Grilled Paiche with a White Greek Blend

Wine Pairing Weekend is a monthly collaborative event for wine/food bloggers started by David Crowley of Cooking Chat.  It’s a great way to find food and wine pairings that work; along with tips on how to create your own food and wine pairing magic.

The theme for this month’s Wine Pairing Weekend is “Wine for Summer’s Bounty“, and it’s all about taking advantage of the season’s best vegetables and fruits which are peaking right about now.

With the tried, tested, and found true food and wine pairing tenet of “What grows together, goes together” in mind, I knew I wanted to grill some fish since I had a wine from Greece in mind.

The Food

Taking inspiration from a Tilapia with Fresh Corn and Hatch Pepper recipe featuring a couple of the season’s bounty - fresh corn and hatch chiles, I decided to substitute Paiche, for tilapia  And off to my local Whole Paycheck..er Foods I went.  Alas, there wasn’t a hatch chile anywhere to be found.  I decided to substitute a Poblano pepper for the hatch chile.

Image courtesy of divebuddy.com

Image courtesy of divebuddy.com

For the uninitiated, Paiche (PIE-chay) which is also known as the arapaima or pirarucu, is a one of the largest freshwater fish in the world and can grow to almost 500 lbs. in size

It’s native to the Amazonian regions of Brazil and Peru in South American where it’s considered a delicacy ,and was almost fished to extinction.

In 2006 a group of Peruvian businessmen began The Amazone Project to develop the sustainable farming of paiche, and in 2011 it began to appear on the menus of adventurous chefs in the United States.

Some consider it an Amazonian “superfood”.  It packs an amazing 20 grams of protein per 100 grams of fish,is high in Omega-3s, low in fat, and free of antibiotics or mercury. It has firm white fleshed white-fish that has the meatiness of halibut for gently sweet flavor of sea bass or dover sole.  It’s perfect for grilling, pan-searing, roasting or smoking.

To date, I’ve only seen it a Whole Foods.  It’s farm-raised, but responsibly so.

Paiche grilled to perfection in a corn husk has a Latin inspired flavor profile

Despite the challenge of getting the paiche into the corn husk (I can see how a thinner fish like tilapia would be easier to work with and cook faster), the dish turn out well given my shall we say “unsophisicated” cooking skills!

Grilled Paiche with Fresh Corn and Poblano Peppers
Author: 
Recipe type: Main entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 2 ears of fresh corn
  • ¼ cup poblano chiles, chopped (more or less, depending on your desired heat level)
  • ¼ cup green onions, sliced
  • ½ lime
  • 2 Paiche fillets
  • Chipotle powder, to garnish
Instructions
  1. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (350 to 450 degrees)
  2. Carefully peel back the husk from each corn cob. You will use it for roasting the fish on the grill.
  3. Cut the ear of corn off the stem just above the end of the cob, leaving the husk intact. Set the husk aside. Cut the corn off the cob and combine with poblano chiles, green onions and the juice of a quarter of a lime and a dash of chipotle chili powder.
  4. Rinse the fish and pat dry. Place one fillet inside each of the corn husks. Top each with one-half of the corn mixture and close the husks over the fish, overlapping slightly.
  5. Place on the heated grill with the lid closed for 25-35 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily or reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Cut the remaining lime lengthwise into 2 wedges. Serve the fish in the husk with a lime wedge on top.

 The Wine

My wine choice for this dish is the 2012 Vrinioti Iama White.  It’s a fascinating blend of two distinctly different native Greek wine grapes – 60% Malagouzia and 40% Assyrtiko from the island of Evia.

Malagouzia is an ancient grape variety indigenous to Greece that  has only been identified in recent decades.  It produces a wine with floral and stone fruit aromatics and a slight honeyed character on the palate.  Assyrtiko, which I’d had before and really enjoyed, is the renown grape of the island of Santorini, where it usually makes bracing, dry whites with mouth-watering acidity and pronounced minerality.

The interplay of the two grape varieties is almost sequential, with the aromatics and fruit of the Malagouzia dominating the palate initially, and with the acidity and the minerality of the of the Assyrtiko providing the frame.  

As a point of reference for more well-known grape varieties, the wine reminded me of the combination of the aromatic and fruit profile of  both Viognier and   Gewürztraminer with the acidity of a Riesling.

Grilled Paiche with Fresh Corn and Poblano Peppers #winePW

Have you ever seen a black bottle closure before? But I digress, the wine is pure deliciousness. Highly recommended!

My tasting notes follow:

Rich yellow gold color with appealing stone fruit, bergamot, honey, spice, wet stone and citrus blossom aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, and approaches off-dry on the front palate with vibrant acidity and peach, apricot, a bit of fresh melon, spice, honey followed by a refreshing, bright lemony acidity on the back palate all underscored with wonderful Chablis-like minerality. Lingering finish.

The mouth-watering acidity of this wine makes it a versatile wine at table. Consider pairing it with salads featuring Feta cheese, Chile Rellenos, Grilled Octopus, Fried Calamari, or Herb-crusted lamb or port or Tuna Tartare.

DSC_0940

The Food and Wine Pairing

It was a fantastic pairing!  The the combination of spice and minerality of the wine was a great complement the spice of the corn/pepper mixture, and the slightly sweet, ever so slightly smoky flavor profile of the dish. And the great acidity of the wine cleansed the palate and prepared it for the next bite of deliciousness!
Wine Pairing Weekend # 3 Bloggers: Be sure to check out what my fellow bloggers have come up with for the August Wine Pairing Weekend!

