The Best Wines to Pair with Tropical Food #SundaySupper

Today, the #SundaySupper family of food bloggers features recipes made with tropical food or originating from the tropics.

I adore tropical flavors. They are among my most favorite foods.  Whenever I think of tropical foods the first thing  that comes to mind is a Jamaican Jerk.  In fact, my first #SundaySupper blog that featured both food I prepared and wine pairing recommendations was Jerk Turkey Burgers With Mango Slaw!

Here are some general guidelines for pairing wines with tropical foods:

Whites

I favor aromatic, refreshing whites with a bit of sweetness to provide balance. Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Albarino, Torrontes, fruity Sauvignon Blancs (New Zealand is top of mind), Chenin Blanc, Viognier and white blends are all good choices.

Reds 

I’d be the first to tell you red wines are not top of mind when it comes to pairing with tropical flavors, but that doesn’t mean it’s not doable.  Looks for reds with prominent acidity moderate tannins and alcohol and buoyant fruit flavors.  Consider Pinot Noir for grilled fare, but Gamay, Grenache, and many Tempranillo are also fine choices.

Rosés

Aside, from sparkling wines, rosés are the most versatile, food friendly wines in my book. They offer a harmonious combination of bright acidity, texture and appealing aromatics. Both dry and off dry, rosés can work with a diverse range of tropical flavors.  If your tropical dish is more sweet that savory look for a  rosé with a hint of sweetness.  There are wonderful examples of rosé being produced all around the world.  But for the best value, I tend to favor rosés Provence, and Rioja.

Heat and Sweet

A couple of other things to keep in mind when pairing wines with tropical food 1) the spiciness (heat) of your dish, and 2) the sweetness of the dish – especially desserts.

Spicy foods like sweet wine.  The spicier your food, the sweeter your wine should be.

And for desserts, you want your wine to be sweeter than the dessert.

The Best Wines To Pair with Tropical Foods #SundaySupper

Image courtesy of fredericpatenaude.com

Check out  terrific tropical menu at the #SundaySupper table , along with my wine pairing recommendations (except for condiments and coolers).  My recommendations include wines from the U.S., Germany, France, and Italy

Pair these Tidbits, Pupus, Breakfast and Companions with a Rosé sparkling wine.  My “house’ (everyday) sparkling wine is the Deligeroy Crémant de Loire Rosé Brut. It’s a beautiful pale salmon color and packed with strawberry, cherry, peach and blood orange flavors, with a bit of sweetness that is complemented with a hint of herbaceousness.   

Tidbits and Pupus

Breakfast

Companions

Condiments and Sauces

Coolers

Pair these main dishes with Riesling.  Look for the 2013 Josef Leitz Dragonstone Riesling from Germany.  It aromatic and off-dry with white peach, pineapple, apple and citrus character and a refreshing acidity that will prepare your palate for the next delectable bite!

Pair these dishes with a white Rhone blend.  One of my favorite is the 2013 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Blanc.  It’s a well-balanced, juicy blend of Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne with a tropical fruit, peach, lemon zest and mineral character.

Pair these main dishes with with Rosé.  A perennial favorite  of mine from Provence is the  2014 Commanderie de la Bargemone  Rosé.  It a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Cabernet Sauvignon that offers classic aromas of wild strawberries, red currant, and citrus. It’s dry, and fresh with ample strawberry, red currant and citrus flavors. 

Pair these desserts with a Cadillac, named for a little known village just south of Bordeaux that produces wonderful sweet botrytized white wines. It’s 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 – 60% Semillon with a fruity, complex, and sweet peach and honey character with good acidity. 

Elevate these desserts by pairing with a sparkling red wine - Brachetto d’Acqui, from Piedmont region of Italy. It is produced from the Brachetto grape.  Look for Banfi Rosa Regale. It has delicate aromas of  rose petals, strawberry, and raspberries with  luscious raspberry, strawberry and a kiss of cranberry flavors. It’s off-dry meaning it exhibits ample sweetness when pairing with fruit based desserts,  and dark chocolate. 

Cheers!

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. 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.

Roasted Halibut with Potatoes and Lemon WithTablas Creek Côtes de Tablas Blanc

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 Lover’s Dilemma; Spring Flavors and Wine Pairing”

The movable feast that is Easter has always been a harbinger of Spring for me. And here in California, our unseasonably warm weather means Spring has sprung earlier than usual with many trees and flowers already in bloom with the omnipresent colors of the season on glorious display…well except for multitude of lawns that have been allowed to turn brown, by choice, due to our severe drought!

On My Plate

Time got the best of us this year, and we found ourselves at our local Costco the day before Easter deciding, real-time, what we’d have for our Easter dinner.

We picked up a couple of enticing items for our main dishes – King Crab Legs and beautiful piece of Whole Halibut.

My wife was on King Crab Leg duty. That left me with the Halibut duty.

When I searched for whole halibut recipes, I kept coming across halibut steaks and halibut fillets.  Eventually I found this recipe for Baked Whole Fish With Potatoes and Lemon, which I modified a bit and adapted to downsize the servings.

