All-American Wine Pairing Guide for Being Thankful #SundaySupper

For this week’s #SundaySupper we celebrate Thanksgiving and Hanukkah with a bounty of tasty dishes for which to be thankful. And this year also presents a rare opportunity to be thankful, because it‚Äôs the first time since 1888 that any of the eight days in the Jewish celebration of lights has fallen on the same day as the holiday marking the Pilgrims‚Äô 1621 first harvest in the New World. ¬†And “Thanksgivukkah”, as some are calling it, won’t happen again until 2070!

Trying to figure out what wine to pair with the Thanksgiving turkey is easy Рjust about any wine with enough weight will suffice.  The challenge is what wine(s) to pair with other diverse palate of sweet, tart and savory flavors, textures, and aromas that present themselves on Thanksgiving.

I like to keep it simple, drink whatever make you and your guests happy. ¬†But safe bets for red wines are wines that have ample fruit, and are not too oaky, or high in alcohol such as¬†Pinot Noir, wines made from¬†Rhone grapes such as¬†Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, or a blend,¬†and Zinfandel.¬†For white wine, go with¬†aromatic, fresh, (well-balanced acidity) wines like Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier, or¬†Gew√ľrztraminer.¬†¬†And last, but not least, are my secret weapons for holiday wine and food pairings – Sparkling wine and Ros√©. ¬†Sparkling wines bring a celebratory feel and remarkable food-pairing versatility to the holiday table. ¬†Also consider Ros√© for its underrated versatility at the holiday table.

All-American Wine Pairing Guide For Being Thankful #SundaySupper

My Thanksgiving “wine-up” L-R; 2003 Roederer L’Ermitage Brut, 2012 Loring Wine Company Central Coast Pinot Noir, 2012 Donkey & Goat Stonecrusher Roussanne, and 2011 Yorkville Cellars Late Harvest Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc

Since Thanksgiving is the most American of holiday, I’ve chosen all American wines. ¬†It’s a great time to buy American wines, because in my view, they are better than they’ve ever been!

Here are 11 wines you’ll be thankful for when it comes to wine and food pairing for your holiday celebrations:

Sparkling

  • Roederer Estate Brut – a delicious blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir that’s on the fruitier side of brut that is crisp and elegant with pear, apple, cinnamon, and hazelnut character. ¬†You might also consider a Ros√© sparkling wine!

Reds

  • 2011 A to Z Wineworks Pinot Noir¬† – a sleek wine with wild berry, cherry, and savory aromatics and flavors.¬†
  • 2011 Owen Roe Sinister Hand – a classic Rhone blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre from Washington State with a black cherry, cranberry, clove character, and an earthy undertone
  • 2011 Ridge Lytton Springs¬† – Blend of (mostly) Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Carignan that is well-balanced ¬†and very food friendly with red¬†fruit, sweet spice and bramble aromas; with ample black cherry, red currant, and spice flavors with a long lip-smacking finish.¬†

White

  • 2012 Chateau Ste. Michelle-Dr. Loosen Riesling Columbia Valley Eroica¬†-¬†It‚Äôs off-dry ¬†with vibrant acidity and a beautiful white peach, grapefruit and mineral character. ¬†This one will work well with appetizers and the main course.
  • 2012 Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc Viognier¬†- This is a wonderful blend of 80% Chenin Blanc and 20% Viognier that is low alcohol (12%) with an aromatic, juicy grapefruit, melon, passionfruit, and baked¬†stone fruit character with lively acidity that make it a versatile food pairing partner.
  • 2012 Ferrari-Carano Sonoma County Fum√© Blanc¬†- Don’t let the¬†Fum√© Blanc moniker food you. ¬†That’s all about marketing. ¬†It’s Sauvignon Blanc, and it has a delicious candied grapefruit, lemon, herbal and mineral laced character. ¬†It’ll pair well with herb stuffing, both white and dark meat, and much more.

