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Kahkonen Shares Favorite Local Wineries

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Credit: Kaapo Kahkonen

The San Jose Sharks are going to Napa this weekend for a team-bonding trip.

Because of that, I asked Kaapo Kahkonen, who might be the best player-chef in the NHL, some of his go-to wineries in Northern California, along with a little bit about his favorite food-wine pairings.

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“[These] are the ones that popped in my mind [that have] great wine, but also the scenery around the winery and properties they have are just great,” he said.

  • Mayacamas Vineyards (Napa): “Up in the mountains. Really cool place.”
  • Cobb Coastlands Vineyards (Occidental): “Great scenery. Awesome wines.”
  • Ridge Monte Bello (Santa Cruz Mountains)

“My perspective is I rarely drink a bottle of wine just to drink wine,” Kahkonen pointed out. “Food and wine as a combination, when it matches, it’s great. I think it elevates it a lot.”

The San Jose Sharks will have plenty of chances to do that this weekend, starting off at Cordeiro’s Steakhouse in Napa on Friday night.

So what are Kahkonen’s favorite food-wine pairings?

Spoken like a true connoisseur, he said, “I don’t think it’s so black and white like people think.”

“Obviously, your classic would be a big, heavy red wine with steak or red meat. White fish, maybe a lighter, dry white wine,” Kahkonen said. “But I think there’s so much variation, so many different styles of wine, so many palettes, everybody has their own taste.”

It sounds like the San Jose Sharks have no better leader than Kahkonen to guide them through the best of Napa this weekend.

“I’ve learned from Kaapo, he tries to get me into it a little bit,” Nico Sturm said.

For his part, Kahkonen says he’s learned a lot about the local wine scene from captain Logan Couture himself.

“Having lived here for so long, played here, obviously knows California well. Especially Napa, I got a few recommendations from him,” he said.

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