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Monthly Wine Spotlight - 2007 Fifty Fifty

Monthly Wine Spotlight - Peju Fifty/Fifty

monthy wine and Peju chef spotlight - Ryan Favini

Each month, we pick a featured wine and a celebrated Napa Valley guest Chef creates a perfect pairing recipe! This month Chef Ryan Favini was given a bottle of Peju's 2007 Fifty/Fifty matched it beautifully with his Riasted Venison recipe.

The bold flavors of the venison, bacon and juniper sauce need a wine with enough body and boldness to stand up to them. Red wine is the perfect companion for these flavors, and the Fifty/Fifty gives the perfect combination of velvety Merlot partnered with Cabernet power. The fat in the meat mellows the tannins in the wine, while both fruit and earth notes in the wine bring out the smokiness of the meat accented by the bright, juniper shallot sauce.

Peju 2007 Fifty/Fifty
-Roasted Venison with Israeli Couscous, Cherry Wood Smoked Bacon, Caramelized Shallots and a Juniper Berry Sauce
Download Recipe >
Recipe courtesy of a|k|a Bistro Executive Chef Ryan Favini

Roasted Venison with Israeli Couscous, Cherry Wood Smoked Bacon, Caramelized Shallots and a Juniper Berry Sauce
(Yield: 4 ppl)


Ingredients           Amount

6 oz. Venison
Juniper Berries
Grapeseed Oil


10 ea.

Israeli Couscous

Ingredients   Amount

Vegetable Stock
Chopped onion


2 cups
4 cups
2 tsp


Ingredients   Amount

Bacon -lardon rendered


1/3 cup

Caramelized shallots

Ingredients   Amount

Grapeseed Oil


10 ea.
2 tsp
a pinch

Shallot Sauce

Ingredients   Amount

Shallots (cracked)
Juniper Berries (cracked)
Veal remi


4 ea.
2 ea.
1 cup


1.  Marinate the venison with oil and juniper berries in an airtight container for at least 3 hours.

2.  Bring vegetable stock to a boil with couscous and salt and simmer for 15 minutes.

3.  Add bacon.

4.  Place shallots into oven for 15-20 minutes (depending on size).They will have a brown- caramel color
when done.

5.  For the shallot sauce, caramelize shallots in pan with berries until deep golden brown, add 1 cup 50/50 Peju wine and reduce until wine is au sec (almost gone).

6.  Add veal remi and reduce until sauce reaches a substantial consistency.

7.  Season and sear the venison with salt and pepper and 1 tsp grapeseed oil until a crust forms.

8.  Put into a 450 oven for 6-7 minutes, let rest.

9.  Place couscous on plate with caramelized shallots and sliced venison, sauce around the venison. 


Ryan Favini, Executive Chef a|k|a Bistro - BIO

Chef Ryan Favini was born and raised in Madera, Calif. where fresh fruit and vegetables are abundant and plentiful. Ryan worked in his family’s grocery store and at the tender age of 10 began assisting his father in the butcher department with locally grown half cattle, pork and venison.

Chef Favini’s mother and father were also avid home chefs, passing along a passion and skill for crafting hearty dishes to him at a young age.
“These experiences helped shape my chosen career,” Favini said with a smile. “If I cook like my family, I know I will always eat well.”

In 2005 after graduating from Napa Valley’s Culinary School, Ryan began working as a pantry chef at Domaine Chandon’s renowned étoile restaurant. He studied under Ron Boyd and quickly became a Sous Chef, learning classic French and Asian techniques for the extensive menu.

Later as Executive Sous Chef, he teamed with then Chef de Cuisine Perry Hoffman and together they earned étoile’s first Michelin star in October, 2009.

Soon thereafter, Chef Favini was offered and accepted the head position at a/k/a bistro, a 16-month old Michelin recommended restaurant in the heart of the Napa Valley.

At a/k/a, Chef Favini takes great pride in a menu focused on utilizing only the freshest ingredients sourced from local, sustainable farms.

January Wine of the Month Spotlight - 2006 Cabernet Franc >
February Wine of the Month Spotlight - Delicias Zinfandel Port >
March Wine of the Month Spotlight - H.B. Cabernet Sauvignon >
April Wine of the Month Spotlight - 2006 Merlot >
May Wine of the Month Spotlight - 2009 Pink >
June Wine of the Month Spotlight - 2009 Chardonnay >
July Wine of the Month Spotlight - 2008 Sauvignon Blanc >
August Wine of the Month Spotlight - 2006 Cabernet Franc Reserve >
September Wine of the Month Spotlight - 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon >
October Wine of the Month Spotlight - 2007 Fifty/Fifty >
November Wine of the Month Spotlight - Provence >
December Wine of the Month Spotlight - 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve >


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