Every cuisine has at least one – a one-pot meal, a dish of humble origins that is the quintessential definition of that place and people. There’s Gumbo, Cassoulet, Risotto, Irish Stew and Pad Thai to name a few. And the Spanish? Well, they have paella. March 27th is National Paella Day.
Paella was originally farmers’ and farm labourers’ food, cooked by the workers over a wood fire for the lunchtime meal. It was made with rice, plus whatever was to hand around the rice fields and countryside: tomatoes, onions and snails, with a few beans added for flavour and texture. Rabbit or duck might also have been added, and for special occasions, chicken plus a touch of saffron for an extra special colour and flavour. Paella was also traditionally eaten straight from the pan in which it was cooked with each person using his own wooden spoon.
There are three main types of paella; Valencian consists of rice, green vegetables, meat (rabbit, chicken, duck, pork), land snails, beans and seasoning; Seafood replaces meat and snails with seafood such as prawns, mussels, and clams and omits beans and green vegetables, and Mixed, acombination of meat, seafood, vegetables.
Paella Valenciana (image courtesy of daytondailynews.com
In addition to the three main types of Paella, two other popular variations are Vegetarian, which typically contain vegetables like artichokes, lima beans, red and green peppers,and Paella Negra, which is typically seafood, cooked with squid ink, so it looks black.
My personal favorite – Paella Negra (image courtesy of piospaella.com)
When pairing paella with wine, I recommend keeping a few food and wine pairing guidelines in mind:
What grow together, goes together – I prefer to pair with wines from Spain, Portugal, or wine from the neighboring Languedoc-Roussillon region in Southern France. Outside of Spain or France, consider Sangiovese or Pinot Noir for red wine.
Pair humble with humble, great with great – Paella has humble origins, I generally pair with inexpensive wines unless it’s a special occasion.
Sparkling wines go with almost anything – Pair Valencian, Mixed, and Negra paella with rosé Cava and Seafood and Vegetarian with Brut Cava
Here are my wine paring recommendations by type:
Valencian, and Mixed
Pair with a chilled dry rosé. or an inexpensive red Rioja, other Tempranillo or Grenache. Here are a few I like (click on the link for where to buy):
My wife and I make it a point to drink sparkling wine on a weekly basis. It’s typically Friday night…thus “T.G.I.F. Bubbly” It’s a celebration of sort, to the end of the workweek. She get’s to drink, and enjoy the bubbly, while I get to drink, enjoy and blog about it! This week’s sparkling wine is the NV Bouvet Signature Brut
Bouvet-Ladubay history dates back to 1851, when it was founded by Etienne Bouvet. It is the second oldest sparkling wine–producing house in Saumur. By 1890, it had become France’s largest producer of méthode traditionnelle wines. It remains one of France’s greatest producers of méthode traditionnelle sparkling wine using the Loire Valley’s indigenous Chenin Blanc blended with small amounts of Chardonnay.
For Bouvet-Ladubay, wine is a living art that must be practiced with wisdom, uniting tradition, experience and the most finely tuned technology in the creation of refined, handcrafted wines of impeccable quality and consistency.
After the untimely deaths of three of the Bouvet heirs in the early 1900s left Bouvet-Ladubay without a guiding hand, the increasingly troubled firm was purchased by Justin Monmousseau and merged with his own still wine–producing firm in 1933. It is currently run by the fourth generation of the Monmousseau family. In July 2006, Bouvet was acquired by Dr. Vijay Mallya of the world’s largest group of alcoholic beverages, the UB Group, based in India.
Bouvet-Ladubay sources its fruit from more than 100 plots in the Loire Valley. It has long-standing relationships with many winegrowers. The limestone subsoil of the Loire Valley is ideal for the cultivation of Chenin Blanc. The mild climate coupled with excellent drainage of the clay creates the natural acidity needed to produce a balanced sparkling white wine. The grapes are pressed in the vineyards and the juice is delivered directly to their cellars. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel, then the finest wines from each lot are blended and the cuvée is bottled for the second fermentation. The wine is aged for two years. It is imported by Kobrand Wine & Spirits.
My tasting notes follow:
Pale golden-yellow color with big bubbles and low-key yeast and green apple aromas. On the palate, it’s light-bodied, and straight forward with moderately creamy mousse and melon, green apple mineral flavors. Short finish – 85pts
Rating:B - This is a good bottle of bubble, and a nice alternative to Champagne. This bottle was gift. It retails for $16 ($12 ClubBev) at BevMo. But I can think of a few bottles of bubbly I enjoy more for less…
Pair with: This one is an excellent aperitif. Pair with fried snacks like seasoned popcorn, potato chips, or french fries. Also pair with golden king crab, shrimp and lobster dipped in drawn butter!
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This week’s #SundaySupper theme is all about soul warming foods. You know, those soups, chili, stews, and other soul warming treat we seek when the weather turns cold.
When I first saw the theme, my first thought was of “Soul Food”. I’d bet that “Soul food” is one of those phrases that if you ask 10 people what it means, you’d get 10 different answers! Soul Warming foods and Soul food are one in the same to me, and when I think of Soul food, the first dish that comes to mind is Gumbo! We have a tradition in our family of making Gumbo each New Year’s day, but it’s a soul-satisfying meal whenever there’s a chill in the air.
Since I’m a Wino with latent foodie tendencies, I decided let my foodie nature rise up, and do a dish, and wine pairings this week!
Here’s my Seafood Gumbo (we …OK make that “I”, call it “Yumbo” – lame right?..but I like it!)
