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Pairing power

Wine down Wednesdays at The Artichoke Cafe.

Each Wednesday the restaurant will present a themed wine dinner featuring three courses paired with wines. Artichoke held its first wine dinner of the year on Jan. 29. The dinner featured French wines with French cuisine. The second wine dinner on Feb. 6 featured Italian wines with Italian-themed courses. The next wine dinner, planned for Wednesday, Feb. 13, will feature wines from Spain with Spanish inspired food, according to co-owner Pat Keene.

The dinners will feature wines from various regions around the world as well as closer to home, including wines from California. Each wine will complement the course served with it. The events begin with an amuse-bouche and move on to something light but hearty to some type of protein course and conclude with dessert.

The pairings are created by sommelier Randy Kolesky and new Executive Chef J. Martin Torrez, who came on board in late January.

Kolesky selects the best wines with the best value, according to Keene. The wines are approachable and the events are welcoming to vino aficionados as well as guests who do not know much about wine but enjoy it. Kolesky or a wine purveyor will be on hand at the dinners to discuss each wine and provide some background and insight on the selections. Information on where to purchase the wines also will be provided to guests.

The Spanish wine dinner on Wednesday, Feb. 13 will feature Jordi Miró Ennak+, a pure Mediterranean wine from Terra Alta, Spain, that features syrah, garnacha, carbernet sauvignon, tempranillo and merlot varietals. It features berry and citrus aromas with notes of mineral and spice. Txakoli Agerre from Getariako Txakolina, Spain, will be part of the event as well. The wine, which is made from 100 percent Hondarribi Zuria varietal, has a slight effervescence with notes of fresh citrus and green apple. Gran Gesta Cava Brut Rosé Reserva from Cava, Spain, rounds out the wine offerings. This crisp and refreshing selection is made with 100 percent estate grown Trepat varietal and has fresh fruit aromas of strawberries and mulberries, according to tasting notes.

Each wine dinner will offer a different experience every Wednesday. The dinners allow for Chef Torrez to explore different avenues and expose guests to a variety of flavors and cooking styles such as Asian fusion, according to Keene. Courses will be traditional to the wine region or creative and fun inspired foods to allow patrons to experience cuisines they might not be familiar with but might want to learn more about.

Spanish wine dinner guests will experience a traditional dish of paella with roasted chicken, Spanish chorizo, and vegetables. Those with a slight sweet tooth will appreciate a classically interpreted flan course.

The wine dinners are intimate with a cap of about 30 people. Reservations are required.

Artichoke also is preparing for Valentine’s Day. Patrons will be able to celebrate the holiday Thursday, Feb. 14 through Feb. 16 when exclusive a la carte offerings will be available. Reservations are encouraged and can be made through Larger groups are asked to call the restaurant to reserve a table.