Prima MateriaRecently I had a doubly good stroke of luck. Dinner at Solare Lounge & Ristorante in San Diego, and an opportunity to spend time with Pietro Buttitta, founder, and winemaker at Prima Materia Winery.  I’ve known Solare’s owner Randy Smerik for years and have always loved the food he presents. Pietro and I met through a mutual friend.

Before starting the winery, Pietro spent two decades working in vineyards, wineries, and restaurant kitchens. His wines are meticulously crafted. If a wine doesn’t meet his exacting standards, he won’t sell it. His wines are unfined and unfiltered, he uses no herbicides or pesticides, and he produces a mere 1,200 to 1,500 cases annually.

Solare Ristorante

Beef Cheeks at Solare

Randy, Pietro, and I tasted through four different wines –  Zinfandel, Negro Amaro, Barbera, and Aglianico. His wines are elegant, austere, and authentic. They range in price from a very reasonable $25 to $40. They’re extremely food-friendly. Randy suggested the beef cheeks, and they were butter tender and a beautiful compliment to the wines.

Prima Materia wines are worth your while seeking out. You can order them through his website. If your favorite restaurant doesn’t carry them, suggest that they do.