check doneness with a meat thermometer).  It should not need liquid, but if you think it does, not more than a 1/4 cup. Wine is lovely, but you can also baste it with equal parts tomato juice and orange juice.

This rub is great on the BBQ too. If you cook it on the grill, just pan roast your veggies in olive oil, seasoned with a little salt and pepper if you wish, or put them on the grill. You can use the same tomato juice/orange juice combo suggested for basting. 

Right off the grill, or out of the oven, top with a couple of cilantro stems - letting them wilt while the meat rests for about 5 minutes before serving.  It makes for a quick and yummy dinner. 


About Carolyn Lawson:

After nearly two decades at the executive level driving technology innovation in the San Francisco Bay region, Carolyn left the technology rat race in 2013. In 2014, following her passion for food and wine, she attended the International Culinary Center.  After graduation, she has achieved the standing of Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers.  Her passion for wineries and winemakers lead her to complete graduate work in Marketing Management at Harvard University with a research focus on the wine industry before establishing the Craft Wine Association in 2016.