Posts Tagged ‘wine pairing


Wine and cheese pairing…

A simple, but effective chart to help get you started!


Tasting Program Schedule for September & October 2012


Recipe: Asian Shrimp

Asian Shrimp

We are always looking light meals and snack-type foods in our house this time of the year. While we want them to be light, we also want them to be full of flavor, satiate our hunger, and blend well with the wine of the moment. This recipe fits the bill and can be made ahead for a party and allowed to sit in the refrigerator overnight to absorb the rich, robust flavors to amaze the palates of family and friends alike! Recommended wine pairings of gewurztraminer, or if you prefer a red try a nielluccio.


  • 3  tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 4  teaspoons minced roasted garlic
  • 2  tablespoons sugar
  • 1  tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1/4  cup dry sherry, rice wine, or dry vermouth
  • 2  tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2  tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1  teaspoon red chili paste
  • 2  pounds uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 6  green onions, sliced (3/4 cup)
  • 3  tablespoons lemon juice
  • Fresh snow pea pods, cooked and chilled
  • 2  tablespoons cooking oil
  •   Salt (to taste)


  • 1. Cook and stir ginger, garlic, and sugar in hot cooking oil in a large nonstick skillet for 1 minute. Add sherry, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and chili paste. Stir in shrimp. Bring to boiling; reduce heat and cook, uncovered, for 3 minutes or until shrimp are opaque, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
  • 2. Stir in green onions, lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon salt. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Cover and chill for 2 to 4 hours or until shrimp are chilled.
  • 3. To serve, remove shrimp from mixture with a slotted spoon. If desired, arrange atop a platter of cooked and chilled fresh snow pea

Makes about 12 appetizer servings.

To cook snow pea pods

  • Remove tips and strings from snow peas; wash. Cook, covered, in a small amount of boiling salted water for 2 to 4 minutes or until crisp-tender (or steam for 2 to 4 minutes); drain. Cover and chill for 2 hours.

Recipe: Gumbo Hand Pies

Gumbo Hand Pies

Gumbo Hand Pies

Being that it is the season of Mardi Gras and everyone thinks of New Orleans and Cajun Cuisine, I explored the recipes over at the Cooking Channel and found this gem for Gumbo Hand Pies and found it delectable! If I might make a suggestion for wine pairings it would be the Pueblo del Sol Tannat from Uraguay for a red wine and a dry Gruener Velliner out of Austria such as Graben-Gritsch.


  • For the dough:
  • 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 8 oz cold cream cheese, cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • For the egg wash:
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • For the spice topping:
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or 1 teaspoon pre-made Cajun seasoning
  • For the gumbo filling:
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 half of a 14.5-oz can of diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons water or white wine
  • 1 boneless skinless chicken thigh cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup smoked sausage such as andouille
  • 1/2 cup shelled and deveined shrimp, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh okra, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped


In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cold butter and cream cheese until combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix until the dough just comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 2 equal pieces. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and unwrap. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to just a little over 1/8 thick. Cut the dough with 4.5 cookie or biscuit cutter.

Continue rolling the scraps until all the dough is used. Make sure to keep the dough covered once cut.

Making the roux: Heat a 2-quart pot over medium high heat and add oil. Once the oil is hot, sprinkle flour over it and begin to stir, cooking for 1 minute and constantly stirring. Drop the heat to medium low and continue to stir and cook for 15 minutes. The roux will turn an almost reddish-brown color. Once the roux is cooked, add diced tomatoes with juice and bay leaf. Return the heat to medium high and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and add the onion, bell pepper, celery and sautee for 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cayenne and cook for 1 minute. Add water or white wine, stirring to get any cooked bits off the bottom of the skillet. Add the chicken, sausage and okra. Saute for 6 minutes, add the shrimp and cook for another 2 minutes or until the shrimp turns opaque. Add in the tomato roux mixture and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and set aside to cool, about 30 minutes.

Make the egg wash by mixing eggs and water in a small bowl. Set aside.

To fill the hand pies, take a circle of dough and place the filling in the center, about 1 tablespoon. Be careful not to overfill. Brush the edges with egg wash and fold over to close the hand pie. Dip a fork into flour so that it doesn’t stick and use it to crimp the edges closed. Set the filled hand pies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and continue to fill and fold the remaining pies. Refrigerate the filled pies for 15 to 20 minutes before baking.

