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Christine Hanna
January 5, 2024 | Christine Hanna

Winter Wines and Recipes

This chilly winter has us all seeking seasonal comfort foods, and cozy soups are a perfect match. Nothing beats sitting by a roaring fireplace with a glass of HANNA wine and one of the featured soup recipes below.  


Cream of Cauliflower and Fennel Soup

serves 12 in small cups for a buffet party, or 6 in bowls for a soup course.


Hot soup is a wonderful way to welcome people into a wintertime gathering. This soup combines two vegetables that are at their best in winter, and its velvety texture is comforting on a cold night. Cauliflower and cream call out for a rich Chardonnay.  Try our ELIAS Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2020.



2 tbsp unsalted butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and cut into 2-in/5-cm dice

1 large cauliflower, cored and coarsely chopped

1 cup/240 ml good-quality chicken stock

1/2 cup/120 ml heavy/double cream

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives for garnish


In a medium soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat just until foaming. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the fennel and toss to coat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes; do not brown. Add the cauliflower and toss to coat. Add the chicken stock, cover, and simmer until the cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes.

Puree the soup in a blender or food processor, in batches if necessary, until smooth. Return to the pot. Whisk in the cream and salt and pepper to taste. Maintain at a low simmer over low heat, with a bowl of chives alongside for guests to add their own garnish.

Purchase the Elias Chardonnay 2020  

Cream of Chanterelle Soup

serves 6


Chanterelles appear here in winter under manzanita trees a few days after a rain. Mushroom foraging is a major pastime in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties, and chanterelles are easy to spot because of their golden color and uniquely ragged caps. A bag of chanterelles from our tasting-room staffer’s hillside property in northern Santa Rosa became the inspiration for this recipe. On a cold and rainy night, this creamy soup is a rich, satisfying way to begin a meal. Substitute other mushrooms if you can’t find chanterelles.  The earthiness of the mushrooms works beautifully with our earthy ELIAS Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2018.



2 tbsp unsalted butter

3 small shallots, finely chopped

12 oz/340 g chanterelle mushrooms, coarsely chopped

¼ cup/60 ml Pinot Noir

3 cups/720 ml good-quality chicken stock, plus more as needed

1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme

¼ cup/60 ml heavy/double cream

Salt and freshly ground pepper


In a heavy, medium soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat until foaming. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add the wine and stir to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the 3 cups/720 ml chicken stock, increase heat to medium high, and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

Drain the mushroom mixture in a sieve over a bowl, reserving the liquid. Puree the mushrooms and shallots in a food processor or blender and return to the pan with the reserved liquid. Add the thyme, cream, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes, thinning with additional chicken stock if needed.

Purchase the Elias Pinot Noir 2018  

Drunken Sonoma Cioppino

serves 6


Cioppino hails from San Francisco, but my version showcases seafood harvested in Sonoma’s Bodega Bay. I call it “drunken” because the soup base is made with lots of red wine! Use whatever seafood is the absolute freshest you can find. I’ve omitted crab here, but feel free to add. Cioppino, a great communal dish, demands a loosening of table manners as you toss spent clam and mussel shells, and sop up the juices with crusty bread. This is a perfect example of food and wine rules being mutable.

Red wine is the ticket with this rich cioppino, because of the red wine and tomatoes in the stew. A spicy Zinfandel such as our HANNA Sonoma County Zinfandel would be just perfect.




2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 1 red bell pepper, seeded, deveined, and finely diced

18 clams, scrubbed

1 large onion, finely chopped 1 jalapeno chile, seeded and finely chopped 18 mussels, scrubbed, and debearded if needed
4 garlic cloves 2 tbsp tomato paste/tomato puree 1 lb/455 g red snapper, cut into 2-in/5-cm pieces
2 anchovies, mashed 2 cups/480 ml dry red wine 1 lb/455 g tiger shrimp/prawns
1 bay leaf 2 cups/480 ml good-quality fish stock 1 lb/455 g sea scallops, halved if large
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano One 28-oz/800-g can whole tomatoes with juice 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish
1/2 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and finely diced (fronds reserved)    



In a large, heavy soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, anchovies, bay leaf, and oregano and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the fennel, bell pepper/capsicum, and jalapeno and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes more, until slightly softened. Stir in the tomato paste/tomato puree, then the red wine, fish stock, and tomatoes, breaking the tomatoes up with the back of a wooden spoon. Adjust heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

The stew base can be made a day ahead, before adding the seafood. Add the clams and mussels to the simmering stew base, cover, and cook until the shellfish have opened, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the clams and mussels to a bowl.  Discard any shellfish that haven’t opened. Add the red snapper, shrimp/prawns, and scallops to the pot and cook for 3 minutes, or until the shrimp/prawns are evenly pink. Return the clams and mussels to the pot and heat for 1 minute. Serve in shallow soup bowls, garnished with the parsley and reserved finely diced fennel fronds.

Purchase the HANNA Zinfandel 2018  

For more delightful recipes and tips Christine Hanna’s cookbook, The Winemaker Cooks, can be purchased in the link below.



Be sure to share to share your pictures of your winter wine pairings with HANNA wines on Facebook and Instagram and tag the winery.  We would love to see your take on savory comfort dishes for a rainy day.

Happy Cooking!


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