Philosophy

At Pine Ridge Vineyards, we believe our wines deliver the most pleasure in the company of friends and good food. Winemaker Michael Beaulac aims to craft elegant, drinkable blends that create a seamless experience at the table—whether you’re opening a bottle at home for a family meal or enjoying several Pine Ridge Vineyards vintages during a dinner in our caves. We hope that all the guests who dine with us sense our love of gathering people around the table to share a good meal with wine and that they will repeat the ritual often at home.

Susan Lassalette’s bio

Philosophy

At Pine Ridge Vineyards, we believe our wines deliver the most pleasure in the company of friends and good food. Winemaker Michael Beaulac aims to craft elegant, drinkable blends that create a seamless experience at the table—whether you’re opening a bottle at home for a family meal or enjoying several Pine Ridge Vineyards vintages during a dinner in our caves. We hope that all the guests who dine with us sense our love of gathering people around the table to share a good meal with wine and that they will repeat the ritual often at home.

Susan Lassalette’s bio

He Said, She Said

Susan

My work as a chef is very similar to Michael’s as a winemaker. We both use the best ingredients, and we use them at their peak. Without exceptional grapes, there’s no exceptional wine, and it’s the same with food. The best way to eat is seasonally, the way people used to eat because they had to. If something’s not in season, I’m not going to use it.

Vineyard Kitchen

Michael

I’m very selfish. I tell Susan what wines I want to serve, she gives me three or four pairing options, and I pick what sounds good to me. With our Oakville Cabernet, I’m going to like anything that has tapenade, because the wine tends to have that olive aroma. With Rutherford, I think more of mushrooms. With Stags Leap, it’ll be red meat more than likely. I love it with duck. The Napa Valley Cabernet has a sweetness to it, so maybe pork with that. We usually do cheese for a finale instead of dessert. I’ve never had a Cabernet and chocolate pairing that I liked.

Susan

Our wines are more food friendly than most. They’re elegant, nuanced, not too tannic. A lot of Cabernets are difficult to pair with food. They’re too big, and the only flavor left on your palate is alcohol. Michael’s Cabernets are balanced, which is one of the reasons I like cooking and pairing food with Michael’s wines.

Celebrations

Michael

For me, “food friendly” means the wine is not overly tannic and doesn’t overwhelm the food. Tannic wine needs too much fat to calm it down. All wines should show fruit, which is why I rarely keep them for more than 10 years. Pine Ridge Vineyards wines are robust and supple—this leads to a more approachable wine.

Susan

We don’t do heavy sauces here, ever. We don’t do wine sauces here. The basis of my cooking is Mediterranean. We have a Mediterranean climate here and grow a lot of the same things, so it makes sense. Plus I’m married to an Italian. How I cook at the winery is how we eat at home for celebrations.

Culinary Preparation

Michael

What I admire about Susan’s food is that it elevates the wines. This is a winery, not a restaurant, after all. She recently did a crab, mango, and beet salad that might have seemed simple, but the way it married with our Chardonnay Le Petit Clos was fantastic. She’s really focused on making the wine show perfectly.

Susan

But I want guests to forget that I’ve made a “pairing” and just enjoy the wine and food as an experience. Michael once said to me, “Good wine, good food—they’re going to go together.” What he meant was that wine and food are about more than pairings. It’s a way of life. At the end of the day, it’s about the experience of the shared table.