Heat oven to 425. Mix paprika and salt together in a small bowl and set aside.

Remove the pies from the refrigerator and brush with egg wash and then cut 2 small vents into the top of each pie with a sharp knife. Sprinkle the paprika and salt mixture or Cajun seasoning and place them into the pre-heated oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until pies are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Serve warm.


Recipe: Beccafichi in Teglia

Beccafichi in Teglia

Beccafichi in Teglia


  • 4 quails
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves, chopped with salt
  • 2 onions
  • 8 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the baking pan


Preheat the broiler.

Clean out the quails, removing all the gizzards. Divide the rosemary into 4 equal parts and pat 1 part rosemary into the inner cavity of each bird. Quarter the onions. Place 2 onion quarters, 1 bay leaf, and 1 quail, in a baking dish. Place in a well-greased baking pan. Sprinkle the birds with salt and pepper and drizzle with the 1/4 cup of olive oil. Place birds on lower rack and broil about 10 minutes or until legs are well done and the rest is a medium or desired doneness.

We recommend a rich syrah wine pairing for this dish, or if you insist on white wine a lush vouvray!


Cheese: Roquefort

Roquefort Cheese

Roquefort Cheese

Roquefort comes from the caves of Combalou in southern France, Roquefort, arguably the world’s greatest blue, has had its name and methods protected since 1411! Flavors reminiscent of the cavern air where the cheese ripens and the mold grows naturally transforming the milk from Lacaune Sheep into this devine formage taste treat! This artisanal variety, made in smaller batches with local milk is round, deep and perfectly balanced: big, creamy chunks of the paste dissolve on the palate like sharp, soothing milky lozenges. Sweet and fudgy, its finish is delicately peppery.

While conventional thought says to pair Roquefort with a Sauternes, I prefer a Uni Blanc, or Colombard from the southern Rhone of France for white wine pairings. Red wines are a bit more challenging with Roquefort, but I find a Marsalane from Southern Rhone, or a Spanish Mencia from Bierzo to do well.

For the faint of heart, here’s a dip recipe to make with a Roquefort that will temper the aromas and punch of the blue cheese:

Roquefort Dip

8 ounces Roquefort Cheese at room temperature

8 ounces Sour Cream

8 Ounces Butter

1 tsp dried Dill Weed

1 tbsp fresh, finely chopped chives

Whip the Roquefort until creamy, slowing blending in the Sour Cream and softened butter until smooth and creamy. Fold in the herbs and refrigerate for 3 hours. Serve slightly chilled to room temperature.


Wine: R2 Black Pine Pinot Noir

R2 Black Pine Pinot Noir

R2 Black Pine Pinot Noir

Black Pine is a masterful blend of some of California’s premiere Pinot Noir vineyards. Each year, the fruit is sourced from some of the finest vineyards located primarily in the Sonoma Coast, Russian River, Anderson Valley and Sta. Rita Hills appellations.

Coupled with small lot hand crafted winemaking techniques, the wine is a pleasure to the senses. Rich in concentration, the wine is immediately a clear expression of the varietal displaying the concentrated aromas and lush mouth feel for which Pinot is known.

These different regions bring different characteristics to Pinot Noir: from Anderson Valley, we get dark fruit, mushrooms, and spice. From Russian River, there’s bright red strawberry and cherry, cola, and tobacco. Sonoma Coast brings deep forest floor, blackberry, musk, and leather. Carneros brings further bright red fruit and earthiness and Sta Rita Hills adds yet another interesting layer. Each year we blend our Black Pine Pinot Noir to bring out the best of these characteristics and produce a wine with complexity and nuance.
A sultry blend of Pinot Noir sourced from some of the finest vineyards in California, the Black Pine Pinot Noir opens with dark red fruit tones that excite the palate. Rich in concentration, the wine is immediately a clear expression of the varietal displaying the concentrated aromas and lush mouth feel for which Pinot is known. Excellent paired with a fire roasted pheasant dish.