Here’s our Easter Menu:

Roasted Halibut with Potatoes and Lemon
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Seafood
Serves: 6
 
This recipe comes from Italian fashion and tableware visionary Rosita Missoni's Sardinian fish merchant
Ingredients
  • 3lb. gold potatoes, very thinly sliced
  • 5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1.5 lemons, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 3-lb. section of whole halibut
  • 3-4 fresh or dried bay leaves
  • Dash of dried dill
  • Dash of paprika
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Put potatoes in a large bowl. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp. oil and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and grease parchment with 2 tsp. oil. Layer potato slices evenly on parchment; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Par-cook the potatoes in the oven for 20 minutes
  3. Prepare the fish by removing the spine, and any large bones with a sharp boning knife(optional; remove skin)
  4. Arrange half of the lemon slices over potatoes and sprinkle with parsley.
  5. Set fish skin side down over potatoes and rub with 2 Tbsp. oil; season skin and cavity with salt and pepper. Top with remaining lemon slices and arrange bay leaves over fish. Drizzle with remaining oil, and add a dash of dried dill and paprika.
  6. Bake until fish is just cooked through, 40-60 minutes (depending on size). Using a butter knife or metal spatula, flake flesh off the bone and serve immediately.
Notes
This could easily be adapted for halibut fillets

I would consider adding Old Bay seasoning to season the fish instead of dried dill, paprika combination.

I used a meat thermometer and cooked the halibut to an internal temperature of 140 degrees

The dish turned out very well.  It was a feast for the eyes and the palate! 

IMG_1998The halibut was moist, and its delicate flavor was enhanced by the lemon, bay leaf and spices.  The lemon also imparted a citrusy brightness to the potatoes, which were al dente.  Just the way I like them.

In My Glass

There are a multitude of choices for pairing wine with fish.   In terms of white wines, I’d bet Sauvignon Blanc, or Chardonnay would be top of mind for most.

Not me. I wanted to try something different.

And I love blends..especially Rhone blends because I believe that a well made blend can be more than the sum of its parts.

That reasoning lead me to the 2011 Tablas Creek Côtes de Tablas Blanc, a blend of roughly equal parts of the four primary Rhone white grapes – Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Marsanne.

I’m a big fan of Tablas Creek who essentially brought the Rhone Valley to Paso Robles (check out the full story here)  They make diverse menu of distinguished, well crafted,  harmonious wines year after year!

Image courtesy of Tablas Creek Vineyard

Image courtesy of Tablas Creek Vineyard

Here’s what Tablas Creek Vineyard said about the wine:

The Tablas Creek Vineyard Côtes de Tablas Blanc is a blend of four estate-grown white Rhône varietals: Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Marsanne. The wine, like most wines of the Southern Rhône, is a blend of varietals, featuring the floral aromatics and stone fruit of Viognier, the crisp acids and rich mouthfeel of Grenache Blanc, and the structure and minerality of Marsanne and Roussanne.”

IMG_2013

My tasting notes follow:

Pale gold color with honeysuckle, peach, melon, honey aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, dry and broad with racy acidity and an appealing hint of tannins. It shows peach, melon, honey, and a hint of spice flavors with an appealing combination of salinity and wet stone minerality on the long finish.

The Pairing

It was a wonderful pairing.  The medium-bodied  weight of the wine was well matched to the food.  When I had a sip of wine with the food, the wine made the food taste better and the food made the wine taste a tad sweeter and more delicious! The wine also has a saline mineral character which was a perfect complement to the fish.

Don’t stop here!

Check out what my fellow #winePW blogger came up with for this month’s theme! 

If you are catching this post early enough, you can join our live Twitter Chat on Saturday, April 11, at 8 a.m. PT, via the Twitter hashtag #winePW. If you’ve come to us after April 11, consider joining us for #winePW 12 on Saturday, May 9. when our host is Christy from Confessions of a Culinary Diva.  Christy is challenging us to come up with Wine Pairings with Mexican Cuisine. It should be fun!
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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 2015 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Wines At Our Table; Week of March 15, 2015

Over the course of a week, my wife and I drink a bunch o’wine – almost always with food. Since I’ve always been fascinated by wine at the table with food, I thought it would be fun to recap not only the wines we’ve been drinking, but also how they pair (or don’t pair) with the foods at our table.  Includes my picks for  Wine of the Week; and Food and Wine Pairing of the Week for the week ended March 15, 2015.

Prévoteau-Perrier Champagne Brut Grande Réserve - Retail $29
Golden yellow color with appealing hazelnut, yeast, baked bread, peach, and citrus aromas and a fine bead. On the palate it approaches full-bodied and is well structured with a soft mousse and clean peach, apple, tangerine flavors with a bit of minerality. Lingering finish! This is great value at $28! Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

2012 La Crema Pinot Noir Cold Coast Vineyards Sonoma Coast - Retail $29
Medium ruby color with red berry, and low-key cola, earth and spice aromas. On the palate its medium-bodied and fruit forward with easy black cherry, cola and spice flavors. Good quaffer Very good; 86-88 pts

2013 Tercero Mourvedre Rosé - Retail $20
Consistent with prior reviews – Pale salmon color with appealing red fruit, wet stone, and citrus peel aromas with a hint of earthiness. On the palate it’s dry, and fresh and medium-bodied with mouth filling strawberry, watermelon, hints of red currant, subtle spice, and citrus flavors and a nice touch of minerality. 100 % Mourvedre. Lingering finish. Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

2005 Famille Perrin / Perrin & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape Les Sinards - Retail $20
Carmine color with alluring tobacco, garrigue, Herbs de Provence, baking spice and red fruit aromas. On the palate it’s light bodied and fresh with a supple texture and black cherry, raspberry, and spice flavors underscored with an appealing minerality and chalky tannins. Lingering finish. Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

Wine of the Week     IMG_1176-001

A friend asked me what is my one favorite wine was last week. That’s a bit like asking me what’s my favorite flavor of ice cream. There are many.  Perhaps I can boil it down to a “Top 5″.  But if pressed hard and I HAD to pick just one, my answer would be….

