POSTED ON March 1, 2016 | IN Food, Wine Information | BY Joe Becerra

These are two words you most likely do not have in your wine vocabulary. So what exactly are Verjus and Kokomo? Verjus is a French term that translates into “green juice.” It is a product of wine grapes that are not fully ripe. The grapes are also not fermented. Verjus is acidic and, therefore, a wonderful ingredient in gourmet cooking. Kokomo is the name of a winery in the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County. Kokomo makes wonderful wines and is one of the few wineries that produce a Verjus. The only other California winery that I know of that produces a Verjus is the Navarro Winery in the Anderson Valley of Mendocino. I have been using a bottle of the Kokomo Verjus and testing it in various recipes.

Verjus made by Kokomo

Verjus made by Kokomo Winery

Verjus and Kokomo Winery

Salad Dressing

Right off the top, Verjus is the ideal substitute for vinegar in making a salad dressing. Vinegar in a salad dressing clashes with any wine that you might be serving. Add Verjus instead of vinegar and you will certainly have much more enjoyment from your wine selection. I made the Kokomo salad dressing recipe found on their Website and it is delightful.  The dressing is for Wild Arugula Pear Salad. I use this salad dressing for many other types of salads.  I also tried a favorite Caesar salad dressing of mine and instead of using lemon juice I substituted Verjus. Much better!

More recipes using Verjus

Apparently, in Medieval times, Verjus was quite the chef’s ingredient. Then along came the popularity of lemons and Verjus nearly vanished from the cooking shelf. Today Verjus is back!  It offers the dish a softer and more subtle tartness then does lemon juice.  So first off, experiment and substitute Verjus in any recipe that calls for lemon juice. On the Web, there are many recipes specifically using Verjus. Kokomo has several recipes and Navarro Vineyards has a Verjus cookbook that can be downloaded for free. These are recipes from great restaurant chefs in the Mendocino area.

About Kokomo Winery and Navarro Vineyards

Kokomo Winery is located on Dry Creek Road near the town of Healdsburg. Their tasting room and several other tasting rooms are located at Timber Crest Farms, about 4.5 miles from the Dry Creek Exit on Highway 101. The tasting room is open daily from 11 am to 4:30 pm. More info.  I really enjoy the variety of wines that Kokomo offers and the very laid-back atmosphere and unusual tasting room decor.

Navarro Vineyards is one of my favorite wineries. We’ve been visiting Navarro Vineyards since the late 1970s. They make delicious Alsatian-style wines and wonderful Pinot Noir. I think Navarro Vineyards has one of the prettiest picnic areas in wine country.  The Navarro tasting room is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm in the winter and 9 am to 6 pm in the summer. And, get this, no tasting room fee!

Navarro verjus

Navarro tasting room in the Anderson Valley of Mendocino County