Recipe: Vietnamese-style Prawns and Hearts of Palm with Green Tea-Noodle Salad

With the holiday, we’re all looking festive dishes that are simple and quick to pair with lively wines such as Sauvignon Blanc., or Malbec for our family and guests…. may we suggest:

Vietnamese-style Prawns and Hearts of Palm with Green Tea-Noodle Salad


Chili-Lime Marinade


  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha hot chili sauce
  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 dried chile de arbol, seeded and minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Combine all ingredients in a glass measuring cup, stirring well.

Vietnamese-style Prawns and Hearts of Palm with Green Tea-Noodle Salad

  • Chili-Lime Marinade, divided
  • 18 large prawns or shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 (7-ounce) package green tea soba noodles or spaghetti
  • 1 (14-ounce) can hearts of palm, drained
  • 1 Maui or other sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • Garnish: fresh herbs


  1. Pour 1 cup Chili-Lime Marinade into a large zip-top plastic freezer bag; add prawns. Seal bag, turning to coat prawns. Chill 30 minutes.
  2. Pour remaining 1 cup marinade into a large bowl. Prepare noodles according to package directions. Add noodles to marinade in bowl, tossing to coat. Cut hearts of palm in half crosswise, then lengthwise into thin strips; add to noodles. Add onion to noodle mixture, and toss gently.
  3. Preheat grill. Remove prawns from marinade, discarding marinade. Grill prawns, covered with grill lid, over medium heat (350° to 400°) for 2 minutes on each side. Place noodle mixture on each of 6 individual plates, and top each with prawns and tomatoes. Garnish, if desired.

Recipe: Banana Spring Roll


Bannana Spring Rolls

Bannana Spring Rolls

These simple Spring Rolls can be deep fried, but I prefer baking them to add a dimension of healthiness to them! This is a fun recipe to work on with young children just beginning to show interest in cooking as it’s fairly simple and little knife work and no hot oils needed!

Banana Spring Roll (single unit):

lay out a egg roll wrapper on a clean dry surface,

Peel one banana, cut the pointy ends off and cut in half, then cut one half in half again lengthwise.

Place one quarter of the banana on the egg roll wrapper on the diagonal with the flat (cut) side up facing you and sprinkle with red pepper powder.

Sprinkle crispy bacon crumbles over the flat side of the banana.

Place bitter cocoa (60-80%) over the top of the bacon.

Fold the sides of the egg roll wrapper over the banana, followed by the back side encasing the “stuffing inside the wrapper and use a egg wash on the alternate end to make the egg roll wrapper stick.

Bake at 350 degrees F. until golden brown and crispy.

My favorite wine with this dish is a Pinot Grigio imported from Moldova; Stradivaria Trifesti Pinot Grigio, and to make it even more festive, it comes in a violin shaped bottle for under $15!!


Kopke Fine Tawny Port-

Kopke Fine Tawny Port

Kopke Fine Tawny Port

Here in our tiny mountain village of Blowing Rock, North Carolina we’re in the midst of the harsh throws of winter. I awoke this morning to a a new day of winter wonderland where our lovely hills are going to remain covered in a velvet blanket of soft snow as the temperatures remain in the frosty zones that entice one to ski all day, and dine of hearty rich stews and soups in the evening. As I retreat to my chambers this evening, I can think of nothing more warming and fulfilling than a snifter of the best affordable port in the world, Kopke Fine tawny Port.

Kopke Ports are among the best values I’ve ever stumbled across. At 20% Alcohol, they certainly are not for the faint of heart, but for those who have the constitution to give them a whirl, you shall have a reward equaled by few other products at $19.99. As you pour your port, you’ll notice a rich golden-bronze color ablaze with aromas of nuttiness and caramel. Swirling the Fine Tawny Port, the aromas will enhance and intensify bringing your salivary glands to full attention as they swell and make your mouth water with anticipation of that first kiss with your tongue. As your glass caresses your lips a supple tenderness shall cross into the palate of your taste buds exploding with an intensity of 13 sticks of dynamite exploding with lushness of nutty caramel and spices of coriander, cayenne, and rich warmness becomes a flavor.

Taken with a small piece of  Chocolove’s Dark Chocolate with Orange Zest, the Fine Tawny steps back up and pulls of the tango on your tongue. The blending of the high alcohol, the oxidized sugars, and the cocoa execute pure ecstasy in the mouth. The only caution I have about Fine Tawny Port done this well is be certain both you and the one you love enjoy a glass before bed…

Have fun!


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