Champagne!

The Prévoteau-Perrier Champagne Brut Grande Réserve is a very good Champagne.  And the price is right at under $30.  I will be buying more, if I can find it.

My Wine of the Week is the 2005 Perrin & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape Les Sinards. It’s a wine I purchased at my favorite wine store K&L Wine Merchants almost 5 years ago.  I got a good deal on it too!  It retails for around $30, and I got it for $20!  It’s a classic Châteauneuf-du-Pape (“CdP”) blend of (predominately) Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre from one of the region’s leading producers, the Perrin family (and a majority partner in Tablas Creek Vineyards). It’s a blend of purchased grapes as well as declassified portions from the rather large Beaucastel vineyard. It’s a delicious, and food friendly CDP!

The weather was gorgeous in California last weekend.  About 80 degrees and sunny.  So we busted out the Weber and barbecued some Filipino style chicken and pork ribs. The BBQ and Tercero Mourvedre Rosé were my Food and Wine Pairing of the Week. What I love about the Tercero Rosé is that it’s shows more body than most Roses. It’s a perennial favorite and it makes a great partner at the table with heartier fare like BBQ!

What was your Wine of the Week?  Any killer Food and Wine pairings?

Follow my reviews on Vivino 

Note. All wines were purchased for review unless otherwise indicated
_________________________________________________________________

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 2015 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

A Taste of Alto Adige – Cantina Terlano Classico #ItalianFWT

One of the things I love most about food and wine is their ability to transport one to a different place.  And a  place’s people, culture, and customs are reflected in its food and wine.  In that sense, one can virtually travel the world through food and wine.  And that is exactly what we are doing through Italian Food Wine and Travel (#ItalianFWT).  We taking a virtual tour of Italy by exploring its food and wines.  This month we’re exploring Trentino-Alto Adige!

Image courtesy of AltoAdigeWines.com

Image courtesy of AltoAdigeWines.com

The Region

map-of-trentino-alto-adige

Map of Trentino-Alto Adige courtesy of beviamo.com

Trentino-Alto Adige is Italy’s northernmost wine region.  Notwithstanding it’s hyphenated name, it’s really two autonomous provinces. Alto Adige, nestled in Alps, is bordered by Veneto to the east, Lombardy to the west, and the Tirol region of Austria to the north. Alto Adige or Südtirol, as it is known in German,  has a predominately German speaking population. This is due to the region’s former status as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  It was re-claimed by Italy in 1919.  To its south is Trentino, which is almost entirely Italian speaking.

Here’s an overview of what I learned about Alto Adige:

  • Winemaking in the region pre-dates Roman occupation of the Adige Valley
  • The Alto Adige DOC, which covers the majority of wines made here, was granted in 1975
  • One of the smallest wine-growing areas in Italy (approximately 13,000 acres), producing only 0.7% of Italy’s total production
  • It leads Italy in wines meriting a DOC designation: 98% of its wines fall into this category
  • The vineyards are tiny and ownership is impossibly fragmented. Typical vineyards are about a hectare; which is probably why…
  • Most wine made here is produced by co-operatives (15 co-ops produce about 70% of the wine)
  • The major green grapes varieties, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Blanc account for over 20% of the total wine production and are a hallmark of the region.
  • The native Schiava black grape variety dominates red wine production accounting for almost 25% of total vineyard area. The velvety Lagrein, also a native variety, is also widely planted.
  • Surrounded by the Dolomites and Rhaetian Alps Alto Adige is one of the most beautiful wine regions in Europe.
  • The Gewürztraminer grape owes its name to the village of Tramin (Termeno in Italian) about 12 miles south of the region’s major city Bolzano.

Cantina Terlano

Founded in 1893, the Cantina Terlano winery is now one of the leading wine growers’ cooperatives in Alto Adige. It’s current membership is composed of 143 growers working a total area of 165 hectares. Seventy percent of their production is white wines.

“The most impressive wines I tasted this year from Alto Adige came from Cantina Terlano. Simply put, these are reference point wines. I can’t imagine these wines not being represented in any serious cellar.” - Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate 2011

Cantina Terlano winery has a traditional focus on long-lived wines. In fact, Terlano has a Wine Archive located about 13 meters underground which contains over 20,000 bottles.  It’s quite a collection of rarities comprising various vintages from 1955 to the present. Some of the wines actually date from 1893, the year the winery was founded!

The Wine

From Cantina Terlano (Kellerie Terlaner in German)… A composition of Terlano’s three most traditional white varieties, namely Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay and Sauvignon, this old cuvée, which was one of the wines produced when the winery was founded, is an extremely complex wine. Pinot Bianco, as the main variety used in the cuvée, provides the freshness and a good acid structure, while Chardonnay delivers a pleasing warmth and mellowness and Sauvignon adds the fine aromatic character.

The fruit for this wine come from the Alto Adige Terlano  sub-region of Alto Adige, a region renown for its high quality white wines.