Pull That Cork shared “Wine for Summer’s Bounty. Will Garnacha Do the Trick?

Meal Diva paired “Summer Vegetable Red Sauce with Amarone

Culinary Adventures with Camilla posted “Pan-Seared Padròns with DeRose Vineyards’ Négrette

Vino Travels — An Italian Wine Blog shared “Tomato, toe-mah-toe: Summer’s bounty with Sicilian wine Donnafugata

Grape Experiences paired “Cecchi Chianti Classico 2010 and Vegetable Lasagna

Curious Cuisiniere shared “Chipotle Garden Salsa with Wild Hare Petite Sirah

ENOFYLZ Wine Blog posted “Grilled Paiche with a White Greek Blend

Take a Bite Out of Boca shared “Quinoa-Crusted Eggplant and Heirloom Tomato Stacks paired with Monrosso Chianti

foodwineclick shared “Summers’ Bounty or Attack of the Killer Turnips?

Confessions of a Culinary Diva blogged about “Lobster Paella and Albarino

Tasting Pour shared “Summertime and the Cooking is Easy

Cooking Chat paired “Linguine with Pesto, Fresh Tomatoes and a Sauvignon Blanc

Join the #winePW conversation: Follow the #winePW conversation on Twitter throughout the weekend and beyond. If you’re reading this early enough, you can join us for a live Twitter chat on our theme “Wine for Summer’s Bounty” on Saturday, August 9, from 11 a.m. to noon Eastern Time. Questions for the chat are posted here on the #winePW site. You can also visit our group Pinterest board to pin some great pairing ideas for later! Stay tuned for the September Wine Pairing Weekend, which will focus on “Regional Food and Wine Pairings” on Saturday, September 13.

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Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Best Wines For A Summer BBQ Party #SundaySupper

This week’s #SundaySupper theme is a Summer BBQ Party.

Perfect.

That’s because Summer is my favorite season.  Always has been.  I love the warmer weather, the longer days, my favorite fruits (yes – including wine grapes;-)} and vegetables are ripe or ripening.  And I get to use my Weber grill more often than not.

Which brings me to this week’s virtual Summer BBQ party.  The #SundaySupper family of food bloggers dishing up a diverse Summer BBQ party menu.  And I’m offering recommendations for all the dishes.

While beer is probably the top of mind beverage for barbecues for most folks, don’t forget about wine! A glass of wine alongside your grilled favorites can elevate a meal from mundane to memorable.

Here are some of the things you need to know to successfully add wine to your list of favorite adult barbecue beverages!

  • If your meat, or vegetable has a sauce, salsa, chutney, etc. that dominates the flavors of the dish, let the sauce dictate which wine to pair with the food. BBQ Chicken is a good example. If you follow the cliché white wine with white meat “rule”, it could be a challenge to find a white wine to stand up to the bold flavors of the BBQ sauce. It’ll be much easier to find a red wine, or a Rosé that will complement BBQ chicken. In other words, think of the meat, or vegetable as a “vessel” for the sauce. Pair to the sauce, not the “vessel”.
  • Smoking, grilling, and blackening all transform the flavors of food, so that will dictate which wines to serve with the food
  • Spicy (hot) foods like sweet. Pair spicy hot foods with wines that have low to moderate alcohol levels (less than 14.5% generally), no or minimal oak, and some residual sugar (sweetness)
  • More red wines than you think work well during the summer.  Just chill them in an ice bath for 20-30 minutes.  Look for lighter bodied, less tannic wines like Pinot Noir, Dolcetto, Beaujolais, or Grenache.  Also look for reds from cooler climate wine regions like Loire, Alsace or Germany.
  • BBQ wines should be inexpensive
Best Wines For A Summer BBQ Party #SundaySupper

Image courtesy of Pico Communication

Check out the awesome Summer BBQ menu and my wine pairing recommendations.

Pair these sides and accompaniments with a glass of sparkling wine.  My everyday bubbly these days is Kirkland Prosecco. It has a clean, refreshing apple, pear, mandarin orange and honey character.

Pair these dishes with a food friendly Sauvignon Blanc. Look for the 2012 Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc.  It’s a blend of mostly Sauvignon Blanc with a bit of Semillon for body.  It has nicely textured lime zest, lemon curd, slightly herbal character underscored by some minerality which adds a bit of complexity. 

Pair these dishes with Gewürztraminer.  Look for the Dr. Konstantin Frank Gewürztraminer. It’s from the Finger Lakes wine region in New York State.  It’s fragrant, and medium-bodied with sweet citrus, stone fruit, and baking spice flavors with a touch of sweetness.  

I like a Riesling with theses appetizers and sides.  Look for the 2013 Kung-Fu Girl Riesling from Washington State. It shows gobs of white peach, apricot, and mandarin orange flavors with an alluring off-dry sweetness and lively acidity. 

Pair these appetizers and main dished with a Rosé.  It’s my favorite summer time wine because it’s so food friendly.  It’s served chilled, which make it refreshing, while at the same time being “bolder” than the most popular white wines when it come to pairing with grilled, and smoked foods.  Look the 2013 Tablas Creek Vineyard Patelin de Tablas Rosé.  It’s a blend of  Grenache, Mourvedre and Counoise with lively, refreshing wild strawberry, spiced citrus character.  

