“The Oven” Indian Cuisine meets Stolpman Winery

Lincoln, NE – California’s Central Coast produces a lot of great wine and none are more compelling than the wines of Peter Stolpman and Stolpman Winery. Stolpman, which is located in the Ballard Canyon appellation, is a winery that takes unique approaches to winemaking — from the way they treat the people who work the vineyard to the way they operate in the winery. The result is wines that are pleasing to drink and made by people you want to support.

Stolpman focuses more on grapes similar to the Rhone Valley of France, rather than what we normally see from California — they focus on varieties like Syrah, Grenache, Roussanne, and Viognier. They do this due to the specific terroir and location of the vineyards so close to the coast. This seems to be a perfect home for the Rhone varieties.

To pair with Stolpman’s wine I went to Lincoln’s iconic Indian food restaurant The Oven. Ngawang Rinchen, who owns The Oven, has a spectacular team that creates a guest experience second to none as they operate this world-renowned restaurant. They offer so many great dishes it’s hard to order just one dish at a time. It’s worth noting that The Oven is also home to the most impressive wine list in the Midwest.

Following Ngawang’s recommendation, I tried the Chicken Tikka Korma. This dish features tender chicken simmered in a smooth, creamy tomato-based sauce that is delicately spiced with onion, ginger, garlic, and a host of other seasonings. The dish brings a delicious, vibrant warmth to the mouth as its pleasant spice flavors offer heat along the palate.

For wine, I started with Stolpman La Cuadrilla, 2022, Ballard Canyon, CA, $25.00 (90 points). The Stolpman family has long been connected to the people who work the vineyard. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the production of La Cuadrilla go to the workers, who are essentially family to the Stolpmans. La Cuadrilla is a blend of Syrah and Grenache with a small amount of Sangiovese and Mourvedre. This wine is deep garnet in the glass and offers a beautiful bouquet of fresh violet, plum, baker’s spice, and vanilla. The tannins are gentle, creating a smooth, silky mouthfeel that elevates the black cherry, plum, and vanilla. There is an intriguing spice note that lingers on the finish.

Next, I tried Stolpman Para Maria, 2022, Ballard Canyon, CA, $28.00 (88 points). A unique blend of Syrah and Petite Verdot, the wine is Garnett in the glass and has aromas of sweet, dark fruit with candied cherry notes. The wine has warmth and charm with delicate acidity with nuanced tannins. The wine is clean and fresh with crushed red fruit and a hint of boysenberry jam.

The final wine I tried is Stolpman Love You Bunches Red, 2022, Ballard Canyon, CA, $25.00 (87 points). Stolpman Love You Bunches Red is made from Sangiovese grapes and is vinified with carbonic fermentation, a technique where whole grape clusters are fermented in tanks void of oxygen. This is a red wine best served with a slight chill. The wine is ruby red in the glass and has expressive scents of raspberry jam, cherry, and vanilla. The wine is vibrant with light effervescence on the palate with flavors of red raspberry, rhubarb, and strawberry. It’s unique and fun with a personality of its own.

The Stolpman La Cuadrilla is an ideal pairing with The Oven’s Chicken Tikka Korma. It was a rare, unique explosion of flavor as the creamy and delicious tomato sauce greeted the dark flavors of the Syrah. An added dimension of dark fruit and spice emerged when the dish and wine were consumed together. I will revisit this pairing in the future.

Mark McDonald and his wife Kim own The Italian Vine, a Lincoln-based wine distributorship.

For more information on these wines including where you can find them in Lincoln or Omaha, email mark.italianvine@gmail.com

The Italian Vine


5612 South  49th Street

Lincoln, Nebraska 68516