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  • Writer's pictureCarlos Sarmiento

Greek Lentil Salad & 2019 Tessier - El Dorado - Camino Alto Vineyard Cabernet Franc

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Celebrating Cabernet Franc Day, Carlos' Food & Wine brings you a delightfully new food and wine pairing thanks to a wonderful new collaboration with Tessier Winery.

Kristie Tacey, founder and winemaker of Tessier Winery (based out of Healdsburg, California) has a most interesting story on his winemaking came to her life.

As a former published research scientist who studied protein pathways, she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area from her native Michigan to pursue a career in biotechnology, which included working on the Human Genome Project.

Kristie soon realized that winemaking was her true calling after working as operations manager and assistant winemaker at an award-winning East Bay winery.

(Tessier Winery founder and winemaker Kristie Tacey. Photo courtesy of Tessier Winery)

Tessier, founded in 2009, is the result of Kristie’s passion for the art and science of winemaking.

She began her winemaking journey by handcrafting small lots of Pinot Noir and has added Grenache, Pinot Gris, Cabernet Franc, Gamay Noir, Riesling, Syrah and Mourvedre.

Kristie’s appreciation of French wines — especially those from Burgundy and the Loire and Rhone valleys — has shaped her winemaking choices. 

With a background in microbiology, Kristie is fascinated by the cycle of life; each vintage of Tessier wines captures and reflects one year in the lives of the vineyards she works with.

(Photo courtesy of Tessier Winery)

She sources high-quality fruit from a network of farmers in the Anderson Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains, Arroyo Seco, and El Dorado foothills, followed by minimal-interventionist uses of winemaking techniques to showcase the unique characteristics of the grapes and the vineyards.

For Kristie, sustainability is a priority — not only with the vineyards’ farming practices, but also by having long-term relationships with her growers and customers. These small production wines, an annual production of 1400 cases, get unparalleled attention.

Let‘s get cooking!

Menu: Greek lentil salad with roasted peppers and Feta cheese.

Wine pairing: 2019 Tessier - El Dorado - Camino Alto Vineyard Cabernet Franc

(Healdsburg, California)

Serves 4


  • 14 ounces of brown lentils, picked and rinsed

  • 2-4 bay leafs

  • 2–3 peppers (red, orange, yellow), roasted and sliced

  • 9 ounces of feta cheese, crumbled

  • 10 cherry tomatoes, cut in small cubes

  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

  • a handful fresh parsley finely chopped

  • a handful fresh mint, finely chopped

  • 10 kalamata olives, pitted and sliced (optional)

  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Salad dressing:

  • 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

  • 6 tablespoons of red wine vinegar

  • 1 medium shallot, finely minced

  • a pinch of paprika


  • Place the lentils in a colander and rinse them thoroughly under running water. Drain and place them in a large pot. Cover the lentils with a 5-6cm of cold water, season with salt, add the bay leafs and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for about 20-25 minutes.

  • To roast the peppers, cut them in half crosswise and place on a baking tray, lined with parchment pepper. Drizzle with some olive oil and season with salt. Bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes, or until softened.

  • For the dressing, add all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.

  • Once the lentils are cooked, drain them in a and set aside. Once cooled slightly place lentils in a large serving bowl and toss with dressing. Add herbs, onions, tomatoes, olives and roasted peppers (sliced) and lightly toss. Add crumbled feta cheese and drizzle some extra Virgin olive oil on top.

Serve it up!

This salad is sensationally colorful, flavorful and elegantly textural.

Simply serve a generous portion unto individual plates and top off with extra crumbled feta cheese and a drizzle of extra Virgin olive oil.

Bon appetit! Enjoy!

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

About the wine…

I had the fortune of discussing this interesting Cabernet Franc with Kristie.

Quite the story...

"I started making Cabernet Franc in 2015. Tessier is my family name, dating back to the Loire valley, so I felt like Cab Franc was in my blood. It is an intriguing varietal, showcasing floral notes (usually violets- to me) along with layers of earthy, herbal notes.

My approach to Cab Franc is including a bit of whole cluster, native yeast ferments and then aging in neutral French oak, as I want to taste the fruit and not be distracted by oak notes. I used a burgundy bottle to denote this "loire valley" style as opposed to the bordeaux bottle which would infer new oak in a more showy "bordeaux style". 

2019 was the first year I worked with El Dorado Cab Franc from the Camino Alto Vineyard. I'm drawn to these high elevation sites with mineral soils in this area.

These grapes are sustainably farmed with organic practices, although not certified. Picking around 22 brix helps to preserve acidity and show complex aromatics. 

Also, the alcohol comes in around 12%, which is more in line with French wines."

In my opinion, genius move to use burgundy style bottle for this wine. The complete winemaking (and tasting) experience is truly remarkable.

2019 Tessier - El Dorado - Camino Alto Vineyard Cabernet Franc

(Healdsburg, California)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Tasting notes:

Garnet color in the glass with purple magenta hues. Black cherry, charred eggplant along with ripe raspberry are the first to attack.

As you settle in, more subtle notes reveal themselves, such as violets, powdered sugar, spruce needles and freshly roasted coffee beans.

Grapes: 100% Cabernet Franc

Alcohol: 12.2%

Food pairing: Enjoy with roasted meats, peppers, mushrooms and mild cheeses.

For more information, visit:




I am grateful to Kristie Tacey, proprietor of Tessier Winery for sending me this one of a kind Cabernet Franc. I look forward to future food and wine pairings with your wines.


Special thanks to my dear friend Lori Budd, proprietor of Dracaena Wines, and founder of #CabFrancDay, for making this unique wine pairing collaboration with Tessier Winery possible.

For more information, visit:





Don‘t forget to check out and subscribe to Lori’s award-winning blog & podcast:

Exploring the Wine Glass



Decorative wine drip collar ring (grape) by:

Assorted styles and themes available.

(Special discount promo code: CFW15)

(Photo courtesy of Tessier Winery)

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