Other

  • 2012 Donkey & Goat Stone Crusher El Dorado Roussannethis is unique “orange” wine, meaning¬†white wine made applying the primary red wine technique of letting the wine soak on the grapes skins – in this case for 15 days – to add a large dose of tannins. ¬†The result is a wine that is very versatile at the table. ¬†It has a great mouthfeel with a spiced orange peel, lanolin, and herbal character. ¬†Let it breathe a bit before serving and you’ll be amply rewarded
  • 2012 Tablas Creek Ros√© Patelin de Tablas Paso Robles¬†-¬†a charming Ros√© that is incredibly flexible partner at the table. ¬†It a blend of 75% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, 5% Counoise with delightful¬†strawberry, watermelon, spice and mineral flavors. It has enough weight to stand up to a holiday meal without being heavy

Dessert:

  • 2008 Barra Bella Dolce Petite Sirah Dessert Wine¬†-¬†which is a Port-style wine made from Petite Sirah with fresh blueberry, mocha, and ground coffee aromas, and sweet spicy dark fruit flavors that will complement chocolate, nut-based, coffee and caramel desserts.
  • 2011 Navarro Late Harvest Cluster Select Riesling¬†-¬†¬†It has a great¬†apricot, pear, pineapple, honey and baking spice character, with a long finish. And its crisp acidity keeps from being cloying. Pair with tree and stone-fruit-based desserts, creamy and custard desserts.

For your Hanukkah celebration - Check out both Hagafen and Baron Herzog for their selection of Kosher wines.  

Check out this¬†week’s delectable dishes served up by our ever thankful #SundaySupper team!

FIRST COURSE / APPETIZERS

SAVORY BREADS + STUFFING

MAIN DISHES

SIDE DISHES

DESSERTS + SWEET BREADS

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.

The Best Wines For Fall Foods #SundaySupper

It’s official! Today is the first day of the Fall season. ¬†Fall has always been bittersweet for me. I’m definitely a Summer person. ¬†I adore the dry, warm weather and the longer days.

But Fall is my second favorite season for two reasons. First, Indian Summer in California is quite nice (although it rained in the Bay Area yesterday).  The second reason is the annual grape harvest.

Vineyard in Germany_Autumn colors

Image courtesy of love2mags.blogspot.com

It’s gorgeous in wine country in the fall. The verdant vineyards are reaching maturity, and are it’s a time ripe with vinous possibilities. ¬†I love walking into a winery and seeing the harvest under way – grapes being ¬†destemmed and crushed, the smell of fermentation. ¬†And the wine events?! It’s definitely the best time of year for wine events! ¬†Fall is not so bad after all!

The change of season also signals a change in our tastes in wine. ¬†As we start to crave more substantial foods, we also start to want more substantial wines too. ¬†More oft than not, ¬†our tastes change from lighter summer-time whites, ros√©, and perhaps a few select reds to more full bodied white, ros√©, red wines. And that makes sense to me because one of the key principles of food and wine pairing is to match the “weight” of the food to the “weight” of the wine.

Check out this week’s fabulous fall fare put together by the #SundaySupper team and¬†my wine pairing recommendations.

Amazing Breakfasts/Brunches

Pair these dishes with the¬†2011 Innocent Bystander Pink Moscato. ¬†It’s a blend of Gordo Muscat and Black Muscat from the Yarra Valley in Australia. ¬†It’s only 5.5% alcohol and it has a red berry, strawberry, peach, and zesty citrus character. ¬†It’s a fun and fizzy quaff that is moderately sweet but not cloying.

Outstanding Soups, Starters, Sides, and Main Dishes:

Pair these dishes with a white Rhone blend. One of my favorites is the 2012 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Blanc. It’s a blend of¬†Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Roussanne, and Marsanne with a mouth-filling peach, citrus, and mineral character.¬†

Pair these dishes with the 2012 Borra Intuition. ¬†It’s an unusual blend of Kerner, Gew√ľrztraminer, and Riesling. It’s medium-bodied with a rich mouthfeel, and refreshing peach, apricot and spice flavors. ¬†

Pair these dishes with Pinot Noir.  Look for the 2011 Hahn Winery California Pinot Noir. It has wonderful mixed berry, lavender, and spice aromatics, that follow onto the palate.