For me, there are two things you’ve got to get right to make a gumbo – the “roux” (I prefer mine to be dark brownish), and you must have stock that is chock full of flavors. Sure you could take a short-cut, and go with store-bought (I’ve done that for a ” quick and dirty” version of this dish, but the flavors are not as complex and intense for me. If you get those couple of things “right”, it’s clear sailing thereafter!
Seafood Gumbo and Wine Pairings for Soul Warming #SundaySupper
Author: Martin D. Redmond
Recipe type: Stew
Adapted from Emeril’s Classic Seafood Gumbo recipe
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1½ cups finely chopped onions
¾ cup finely chopped green bell peppers
¾ cup finely chopped celery
2 tablespoons minced garlic
One 12-ounce bottle amber beer
6 cups Shrimp and Crab Stock
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 small Dungeness crabs
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon Emeril’s Original Essence
2 cups shucked oysters with their liquor
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
½ cup chopped tender green onion tops
Follow directions for cleaning and prepping crab to be cooked (click here, except remove crab legs and claws. Follow directions for Shrimp and Crab stock, except add crab shell and crab butter (roe) along with shrimp.
Place an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, and add the oil. Allow the oil to heat for about 5 minutes, then add the flour to the pot. Stir the oil and flour together with a wooden spoon to form a roux. Continue to stir the roux for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the color of milk chocolate. Add the onions, bell peppers, and celery to the roux and stir to blend. Stir the vegetables for 5 minutes, then add the garlic. Cook the garlic for 30 seconds before adding the beer and Shrimp and Crab Stock to the pot. Season the gumbo with the thyme, bay leaves, crabs legs, Worcestershire, salt, and cayenne. Bring the gumbo to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Continue to simmer the gumbo for 1 hour, skimming the foam and any oil that rises to the surface.
Season both the shrimp with 1½ teaspoons Essence. Stir the shrimp into the gumbo and cook for 2 minutes. Add the oysters to the pot and cook, stirring often, for an additional 5 minutes. Taste the gumbo and season if necessary.
Garnish with the parsley and green onions and serve in shallow bowls over white rice.
Recommended Wine Pairings – I paired this with the Navarro Vineyards Edelzwicker, a blend of Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Gris. It would also pair well with Viognier, a dry Rosé, or White Zinfandel. If you elect to go with a less spicy version try a Pinot Noir!
Take a look at the culinary cornucopia the #SundaySupper team has put together for this week’s gathering around the #SundaySupper table! My recommended wine pairings (click on the name of the wine to find out where to purchase) are italicized.
Pair these main dishes with Pinot Noir. Look for the 2010 Davis Bynum Pinot Noir. It’s a silky smooth Russian River Valley Pinot Noir with a core of raspberry and spice aromas and flavors, with caramel edge. Why it works: Pinot goes with just about everything. It’s a white wine, in red wine clothing, which makes it incredibly flexible with dishes and methods of prep. Pinot is sublime with poultry, and complements foods that are slow roasted, or braised.
I recommend a Chardonnay for these dishes. Look for the 2009 MacMurray Ranch Chardonnay Sonoma Coast. It’s a medium-full bodied Chardonnay that’s undergone malolactic fermentation, that’s moderately oaked. The oak aging brings vanilla and caramel notes to the party to go along with its ripe apple, tropical fruit and lemon cream character. Why it works: The texture, and weight of wine complement the dish, and it has enough acidity to “cut” the dish a bit and prepare the palate for the next mouthwatering bite.
Pair this dish with a Tempranillo from Rioja Spain. I really like the 2007 Viña Eguia Reserva. It’s shows great balance between oak and fruit with a cherry, dried herb, spice, leather and vanilla character. Why it works: Tempranillo is an underrated food pairing partner. It’s tends to be a light-medium bodied earthy red wine. It’s between a Pinot Noir and Cab. It’s fruity with moderate tannins, and acidity making it a good fit for somewhat spicy fare like Spanish, Mexican and similarly spiced fare.
Pair this classic Italian dish with Sangiovese. Try the 2010 La Mozza I Perazzi Morellino di Scansano. It’s a blend of 85% Sangiovese, 5% Syrah, 5% Alicante, plus a couple of other indigenous Italian grape varieties from Tuscany It shows juicy red and black berries, with some licorice and spice notes supported by soft dusty tannins. Why it works: The food of a place and the wine of a place is always a good place to start when pairing wine and food. On top of that, its high acidity, together with its medium-bodied character enable it to stand up to more substantial dishes. Sangiovese is a wine that loves dished prepared with fresh herbs, rich thick soups, mushrooms and tomato based dishes
Pair this dish with an Edelzwicker, a blend of the “noble” Alsatian varietals of Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Gris. Look for the 2011 Navarro Vineyards Edelzwicker. It’s an aromatic white wine with a stone fruit, spice, and hint of citrus character. Why it works: The spicy character of the wine, along with some sweetness (spicy likes sweet) and acidity make a great match!
Pair these hearty dishes with Cabernet Sauvignon. One of my favorites is the 2010 Columbia Crest Cabernet Sauvignon “H3″ It’s from Washington State, and is a bold wine that delivers delightful floral, dark fruit, cocoa aromas followed by plum, black cherry, vanilla and cocoa flavors. Why it works: Cab works well with red meats, dishes with earthy, herbal elements. This youthful wine has plenty of fruit which make it a nice complement to longer cooked meats and stews.