IMG_1787

My tasting notes follow:

Pale yellow-green color with pear, lemon, white flower and lemongrass aromas. On the palate, it’s dense, and tangy with bright acidity, and white peach, lemon, hint of apple flavors with a wonderful mineral note and a lingering sweet finish. Blend of 60% Pinot Bianco, 30% Chardonnay and 10% Sauvignon Blanc. 13.5% alcohol. Retail $22 >>Find this wine<<

I paired the wine with a fabulous Seafood Lasagna (recipe here) I prepared. (Note: I substituted seafood stock for the clam juice and chicken stock and used real crab meat)

What a fabulous pairing! The wine’s bright acidity was a welcome counterpoint to the richness of the Bechamel sauce in the Lasagna, while the “weight” of the wine was a perfect complement of the weight of the dish.  And in the mouth each made the other taste better!

A Taste of Alto Adige - Cantina Terlano Classico #ItalianFWT

Much to my surprise, I’ve yet to try an Italian red wine for #ItalianFWT.  But , so far I’ve been captivated by Italian white wines.  I think my choices have (mostly) been driven by the foods I’ve been pairing with the wines.  But the whites have been memorable (and repeat purchases), including the Cantina Terlano Classico!

Don’t stop here.  We have lots more great information to share with you on the Trentino-Alto Adige region.  Join the rest of our Italian bloggers group:

Make sure to join us live on Twitter today and throughout the weekend at #ItalianFWT to chat about the Trentino-Alto Adige region and your experiences.  We can’t wait to hear from you.  Check back at #ItalianFWT throughout the month as well for additional blogs on food, wine and travel of Italy.  Next month on April 4th we feature Sicily so stay tuned.  Ciao ciao!

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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 2015 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

2015 Dark & Delicious;Top 15 Favorite Petite Sirahs

Last week, I attended the 9th annual Dark & Delicious Petite Sirah wine and food event held at Rock Wall Wine Company in Alameda.  The event is put on each year by  P.S. I Love You, an association of Petite Sirah growers, producers and winemakers.

2015 Dark & Delicious

Clockwise from upper left – Inside Rock Wall Winery Hanger; 2012 David Fulton P.S.; Aged P.S. from Teldeschi features ’99, ’00 and ’02; ’11 and ’12 Overland P.S.; Grower Dick Keenan of Overland; ’12 Dashe Cellars P.S. Louvau Vyd; ’12 Ridge Vyds Lytton Springs P.S.

There were about 50 wineries pouring.  My guess would be there were over 100 wines available for tasting.

As always, at a large event such as this, I focus on tasting a combination of tasting the latest releases from some of my favorite producers and seeking out new to me producers.

I tasted 55 wines, including about half of the new to the event for 2015 wineries.

My top 15 favorite wines (in alphabetical order) were:

  • 2012 Carol Shelton Wines Petite Sirah Florence Vineyard
  • 2012 Dashe Cellars Petite Sirah Louvau Vineyard
  • 2012 David Fulton Petite Sirah
  • 2011 Denier-Handal Petite Sirah
  • 2010 Gustafson Family Vineyards Petite Sirah
  • 2012 Harney Lane Petite Sirah
  • 2012 Klinker Brick Petite Sirah
  • 2009 Mineral Wines Petite Sirah
  • 2009 Neal Family Vineyards Petite Sirah Rutherford Dust
  • 2010 Overland Wine Company Petite Sirah Kick Ranch
  • 2012 Overland Wine Company Petite Sirah Kick Ranch
  • 2012 Ridge Petite Sirah Lytton Estate
  • 2009 Ridge Petite Sirah Dynamite Hill York Creek Vineyards
  • 2012 Robert Biale Petite Sirah Thomann Station
  • 1999 Teldeschi Petite Sirah

I also keep an eye out for wines that over deliver in terms of quality for the price.  For value (under $20) check out:

  • 2012 Parducci Petite Sirah Small Lot – $14
  • 2012 Michael-David Vineyards Petite Petit – $18

Conclusion:

This was our fifth consecutive year attending Dark & Delicious.  It’s one of our favorites events because it offers a great combination of Petite Sirah, a wine we love, and food.

In terms of the wine, this was the best year ever in my book. There were a couple of new to me wineries that were among my favorites, including Mineral and Overland.  Add to the newbies perennial favorites like Carol Shelton and Dashe Cellars (which where new to Dark and Delicious for 2015) along with perennial favorites David Fulton, Robert Biale and Ridge Vineyards, and you got a winning combination!

Food-wise, the highlight of the event for me was Chef Tyler Stone’s Petite Sirah Ice Cream made from one of the Concannon Petite Sirah.  I must confess I was disappointed with the number of food partners.  There weren’t as many as there have been in prior years.

Nevertheless, we had a wonderful time tasting some of the best dark and delicious Petite Sirah California has to offer!

Related posts you might enjoy!

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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 2015 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

 

Wines At Our Table: Week of February 1, 2015

I’m starting a new weekly feature on the blog this week.  Over the course of a week, my wife and I drink a bunch o’wine – almost always with food. Since I’ve always been fascinated by wine at the table with food, I thought it would be fun to recap not only the wines we’ve been drinking, but also how they pair (or don’t pair) with the foods at our table.  I’ll still pick and Wine of the Week; plus a Food and Wine Pairing of the Week.