Pair these dishes with Chianti, the classic Italian red wine made from Sangiovese. ¬†And one of the world’s great gifts to the table. Look for the 2011 Coltibuono Cetamura Chianti. It‚Äôs a blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo with a beautiful black cherry, spice, and licorice character with a kiss of rusticity.

Pair with these dishes with a Syrah.  I like the 2011 Andrew Murray Vineyards Tous Les Jours Syrah. This damn tasty wine is full-bodied, with wonderful acidity, and a dark fruit, spice, and slight earthy character.  

Decadent Desserts:

Pair these with a Cadillac, named for a little known¬†village just south of Bordeaux that produces wonderful sweet¬†botrytized¬†white wines. It‚Äôs never reached the lofty status of¬†Sauternes, just across the river. ¬†The wines are typically made from Semillion, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle grapes. Look for the¬†2009 Chateau Suau, Cadillac. ¬†It a blend of 40% Sauvignon ‚Äď 60% Semillon with a¬†fruity, complex, and sweet peach and honey character with good acidity.¬†

Pair these with a Cream Sherry. ¬†Ok, so you might be asking..”um, it’s that the stuff my Grandmother used to drink? ¬†Well, yes and no. ¬†This is the sweetened inferior juice shipped to export markets. ¬†Look for the Emilio Hidalgo “Morenita” Cream Sherry. ¬†It’s a great¬†example of the real deal from Jerez, Spain. ¬†It has a wonderful sweet date, mocha spiced ginger, candied orange peel character that is delicately sweet with well-embedded acidity. Yummy stuff! ¬†

Tasty Drinks:

Don’t forget to 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 EDT. 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 Pairing Recommendations For Low and Slow Food #SundaySupper

This week’s SundaySupper theme is all about “low and slow” foods. ¬†I adore foods prepared “low and slow” whether it’s a crock-pot, smoked meats, or on the stove top (gumbo anyone?). ¬†The foods are so full of flavor, one can use less expensive cuts of meat, and perhaps most of all, I like that you can leave the food unattended for long stretches of time. ¬†My favorite food prepared “low and slow”? ¬†That’s a tough one, there are so many, but top of mind for me would be rib! ¬†What about you? ¬†What’s your favorite food prepared “low and slow”?

Low and Slow #SundaySupper

If you’re not familiar with the Sunday Supper Movement, it was founded by Isabel aka Family Foodie. Our mission is to bring back Sunday Supper around the family table in every home.

Check out this week’s lineup of great dishes from the¬†#SundaySupper family of food bloggers, and¬†my wine pairing recommendations.¬†

Low and Slow Breads:

Low and Slow Starters, Main Dishes and Sides:

Pair these dishes with Pinot Gris, an underappreciated grape variety that very good at the table.  Look for the 2010 Domaines Schlumberger Pinot Gris Les Princes Abbes from Alsace, France. It’s a dry-style with a rich honeyed tropical fruit and baked apple character. 

Pair these dishes with a Ros√©. ¬†Look for the 2012 Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare. It’s a a tasty blend of Grenache, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Cinsault and Mourv√®dre that is chock full of strawberry, stone fruit, and citrus flavors.

Pair these starter, main, and side dishes with a Chianti, a wine from Tuscany region of Italy. ¬†Look for the¬†2011 Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi Chianti Castiglioni. It’s a blend of 90% Sangiovese, and 10% Merlot that’s between medium and full-bodied with soft tannins, great acidity that shows plum, raspberry and spice flavors.

Pair these main dishes with¬†2011 Ridge Vineyards ‚ÄúThree Valleys‚ÄĚ Sonoma Zinfandel Blend. It‚Äôs a blend of¬†Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Grenache, Alicante Bouchet, and a significant dose of old-vine Carignane that adds depth and acidity to this tasty blend. ¬†It‚Äôs well-balanced has a bright red berry fruit, herbal and spice character.¬†

Pair these main dishes with a red Rh√īne blend. ¬†What‚Äôs great about blends is that the combination of grape varietals creates a wine that is greater than the sum of its parts. ¬†Such is the case with my recommended wine the¬†2010 Bonny Doon Vineyard Contra Old Vine Field Blend. ¬†It‚Äôs 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 main dishes with a Rioja, the¬†2007 Bodegas Vina Eguia Reserva. It shows spice, leather and bright red fruit aromas followed by¬†raspberry, sweet tobacco and vanilla spice on the palate.¬†¬†I recommend letting the wine ‚Äúbreathe‚ÄĚ for an hour or so and you‚Äôll be amply rewarded.