Try these dishes these with a Cru Beaujolais (not to be confused with Beaujolais Nouveau hitting the store shelfs soon), a wine from France made from the Gamay grape. Look for the 2010 Georges Debœuf Moulin-à-Ventwith a wild red fruits, and white pepper character that a juicy easy drinker. Why it works: Like Pinot Noir, the Gamay grape is naturally high in acidity, and is light-medium bodied with low tannins. It pair well with dishes with veggies,earthy flavors. Great picnic wine too! Er..but I digress;-)
Syrah is a good match for these hearty flavorful dishes. I like the 2009 Jacob’s Creek Reserve Barossa Shiraz from Australia. It’s has a fruity core of black cherries, plums, baking spices, and vanilla that balanced by some oak. Why it works: Syrah is an ample full-bodied wine that likes thicker, fuller dishes like slow braises, stews (especially tomato-based), and one-dish meals.
Pair these soul-warming soups with a Sauvignon Blanc from the Pouilly-Fumé region of the Loire Valley in France. Look for the 2011 Patient Cottat “Le Grand Caillou” Sauvignon Blanc. It has a lovely tropical fruit, citrus, spice and mineral character with a tangy acidity. Why it works: Sauvignon Blanc with its “green” (gooseberries, lime, green olive, papaya character and a mineral component attributable to the terroir of the Loire Valley make this a good match for vegetarian soups, spicy (hot) fare, dishes with acidic ingredients. It’s a very versatile food pairing partner in that it work nicely as a complement or a contrast.
Pair these satisfying soups with Pinot Gris. I recommend the 2011 King Estate Pinot Gris Signature Collection from Oregon. It has juicy lemon-lime, stone-fruit, green apple, pineapple and spice character. Why it works: Pinot Gris likes ethic foods, especially coconut-milk based curries.
Pair this Hot Fudge Pudding Cake (That Skinny Chick Can Bake)with the Terra d’Oro Zinfandel “Port”, a dessert wine made for chocolate! I like the what the Wine Enthusiast says about it…”The first duty of a Port-style wine is to be dazzlingly rich and sweet yet balanced in acidity, and this bottling is all that. Waves of blackberry jam, cassis and dark chocolate are brightened with zesty acidity…
Join on us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper. And join us at 7pm EST, for our live weekly #SundaySupper chat. All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag or you can follow us through TweetChat.
And be sure to check out the #SundaySupper Pinterest board. We’d love to feature your Sunday Supper Soul Warming Recipes and share them with all of our followers.
When I saw the theme for this week, ”Pairing Wine with #SundaySupper Comfort Food Favorites”, my mind was flooded with thoughts of some of my favorite comfort foods. The thoughts seemed to come in chronological order. My first thoughts were of my favorite comfort food when I was a child – Grilled Cheese sandwiches prepared with a ton of butter slathered on the bread, with a couple of sliced of American cheese, and a tomato! Then came my adolescent years and Beef Stroganoff, made with ground beef, popped into my head. Isn’t it amazing how you connect food to certain memories in your life?
My favorite comfort food – Seafood Gumbo; Image courtesy of whatdidyoueat.typepad.com
Then I had to ask myself the $64,000 question – If you HAD to pick one favorite comfort food what would it be. After what was a few seconds, but seemed longer, of running through a myriad of possibilities, I ultimately came back to my first thought – Seafood Gumbo. I make it each year for New Year’s Day. We invite my folks, kids and friends by to share the deliciousness and good times. Thinking of it puts a smile on my face. For me, that’s the essence of the #SundaySupper movement – breaking bread with family, and friends, and making memories!
Check out this week’s dazzling array of comfort foods from the #SundaySupper team! My recommended wine pairing are italicized. Cheers!
Pair these soups with Chardonnay. Look the 2010 La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, which is widely available. It displays aromatic citrus, pear and hints of floral aromas that are followed by citrus, buttered toast and a hint of honey flavors.
Pair these soups with an Old World Sauvignon Blanc, which tends to have more minerality that New World Sauvignon Blancs. Look for the 2011 Domaine Cherrier Père & Fils Sancerre from France. It displays a delightful lemon curd, verbena and herbal character.
Pair these soups with a red Rhone Blend. I recommend the 2011 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas (the white wine version is recommended for some main dishes below), a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Counoise. The Syrah adds dark fruit, flavors and spice. The Grenache brightens the flavors and add acidity, while the Mourvèdre adds meatiness, and the Counoise adds a bit of complexity.
Pair these main dishes with a Blanc de Noir style sparkling wine. A Blanc de Noir is made with dark-skinned grapes used to make red wines like Pinot Noir , Pinot Meunier and/or other grapes. I recommend the Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noir. It’s made with 90% Pinot Noir, and has wonderful red fruit and vanilla aromas are followed by creamy red fruit and citrus flavors.
Pair these dishes with a Chardonnay. Look for one that is moderately oaked such as the 2010 Wild Horse Unbridled Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyards Santa MariaValley. It has a been aged in French oak for a few months. It has a creamy lemon, green apple, and creme brulee character accented by fresh acidity and a touch a minerality.
Pair these dishes with a white Rhone blend. What’s great about blends is that the combination of grape varietals creates vinous synergy – a wine that is greater than the sum of its parts.Look for the 2011 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Blanc. It’s a blend of Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Marsanne, and Roussanne. It’s a crisp and aromatic wine with honeysuckle and stone fruit aromas that follow onto the palate. It also has very good acidity and an appealing minerality that make it versatile food partner.
