I am a huge fan of all vinaigrettes – wine-based, miso-infused, creamy. The perfect blends, for me, are ones that tend towards a traditional Italian or French recipe: they have just the right balance of rich olive oil, snappy red or white vinegar and herbs. I recently discovered one such standout dressing while having dinner at a friend’s house. Rutherford Red Wine Herb Vinaigrette ($18 for 250ml) is produced by the award-winning winemakers at Napa Valley’s Round Pond Estate. Its red wine vinegars ($18 for 250ml) are crafted using the same grapes and processes as its cult Cabernet, Merlot, Sangiovese, Nebbiolo and Petit Verdot blends (stocked at such temples of haute gastronomy as The French Laundry and The Restaurant at Meadowood) and are then aged using the centuries-old Orléans method, in French-oak barrels.
Round Pond is one of only two producers of olive oil in the entire Napa Valley, and this is key to the greatness of the vinaigrette, which starts with the rich green Italian Varietal Extra Virgin Olive Oil ($36 for 370ml) – pressed on-site from Spanish and Italian olives. The Red Wine vinaigrette is infused with rosemary, oregano and thyme, and there’s a Blood Orange Lavender variety too. Both are vibrant and intensely flavourful – a little bit of California summer in a bottle.