Low and Slow Desserts:

Pair these dessert with a late harvest Riesling.  I love the 2011 Navarro Late Harvest Cluster Select Riesling. It has a great apricot, pear, pineapple, honey and baking spice character, with a long finish. And its crisp acidity keeps from being cloying.

Remember to join the #SundaySupper chat on Twitter Sunday to discuss cooking low and slow! We’ll tweet throughout the day and share our delicious recipes. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EST. 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 delicious recipes and food photos.

Wine Pairings for #SundaySupper Birthday Celebration

It’s the first anniversary for #SundaySupper this week! ¬†I was excited when I saw the theme for this week’s #SundaySupper because, while I haven’t been part of the #SundaySupper movement from the beginning (my first post was Father’s Day last year), it’s a family I feel so fortunate to be a part of.

I knew little about food blogging community before Eileen McConnell Gross of Wine Everyday invited me to be part of the #SundaySupper Movement by offering wine pairing recommendations. I’ve been blown away by the creativity, compassion, and commitment the #SundaySupper family brings to the “Family Table” every week

The #SundaySupper mission is to Bring Back Sunday Supper around the family table in every home. It starts off as one day a week and soon becomes a way of life.

I’m laughing to myself as I write this because, as a self-described ‘wino with latent foodie tendencies” I love the recipes. ¬†They’ve given me a ton of ideas, but more importantly inspired me to take action and do more cooking. ¬†On the other hand, it can be a challenge to come up with wine pairing for such creative recipes. I’ve been stumped a time or ten, and often have to get more information to come up with a wine pairing recommendation. I very much enjoy it though, and miss it the weeks I don’t participate.

Ultimately, I hope that my wine pairing recommendations will inspire my #SundaySupper family and their readers to try some new and different wines (and wine regions) and gain confidence in pairing wine and with the amazing dishes served up at the family table every week.

Wine Pairings for 52 weeks of #SundaySupper

Image courtesy of solomonsporchradio.com

For this week’s birthday event by the #SundaySupper team was asked to choose recipes from contributors that have inspired them in the past year.  My favorite event was the 5 ingredients or less, when I limited my wine pairing recommendations to the 5 most food friendly wines.

Check out this week’s astounding recipes.¬†My wine pairing recommendation are italicized. Click on the name of the wine to find out where to purchase.

What’s a celebration without some bubbly?! Pair these dishes with a Sparkling Blanc de Noirs, a sparkling wine made with black grapes. One of my favorites for under $20 is Chandon Blanc de Noirs. ¬†It’s made from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes. It’s a¬†lovely salmon color with a red fruit (cherry, strawberry, and red currant) character.

Try the following dishes with a Sauvignon Blanc. ¬†Look for the¬†2011 Veramonte Ritual Sauvignon Blanc from Chile¬†‚Äď it‚Äôs an elegant Sauvignon Blanc that sees a bit of oak, with pineapple, stone fruit, and citrus aromas and flavors.

Pair these dishes with a Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley in France. I recommend the 2011 Pascal Janvier Jasnières.  It shows a core of tangy apple, citrus fruit complemented by a mineral undertone. 

Pair these dishes and what you serve with the Harissa 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 Pinot Noir.  Look for the 2011 Hahn Winery California Pinot Noir. It has wonderful mixed berry, lavender, and spice aromatics, that follow onto the palate.

Pair these dishes with a Sangiovese. Look for the¬†2009 Ninety+ Cellars Reserve Lot 57 Rosso Toscana. ¬†It‚Äôs a blend of mostly Sangiovese (80%) with the balance split between Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. ¬†Therefore it‚Äôs a what‚Äôs referred to as a ‚ÄúSuper Tuscan‚ÄĚ. ¬†It‚Äôs loaded with blackberry, black cherry, and spice character.

