This time of year is the time for parties focused on meeting and greeting AND football on TV. Informal foods are very popular. We’ve provided four ideas with recipes and a recommended Tassel Ridge wine to pair with them.

Tassel Ridge® French Dip Nouveau 

4–6 lbs rump roast
1 pkg onion soup mix
2 cans beef broth
6 oz Tassel Ridge® Iowa Nouveau
6 oz water
2 tsp sugar
¼ tsp garlic powder

Place rump roast in slow cooker. Mix all other ingredients together and pour over roast. Cook on low for 8–10 hours. Shred meat and serve on French bread or hoagie buns. Strain juice through cheese cloth to make au jus for dipping. Makes 16–24 sandwiches.

Wine Recommendation—Tassel Ridge® Iowa Nouveau

The Tassel Ridge Iowa Nouveau is our first wine of each season. It is a very light, dry red wine that complements simple foods like these French Dip sandwiches. Your guests will return for seconds! —Bob Wersen, Owner, Tassel Ridge Winery


Tassel Ridge® Black Bean and Corn Salsa

3 cups seeded and chopped tomatoes
¾ cup chopped sweet onion
½ cup chopped tomatillos
¼ cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
¼ cup fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp lime juice
½ tsp salt
½ tsp fresh ground pepper
½ tsp hot sauce

Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Cover. Refrigerate 2 hours before serving.

Serving Suggestion—Serve with tortilla chips, baked potatoes, or grilled chicken.

Wine Recommendation—Tassel Ridge® Iowa St. Croix Rosé

This Black Bean and Corn Salsa has lots of flavors and the power of hot sauce and pepper. It needs a moderately dry rosé with some prominent fruit flavors, and my choice is Tassel Ridge Iowa St. Croix Rosé. A dry rosé with strawberry, raspberry, peach, and nectarine notes and a slightly drying finish, it’s made from St. Croix grapes grown in our Mahaska County, Iowa, vineyards. Iowa St. Croix Rosé is best served chilled. —Bob Wersen, Owner, Tassel Ridge Winery 


Tassel Ridge® Tomato and Mozzarella Bruschetta 

4 Roma tomatoes, cored and slivered
8 oz fresh mozzarella, cubed
1 cup julienned fresh basil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 baguette, sliced into rounds

Combine tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, garlic, and oil in bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat baguette rounds in toaster oven or under broiler until golden. Cool. Top each round with a spoonful of tomato mixture. Serves 8.

Wine Recommendation—Tassel Ridge® Iowa In the Dark

Because tomatoes are featured in this bruschetta recipe, a light dry red wine with good acid will offer the best pairing. My choice is Tassel Ridge Iowa In the Dark which is a dry, light red wine with strawberry notes and toasty oak on the nose and palate followed by hints of caramel on the finish. A blend of Marquette, St. Croix, and Frontenac grapes grown in our Mahaska County, Iowa, vineyards, Iowa In the Dark also complements lightly seasoned meat. Serve at room temperature. —Bob Wersen, Owner, Tassel Ridge Winery


Spicy Bacon Wrapped Breadsticks 

25 hard salad breadsticks
25 strips of bacon
½ cup light brown sugar
2 tsp cayenne pepper


Preheat oven to 350°F. Wrap a strip of bacon around the length of each breadstick. In small bowl, combine brown sugar and cayenne pepper and transfer mixture to plate. Roll the bacon wrapped breadsticks in the sugar mixture. Bake 10–15 minutes until bacon is crisp. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wine Recommendation—Tassel Ridge® Sweet Roxie Red®

These breadsticks are fairly spicy and the sweetness of Sweet Roxie Red® nicely complements and balances the spice. —Bob Wersen, Owner, Tassel Ridge Winery