2007 Stage Left Cellars Petite Sirah - Retail $36
Opaque violet color with baked black and red fruits, black raspberry, red currant, black pepper, and baking spice aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, and very fresh with black raspberry, fig, blackberry, red currant, spice flavors and a wonderful complementary minerality. Long finish.  Petite Sirah my not be top of mind when it comes to a wine to pair with food (well other than steak), but this one could change your mind.  Outstanding; 92-95 pts

N.V. Schramsberg Vineyards Mirabelle Brut Rose - Retail $20
Pretty pink color with an orange hue, and a fine bead. Show aromas of strawberry cream, raspberry, and ginger. On the palate, it’s dry with a soft mousse and tart raspberry, strawberry, ginger and blood orange aromas. Very food friendly. A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir including at least 15% reserve lots. Good value!Very good; 86-88 pts

2009 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel - Retail $55
Dark ruby color with complex dark fruits, spice, licorice, bramble, wet stone and pepper aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied and dry and round with a lush texture, dusty tannins and black cherry, plum, red currant flavors with a persistent minerality. Long finish. Blend of 40% Mourvèdre, 28% Syrah, 27% Grenache, 5% Counoise Wonderful food wine. Perfect with lamb shank! Outstanding; 92-95 pts

2012 Erik Banti Carato Toscana IGT - Retail $8
Ruby color with bright cherry, tobacco, a bit of red currant, vanilla and spice aromas and flavors. Medium-bodied, and fresh with surprisingly supple texture, and a lingering finish. Delicious blend of 75% Sangiovese, 15% Merlot and 10% Ciliegiolo. Aged for 10 months in French barriques.  A steal for $8!  This one goes in my “Everyday” wine rotation!  It’s hard to go wrong with an Italian wine at the table, and this one is no exception. Very good; 86-88 pts

N.V. Ariston Aspasie Champagne Brut – Carte Blanche - Retail $28
Pale yellow color with a fine bead and pretty white flower, yellow apple, toast,and subtle citrus aromas. On the palate it’s light-medium bodied, with a delicate mousse. It’s elegant and dry with yellow apple, peach, citrus, mineral and a bit of vanilla flavors. Lingering finish. Blend of 40% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir and 30% Meunier 12.5% alcohol. Wonderful value in Champagne under $30. Will buy more! Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

N.V. Fleury Pere & Fils Champagne Blanc de Noirs Brut - Retail $40
Pale yellow color with a fine bead, and bread dough, hazelnut, cherry aromas. On the palate it’s shows a delicate creamy mousse, racy acidity and wonderful balance with cherry, strawberry, red apple, and vanilla flavors and a lingering mineral driven finish. 100% Pinot Noir sparkling wine from the Aube in the southernmost part of the Champagne region  Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

2010 Big Basin Vineyards Homestead - Retail $36
Dark ruby color with exuberant violet, roast meat, dark fruit, tar and a hint of menthol aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, and well-balanced with plum, cherry, black raspberry, and baking spice flavors. Long finish. Blend of 37% Grenache, 36% Syrah, and 27% Mourvedre  Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

2004 Alvear Montilla-Moriles Pedro Ximénez de Añada (375ml)- Retail $20
Brownish red color with molasses, toffee, dark chocolate and subtle spice aromas. On the palate it’s full-bodied, viscous, and persistent with very good acidity that keeps it from being cloying and provides balance. It shows sweet flavors of molasses, honey-dipped figs, caramel, and cinnamon flavors. Long finish  Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

2013 Panizzi Vernaccia di San Gimignano - Retail $16
Light yellow-green with lime, and tangerine, and wet stone aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, and fresh with an ample texture, and lime, tangerine, and a bit of spice flavors with a surprising and pleasing touch of tannins. Long mineral driven finish. 13% alcohol.This was fantastic with  Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

 Wine of the WeekIMG_1521

We entertained friends last weekend, which accounts for a couple of bottles of Champagne, and the 2004 Alvear PX Sherry.  I’m a big fan of the Blanc de Noir style of sparkling wines, and you don’t find many Champagne in that style. The Fleury Blanc de Noirs was a great pairing with our entree of 40 Cloves and a Chicken.  For dessert  we served the Alvear PX Sherry over ice-cream.  (a popular way to serve the very sweet and viscous PX).  I was happy to finally get around to drinking it. It’d been laying down for nearly 7 years!  The Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel was awesome after it opened after 90 or so minutes, and it’s wine that will continue to favorably evolve for many more years. But my Wine of the Week was the  Panizzi Vernaccia di San Gimignano.  It was my first time trying Vernaccia!  And what a fantastic introduction.  I don’t recall having a white wine with tannins in it before, but apparently some fine tannins is typical of Vernaccia di San Gimignano, a rare tannic white grape variety. And the wine paired perfectly with Cacciucco, a Tuscan Seafood Stew I prepared for an upcoming #ItalianFWT post. Together the two were my Food and Wine Pairing of the Week.

What was your Wine of the Week?  Any killer Food and Wine pairings?

Follow my reviews on Vivino 

Note. All wines were purchased for review unless otherwise indicated
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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 2015 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Wine Pairing Recommendations for Hometown Foods #SundaySupper

This week’s #SundaySupper theme is all about hometown and  the wonderful memories one’s favorite hometown foods may evoke.

What I call “hometown” has always been a challenge for me.  I was born in Chicago, but moved to California with my parents as a teenager. I’ve spent (way) more than half my life in California.  But most of my relatives still live in Chicago.  So when I think of what my hometown is, Chicago is top of mind, but I’ve been in California so long that I also feel that’s my home too.