Pair these dishes with a red Rh√īne blend. ¬†I recommend the newly released vintage of one of my favorites, the 2011 Tablas Creek Vineyards Patelin de Tablas. ¬†It’s a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Counoise. The blend of grape varieties produces a vinous synergy resulting in a fresh juicy red fruits, spice, and mineral character.

Pair these dishes with¬†2010 Ridge Vineyards ‚ÄúThree Valleys‚ÄĚ Sonoma Zinfandel Blend. It‚Äôs a blend of¬†Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Grenache, Alicante Bouchet, and a significant dose of old-vine Carignane that adds depth and acidity to this tasty blend. ¬†It‚Äôs well-balanced has a bright red berry fruit, herbal and spice character.¬†

Pair these dishes with a Moscato d‚ÄôAsti¬†from Italy. ¬†Look for the¬†2011 Saracco Moscato d‚ÄôAsti.¬†It shows a sweet, fragrant, delicate, floral, tropical fruit, and a hint of honey character. ¬†It‚Äôs ‚Äúfrizzante‚ÄĚ, which means it‚Äôs not as effervescent as most sparkling wines. It’s a great example how a wine can work with multiple courses!

Pair these desserts with a Sauternes,  a sweet wine from the Sauternais region of the Graves section of Bordeaux. They are made from  Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle grapes affected by noble rot.  Look for the 2005 Guiraud Sauternes.  It has a full-bodied, honeyed, lemon tart, baked apple, baking spice, and  vanilla cream character

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.¬†

This week we’re excited to announce a New Addition: ¬†Tablescape by¬†An Appealing Plan, Anniversary Dinner featuring Cheesecake with Fresh Berries originally posted by¬†The Messy Baker Blog

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter each Sunday. We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET and you do not want to miss out on the fun. 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.

Seafood Gumbo and Wine Pairings for Soul Warming #SundaySupper

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!)

Seafood Gumbo

Seafood Gumbo

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: 
Recipe type: Stew
Cuisine: Cajun
Serves: 10-12
 
Adapted from Emeril’s Classic Seafood Gumbo recipe
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Garnish with the parsley and green onions and serve in shallow bowls over white rice.
Notes
Recommended Wine Pairings РI 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.

Main Entrees: 

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 Vi√Īa 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!

Chili/Stews:

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 DebŇďuf Moulin-√†-Vent with 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 dishes with the Sangiovese noted above:
Pair these dishes with the Pinot Noir noted above:
Pair this dishes with the Tempranillo from Rioja noted above:

Soups:

Pair these soul-warming soups with a¬†Sauvignon¬†Blanc from the Pouilly-Fum√© 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 the rest of the soups with the aforementioned wines as noted in parentheses:

Desserts/Beverages:

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

  • White Hot Chocolate with Orange ‚ÄstGirliChef

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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.

Which Are The Best Types Of Wines For Barbeque?

Summer is officially here, and you know what that means! It’s time to start grilling, planking and smoking your favorite foods. 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 clich√© white wine with white meat ‚Äúrule‚ÄĚ, it could be a challenge to find a white wine to stand up to the bold flavors of the BBQ sauce. It‚Äôll be much easier to find a red wine, or even a Ros√© that will complement BBQ chicken. In other words, think of the meat, or vegetable as a ‚Äúvessel‚ÄĚ for the sauce. Pair to the sauce, not the ‚Äúvessel‚ÄĚ.
  • 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)
  • BBQ wines should be inexpensive

With those tips in mind, check out these lip-smacking wines for your barbecue!

Can't claim credit for this cooking, my friend...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Dry Rosé

I like Ros√© because it‚Äôs served chilled, which make it refreshing, while at the same time being ‚Äúbolder‚ÄĚ than the most popular white wines when it come to pairing with grilled, and smoked foods. I especially like a Ros√© with grilled salmon. Try the Bonny Doon 2011 Vin Gris de Cigare, or for sparkling, Gruet Brut Ros√©.

2. Zinfandel

Zinfandel is a wine that loves charred foods topped with barbecue sauces. Look for the Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel. And if your barbecue sauce is on the sweet side, consider an off-dry White Zinfandel. It’s great with barbecue chicken sandwiches. I recommend Beringer White Zinfandel.

