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  1. Wine & Food
November 30, 2020

Prima

By Thierry Dessauve

Something of a trailblazer in the Bay Area when it opened in 1980, Walnut Creek’s smart but relaxed Prima Ristorante continues to lead the way in placing wine at the very center of its operation. When it comes to sourcing those wines, it is helped by having a dedicated wine merchant as its sister operation—led by owner and wine director John Rittmaster, Prima Vini sources wines from across California, as well as leading producers in Italy, Spain, Germany, and Australia.

That expertise shines through on a list designed to match chef-patron Peter Chastain’s Italian-influenced modern Northern Californian cuisine, with dishes such as wood oven roasted Mary’s chicken, amaretti, braised fennel and mustard sauce and Tuscan-style pot roast, long-simmered with soffritto and red wine. Italy and California lead the way, interspersed with apt choices from across the globe, with a good spread of affordable bottles, and the many big-name producers listed without big-name prices.

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