Pair these dishes with Sauvignon Blanc. Look for the 2011 Stoneleigh Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand with enticing grapefruit, and tropical aromas with juicy stone fruit, and tropical fruit flavors. This one is available at Costco.
Pair these dishes with a Sangiovese. Look for the 2009 Ninety+ Cellars Reserve Lot 57 Rosso Toscana. It’s a blend of mostly Sangiovese (80%) with the balance split between Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. Therefore it’s a what’s referred to as a “Super Tuscan”. It’s loaded with blackberry, black cherry, and spice character.
Pair these hearty dishes with a hearty wine. I recommend the 2010 Bonny Doon Vineyard Contra Old Vine Field Blend. It’s a rich blend of Carigane, Syrah, Zinfandel, and Petite Sirah loaded with dark fruit, spice, and a bit of smoke aromas and flavors.
Pair these dishes with a hearty Zinfandel. Look for the 2009 Artezin Mendocino County Zinfandel. It’s a well-balanced Zinfandel with plum, clove and spice aromas, followed by raspberry, plum, black cherry, and spice flavors.
Pair this dessert with the 2011 Frisk Prickly Riesling a blend of 89% Riesling and 11% Muscat Gordo. It’s a slightly fizzy wine with very fresh acidity, that displays pear, guava, citrus and floral aromas, followed by peach, pear and a hint of mango flavors. Available at Costco.
We have a very special guest this week, Lee Woodruff, wife, mother of four, author, CBS This Morning contributor and founder of ReMIND.org. We would be honored to have you join us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper. We’ll be meeting up at 7:00 pm(Eastern) for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat where we’ll talk about our favorite Comfort Food Recipes.
The Robert Mondavi Winery was established in 1966 by Robert Mondavi, one of the most influential and esteemed winemakers in California history (Click here for his story). It was the first major winery built in Napa Valley. For decades it was California’s most famous winery. It was acquired by Constellation Brands in 2004.
It’s a beautiful property with classic California mission-style architecture, with an expansive archway and bell tower. I must confess I haven’t been in a long time. I recall visiting on one of my first trips to Napa. Nowadays, I tend to visit the smaller wineries. But, I’ve been impressed with their reserve wines. I’ve also been impressed with a few of their entry-level wines In particular the Napa Valley Merlot, and the Private Selection Meritage provide very good to great price quality performance.
The grapes for this wine were sourced from the Hyde Vineyard in cool climate Carneros AVA in the southernmost part of the Napa Valley. The grapes are pressed as whole clusters, then fermented on native yeasts in French oak where the wine undergoes partial malolactic fermentation.
What struck me most about this wine is how balanced it is.
My tasting notes follow:
Pale golden-yellow color with beguiling apple, butter, floral along with hints of honey, oak and tropical aromas. On the palate it’s med-bodied and impeccably balanced, with a creamy texture, very good acidity, with apple, tropical fruits and a bit of honey flavors. Med long finish. – 91pts
Chardonnay is not top of mind for me when it comes to wine and food pairing, but this is a very food friendly Chardonnay. There is a judicious use of oak, and very good acidity. It was fantastic with a Five Spice Chicken and Asian Style Noodle salad!
When I saw the theme for this week’s #SundaySupper - Dishes in 5 Ingredients or Less – my first thought was “Wow, that’s going to be a challenge”, because I’ve seen the creativity and passion my BFFs (Best Foodie Friends;-) bring to the #SundaySupper table. Then I thought, why not try to pair the undoubtedly diverse menu with only 5 five wines? As I’m sure it was a challenge to use only 5 ingredients and still get great flavor, it’s challenge for me to limit myself to a list of the 5 most food friendly wines. Ah, but in challenge lies opportunity!
As I contemplated the five most food friendly wines, I kept coming back to wines that are flexible in structure and in style. By structure, I mean all the wines have a great backbone of acidity, a core of succulent fruit, lower alcohol, and modest or no tannins. What I mean by style is that the grape produces wines in a wide range of styles from light to full-bodied. That diversity of style makes these wines versatile pairing partners with a broad range of foods.
Champagne and other sparkling wines like Cava, and Prosecco have an incredible affinity for a wide range of foods. Aside from the aforementioned high acidity and lower alcohol, there’s the bubbly effervescence! I alwayshave a chilled bottle of bubbly on hand! Unfortunately, most folks only drink bubbly when it’s a special occasion or as a cocktail without food. But now you know better. Right?!
Sparkling wines work especially well:
To accompany raw fish (sushi, sashimi, oysters, etc.),
Tart foods: citrus, vinegars, pomegranate, dill, capers, and tomatoes
As a counterpoint for foods that are salty, moderately spicy, rich and creamy, or deep-fried. (For example, a classic pairing is buttered popcorn with sparkling wine)
With many Latin dishes (empanadas ceviche and mole), Asian cuisines (Tempura, gyoza, Chinese deep-fried dishes, fish cakes, Indian Samosas, etc.), Middle Eastern dishes (hummus, baba ghanoush)
To accompany dishes that are challenging to pair with other wines like egg dishes and soups.
To pair with dishes that are inherently toasty like canapes or puff-pastry dishes.
Riesling is widely regarded as the most food friendly white wine. It’s among the most versatile wines because it’s made in a wide range of sweetness, from bone-dry to very sweet dessert style wines.
Riesling goes well:
Almost any fatty poultry like goose, duck and other gamy birds.
Rich, salty meats such as ham, sausages, and charcuterie. LIkewise for mildly salty cheeses such as Gorgonzola.