But in terms of hometown foods, I’m going say “both”!.  Chicago and San Francisco are arguably, the top two food towns in the U.S. (with apologies to NY’ers – I guess I still have a bit of the Windy City chip on my shoulders when it comes to NYC;-)

Wine Pairing Recommendations for Hometown Favorites #SundaySupper

The first foods from my two hometown’s that come to mind are Chicago’s Garrett’s Mix popcorn – an amazing mash-up of Caramel and Cheddar popcorn that sweet and salty like Kettle Corn.  In terms of San Francisco, the first food that come to mind is the Hangtown Fry - arguably the first California cuisine. It originated during the Gold Rush and consists of fried breaded oysters, eggs, and fried bacon, cooked together like an omelet.

What’s your favorite hometown food?

Check out this week’s fabulous hometown favorite recipes put together by the #SundaySupper food bloggers and my wine pairing recommendations – all under $20!

Breakfast and Snacks

I say start the day with some bubbly!  Pair these breakfast favorites and snacks with Moscato d’Asti. One of my favorites is the 2013 Saracco Moscato d’Asti ($10). It shows a sweet, fragrant, delicate, floral, tropical fruit, and a hint of honey character.  It’s “frizzante”, which means it’s not as effervescent as most sparkling wines. 

Enjoy these dishes with one of the most versatile food pairing wines – a sparkling rose. My favorite “everyday” sparkling rose is Deligeroy Crémant de Loire Brut Rosé ($13).  It drinks well above it’s $12.99 price point and has a lovely soft texture with a delicious and inviting strawberry, and cherry character.

Drinks

Appetizer, Side and Main Dishes

Pair these dishes with Chardonnay.  Look for the 2013 Spellbound California Chardonnay ($12).  It’s has a lively, lush tropical fruit, apple, crème brûlée, and vanilla character. Delicious stuff!

Pair these dishes with a Sauvignon Blanc.  Look for the 2013 Patient Cottat “Le Grand Caillou” Sauvignon Blanc ($10).  It has a lovely tropical fruit, citrus, spice and mineral character with a tangy acidity. 

Pair these dishes with Riesling, the white version of a “goes with virtually anything” wine.   Look for 2013 Charles Smith “Kung Fu Girl” Columbia Valley Riesling ($10). It’s off-dry so it’ll handle some spice, and it fruit forward, and fresh with lychee, nectarine, peach and a bit of citrus character. 

Pair these recipes with a red blend.  Look for the 2012 Bogle “Essential Red” Old Vine Red Blend ($9).  It made from old vine Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah. It has a juicy, smooth, fruit forward character with exotic dark fruit and vanilla character

Pair these dishes with Chianti.  One of my perennial faves is Frescobaldi Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Riserva($19).  It’s made from Sangiovese grapes and has a wonderful black cherry, plum, spice, and tobacco character.

Desserts

Pair these dessert with a Port.  Look for the Quinta do Noval Black Port ($18).  It’s a revolutionary new port from one of the world’s legendary estates. It’s fruity and sweet with a jammy, fig, blackberry character.  Excellent with chocolate dessert!

Pair these dessert with a Sauternes, a dessert wine from France. Look for the 2010 Haut Charmes, Sauternes ($14).It’s a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon that has been affected by Botrytis cinerea, also known as noble rot, that which intensifies its sweetness and gives it a honeyed character. It has a rich with fresh acidity and a pleasing tropical fruit characer.

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. To get more greatSunday 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.

Skillet Kale Pesto and Seitan Pizza with Querceto Chianti Classico for #winePW

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 New Wine Resolutions for the New Year

Go hard, or go home…that’s my motto…at least when it comes to resolutions.  With that in mind, I decided hit all three of my food and wine resolutions right off the bat…

  1. Cook at least one recipe from Cooking Light each month - I’ve been subscribing  to “Cooking Light” for more years than I care to admit, yet I rarely make anything.  It’s been years of looking at the pretty pictures, and thinking about, rather than acting on the great ideas for delicious, healthy food.
  2. Perfect my palate for Italian Wine -  I almost always consume wine with food and I think Italian wines are, across the board, the most food friendly wines.  Yet, I only enjoyed a grand total of 4 bottles of Italian wine in 2014. A pity. That will change in 2015!
  3. Eat meatless at least once a week - Surely I can carve out at least one day a week to invest in my health. Right?

The Food

There is was – fresh out of the mailbox – the January/February issue  of “Cooking Light”. With one of the main themes of the issue being “How to Eat Clean in 2015″, there were plenty of great ideas and recipes.  But I didn’t find vegetarian dishes that floated my boat.  So, I decided to convert the  Sausage and Kale Pesto Pizza to vegetarian by swapping  Upton Naturals Italian Seitan for the Italian sausage in the recipe. Viola! Vegetarian!

DSCN0768-001

And what is seitan (say-tahn)?  It’s a plant based protein derived from the protein portion of wheat. It stands in for meat in many recipes and works so well that a some vegetarians avoid it because the texture is too “meaty.”

The other appeal of this recipe for me was Cooking Light’s claim that…

Cooking pizza in a skillet is a revelation: guaranteed dough success for even the most timid pie makers

“Cool” I thought because I disdain any recipe with the words “yeast” and “degrees” in it.  I’ve even experienced abject failure when using pre-made dough. It inevitably turns out oval or some other ungodly shape.  And that’s after I’ve struggled with the flour on the counter and my hands thing.

Could this recipe be my pizza pie making salvation?

Yes!  The pizza turned out beautifully!

DSCN0764

The pizza was actually round and the was dough was relatively easy to work with. Hallelujah!  It was also quite delicious and exceeded my expectations. I loved the meaty, ample texture of the seitan, and I didn’t miss the Italian sausage a bit!