Pair these side and main dishes with a red Rhone blend.  One of my recent favorites which offers great value is the 2012 Château Pesquié “Terrasses” Côte du Ventoux.  It’s a blend of 70% old-vine Grenache and 30% Syrah that combines the generous fruit of Grenache with the spice, mineral, and acidity of Syrah that shows a juicy cherry liqueur, mixed berry, and licorice character. 

Pair these dishes with Malbec.  I recommend Pascual Toso Malbec from Argentina.  It has a red cherry, blueberry character with a hint of smoky earthiness that makes it a good match for the flavors of Summer BBQ! It’s a red wine that can take a bit of a chill too.  Go ahead and throw it in the ice bucket for 10-15 minutes.  

Pair these delectable desserts with 10-year-old Tawny Port.  I recommend a Tawny because unlike vintage port it can take a chill.  In fact, it should be served at cellar temperature (about 55 degrees) to maximize its enjoyment.  And that’s important when you’re looking for something cool to enjoy with your dessert on warm (if not hot) Summer day. Look for Warre’s “Otima” 10-year-old Tawny Port. It’s a rich tawny port with a toffee, caramel, honey and dried fruits character. You know what else I like about Tawny?  It’ll last for months after opening!

Pair these delightful desserts with Moscato d’Asti.  Look for the 2013 Cupcake Moscato d’ Asti.  It’s slightly fizzy and shows lovely floral, and bright fruit aromatics with peach, lychee and tropical fruit flavors.

And last, but not least, check out this stellar line up of other Summer BBQ Beverages

*Clink* – Here’s to you and your Summer BBQ Party!

Sunday Supper Movement
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Ceviche and Tablas Creek Picpoul Blanc

You want to know the difference between winos and foodies?  Winos are more likely to pick a wine, then decide which food to pair with it.  Foodies are more likely to pick the food, then (maybe) decide which wine to pair with it.  I’m a wino ( granted - with latent foodie tendencies), so when I saw the theme for this week’s Wine Pairing Weekend #2 -  Refreshing Summer Wine Pairings,  the first thing I did was select a wine.  And top of mind for me,  was a refreshing summer white wine. But I wanted something other than the typical Sauvignon Blanc, or Chard.  No, I was in the mood to experiment,  and try something new.  And that’s when the 2012 Tablas Creek Picpoul Blanc I’ve been holding on to for a few months came to mind.

The Wine

Picpoul Blanc is an ancient white-wine grape variety native to the Languedoc region in Southern France, where it is known as Piquepoul or Piquepoul Blanc.  It’s used primarily as a blending grape in Châteauneuf du Pape, but is best known for the light-bodied green wines of the Pinet, a region that run along the southern coast of France in the Languedoc. Like the better known Grenache and Pinot, Picpoul has red, white and pink variants, though Picpoul Noir and Picpoul Gris are very rare.

The name Pique-poul translates literally as “stings the lip”, and is a reference to the grape’s naturally, mouth wateringly high acidity.

Tablas Creek Vineyard imported Picpoul vines from France to replicate the clonal selection of French grapes. The grapes were quarantined in 1996, and released in 1998. The first vines were planted 2000.

Tablas Creek says that Picpoul grown in California maintains its bright acidity, but also develops an appealing tropical lushness.

My tasting notes are below…

photo (76)

The Tablas Creek Picpoul Blanc shows subtle pineapple, lemon, and white flower aromas. But it really comes alive on the palate.  It’s harmonious, and  fresh with a lush texture and very acid driven with expansive pineapple,  and lemon flavors complemented by subtle mineral and spice shadings offering some complexity.  The acid drives a lingering finish.  >>Find this wine<<

This is a very food friendly wine that will pair well many dishes including fried calamari, fish cakes, all manner of prawns, Thai dishes.  I’d even give it a go with Spaghetti Carbonara!

The Food

I adore Ceviche, and it’s a great dish for summer when the mercury is rising.  Not only do you not have cook use heat sources to cook it, it’s also pretty healthy too.  It’s a great source of lean protein. I chose to use the Cook’s Illustrated recipe for Ceviche with Tomatoes and Avocado.

I made the Ceviche after I started a Beer Can Chicken on my Weber. Typically, it’s more like an appetizer served with crackers and the like, but I decided to “saladfy” it by chopping up some Romaine lettuce, adding some cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and sliced avocado dressed with a citrus vinaigrette.