Sweet shellfish such as crab, lobster, and prawns.
Dishes seasoned with exotic spices, such as curries, cardamom, clove, mace, star anise, etc.
Quiche and other egg-based dishes.
You know how a squeeze of lemon seems to enhance almost anything? I think of Sauvignon Blanc as a vinous equivalent. It can be a polarizing wine. It’s a bit like cilantro – people tend to either love it or hate it. But since this a wine that is made in a diverse range of style, I believe there is something for virtually everyone. It’s a matter of finding the style that suites you!
Sauvignon Blanc goes well:
With dishes emphasizing fresh herbs, or dressed with a vinaigrette dressing.
With dishes prepared with a variety of cooking methods, from low-impact such as steamy to high-impact such as smoking, and grilling.
With most vegetarian soups.
As a counterbalance to rich dishes made with light-cream or butter-based sauces.
With acidic or sharp ingredients such as citrus, dairy (yogurt, sour cream,etc) dill, capers, olives, and tomatoes.
With spicy hot dishes – the acidity and generally lower alcohol level refreshes the palate.
With a wide variety of cheeses. Goat cheese is the classic pairing, but try it with Brie, Gruyere, Neufchatel, or sharp cheddar.
Pinot Noir is known as the Chef’s wine because its affinity for such a broad range of foods. It’s also the wine most often described in sensual terms! Depending on the vintner’s choices, it can be delicate and light-bodied, or bold and full-bodied!
Pinot Noir pairs well with:
Damn near everything (which is why it’s often the first choice for a food-a-palooza like Thanksgiving) because it’s so flexible.
Dishes that complement its inherently spicy flavors such as dishes spiced with coriander, cumin, cinnamon, or ginger.
With foods that are smoked, lightly charred, or grilled, especially if you’re serving one with a more oak-driven style.
Many fish – especially Salmon, tuna or swordfish.
With veggies (especially mushrooms) and dishes with earthier flavors such as cooked beans, greens, lentils, or dishes seasoned with Dijon mustard.
A multitude of Asian cuisines – Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean foods. That’s because these cuisines often have sweet-salt flavor combinations with which Pinot Noir plays well.
Sangiovese is produced in diverse range of styles. In Italy, where the wines are named after geographical regions rather than the grape varietal, there is, of course, Chianti, but there’s also Brunello, Montepulciano, and “Super Tuscan” variations of Sangiovese.
Sangiovese goes well:
With dishes with tomato-based sauces.
Dishes that are slow braised, grilled, or lightly smoked.
With dishes featuring fresh herbs such as basil, thyme or sage.
Richer, full-bodied soups such a bean soup, or minestrone.
There you have it, my short-list of the 5 most food friendly wines (for a more comprehensive list click here)! Equipped with these five wines, and spirit of exploration to find what works for your palate, pairing food and wine will go from daunting to delightful! I’ve added a new feature this week. Click on the hyperlinked name of the wine to find where you can buy. Also, since I’m limiting my wine recommendations to five, no dessert pairing this week:-(
Here is this week’s great #SundaySupper menu:
Breakfast, Starters, Butters and Jams:
Pair these dishes with Korbel Natural, a “California Champagne” made of 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Chardonnay. It’s a crisp, dry sparkler with cherry, raspberry and apple character.
Pair these dishes with a Riesling. One of my favorites is the 2010 Trimbach Riesling. It’s dry wine from the Alsace region with delicate aromas that belie its rich, fruity tropical fruit, peach and citrus flavors:
Pair these dishes with a Sangiovese. Look for the 2009 Ninety+ Cellars Reserve Lot 57 Rosso Toscana. It’s a blend of mostly Sangiovese (80%) with the balance split between Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. Therefore it’s a what’s referred to as a “Super Tuscan”. It’s loaded with blackberry, black cherry, and spice character.
Please be sure you join us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper. We’ll be meeting up at 7:00 pm(Eastern) for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat where we’ll talk about our favorite 5 Ingredient Recipes! All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, or you can follow us through TweetChat!
Dashe Cellars, founded by Michael and Ann Dashe in 1996, is an urban winery located near Jack London Square in Oakland, CA. Michael Dashe is the Winemaker, and Anne Dashe is the General Manager. Between the two, they have 40-plus years experience in the wine business, including experience at some big-time wineries such as Ridge Vineyards, Far Niente, Chappellet, Schramsberg Wine Cellars in California; Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château La Dominique in France,and Cloudy Bay in New Zealand. The winery produces about 10,000 cases annually.
Grenache (both Grenache Noir – used to produce red wine such as this, and Grenache Blanc – used to produce white wine) is a wine on the upswing. It’s finding favor with consumers because it’s packed with juicy red fruit flavors like cherry, and strawberries, and its luscious texture. Not only that, it’s priced well too. It’s easy to find a great bottle of Grenache between $10-$30.
Grenache is a malleable grape that can be made in a lighter “Beaujolais” style, or a more full-bodied, higher alcohol, more tannic style depending on the vessel in which it is aged (typically stainless steel, new, or depending on the style the winemaker seeks), and how long it is aged. For decades Grenache has been a blending grape used in jug wines or part of a “GSM” (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre) blend. But I’m seeing more and more stand-alone varietal bottlings of Grenache.
The 2011 Dashe Les Enfants Terribles (Wild Child in French) Grenache is a great example of Grenache made in the lighter, Old-World “Beaujolais” style. It’s made with low sulfur and native yeasts found naturally growing on the grapes. After 12 hours of fermenting some of the wine was “bled off” and used to make the Dashe Vin Gris, a technique that simultaneously concentrates this wine. The wine is unfined.