Skillet Kale Pesto and Seitan Pizza
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 slices
 
"Cooking pizza in a skillet is a revelation: guaranteed dough success for even the most timid pie makers" - Cooking Light
Ingredients
  • 10 ounce refrigerated fresh whole-wheat or whole-grain pizza dough
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 ounces Upton's Italian Seitan
  • 3 ounces prechopped curly kale (about 3 tightly packed cups)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ cup pine nuts or slivered almonds, toasted
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about ¼ cup)
  • 2 ounces shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about ½ cup)
Instructions
  1. Place dough on counter at room temperature; cover to prevent drying.
  2. Preheat broiler to high.
  3. Heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sausage; cook 3 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove sausage from pan. Add kale, 2 tablespoons water, and sugar to pan; cover and cook 2 minutes or until kale wilts. Place kale on 2 layers of paper towels; squeeze out excess moisture. Wipe pan clean with paper towels.
  4. Place nuts and 1 garlic clove in a mini food processor; pulse until finely chopped. Add kale; pulse until finely chopped. Add 2 tablespoons oil; process until almost pastelike (add 1 to 1½ tablespoons water, if necessary). Add Parmigiano-Reggiano; pulse mixture just until combined.
  5. Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Roll dough into a 10½-inch circle. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Fit dough in pan, pressing slightly up sides of pan. Top evenly with pesto; sprinkle with sausage and mozzarella. Cook 2 minutes over medium-high heat or until browned on bottom. Place pan in oven; broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Cut into 8 wedges.
Notes
I modified the recipe by adding 3 cloves of minced garlic rather than 1. I substituted 4 ounces of Upton Italian Seitan for 3 ounces of Italian sausage in the original recipe
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 8 slices

The Wine

Castello di Querceto is a Tuscan estate owned by the François family who settled in Tuscany in the 18th century from their French homeland.

IMG_1412

My tasting notes on the wine follow:

Ruby color with savory black cherry, tobacco, dried mushroom, and cedar aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, elegant, and well structured with dusty tannins, and dried and backed black cherry, a hint of blueberry, vanilla and tobacco flavors with a lingering finish. This wine grew on me with each sip. Definitely a food wine and a good value at $17! 13 % alcohol 

The Pairing

I decided to go with the “what grows together goes together” tenet of food and wine pairing.  And pizza and Chianti is a classic pairing.  And I considered this a “good” pairing – one where the food and wine achieved peaceful co-existence, but didn’t quite make it to each made the other better.  The challenge was the pesto sauce, I thought the seitan would be the dominant flavor.  And it was  - on the front palate. But the kale pesto stepped to the fore on the back palate, and for me it was good, but not great. I think this would have been a much better pairing had the sauce been tomato rather than pesto.  Next time (and there will be a next time!), I’d try a Rosé, which I think will take the pairing up a notch.

Check out these great ideas food and wine combinations from my fellow #winePW bloggers:

Remember to join us for our Twitter Chat on Saturday, January 10th at 8 a.m. using hashtag #winePW.  

Join us next month when we solve all your Valentine’s Pairing dilemmas hosted by @CulinaryCam!

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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 2015 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Wine of the Week; 2010 Cantele Salice Salentino Riserva

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.  My Wine Of The Week is the 2010 Cantele Salice Salentino Riserva.

The Winery

Cantele is a family run winery founded by Giovanni (“Gianni”) Battista Cantele, and his two sons Augusto and Domenico in 1979.  The winery is located between the villages of Fra Guagnano and Salice Salentino.

Today, the Cantele family owns 50 hectares planted to vine and the family’s current winemaker Gianni (one of Augusto’s sons) and agronomist Cataldo Ferrari manage another 150 hectares owned by other growers. Augusto’s other son Paolo is the winery’s brand manager and Domenico’s son Umberto is head of sales. Domenico’s daughter Luisa also works in the estate’s corporate offices together with Gianni’s wife Gabriella. The business remains to this day a true “family affair.”

Cantele produces about 2 million bottles/year, including indigenous Pugliese grapes such as Primitive and Negroamaro, along with international grape varieties like Chardonnay, Merlot and Syrah.

The Wine

Cantele produces wine in Salice Salentino DOC of Puglia, which is located in “the heel” of the boot in peninsular Italy.  Puglia has had a reputation for producing mostly low-quality bulk wines (a.k.a. “plonk”).  In the 21st century though, a growing number of winemakers are more focused on quality rather than quantity.  For example, Puglia is the second largest producer (after Sicily) of organic wines.  And there have been substantial investments by the iconic Italian producer Antinori.

The flagship red grape of the Salice Salentino DOC is Negroamaro , which translated to English means dark (negro), and bitter (amaro).

This wine is made from 100% Negroamaro fermented in stainless steel and aged in 1-2 year old barrique for 6 months.

13% alcohol Retail – $9.99

Wine of the Week; 2010 Cantele Salice Salentino

My tasting notes follow:

Ruby color with inviting black and red fruits, bramble, and spice aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, vibrant, and deliciously spicy with plum, dried cherry, black raspberry flavors, dusty tannins and a supple texture. Medium+ finish. >>Find this wine<<

Rating: A-; Fabulous QPR on this wine!  And if you’re looking to try a different grape variety – give Negroamaro a try!

Pair with: Carne alla pizzaiola, meat lovers pizza, roast veal and beef, game, lamb, and ripe aged cheeses.