Ceviche with Tomatoes and Avocado

Ceviche with Tomatoes and Avocado

Ceviche with Tomato and Avocados
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer or Salad
Cuisine: Latin American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), large sea scallops, skinless fish fillets, or a combination
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest from 1 lime
  • ½ cup juice from 4 limes
  • ½ cup juice from 4 lemons
  • 1 small red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped fine
  • 1 jalapeño chile (small), stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
  • Salt
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 scallions, sliced thin
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted and diced fine
  • Ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. If using shrimp, peel them completely, devein, and slice each shrimp in half lengthwise using a paring knife (through the deveined groove in the back). If using scallops, remove the side tendon (see illustration below) and slice into ⅓-inch-thick rounds. If using fish, remove any bones and slice into 1-inch squares about ⅓ inch thick.
  2. Stir the lime zest, lime juice, lemon juice, bell pepper, jalapeño, garlic, and ½ teaspoon salt together in a medium bowl. Gently stir in the seafood, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until the seafood is firm, opaque, and appears cooked, 45 to 60 minutes, stirring halfway through the marinating time.
  3. Place the mixture in a fine-mesh strainer, leaving it a little wet, then return to the bowl. Gently stir in the oil, scallions, tomatoes, cilantro, and sugar followed by the avocado. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.
Notes
Fresh seafood and freshly squeezed lime and lemon juice are essential for this dish. Be sure to pat all seafood dry with paper towels so that any moisture does not water down the marinade. I used a 50/50 blend of shrimp and Dover sole. Slicing the seafood into pieces no thicker than ⅓ inch is important for even cooking; super-thin fish fillets (such as sole, flounder, or tilapia) are the easiest to use, as they require the least amount of prep. Heat is not used to cook the fish in this dish—the acid in the citrus juice firms it and makes it opaque. Add the avocado just before serving to prevent it from breaking down and coating everything with its green color

Use a nonreactive container for making ceviche, such as glass, ceramic or stainless steel.

The Wine and Food Together

The Tablas Creek Picpoul Blanc was  stellar pairing with my Ceviche with Tomatoes and Avocado.  The food made the wine taste better and the wine made the food taste better.

The weight of the wine was a perfect complement to the “weight” of the Ceviche, which was loaded with avocado and tomatoes.  And the ample tropical fruit profile of the wine was a great complement to the tart nature of the Ceviche.

Score!

Ceviche and Tablas Creek Picpoul Blanc

Wine Pairing Weekend #2 Bloggers: Be sure to check out the great pairings my fellow bloggers have come up with for the July Wine Pairing Weekend! 

Culinary Adventures with Camilla posted “Green Fig Ice Cream + Cambiata Albariño

Vino Travels — An Italian Wine Blog shared “Orzo salad and Trebbiano d’Abruzzo

Curious Cuisiniere posted “Grilled Trout paired with a Tropical Fruit Viognier

ENOFYLZ Wine Blog paired “Ceviche and Tablas Creek Picpoul Blanc

Take a Bite Out of Boca shared “Grilled Mango-Sriracha Shrimp, Pineapple and Peppers paired with Burg Layer Schlosskapelle Spatlese Kerner

foodwineclick shared “Steamers and Cava on the Porch

Confessions of a Culinary Diva blogged about “Aperol Spritz

Cooking Chat paired “Grilled Salmon with Mango Salsa and a White Burgundy

Join the #winePW conversation: Follow the #winePW conversation on Twitter throughout the weekend and beyond. If you’re reading this early enough, you can join us for a live Twitter chat on our theme “Refreshing Summer Wine Pairings” on Saturday, July 12, from 11 a.m. to noon Eastern Time. You can also visit our group Pinterest board to pin some great pairing ideas for later! Stay tuned for the August Wine Pairing Weekend, which will focus on “Wine for Summer’s Bounty” on Saturday, August 9.

The Best #SundaySupper Picnic Wines

Who doesn’t dig a picnic? The combination of good food, good company, and, especially for me, good wine combined with fresh air and sunshine are a big part of why summer is my favorite season.

Up on the Ridge

The Picnic Area at Ridge Vineyards

And planning a picnic should be a picnic, right?  Just throw together some sandwiches and salads, pack up a basket, and head to your favorite picnic spot.  Yet choosing a wine can be challenging, because picnic fare tends to include a little bit of everything, from rich and fatty foods to tart and herbal flavors.  And those contrasts in flavors can give one pause when it comes to selecting a wine.

My criteria for great picnic is that they should be wines that are 1.) light and refreshing, 2.) a good match for a variety of foods, and 3.) inexpensive ($20 or less).

Check out this week’s of amazing and delicious picnic fare and my wine pairing recommendations that’ll complement these great recipes!

Pair these dishes with sparkling wine.  My everyday bubbly these days is Kirkland Prosecco. It has a clean, refreshing apple, pear, mandarin orange and honey character.

One of my favorite picnic wines is sparkling Rosé.  It’s the ultimate in vinous synergy – combining the acidity, effervescence of bubbly with the overall food friendliness of Rosé.  If I had to choose a bottle of wine for a picnic and didn’t know what was being served it would be a sparkling Rosé for me.  Try the Jean-Louis Denois Pinot Noir Brut Rosé.  It’s made from 100% Pinot Noir and has a refreshing red berry, watermelon character.

Pair these dishes with Sauvignon Blanc.  Look for the 2013 Villa Maria Sauvignon (or the newly released 2014). It shows exuberant aromas, and zesty acidity with appealing mixed tropical fruit, ruby grapefruit, lime and mineral character.

Pair these dishes with Riesling.  I love the 2012 Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen Eroica Riesling. It’s just slightly off-dry  with vibrant acidity and a beautiful white peach, grapefruit and mineral character.

Pair these dishes with Grüner Veltliner, a refreshing, medium-bodied, peppery white wine with stone fruit flavors.  Grüner Veltliner goes with everything from green salads to cold poached salmon to fried chicken. Look for 2012 Laurenz V. Singing Gruner Veltliner .  It has a green apple, peach, citrus, white pepper spice character with a great mouthfeel and a mineral undertone. 