2011 Dashe Cellars Les Enfants Grenache, Dry Creek Valley
My tasting notes follow:
Strawberry red color with strawberry, cherry, white pepper, spice and a bit of hard candy aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied and lush with pure strawberry, cherry, spice and mineral flavors. Medium+ finish. - 90pts
This is a very good food wine. It drinks well as an aperitif, and with light meals. I’ve enjoyed it with a wide variety of foods including charcuterie, paella, barbeque (it takes a chill very well), and pizza.
I was excited when I saw the theme for this week’s Mexican Fiesta #SundaySupper in honor of Mexican Independence Day. Mexican food is one of my favorites. I think it’s underrated as a cuisine. You know how the remembrance of a meal can take you to a time and place? One of the best meals I’ve ever had was in Los Cabos, Mexico at Mi Casa Restaurant. It was probably ten years ago and I can still vividly recall the complex and nuanced flavors I experienced that meal. I had Chile Relleños, but it was not like any Chile Relleños I’d had before…or since. It was also my first experience with Tres Leches, one of my favorite desserts to this day!
Time for a confession. Um…I thought Cinco de Mayo was the celebration of Mexican Independence…in part because it such a huge celebration, and in part because I haven’t been paying enough attention…Doh!
Mexican Independence Day, celebrated annually on September 16th, celebrates the beginning of Mexico’s revolt against Spanish rule in 1808. Cinco De Mayo celebrates Mexico defeating French invaders 50 years later at the battle of Puebla. Well at least now I know!
Image courtesy of austincc.edu
One of the guidelines that makes food and wine pairing easier is to pair the foods of a place with the wines of that place (Italian food with Italian wine, Spanish food with Spanish wine,etc.) The challenge with pairing Mexican food with Mexican wine is that Mexican wines are just now starting to come into their own. Mexico is the land of beer and margaritas. But one of the things I love about wine is that its agnostic, in the sense that it can be paired with virtually any cuisine.
The two bits of advice I would offer when it comes to pairing Mexican food and wine, 1.) Pair the “weight” of the dish with the “weight” of the wine (i.e. light dishes with light-bodied wines, and full-bodied dishes with full bodied wines, and 2.) Pair to the sauce on the dish, rather than meat of vegetable. For more info, check out this guide to classic Mexican wine and food pairing.
This week’s #SundaySupper Mexican Fiesta lineup will have your taste buds doing a happy dance, mariachis in hand!
My wine pairing recommendations are italicized. Since, I can’t vouch for Mexican wines yet, it’s an international coalition of wines to the rescue this week with wines from Australia, Argentina, Chile, France, Spain and the U.S. Viva Mexico!
Sopas (Soups), Ensaladas (Salads), and Entremeses (Starters)
Pair these soups, salads, and starters with Vinho Verde, a wine made in Portugal from indigenous grapes, mostly Alvarinho, the Portuguese version of Spain’s Albariño. Verde (green) actually refers to the youthfulness of the wine, not the color. Vinho Verde can be a white, rose, or red wine. Many are also slightly fizzy. Regardless of the style, Vinho Verde is a fresh, food friendly wine that’s perfect both as a quaffer and for the first course. Look for 2011 Quinta da Aveleda Vinho Verde. It’s slightly fizzy, with floral, tropical fruit and citrus aromas and flavors.
Pair these dishes with Riesling…from France! I think of Riesling as the chef’s white wine because it’s so food friendly. I recommend the 2010 Trimbach Riesling. It’s dry wine from the Alsace region with delicate aromas that belie its rich, fruity tropical fruit, peach and citrus flavors.
Pair these dishes with Sauvignon Blanc, a white wine with a forthright and bold personality that pairs well seafood (including grilled seafood), and is also a match for the fresh herbs, spices, and vegetables used in these dishes. Try the 2011 Veramonte Ritual Sauvignon Blanc with its tropical fruit, floral and citrus characteristics.
Pair these dishes with Rosé, which is a very versatile food wine. One of my favorites is the 2011 Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigar, a welterweight wine that should pair nicely with “weight” of the dishes below. It’s a bit unusual in that it made from both red wine and white wine grapes, rather than solely red wine grapes. It’s a tasty blend of Grenache, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, and Mourvèdre that is chock full of strawberry, stone fruit, watermelon, and citrus flavors.
Pair these dishes with Tempranillo from Spain. Tempranillo is a wine that is often overlooked for its food friendliness, but the Spanish are bona fide food-lovers and Tempranillo is their primary red wine. Look for the 2010 Campo Viejo Rioja Tempranillo. It’s a medium-full bodied wine that will stand up to these more substantial dishes. It’s exudes spicy red plum,and cherry characteristics with hint of tobacco.
There are some bold flavors like chipotle, and roasted tomatoes in the following dishes. Pair these with Malbec, a wine with plenty of succulent dark fruit that also possesses spicy, earthy, and smoky qualities that will complement the bold flavors in these dishes. Look for 2010 Ninety Plus Cellars Lot 23 Old Vine Malbec from Argentina.
Pair these desserts with 2010 Quady Elysium Black Muscat, a opulent dessert wine made from black-skinned muscat grapes with rose and lychee characteristics accompanied by an acidic backbone which keeps it from being too cloying.