3. Merlot

Merlot is a great choice for grilled, planked and smoked foods. This is especially true if you throw some herbs (rosemary comes to mind) into the heat source. Try the Bella Serra Merlot.

4. Petite Sirah

Petite Sirah, a plump wine saturated with berry flavors, and moderate acidity levels makes a great companion a range of grilled and barbecued meats. Look for Maggio Petite Sirah.

5. Shiraz

Wines made from the Syrah (a.k.a. Shiraz) grape, and Syrah blends are a natural with all kinds of grilled foods because of their fruity profile and acidity. Look for Rosemount Estate Shiraz.

6. Malbec

Loads of dark plummy fruit, and a touch of peppery spice make Malbec a natural for grilled burgers and steaks. Look for Dona Paula Malbec.

7. Sangria

Sangria, the wine punch so popular in Spain and Portugal, makes a great barbecue wine! You can make it either red, or white. There are lots of recipes on the web. Try a few, and find one you like. My favorite is called ‚ÄúBest Sangria,‚ÄĚ from Cook‚Äôs Illustrated.

8. Riesling

Think Riesling when your foods incorporate aromatic spices (such as Indian spices), or has a sweet and spicy marinades or sauce such as sweet and sour. It also pairs well with grilled sausages like brats, along with grilled pineapple, and veggies. Look for Navarro Riesling.

9. Chardonnay

Chardonnay is a wine that works well with grilled seafood, and shellfish, along with corn on the cob slathered in butter. Look for Clos du Bois Chardonnay.

10. Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is a great wine for a wide variety of foods. It works especially well with dishes emphasizing fresh herbs, such as fish or chicken marinated in citrus, or vinaigrette. And if you’re grilling fish or vegetables featuring fresh herbs such as dill, it’s hard to beat. Look for Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc.

11. Gew√ľrztraminer

Gew√ľrztraminer offers a nice balance of spice and moderate sweetness that make it an excellent partner with foods smoked/grilled over aromatic woods such as apple or almond. It‚Äôs fantastic with fruit based salsa too. Look for Columbia Crest Two Vines Gew√ľrztraminer.

12. Sparkling Wines

Last, but certainly not least would be sparkling wines like Cava from Spain, Prosecco from Italy. Because they are served chilled they offer refreshment. And that, along with their palate-cleansing effervescence and acidity, prepare your palate for the next bite of your favorite barbecue dishes. I recommend Mionetto Prosecco.

What are your favorite wines to serve with barbecue?

Beat The Heat #SundaySupper – Hot Wine Pairings for “Cool” Food

It may be the hottest summer on record in the U.S. ¬†When it’s THAT hot, the last thing you want to do is turn on the oven or the stove. ¬†I don’t know about you, but I tend to eat more salads or anything I don’t have to cook inside. ¬†This week’s #SundaySupper is all about salads, refreshing drinks, desserts and foods that don’t require baking. ¬†I’m pleased to offer wine recommendations for this great lineup of foods that beat the heat!

Image courtesy of portablefarm.com

Check out this week’s lineup of “cool” recipes! ¬†My recommended wine pairings are¬†italicized.

#BeatTheHeat Appetizers:

Ros√© is my favorite summertime quaff – it offers the soul of a red wine because it’s predominately made with red wine grapes, but with the cool refreshment of a white wine. ¬†Try the following appetizers with the 2011 Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Ros√© from South Africa. It’s a fabulous wine, and a great deal at less than $10 too!

Try these delightful appetizers with Prosecco, which tend to be fruitier than other sparkling wines produced using the traditional method. That makes them the ideal foil for slightly spicy foods and smoked fish.  Look for La Marca Prosecco.  It has apple, peach and honeysuckle aromas followed by fresh, fruity apple, citrus flavors.

Pair the following appetizer with a Riesling, arguably the most food friendly white wine. ¬†Look for the 2010 Columbia Crest Two Vines Riesling – it’s distinctly off-dry with tropical fruit and citrus aromas, followed by ¬†stone fruit and mild orange flavors rounded out with a crisp refreshing acidity.