Pair these dishes with a Rosé.  Look for the 2013 Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare It’s a both red and white Rhone grape varieties with a dry, crisp and refreshing strawberry, citrus, and spice character. 

Pair these dishes with Cabernet Sauvignon.  Look for the 2012 Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon.  It has a supple texture and a cassis, black plum and subtle spice character.

Here are the rest of this week’s beverages and desserts

Beverages

Desserts

What’s your favorite picnic wine?

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our#SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Wine Pairings for Man Food #SundaySupper

This week’s #SundaySupper theme is all about “man” food.  I find it interesting that just as there are foods that considered “masculine” versus “feminine”, there are wines that are considered “masculine”, and “feminine”.

What is a masculine wine you ask? I think of it a masculine wine as a full-bodied wine rather than a light-bodied or delicate wine.  For example, a Cabernet Sauvignon, or Petite Sirah, or a Port would be considered masculine compared to a most white wines, Rosé, Sparkling wines or Pinot Noir.

But when it come to pairing food with wine, I don’t think of it in male vs. female terms. I stick to one of the most essential wine and food pairing guidelines.  And that is pair the weight of the food with the weight of wine. 

Wine Pairings For Man Food #SundaySupper

Nom, nom, nom! Image courtesy of bbs.barnsleyfc.org.uk

Speaking of wine and food pairing tips here are few more that are especially appropriate for the items on this week’s #SundaySupper  menu:

  1. High impact cooking methods like grilling, and smoking move chicken and turkey over to the “dark” side of the wine and food pairing spectrum.  Think pink or red wine!
  2. Can’t bear a red wine because it’s too hot? Think Pink!  A dry Rosé is very food friendly.  Good Rosés combine the crispness and refreshment of white wine (serve chilled) with unusual and intriguing flavors–some of the red fruits typical of red wine, but also notes of tea, citrus, strawberries, or watermelon. One of my favorites is the Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Rosé. 
  3. Finally, if you heavily sauce chicken, turkey, and pork, pair to the sauce rather than the type of meat. 

Check out this week’s fantastic menu of “Man” food recipes put together by the #SundaySupper team, and my wine pairing recommendations.

Manly Starters:

Pair these starters with an off-dry (slightly sweet) sparkling wine.  Bubbly goes with virtually everything thanks to its palate cleansing acidity and effervescence.  It pairs especially well with fried food, and salty foods.  Look for Mumm Napa Cuvee M.  It has a crisp, refreshing, easy to like peach, pear, vanilla and subtle caramel character.  And since it’s slightly sweet it’ll stand up to the spicier starters. 

Manly Mains:

Pair these dishes with Petite Sirah, an under appreciated grape variety that is fabulous with BBQ, burgers, ribs, grilled and smoked meats, and foods with Latin flavors.  Look for the 2011 The Crusher Grower’s Selection Petite Sirah.  It’s a blend of mostly Petite Sirah and Merlot, plus Cabernet Sauvignon and a few Portuguese grape varieties with a bold, full-bodied, blackberry, black cherry, white pepper, smoke meat, and spiced vanilla character. 

Pair these dishes with an off-dry Riesling.  One of my favorites is the 2012 Chateau Ste. Michelle-Dr. Loosen Riesling Columbia Valley Eroica - It’s off-dry with vibrant acidity and a beautiful white peach, grapefruit and mineral character.

Pair these dishes with Chianti from Italy.  A perennial favorite of mine is the 2009 Marchesi de Frescobaldi Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Riserva. It shows a mouth-filling dried red fruit, sweet spice, and dried herb character with a very satisfying finish. 

Pair these dishes with Pinot Noir.  I recommend the 2012 Belle Glos Meiomi Pinot Noir. It shows a supple texture and an enticing plum, tart cherry, cranberry, and spiced vanilla character.  

Manly Desserts: 

Pair these desserts with Port.  Look for Warre’s “Otima” 10-year-old Tawny Port. It’s a rich tawny with a toffee, caramel, honey and dried fruits character. 

Pair these desserts with a Moscato d’Asti from Italy.  Look for the 2013 Saracco Moscato d’Asti. It shows a sweet, fragrant, delicate, floral, tropical fruit, apple and a hint of honey character.  

Happy Father’s Day to the man in your life!


Sunday Supper Movement Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday!
 We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our#SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Best Wines to Pair With Chili #SundaySupper

I love chili. There’s just something about the combination of tomatoes, chili powder, peppers, and cumin and insert your favorite meat here that I adore.  While I’ve mostly enjoyed the aforementioned classic version of chili, I do enjoy a good chili adventure too!  And this week’s recipes showcase the amazing diversity of what is essentially a humble classic American stew.  You can keep it simple, or you can dress it up. You can keep it classic or you can make it exotic.  And that’s part of the appeal for me, it’s so diverse!

Bowl of chili

Image courtesy of For The Love Of Cooking.net

Now when it comes to which adult beverage to enjoy with a steaming hot bowl of piquant chili goodness, an ice-cold beer is top of mind for most.  I get that.  But setting aside my general preference for wine over beer, I prefer wine with chili for two reasons:

  1. Carbonated beverages make me feel fuller sooner, and well…I’d just rather have more room for chili!
  2. Depending on the heat level of the chili, I find that carbonated beverages intensify and prolong the burning effect of the capsaicin present in the peppers used in chili.