Sample purchased for review

Related post you might enjoy:

Ratings Key:
(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
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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 BlogAll rights reserved.

Smoked Salmon and Potato Chip Appetizer with Louis Roederer Champagne for #winePW

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 “Sparkling Wines and Appetizers

The Appetizer

I love the holiday’s, but I don’t enjoy the stress and frenzied pace that so often accompany the holidays.  The last couple of weeks, especially, have been that way for me. Things have been hectic at work since Thanksgiving. So much so that as much as I enjoy participating in #winePW, I was ready to bow out this week because I simply didn’t have time to put together the appetizer I chose last weekend (I had to work!).

Then our host, Jeff of FoodWineClick suggested something simple – Potato Chips and Champagne!

Simple!  And perhaps more importantly, fast (I’m talking less than 10 minutes)!

Who couldn’t use a quick but oh so tasty appetizer recipe this time of year?

Inspired by this recipe, I whipped up:

Smoked Salmon and Potato Chip Appetizer

Smoked Salmon and Potato Chip Appetizer with Louis Roederer Champagne for #winePW

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 bag of quality potato chips of your choice
  • 1 package of smoked salmon cut into small pieces(to place on chips)
  • crème fraîche
  • Dill weed (for garnish)

DIRECTIONS:

Sort chips in a single file on a platter or plate.  Top with a small piece of salmon.  Place a tiny dollop (about a 1/2 teaspoon) of crème fraîche on top of salmon.  Finish with a pinch of dried dill on top.  Serve immediately.

Notes: Any kind of smoked fish will work on this really.  Also you may substitute fresh herb such as chives, or dill.  I tried both Trader Joe’s Sea Salt Kettle Potato Chips and Classic Lays Potato Chips.  I slightly preferred the Classic Lays. They had a lighter texture and a tad more salt.

The Wine

I drink more bubbly than most folks.  I enjoy sparkling wine at least 3 or 4 times a month. That’s because I’ve learned that sparkling wines have are one of the most food friendly wines and because I don’t limit my consumption of sparkling wines to holiday celebrations.

While it’s true that sparkling wines are the wine of choice for most celebrations, for me Champagne is the ultimate sparkling wine for a celebration.

With that in mind and a bottle of Louis Roederer Brut Premier I’ve had in my refrigerator for a couple of month, my wife and I celebrated the monthly anniversary of our first date (we celebrate one way or another the 10th every month)!

This wine delivers a lot of value for an entry-level Champagne.

It’s a multi-vintage blend of  40% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, and 20% Pinot Meunier sourced from only grand and premier cru sites.  And It includes a significant amount of reserve wines that are over 10 years old that add depth and nuance to this affordable bottle of bubbles ($40).  The wines are matured in oak casks.  It is aged three years on the lees and another six months after disgorgement.

While this wine is the perfect aperitif, it has enough body to continue drinking into the main course as well.

Smoked Salmon and Potato Chip Appetizer with Louis Roederer Champagne for #winePW

I prefer my Champagne in a Burgundy glass!

My tasting notes on the wine follow:

Pale yellow color with plentiful active tiny bubbles and yeasty, almond, apple, subtle grapefruit and a hint of smoke aromas. On the palate, it’s refined, lively and fresh with a delicate creamy mousse. Mixed tart apples, pear and lemon curd flavors dominate but hints of grapefruit, black currant and an appealing smoky minerality play in the background. Long finish.

The Pairing

The beauty of sparkling wines is their versatility with food.  That’s because it’s high-acidity and effervescence give it a wonderful palate-cleansing ability(think scrubbing bubbles!) that get your palate ready for the next bite of whatever deliciousness is before you.

Sparkling wines work especially well as a counter-balance to salty foods, rich and creamy foods, fried  and crunchy foods and raw fish.

Well what do you know?  My appetizer is all of the above!

The pairing of Champagne with this appetizer is a great example of a food and wine pairing guideline that I follow most of the time –  let either the wine or the dish take center stage.  If you want to show off a special bottle of wine, then the dish should play a supporting role.  If you want to showcase a spectacular dish, then choose a lower-key wine.

Much like two people in a conversation, in the wine and food partnership one mus listen while the other speaks or the results is a muddle – Evan Goldstein;Perfect Pairings

When you bite into the appetizer, it’s a party in your mouth.  Y ou get a nice combination of crunchy from the potato chips, a bit of salt, and the smokiness of the salmon, and the cool creaminess of the creme fraiche.

Ah, but when you eat one of these one-bite wonders followed by a sip of the Champagne, the wine makes the salmon taste a bit sweeter, and the smoky minerality of the Champagne also complements the smokiness of the salmon.  While at the same time, the appetizer elevates the taste of the wine, and make the wine taste less tart!

And that’s a winning combination!

Ready to try something new this year? Check out these great ideas from my fellow #winePW bloggers for Sparkling Wine and Appetizers:

Remember our Twitter chat today, December 13th at 8 a.m. Pacific Time. We’ll be talking about our tips and tricks for the best holiday wine pairings. We’d love to have you join us!

And, be sure to mark your calendars for January’s Wine Pairing Weekend, hosted by Christy at Confessions of a Culinary Diva. We’ll be sharing “New Wine Resolutions – Wine or Region you want to explore in 2015. Join in the #WinePW 8 conversation on Saturday January 10!

You can also visit our group Pinterest board to pin some great pairing ideas for later!

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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 BlogAll rights reserved.