The grilled and the cheesy goodness of a baked potato skins will work best with a red. ¬†Look for the 2010 M√©nage √† Trois, a blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. ¬†It’s an easy drinking red that can take a chill too because it’s fruity, lower in tannins with good acidity!

#BeatTheHeat Salads, Soups, & Sides:

Try the following dishes with a Sauvignon Blanc. ¬†Look for the 2011 Veramonte Ritual Sauvignon Blanc from Chile – it’s an elegant Sauvignon Blanc that sees a bit of oak, with pineapple, stone fruit, and citrus aromas and flavors.

Riesling will be a nice match for the following dishes.  Go with the 2010 Columbia Crest Two Vines Riesling mentioned above.

Pair  the following soup with a Rosé, or a sparkling Rose either the Mulderbosch, or the Gruet respectively mentioned above.

#BeatTheHeat Main Dishes:

Pair the following main dishes with a Sparkling Ros√©. ¬†They are among the most versatile food wines. ¬†I recommend Gruet Rose. ¬†It’s shows lots of red fruit, and the chilled¬†effervescence¬†will have you ready for the next bite of your entr√©e!

Pair the following main dishes with a crisp refreshing white blend, in this case the 2010 d’Arenberg Stump Jump White – a blend of¬†28%¬†Riesling, 27%¬†Sauvignon Blanc, 25%¬†Marsanne¬†and 20%¬†Roussanne¬†from McLaren Vale, Australia. ¬†It’s very food friendly with juicy citrus and tropical fruit aromas balanced nicely with good acidity.

#BeatTheHeat Desserts:

I differentiated between the frozen and other desserts because frozen desserts are a treat unto themselves, especially when it’s so hot! ¬†

For these non-frozen desserts my wine recommendations are as follows:
  • Elegant Fruit Jellies ~¬†Happy Baking Days¬† – La Marca Prosecco will be a fruity refreshing match for this dessert
  • Raspberry Mousse ~¬†Basic and Delicious¬†- Pair with Banfi Rosa Regale, a lovely Italian sparkler that offer rose and berry aromas, along with strawberry and raspberry flavors.

#BeatTheHeat Drinks & Cocktails:

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#SundaySupper Father’s Day

Today’s #SundaySupper is all about special recipes that remind you of Dad. ¬†As a Dad, I can tell you that Dad wants to be appreciated, and cooking something special for him is a great way to do that.

Here’s the menu for today. ¬†My suggested wine pairings are italicized.

Father’s Day Brunch:

There’s a reason that sparkling wines go so well with brunch, the effervescence adds a celebratory feel to the meal, and the high acidity of sparkling wines makes them an ideal companion for the melange of foods that might be served. ¬†I recommend Mumm Napa Brut Prestige for something on the dry side, and La Marca Prosecco if Dad like his bubbly a bit sweeter. ¬†Both are available for less than $20

Dad’s Favorite Soup, Salads and Bread:

For the Tuna Salad, and the German Potato Salad stick with the sparklers I mentioned above. ¬†For the Roasted Beet soup, I recommend the “Chef’s Wine” – Pinot Noir. ¬†Like sparkling wine, its got great acidity, which make it very food friendly. ¬†The acidity has the effect of cleansing the palate and preparing it for the next mouthful of¬†deliciousness! ¬†It can be a challenge to find a budget friendly Pinot Noir. ¬†Look for the 2008 Buena Vista Pinot Noir, it’s about $10 at Trader Joe’s. ¬†It has a nice mix of cherry, and earthy flavors that will be a great complement a variety of food, especially Roasted Beet Soup.¬†

Father’s Day Favorite Main Dishes:

I recommend Syrah for the following dishes. ¬†Syrah is a “big” wine that will stand up the the hearty nature of these dishes. ¬†What I like about Syrah is that it typically has more acidity than Cabernet Sauvignon, or Merlot. That enables it to pair with a wider range of foods. ¬†Look for the 2010 Andrew Murray Tous Les Jours Syrah. ¬†It retails for $16. ¬†Another great option for these dishes is a C√ītes du Rhone Villages, which is often a blend of Syrah, along with Grenache and Mourvedre. ¬†Look for the 2009¬†Perrin Cotes du Rhone Reserve Red. ¬†It’s around $15.¬†