So then, what kind of wines pair best with chili? There are plenty of options, especially if you prefer red wines. Look for medium to full-bodied (but not too elegant) white, pink and red wines with ample fruit flavors, and moderate tannins.

For red wines, consider Zinfandel, Malbec, Syrah, Tempranillo, Grenache, Carmenere or Rhone-style red blends.  For white wines consider an off-dry German or Alsace Riesling, Viognier, Marsanne, or Chenin Blanc.  And don’t forget Rosé, the oh so versatile pink wine that delightfully bridges the gap between red and white wines.

Consider red wine (served slightly chilled) for tomato based chili, and white wine for “white” and other non tomato-based chili.  A rosé will work with both!  For non-traditionally spiced chilis with an Asian, or Mexican spice profile, I’d recommend the Zinfandel, or red Rhone blend. The spicier the chili (heat-wise) the more fruit-forward and sweeter you want your wine to be.

One final note – No wine will pair well with a Texas five-alarm or other incendiary, eye-watering, nose-running bowl of red.  Opt instead for beer, a low-alcohol (around 10%) Nigori sake or a yogurt-based (the dairy will cool you off ) drink.

Here are 5 wines that will pair well with the diverse menu of chili offered for this week.  

Gnarly Head Old Vine ZinfandelA old vine Zinfandel from the self-proclaimed “Zinfandel Capital of the World” – Lodi with a dark berry, plum, and spiced vanilla character (Around $10, find this wine) Pair this 

2011 Domingo Molina Hermanos Malbec-Tannat - A delicious Malbec from Argentina with a twist – it contains 30% Tannat (pronounced Ta-Not) which adds depth and length to this full-bodied delicious wine with a savory, plum, blackberry and licorice character (Around $15, find this wine)

 2010 E. Guigal Côtes du RhôneA perennial top quality everyday Rhone blend of about 65% Syrah with the balance being Grenache, and Mourvedre with a brambly full-bodied mixed berry, plum, licorice, and spice character. (Around $15, find this wine)

2012 Cave de Tavel “Lauzeraies” Rosé - A blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, and Mourvedre this is a  classic French rosé with enough “weight” to stand up the bold  flavors and texture of chili. This is the wine to reach for if prefer to pair your chili with a chilled wine, but prefer red wine flavors. It shows layers of wild strawberries,cherry spice, citrus flavors with a subtle mineral undertone.(Around $13,find this wine)

Chateau Ste. Michelle RieslingThis is an off-dry (slightly sweet) Riesling from the Columbia Valley in Washington State with a citrus, peach and lime character. (Around $8, find this wine)

This week’s #SundaySupper features a virtual chili cookoff, where YOU, get a chance to vote for your favorite recipe. A list of all the entries and links to them are below.  Voting begins at 8am Eastern time on Sunday, 2/23/14, and ends at midnight on Thursday, 2/27/14 (National Chili Day).  The winner receives a ticket to the Food and Wine Conference plus a $25 gift card.

Will YOU be a part of the #SundaySupper Chili Cook-Off judges panel this week? Voting is live at the Sunday Supper Movement Online Community Magazine starting now and concluding (fittingly) on February 27 – National Chili Day! Browse the submissions and cast your vote by clicking HERE!

Beef and Bison Chili

Pork Chili

Chicken, Duck, and Turkey Chili

Mixed (meat combo) Chili

Fish and Seafood Chili

Vegetarian Chili

Twist-on-Chili

Chili Cook-Off Voting at the Sunday Supper Movement Online Community Magazine

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Dark and Delicious 2014 – A Petite Sirah and Food Extravaganza!

One of my favorite Bay Area food and wine events, the 8th annual Dark & Delicious Petite Sirah is coming to Alameda in February!  Dark & Delicious (“D&D”) is the preeminent annual Petite Sirah event in the world.  It’s put on each year by  P.S. I Love You, an association of Petite Sirah growers, producers and winemakers.

Image courtesy of P.S. I Love You!

In a nutshell, it’s 40+ wineries pouring Petite Sirah (“P.S.”), collaborating with 25+ fabulous Napa and Bay Area restaurants and/or food caterers for a food and wine extravaganza.

For the uninitiated, here’s a quick 411 on P.S.

  • Created by François Durif, it is the love child of a noble grape, Syrah, and an obscure peasant grape Peloursin in 1880
  • 90% of the world’s P.S. vineyards are in California
  • Produces big, masculine, typically ink-colored wines that tend to be tannic with moderate to high-acidity
  • Sometimes (increasingly it seems) referred to as Durif

What makes this event special for me is…

  • It’s a”one-stop” tasting of P.S. from the finest producers throughout Cali.  It’s a great chance to experience the diversity of P.S. both geographically, and stylistically.
  • It’s a great opportunity to get to know P.S. as a food partner beyond the typical steak and BBQ because you get a chance to try all manner of gustatory delights from savory to sweet and everything in between.
  • It’s offers great value! For the price of a couple of Napa Valley wine tastings, you can eat and drink (responsibly of course;-) to your heart’s content.
  • It has the most evocatively appropriate name of all the wine events I attend…it put’s a smile on my face whenever I think “Dark & Delicious”!

