Skip caviar and Dom Pérignon. Try Basque stew and Tempranillo

Pipérade with Poached Eggs
Serve bowls of this stew with toasted slices of rustic olive bread.

In food, as in love, the best matchups often happen when you least expect them. At San Francisco’s Piperade, we fell hard for a bowl of the restaurant’s sweet, eponymous pepper-and-pancetta Basque stew paired with a glass of Spanish Tempranillo, a wine full of dark berries, herbs, and earth. (The combo prompted the first kiss of a relationship ― right on the spot.)

If you can’t get to Piperade ( $$$; closed Sun; 1015 Battery St., San Francisco; 415/391-2555), try our version ( Pipérade with Poached Eggs) of its signature stew, and serve with one of the Western Tempranillos below.

Gundlach Bundschu Rhinefarm Vineyard Tempranillo 2004 (Sonoma Valley; $32). Well balanced and beautifully textured, from a vineyard that’s been in the family for 150 years.

Matchbook Tempranillo 2004 (Dunnigan Hills; $15). Lively, earthy dark berries, sweet vanilla, and supple textures.

Spencer Roloson Madder Lake Vineyard Tempranillo 2004 (Clear Lake; $32). Plush ripe plums and berries layered over mocha and spice, with an interesting herbal edge.

Barreto Tempranillo 2004 (Paso Robles; $24). A gentle, earthy nose is followed by lively blue- and blackberry flavors with a dusting of cocoa.

Bokisch Tempranillo 2005 (Lodi; $21). A round, juicy wine, with bright cherry flavors tempered by herbs and solid tannins.

Clos du Bois Reserve Tempranillo 2004 (Alexander Valley; $24). Lush plums, black pepper, and anise with an underlayer of mocha.

Truchard Tempranillo 2003 (Carneros, Napa Valley; $25). Lean, earthy, and lively all at once, with dusty plums and dark berries.

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