Hmmm. What to go with that steaming bowl of New Mexican red chile? A chewy zinfindel perhaps? Or something lighter for contrast, like a crisp sparkling wine with tasting notes of apple and lemon, or maybe something closer to the flavor of bread used for dipping? As a longtime dunker of brioche in chile, I can attest to the pairing of flavors (that slightly sweet, nutty taste the brioche brings to the chile’s smokey tang), and the idea of something creamy to counter the heat sounds ideal.

The Frank Family Vineyards in California’s Napa Valley has just such a sparkling wine: their 2015 Blanc de Blancs, which boasts notes of hazelnut and brioche and is made entirely from chardonnay grapes.

“We’ve been participating in Santa Fe Wine and Chile for the last four years,” says co-owner Leslie Frank, whose winery was named Winery of the Year for the 2022 Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta (Wednesday, Sept. 21, through Sunday, Sept.25). “When we hired our Frank Family regional representative, they started making frequent trips to Santa Fe and getting involved in the market there. Santa Fe has such an appreciation for food and good wine.”

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