I’ve been the last several years and it’s gotten better year. I expect this year will be the best yet! The foodie in me has already circled Hella Lumpia, Gators Back Porch BBQ, and A Fork Full of Earth Organic Catering as a few of the new food purveyors to check out this year!

The event web site has a list of the wineries pouring this year. And the list of food vendors signed up so far for this year is more impressive than ever.  

P.S. I Love You Dark and Delicious Tasting
February 21th, 2014
6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
The Rock Wall Wine Company
2301 Monarch Street
Alameda, CA 94501 (map)

Tickets are $65 per person (free parking).  There are also discount tickets available ($55) for group of 6+.  The more the merrier!

The event has sold out in the past so put some pep in your step!  For more details and tickets click here.

If you do decide to go, I recommend you:

  • Wear dark clothes
  • Don’t wear perfume/cologne
  • Since there’s plenty of food, grab a bite when you (they’ll be plenty of food
  • And SPIT!

Related posts you might enjoy:

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Wine of the Week; 2011 Flowers Chardonnay Sonoma Coast

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2011 Flowers Chardonnay Sonoma Coast.

The Winery

Flowers Vineyard and Winery was founded by Walt and Joan Flowers who were nursery owners in Pennsylvania before heading West to pursue dream of making wine from their favorite grapes varieties, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

In 1989, they purchased 321 acres, including a ridge top, high above the Pacific Ocean (only 2 miles away) on the northern Sonoma Coast in Cazadero.  In 1991 they established their first estate vineyard, the Camp Meeting Ridge Vineyard. In 1997, a gravity-flow winery was built on the property specifically for vinifying Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.  They purchased a second  purchased a second 327 acre property in close proximity to the winery in 1998, and named it Flowers Ranch. That’s the location of their second estate vineyard, the Sea View Ridge Vineyard.

Producing distinctive Chardonnay & Pinot Noir from the Extreme Sonoma Coast

The winery produces Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and a red blend, called Perennial from its two estate properties,  as well as select vineyards in the coolest regions of the Sonoma Coast AVA.  Flowers wines are sold almost exclusively through a mailing list with decent retail distribution of the Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (both are available at BevMo). Annual case production is about 3,000.

In 2009 a substantial interest in Flowers was sold to Huneeus Vintners, and Walt and Joan Flowers retired from their project.

The Wine

Fruit for this wine is sourced from some of the finest small and family owned vineyards within the extreme Sonoma Coast appellation including Flowers’ Camp Meeting Ridge Vineyard.  The grapes are hand sorted, and whole cluster pressed.  Fermentation is on native yeast in small stainless steel tanks (20%), and French Oak barrels (80%).

The barrel age used for fermentation varied – new (18%) 1-2 year old French oak barrels (67%), and neutral 3-year-old barrels (16%).  The wine was allowed to go through the natural secondary malolactic fermentation. It was aged 14 months in French Oak (18% new) for 14 months.

Wine of the Week; 2011 Flowers Chardonnay Sonoma Coast

My tasting notes follow:

Pale golden-yellow color with promising white flower, pear and a kiss of tropical aromas. On the palate it’s charming, well structured, judiciously oaked, and medium-bodied with a creamy mouth feel and medium-acidity.  It shows ample pear, pineapple, mineral and a bit of brown spice flavors and wonderful length.

Rating:  A- : This is an outstanding example of a Sonoma Coast Chardonnay! Will buy more!

Pair with: Lobster Fideos, Stuffed Whole Salmon, creamy pastas with chicken, pork or seafood.

Ratings Key:
(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff!  Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2013 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Wine of the Week; 2009 Tablas Creek Roussanne

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  For this week, my Wine of the Week is the 2009 Tablas Creek Roussanne.

The Winery

Tablas Creek Vineyard (“TCV”) is probably the best-known of all Paso Robles wineries specializing in Rhone style wines.  It is a partnership between Robert Haas, and the Perrin Family of Chateau de Beaucastel in the Chateauneuf du Pape region in FranceWhat I find interesting about TCV is that they specifically chose to establish themselves in Paso Robles because of the similarities of the soil conditions and climate of Paso Robles to Chateauneuf du Pape.  They went as far as to import vines from Chateauneuf du Pape.  The vines were propagated and grafted in their on-site nursery and used to plant their 120 acre organic vineyard.  Check the full story here.

The Wine

So you’ve never heard of Roussanne?  Most casual wine drinkers have not.  It’s a white Rhône grape variety that gets its name from its from the French word “roux”, which means russet, and is a fitting description of its reddish-gold skins at harvest time.

It’s a tough grape to grow.  It’s prone to uneven ripening, irregular yields, has little resistance to powdery mildew and rot, and is easily damaged by wind and drought. By selecting and propagating only the least problematic clones, vintners preserved Roussanne for two primary reasons: unique aroma and bracing acidity.

It’s most often blended with the other primary white Rhône grape variety Marsanne.  In fact, it’s more so used as a blending grape than a varietal bottling such as this wine.

Typical aromas and flavors suggest honey, floral, herbal tea, and stone fruit.

Here’s what Tablas Creek says about production of this wine..The Roussanne grapes were whole cluster pressed, and fermented using native yeasts half in stainless steel and half in small French oak barrels. The wine was left on its lees for 6 months, and allowed to complete malolactic fermentation. After fermentation the wines were blended, and bottled in August 2010.