For these dishes I recommend 2010 Chateau Ste. Michelle Pinot Gris. ¬†Pinot Gris is a “cousin” to Pinot Noir, it has good acidity, and is more full-bodied that Pinot Grigio, so it will stand of to the bolder flavors of these dishes. ¬†

Dad’s Sweet Tooth:
When pairing wine with dessert the main thing to remember is that the wine should be sweeter than the dessert. ¬†Since I’m not sure how sweet the desserts are I’ll propose a few dessert wines that will work with this alluring line-up of desserts.
 
For the all but¬†the sweetest of chocolate based desserts, especially the Black Forest cheesecake, I recommend ¬†Banfi Brachetto d Acqui Rosa Regale, which is a red sparkling wine from Italy, made from the Brachetto grape. ¬†It ¬†complements chocolate very well. ¬†And because it’s a sparkler it has the added benefit of cleansing the palate. ¬†Around $20
For the fruit based desserts, custards, meringue, puddings I recommend a Late Harvest Riesling. ¬†It’s a sweeter dessert wine, but the acidity of the Riesling keeps it from being cloying. ¬†I recommend 2010¬†Hogue Cellars Late Harvest Riesling. Around $10
And finally, Dad might like a little Port to go something a little bit sweeter, or that contains nuts. Try the¬†Graham Porto 10-year Tawny. ¬†Port has the added advantage of being longer-lived than my other dessert wine recommendations. ¬†That’s nice because, of course you DO want to let Dad know he’s appreciated more than once a year. Right?¬†
Cheers!

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Celebrating Family Heritage #SundaySupper Food and Wine Pairings

This week’s #SundaySupper is all about celebrating your family’s heritage. As an avid lover of all manner of ethnic foods, I love the theme! ¬†And wow, I was blown away by the diversity of menu! ¬†It’s fabulous to see so many ethnicities represented.

Image courtesy of dreamtime.com

Such a culinary melange deserves wine pairings that are just as diverse. ¬†With that in mind, I’m recommending wines from each of ¬†the 4 major categories of wines (Red, White, Sparkling, and Dessert). ¬†While Red and White wines are the most popular choices, don’t forget about Sparkling wines which not only add a bit of pizzazz to your meal , they are among the most food friendly wines. ¬†Likewise, serve a Dessert wine for that extra special finishing touch to your meal. ¬† My wine recommendation include wines from the U.S., Spain, Italy, and France

The key to pairing wines with such a diverse menu is to follow some¬†practical guidelines¬†(See “Related articles” below), and¬†is to take advantage of food friendly wines.

I’ve devised a “Food and Wine Pairing by the numbers” scheme. ¬†My¬†recommended wines (bolded)¬†are listed below. ¬†Each recommended wine has a corresponding number. ¬† Next to each menu item, I’ll note the number of the recommended wine.

While I’ve recommended specific wines, I encourage you substitute the same type of wine if you have a favorite, or you can’t locate one of the recommended wines.

 My wine recommendations are:
  1. Sparkling РRosé (Mumm Sparkling Brut Rosé)
  2. Sparkling РMoscato di Asti (2010Martini & Rossi Moscato d’Asti )
  3. Red – Merlot (2009 Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Merlot)
  4. Red – Sangiovese (2008 Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi Chianti R√Ļfina Nipozzano Riserva)
  5. White – Albarino (2010 Mart√≠n C√≥dax Albari√Īo R√≠as Baixas Burg√°ns)
  6. White – Riesling (2010 Chateau Ste Michelle Eroica Riesling )
  7. Fortified Dessert - (Yalumba Museum Reserve Antique Tawny)
While food and wine pairing can seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be. ¬†In my experience there are very few truly awful food and wine pairings. ¬†The key is to experiment, and discover which combinations you like best. ¬†For example, I bet a few of the desserts go best with a cold glass of milk;-)

Here’s the Celebrating Family Heritage #SupperSunday menu: