We’re winding up the year and the season with two shows featuring guest Erica Timmerman. This is a bit of a departure for WWRH as Erica doesn’t work in the wine or hospitality industries, but you’d never know it from her deep knowledge of wine and food pairing, along with her myriad tips for entertaining and making guests feel great.

She says she buys a lot of wine because she loves to share it with friends. (We should all have such friends!) When asked what her go-to wines are for celebrating the season and entertaining with friends, she didn’t hesitate: sparkling wine. Thus, she brought not one, but three sparklers to compare, along with some delicious appetizers to pair with them.

Sitting in for M.I.A. cohosts, Misty Roudebush and Lisa Adams Walter, were avid wine drinkers, Kim Martin and Marlys White, both of whom enthusiastically gave everything a try and had plenty of smart questions for our guest.

When asked what her go-to food pairing is with sparkling wine, Erica didn’t hesitate. It was a fast “Dungeness Crab!” reply. Lucky for us in the San Francisco Bay Area that season is just getting underway… Tune in to hear all the crab dishes Erica prepares during the season.

Kicking off the festivities, Erica offered up the Domaine Carneros 2017 Brut Rose, a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Flavor notes included fruity, citrus, grapefruit, strawberries, sweetness and a bit of dough. It was delicious all around.

We wondered how Erica learned food and wine pairing, to which she replied it was just innate because she’s Italian. Lol. Works for us! She did cite that she likes to go daring with her food and wine pairings. And often she will taste a wine and immediately begin thinking about what food dishes it would pair with best. (It helps that she’s a chef!)

We got the benefit of her expertise when she shared a Hot Artichoke Dip appetizer with everyone:


8 oz block cream cheese (reg)

1 Cup Hellmann’s Mayonnaise (reg)

1 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese

4 oz can Mild Diced Green Chiles

12 oz Jar (or 2 – 7.5 oz jars) of Marinated Artichoke Hearts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Drain artichoke hearts, leaving a tiny bit of marinade behind.  Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.  Pour into baking dish and bake on middle rack for approximately 30 minutes, until bubbling and starting to turn golden brown. Remove and serve with tortilla chips, baguette, crackers, whatever you like…

When tasted with the second wine, Val de Mer Brut Non-Dose, it proved an excellent match. (You’ll have to listen in to hear Erica’s explanation of why the artichoke dip was better paired with the Val de Mer than the Brut Rose.) This Chardonnay-based crémant was bright, refreshing, with a completely different flavor profile, featuring green apples, a touch of caramel and far more dough or brioche notes than the previous wine.

Paired with the artichoke dip, and what Erica referred to as the “secret ingredient,” the Val de Mer showed why it’s a go-to sparkling wine for any season. (Oh, and that “secret ingredient”? Listen carefully to what Erica thought made the dip stand out above the usual, mayo-based hot artichoke dips!

As for the other wines and appetizers? Stay tuned for part 2 of our show with Erica next week, when we’ll taste and pair more sparkling wine and deeee-licious appetizers you can try at home.