Tablas Creek has done a varietal bottling of Roussanne since 2002.

09_Roussanne

My tasting notes follow:

Rich yellow golden color with pear, honeysuckle, mineral, and a bit of lanolin aromas. On the palate it’s very smooth, and harmonious with pear, nectarine, mineral and a spice undertone with lingering finish

Rating: A-: Wonderful wine! We picked up a couple of bottles on our most recent trip to Paso Robles. This one was so good it didn’t make it home! 

Pair with: We enjoyed pairing this with seafood pasta with a cream sauce.  It will also pair well with other rich seafood such as lobster, crab, sea bass or salmon. I also bet it would pair well with my seafood gumbo!

Sample purchased for review
Ratings Key:
(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

Wine Pairing Recommendations For Global Street Food #SundaySupper

This week’s #SundaySupper theme is all about Global Street Food. You know – that ready-to-eat food served up at mobile street carts, food trucks, movable market stalls, and food parks.

One of the things I love about living in the San Francisco Bay Area is its diversity.  It’s a (mostly) delightful, if sometimes quirky mash-up of ethnicities, cultures, politics, religions, you name it.  The gastronomic scene reflects that diversity.  Name a cuisine and you can find it in the Bay Area.  And of course

And of course, there are a multitude of opportunities to sample street food in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Off The Grid, SOMA Street Food Park, among many others.

One of my favorites is Sanguchon, a Peruvian Food Truck that serves a killer pulled pork sandwich. I usually get it with yucca fries.

Many local wineries have gotten in on the act, none more so that Rock Wall Wine Company, which regularly hosts “Food Truck Frenzy” with 6-8 gourmet food trucks, a DJ, and plenty of their award-winning wines.

Yes…wine goes with damn near anything.

Especially street foods from around the world.

Global Street Food #SundaySupper

Rock Wall Wine Food Truck Frenzy – Image courtesy of Rock Wall Wine Company

Global street food deserves a global wine selection.  My wine pairing recommendations include wines from Argentina, France, Germany, Italy, and California

My wine pairing recommendations  and this weeks slate of scrumptious #SundaySupper street eats follow (click on the name of the wine to find):

Pair these dishes with sparkling wine.  One of my favorites is Scharffenberger Brut Excellence.  It’s a great value that’s a blend of 67% Pinot Noir and 33% Chardonnay with a full-bodied golden apple, ginger and honey character.  And remember sparkling wines are one of the most friendly wines there is!

Pair these dishes with a Pinot Blanc, a white grape variety that is a mutation of Pinot Noir. The first time I had it with food prepared with typical Indian food spices I was skeptical, but Pinot Blanc and such dishes rock! Look for the 2011 Paul Black Pinot Blanc d’Alsace from France.  It opens up with appealing apple, lemon and ginger aromas that follow on the palate with a lively mouthfeel, a kiss of tropical fruit and mineral undertone.

Pair these dishes with a wine made from the Torrontés grape variety, Argentina’s only indigenous grape.  Look for the 2011 Bodegas Colomé “Estate” Torrontés Valle Calchaquí Salta.

One of the tried, tested and mostly found true tenets of wine and food pairing is that “Riesling goes with anything”.  Arguably Riesling is the most versatile white wine at the table. That’s certainly the case this week.  Pair this diverse range of dishes with an off-dry Riesling.  I like the 2011 Von Hovel Oberemmeier Hutte Riesling Kabinett (is that a mouthful or what?).  It has a stone fruit, tropical fruit, sweet lime, and spice character and racy acidity.

Pair these dishes with a dry Rosé, a very versatile partner at the table.  Look for the 2012 Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare. This an atypical Rosé in that it’s a blend of  both red and white Rhône grape varieties.  A typical Rosé is composed of solely red grape varieties.  It has an appealing strawberry, white peach, melon, spice and mineral character.

Pair these dishes with Chianti, the classic Italian red wine. Look for the 2011 Coltibuono Cetamura Chianti.  It’s a blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo with a beautiful black cherry, spice, and licorice character with a kiss of rusticity.

Pair these dishes with Malbec, or more specifically, a blend of Malbec and Tannat, a little known grape variety, that today is best known as the national red grape variety of Uruguay.  Look for the 2011 Domingo Molina Hermanos Malbec-Tannat from Argentina. It’s a dark and delicious full-bodied wine with a blackberry, plum, and chocolate character with soft texture and a mineral undertone.

Pair these sweet treats with Banyuls, a lighter style fortified wine made in France.  It’s a Port-style wine made from Grenache, and is a great match for chocolate.  Look for the 2009 Les Clos de Paulilles Banyuls Rimage.  It has rich, dense blackberry, plum, caramel, and vanilla aromas and flavors. 

Pair sweet treats with Moscato d’ Asti. I like the 2012 Vietti Cascinetta Moscato d’Asti.  It has a lovely rose, and peach character with a soft effervescence.

Pair these sweet treats with the 2011 von Hovel Riesling noted above:

Let’s hit the pavement this Sunday in search of the best street food from around the globe!  Join us for a #SundaySupper event featuring Global Street Food that we’ve made in our own kitchens, in honor of our favorites and/or those we would love to try! We’ll also be holding our live #SundaySupper twitter chat at 7pm (ET) on Sunday evening.  We’d love to have you join us as we discuss the best and the worst of Global Street Food!