Frank Family Zinfandel with green pepper stew.

Frank Family Napa Valley Zinfandel 2010

Cost: $36-38

What: This is another in a long line of delightful wines from Frank Family Vineyards, a family owned winery in northern Napa Valley.

The wine is a beautiful dark red in the glass, with blue and magenta tints around the edges. It starts with raspberry aromas with hints of black pepper and herbs. The taste explodes in your mouth with soft plum flavors and caramel.

It is a silky smooth wine, with elegant structure and depth. Some of the complexity comes from the small amount of Petite Sirah that was added to the Zinfandel. The wine spent 18 months in 35% new and 65% twice-filled French oak barrels.

Frank Family Zin.

Winery: The Frank Family has been making outstanding wines in Calistoga since 1992 in a building that is on the Registry of National Historic Places. It is on the site of the Larkmead Winery that opened in 1884 in northern Napa Valley.

Disney executive Rich Frank started visiting Napa from his home in Los Angeles in the late 1980s. He became interested in the wine business and bought the Larkmead property, which was at that time the home to Kornell Champagne Cellars. Rich and Connie Frank bought out their partner Koerner Rombauer in 2007.

The winery makes a range of varietals, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and some incredible sparkling wines.

The wines are made from 200 acres the family owns on parcels scattered throughout Napa Valley.

The property also includes one of the most fun tasting rooms in wine country. The staff keeps it lively and light, but you learn a great deal about wine while you laugh.

Goes with: My wife Teri and I had this beautiful wine with green pepper stew, a comfort food I’ve been eating all my life. My mother made it, and it’s one of those foods that just makes you go “mmmmmmmm” all the time you’re eating it. The dish is like stuffed green peppers in a tomato sauce. The wine was a great match for the tangy flavors of the green peppers and tomatoes. The wine also gave us a lot of “mmmmm” moments.

It also would go well with most any kind of meat from chicken, quail or the Thanksgiving turkey to ribs, steak or lasagna.

Green Pepper Stew

Green Pepper Stew
5 bell peppers
1.5 pounds ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 egg
3/4 cup rice, uncooked
3 (14 oz) cans tomatoes
water, 5-6 cans
1 can tomato sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Slice the tops off peppers, remove seeds and stems and clean well. Mix ground beef, onion, egg and rice in a large bowl. Using your hands, squeeze the mixture until it is well mixed Put the beef mixture in the peppers, attaching the tops of the peppers with toothpicks. Any extra beef mixture can be used to make meatballs in the stew.

Place the stuffed peppers in a Dutch oven or large pot. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes to an hour, until peppers are soft and beef is done. Add more tomatoes or water to taste.

Serves 6-8

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