Please be sure you join us for #SundaySupper on Twitter throughout the day, Sunday September 16th – as we celebrate Mexican Independence Day. We’ll be meeting up at 7:00 pm (Eastern) for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat where we’ll talk about our favorite recipes for a Mexican Fiesta! All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, or you can follow us through TweetChat! We’d also love to feature your Mexican Fiesta recipes on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board and share them with all of our followers!
When I received media samples that included a trio of 2011 Castello di Amorosa Gewürztraminer, I was intrigued. First, Gewürztraminer, it isn’t a well-known, or for that matter appreciated grape varietal ( I enjoy it ). I like what Karen MacNeil says about Gewürztraminer in the Wine Bible…
Like Lucille Ball or Goldie Hawn, Gewürztraminer is a little eccentric in a lovable way
I was also surprised that Castello di Amorosa, as what I consider to be a “destination winery” would produce a Gewürztraminer because it doesn’thave that name recognition. In my experience, destination wineries tend to focus on wines that the average consumer knows a little something about – the Cabs, Chards, Merlots, and these days Moscatos of the world.
My wife and I last visited Castello di Amorosa last year. We took my brother-in-law and his wife, who were visiting us from British Columbia, there.
Castello di Amorosa – Photo by Melvin Yulo. All rights reserved
The castle is impressive. It’s an authentic European castle conceived by Dario Sattui of V. Sattui Winery (click here for history and details behind the construction of the castle) I definitely recommend taking tourists there to check it out.
Gewürztraminer is a wine with a peculiar heritage. Most believe it to be of German descent, but long before it found a home in Germany and Alsace, it was grown in the Trentino-Alto Adige region in northeast Italy where it known as “Traminer” The prefix “gewürz“, which mean “spicy” was added in Germany because the wine has spicy aromas.
The three wines I received were:
“Gewürztraminer” a dry wine
“Dolcino” an off-dry wine
“Late Harvest” is a dessert wine.
All are made from Anderson Valley fruit ( Alsatian varietals like this Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, and Riesling tend to do very well in Anderson Valley), and fermented in stainless steel.
I tasted the wines from the driest to the sweetest. My tasting notes follow…
2011 Castello di Amorosa Gewürztraminer
Pale yellow color with aromatic lychee, sweet grapefruit, and spice aromas. On the palate it’s light-medium bodied, and dry with zippy acidity and lychee, ripe white peach and spice flavors. Medium finish. Stainless Steel fermented. 13.5% Alcohol; Residual sugar-3.9 g/L; 1,100 cases. Very good value at SRP of $23! – 90pts
Next up was the “off-dry” “Dolcino”
Medium straw yellow color with fruity lychee, pear, and honeyed clove aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, a tad sweeter than off-dry, with a wonderfully viscous mouthfeel and pear, white peach, honey, and spice flavors nicely balanced with very good acidity. Medium-long finish 12% alcohol; Residual sugar-36 g/L; 1,849 cases; SRP – $24 - 91pts
Lastly, I tried the Late-Harvest Gewürztraminer…
Pale golden-yellow color with honey, honeysuckle, and apricot aromas. On the palate it’s full-bodied with honey, apricot, and vanilla flavors and good Medium-long finish. 11.2% alcohol; Residual sugar-173 g/L; 2, 964 cases. $36 SRP - 91pts
The late harvest wine is made from grapes infected by Boytrytis cinerea (a.k.a. “Noble Rot”) which give the wine honeyed aromas and flavors. What made the 2011 a unique vintage was that Noble Rot is rarely takes place in vineyard. And it’s even less likely to affect the Gewürztraminer grape because of its thick skin. According to Castello di Amorosa…”In an average year for late harvest wines we see 25-35% boytrytis infected bunches, but in 2011 it was 80% or higher“.
All the wines were outstanding! Highly recommended.
Pairing with food
Gewürztraminer can be a challenge to pair with food. Because of its low to moderate acidity, it’s not as versatile a food pairing partner as other white wines such as Riesling, or Sauvignon Blanc for example. But it compensates by pairing well with some unexpected, and challenging foods like eggs dishes such as frittata or quiche, strong cheese or sauerkraut. It’s also a white wine that can stand up to smoked, grilled, or blackened foods.
I decided to pair the dry Gewürztraminer with fried catfish and shrimp. It was a very good pairing, especially because the catfish and shrimp were a bit salty. The Gewürztraminer offset that saltiness and made the seafood taste better.
Then I paired the off-dry “Dolcino” Gewürztraminer with Spicy Jerk Salmon, Rice and Beans, and Fried Plantains. That pairing was better than the first as the sweetness quelled the heat of the Jerk seasoning. Gewürztraminer is also a good match for foods with aromatic spices like cumin, cinnamon of which there are plenty in Jerk seasonings.
For the Late Harvest dessert wine, I decided to try with a couple of different desserts. As I was considering which desserts to pair with the wine, I checked the Castello di Amorosa website and was surprised to see “Chocolate Torte” mentioned as potential pairing. I must confess that chocolate isn’t a top of mind choice for pairing with a botrytized Gewürztraminer ( Port or Banyuls comes to mind), but I was intrigued by the possibility. I headed of to my favorite gelateria, and picked up two desserts…
The first dessert I paired with the wine was this Pistachio Rose Cheesecake…
Pistachio-Rose: Imported Italian pistachio flavored cheesecake with a hint of rose on a buttery graham-cracker crust and finished with an edible rose petal
It was a very good pairing, the cheesecake wasn’t super sweet and the pistachio and rose flavored melded effortlessly with the honeyed flavors of the wine. The cheesecake even seemed to bring out a bit of hazelnut flavors in the wine, I hadn’t noticed previously.
