Meatballs and 2016 Renaissance by Reyes Sangiovese

This past Sunday, I made lasagna for my dad and I for dinner. I also made an extra batch of Sunday gravy which everybody knows as marinara sauce. So, after we finished the lasagna, I had a little bit of sauce left over and I decided to make eggplant parmigiana. I went to the farmers market and bought fresh Japanese eggplant, onions and the most beautiful heirloom tomatoes. I just happened to read something about a week ago about the origins of chicken and eggplant parmigiana.  Eggplant parmigiana has been around since at least 1786, when someone in Naples, Italy published their recipe. Eggplant is an Italian dish and the chicken became an American staple.  When the Italians emigrated to America eggplant wasn’t a common vegetable, but chicken or veal was in abundance, so they substituted it. I remember growing up, my mom making veal quite often for dinner. My mom would make a Romanian dish called givetch. It is a veal and eggplant dish hat we would eat at least once a week. Sometimes she just made it with the vegetables as a side dish.

At the farmers market today, there is a local organic grass fed and grass finished beef farm and I picked out fresh sirloin steaks and ground beef that he made fresh from brisket . I am going to make meatballs from the ground beef and later this week I will make steak chili from the sirloin steak. The trick to making light meatballs is not over mixing them. Just combine the ingredients and let it sit for ten minutes before making them into balls. Resting is important. I have shared my marinara and meat sauce recipe in the past.

The most important part to this article is what wine should we enjoy with dinner…. Either the 2016 Renaissance by Reyes Sangiovese or the 2009 Reyes Cabernet Sauvignon are the two the pair the best with eggplant parmigiana and meatballs with marinara sauce. Both wines will be on the menu for December in the tasting room.

The  2009 Cabernet Sauvignon estate wine has won Gold & 95 points & Best in Class in the 2011 Los Angeles International Wine Competition plus 86 points in the Wine Enthusiast Magazine (06/2018 Edition).This robust and well balanced “member only” wine has matured gracefully and transformed its tannins to deliver a soft, velvety delightful experience. This Cab has improved with age and has further enhanced its aromas of cherry and cocoa, you can also taste peppercorn, pomegranate and a hint of mandarin. It also pairs with Buffalo Steak au Poivre with herbed fingerling potatoes, sharp white cheddar or with triple dark chocolate cake.

Our Sangiovese is made from a specific vineyard selected by our winemaker, Robert Reyes to create a wine that captures the heart of the 2016 vintage. This was released in June of 2019 in the tasting room. On the nose there is an aromatic profile of black currant and plum that continue on the palate with balanced acidity. Enjoy with aged Pecorino cheese, Panzanella salad and cherries poached in red wine with mascarpone cream.

Coming up, I will be having an event, “Thanksgiving Leftover Tasting” on November 30th. Reyes 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon will be featured for this




1 pounds ground beef

1 egg

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon ground pepper

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup Italian breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons of olive oil



  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix using your hand. Don’t over mix.
  2. Make meatballs to the size of a 2” ball. I use a mini muffin disher.
  3. In a medium frying pan over medium heat, heat the oil.
  4. Cook the meatballs for about 5 minutes and flip and cook on the other side for an additional 5 minutes until browned.
  5. Add meatballs to the marinara sauce.
  6. Cover, with the lid slightly open and simmer on low heat for 1 hour. You want the lid slightly open, so the sauce wont bubble over.
  7. Serve