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The tasting notes for our 2018 Forged by 2 Reserve mention thick and lavish aromas of cherry, blueberry, plum and jam flavors with caramel and chocolate are offset by a brighter black-raspberry tone on the nose of this bottling. The mouthfeel is creamy, rich and lush with baked blackberry, coffee and mocha flavors and accented by hints of roasted game and a cola-spiced finish.

We set out to find the perfect pairing... and we did!

This is our rendition of a recipe by David Lebovitz, a former chef at Berkeley's famed Chez Panisse, now living in France. He has some wonderful cookbooks and a great website.


Rinse the beans and sort them to remove any debris. Put in a bowl, cover with cold water and let soak overnight, preferably in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can use a pressure cooker (what we do) or Instapot and the like according to manufacturer's directions. Doing so might result in excess liquid, but, as directed below, you can just reduce it later.

Put the cubes of beef in a freezer bag with 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt, massage gently, and refrigerate overnight.

The next day drain the beans, cover with several inches of water. Add the bay leaf and bring to a full boil for ten minutes. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook until tender, one to three hours, adding more water if the water boils away. Once done, remove the bay leaf.   

In a large casserole or Dutch oven (at least 6 quarts, 6l), heat the oil. Working in batches so you don’t crowd the pan, brown the pieces of beef, resisting the urge to turn them until they are nice and dark on each side. The browning adds a good deal of flavor. As the meat pieces brown, remove the pieces to a separate plate and brown the remaining pieces. If necessary, add a bit more oil to the pan as you go.

Chop, or perhaps more easily, use scissors to snip the chilies into very small pieces and place into a small bowl or perhaps a glass measuring cup. Pour just enough boiling water over them to cover.

Once all the meat is browned, fry the onions in the pot until they are wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, chile powders, oregano, cumin, and paprika, and cook for another minute, stirring constantly to release the flavors of the spices.

Add the beer to the pot, scrapping up and disolving all the dark bits of meat (called "fond") on the bottom of the pot. Using a little heat can assist this process.

Return the beef to the pot. Add the beans to the pot along with their liquid, the dried chiles (drained of their liquid), tomatoes (with their juices), brown sugar, and chocolate.

Simmer the chili at the absolute lowest temperature possible (a flame-tamer can be handy for this) for at least 1 hour, or until the meat is tender. If necessary to cook much longer, you may need to add additional water if the chili becomes too thick.  If you think the liquid is too thin, separate all the pieces in the pot using a slotted spoon and set aside. Over moderately high heat reduce the liquid until it is the thickness you desire then return the meat and such to the pot.

When done, stir in the vinegar or lime juice. Taste, and adjust any seasonings, such as the chile powder and salt.

This all can be done in advance and re-heated. We like to do that because we think it tastes better and it also helps to thicken it up.

Serve with grated cheddar cheese, chopped white onion and cilantro to garnish. Also great with cornbread, which is what we did. Here's the recipe, also from David Lebovitz


Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Have ready a 8- or 9-inch cast iron skillet and drop the 1/2 tablespoon of butter in it. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, butter an 8-inch (20cm) square pan, or similar sized baking pan.

In a medium bowl, use a whisk to mix together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, until there are no lumps. If you see lumps, sift the ingredients together.

In a separate bowl, mix together the buttermilk, melted butter, egg, and honey.

About 5 minutes before you’re ready to mix and bake the cornbread, put the cast iron skillet with the butter in it in the oven, to melt the butter and warm the skillet. (If using a buttered baking pan, no need to put it in the oven first.)

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, then mix in the wet ingredients using a spatula. Stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Small lumps are okay, but don’t overmix; that will result in tough, dense cornbread.

Wearing an oven mitt, carefully pull the very hot skillet out of the oven, being conscious of how hot it is. Spread the butter around the inside of the pan with a paper towel or brush, then pour the batter into the pan.

Bake the cornbread until the center just feels like it’s about set; in a cast iron skillet, it will take 10 to 12 minutes, in a baking pan, it will take about 15 to 18 minutes.  

Let the cornbread cool slightly, then cut squares of the cornbread. Serve warm.

TIP: You can cut the cornbread recipe in half. We used a 4x4 pyrex dish. We whipped up an egg and used half, cooking the other half in a non-stick frying pan to put into a sandwich for lunch. And, as a matter of fact, we cut the chili recipe in half as well, thus serving 2 to 4 depending on how hungry you are.