Then I paired it with this Crème Brulee Tart, which was covered with a mixed caramel and chocolate ganache…
Crème Brulee Tart – Filled with smooth caramel flavored cream, just like a classic Crème Brulee, and topped with Valrhona Caramelia (caramel and chocolate mixed) ganache
JACKPOT!!…I hit the wine and food pairing lottery! The wine and the Crème Brulee Tart together was an otherworldly pairing as the individual flavors of the wine and the tart created a third entirely different and even better flavor. I hereby change my mind about chocolate and Gewürztraminer together as potential pairing partners! I’ll be back for more of this insanely divine pairing!
I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have a glass of wine with dinner! It’s a nightly ritual for my wife and I, who are both ardent wine lovers. So much so that we typically decide which wine we’re in the mood for, THEN we decide what to eat (I suspect most folks do it the other way around!) Regardless of which choice you make first food and wine together are one of life’s great pleasures. This quotes says it all for me…
“If food is the body of good living, wine is its soul.” — Clifton Fadiman
Those of you familiar with my ENOFYLZ (that’s oenophiles spelled phonetically in case you’re wondering) blog know it’s a Wine blog. This week, it’s a Wine andFood blog since I’ve decided to take the leap and prepare a dish and do offer wine pairing recommendations. As a self-described “Wino with latent foodie tendencies”, it seems natural to do the food and wine post!
When I saw the lineup of diverse wine samples provided by the Schlossadler Family of Wines, this week’s Cooking with Wine #SundaySupper, it didn’t take long to decide to make something spicy. That’s because a.) I love spicy food, and b.) One of the wine and food pairing tenets I’ve had the most success with is “spicy loves sweet”, i.e pair spicy foods with wines that have some sweetness.
I decided on Jerk Turkey Burgers with Mango Coleslaw because it’s a quintessential summer meal and well…it looked easy! I found the recipe on the Food Network.
For the uninitiated, “Jerk” is a style of cooking native to Jamaica whereby meat (or for that matter, vegetables or tofu) is dry-rubbed or wet marinated with a hot spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice. I’m sure there are many versions, but the two primary ingredients are allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers. Other ingredients typically include cinnamon, cloves, garlic, scallions, thyme and salt.
Jerk Turkey Burger with oven-fried sweet potatoes and sliced mango
1 tablespoon jerk seasoning, plus more for sprinkling
1 small green apple, peeled and grated
1/2 cup finely chopped scallions
1/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise, plus more for brushing
1/4 cup mango chutney, roughly chopped
3 cups shredded green cabbage
1 carrot, shredded
Canola oil, for the grill
4 hamburger buns or challah rolls, split ( I used whole wheat)
Combine the first 6 ingredients to make the turkey burger patties. Whisk the mayonnaise and chutney in a large bowl. Add the cabbage, carrot and the remaining 1/4 cup scallions, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Grill the turkey patties until browned and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side.
Brush the cut sides of the buns with mayonnaise and sprinkle with jerk seasoning; toast on the grill, about 30 seconds. Serve the burgers and slaw on the buns.
What’s a burger without fries? I decided to add some oven-fried potatoes, and in a epiphanic burst of culinary inspiration (Um…not sure where it came from – though I suspect it’s from insanely creative, new-found foodie friends who set the bar high;-) I decided to garnish with sliced mango.
I’m pleased to report the burgers were a smash hit! The spicy kick of the jerk seasoning in the burgers was cooled a bit by the mango slaw. It was a wonderful match with the 2006 H.O. Becker, Kerner Auslese because of its fruity sweetness, which further offset the spicy kick of the burger. It’s pretty healthy too, especially if you sub something for the mayo!
On the other gustatory delights offered this week by the #SundaySupper bloggers! Additionally, my tasting notes for each wine and my wine pairing recommendations follow:
Pale golden-yellow color with aromatic passionfruit, citrus, mineral aromas. On the palate, it’s The medium-bodied, with zesty acidity, and vibrant citrus, tropical fruits, and subtle mineral flavors. Medium-long finish. Versatile partner with food.
If you’re not familiar with Blaufränkisch (blouw-FRAHN-keesh), here’s a quick 411 – It’s a dark-skinned grape used to make red wine
Ruby color with damp earth, mixed berry, dark cherry, and spice aromas. On the palate, it’s light-medium bodied with very good acidity, supple tannins, and cherry, raspberry, spice, and a hint of cola flavors. Brings to mind Cru Beaujolais! Medium finish. Very food friendly wine.
If you not familiar with the Kerner grape (I know I wasn’t), here’s a quick 411 – It’s an aromatic white grape variety that is the offspring of a cross between Trollinger, a red grape variety, and Riesling a noble white grape variety. It’s named after poet and physician from Justinus Kerner.
Pale golden-yellow color with aromatic lychee, stone-fruit , and hints of Muscat and white flower aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, fruity and sweet with vivid white peach, apricot, sweet mineral flavors underscored by racy acidity. Medium-long finish. I initially thought it was a Rosé because it looked pink, but it turned out be bottled in pink glass. Perhaps a tribute to its parentage?
Join us at 7pm ET for our #SundaySupper Chat with @schlossiwines. Follow along on twitter by using hashtag #Sundaysupper or using Tweetchat. We love to feature your recipes on our #sundaysupper pinterest board and share them with all our followers.