Coyote Moon Vineyards Get Saucy
By: Joleene D. Des Rosiers
You can have your wine and eat it, too!
The Randazzo family of Coyote Moon Vineyards in Clayton is now making pasta sauce, swirled with their award-winning Italian style wine, ‘Casa Papa Red’. They began rolling out the family recipe in June. And now they want to share it – and a related idea known as ‘Perfect Pairing’ - with the North Country.
“Part of cooking a good meal is having a good food and wine pairing,” says vineyard proprietor, Phil Randazzo. “We not only understand the wine business, we understand food, too. Just look at our physique and you can see just how much we understand food!”
They call the sauce ‘Casa Papa’, just like the wine. And while the sauce is made with the ‘Casa Papa Red’, the idea of pairing is about enjoying the two products together.
“Make a favorite dish with the sauce and serve it with a glass of wine,” Phil says with a smile. “And have a good time with it.”
Food pairing is a trend that is becoming popular, thanks to the power of television. Cooking shows are watched more then ever, the Food Network taking the lead; touting itself as one of the most watched networks in 2010. It is within these shows that folks across America find the trend of pairing fun, exciting and inviting.
“It used to an upper-class, hoity-toity kind of thing,” says Tony Randazzo, Phil Randazzo’s son. “But it’s definitely crossed that threshold and it seems everybody is interested in it because the media is driving it.”
Mary Randazzo, the matron of the winery, agrees. “It’s a trend people are very interested in. And most of us are just too busy to figure out what goes with what, thinking that it has to be something certain. But really, anything goes. We always tell people to go by their taste buds. If they like red wine with white meat - go ahead and have it!” Mary says.
The idea to seal and sell the Sicily-based family recipe came from a young Tony Randazzo some two decades ago. He wasn’t even 18-years-old when he joked the family could make millions if they just bottled the old-style recipe and sold it to the world.
“It was always an idea we played with,” he says. “I can remember sitting around the kitchen table at home talking about how we should jar our tomato sauce because it was so good and everybody loved it.”
Tony Randazzo made the thought a reality last February when he came to visit his family from Oregon. Private labeling was commonplace on the west coast, he told them over a bottle of ‘Papa Casa Red’, and if entrepreneurs could do it there, the Randazzo’s could do it in New York. The rest of the family agreed to give it a shot, and Tony moved from sunny Oregon to snowy Clayton to begin the venture. He did some research and found a company in Rochester that specializes in private bottling and labeling. Within a few short months, the Rochester facility was working with the Randazzo’s to perfect the sauce.
“At one point we had 15 different sauces on the stove in their kitchen, trying different variations of our families recipe until we found the one that was the closest,” Tony says.
“We had all kinds of mixtures,” Phil adds. “When we make sauce, we don’t measure anything. There is no formula. And when you start doing 7,000 jars in a whack, you better have a formula! So we had all these pots going, trying to figure out exactly what we needed to add or take out, and so on.”
Eventually they found a pot that tasted just as they thought it should. Made with olive oil and no preservatives, the Randazzo’s nodded at the perfected pot and called it ‘Casa Papa’. And the label is as hand-crafted as the sauce, as it exhibits the artwork of Mary Randazzo.
The sauce can be purchased at the winery. But you can taste-test the recipe, too. The Lyric Coffee House and Bistro in downtown Clayton uses the slow-cooked, homemade sauce in their entrees and on specialty pizzas made for private parties. Order the chicken or eggplant parmesan and ‘Casa Papa’ is what you’ll get. Coffee house owner Kathy Danielson says the sauce is rich in taste and even richer in quality.
“When we found out that Phil was making a sauce, we checked it out and tasted it and said, ‘Phil! We’ve got to have it at The Lyric!’ So it’s something we’re proud to represent. Both because of the quality and because it’s local,” says Danielson.
Coyote Moon Vineyards is growing faster than the grapes that enrich the 12 different wines bottled at the winery. The Randazzo’s are talking about making other pasta sauces and perhaps an Italian dressing, but not quite yet.
“We don’t want to get so thin and so spread out that we can’t do our products justice. So yes, we do want to expand. But carefully,” Phil says.
‘Casa Papa’ Pasta Sauce can be purchased for $5.00. Add to that a bottle of ‘Casa Papa Red’ and you have a melody of absolute goodness, the Randazzo’s say, which North Country folks are sure to love.
“Sometimes people need a little direction when it comes to food and wine pairing and that’s part of our responsibility,” Phil says. “We’re happy to do it! The bottom line is that wine is to drink and have fun with. We have fun and we want others to have fun, too.”
Visit the vineyard online at www.coyotemoonvineyards.com for more information.