Archive for March, 2012


Cheese: Castelo Branco

Castelo Branco

Castelo Branco

Castelo Branco (Portuguese: Queijo de Castelo Branco) is a cheese named after the city of the same name in Portugal, the chief city of the district where it is produced. The cheese is made from milk produced by either a goat or a ewe, and has a soft texture. Typically, the cheese takes 40 days to mature when made with goat’s milk, and 50 days when made with ewe’s milk. The fat content is around 45% and the cheese is usually a close-to-white color.


Wine: Ca’ Momi Merlot

Ca' Momi Merlot

Ca' Momi Merlot

Merlot has never been among my favorite wines. My dislike of merlot stemmed from the fact when I started trying wine out, The California Wine Industry had just received acclaim for their merlots with comments reflecting the delicate fruit driven wines that were lightly oaked in American Oak to enhance the spice and enhance the boldness of the wine. Holding true to the American Mindset, if a little oak was good, a lot bigger oakiness must be better. I tried merlot and could not taste the wine because of the splintered wood sensation on my tongue.

That bias on my part has survived in spite of finding some wonderful merlots over the years. I am always a bit skeptical of the merlot wines and cautiously try them, finding myself delighted when I find one that actually fits the varietal profile with subtle nuances that dance on the palate with glee.

Ca’ Momi  Merlot from Napa, California may be among the absolute best merlot wines I have tried in the last ten years. The bright crisp cherry dominates the wine’s profile from start to finish with light boysenberry acting as the backup singer. Light bright peppery spices from mid-palate to the finish demonstrate restraint of oaking, but dominate enough oaking to keep this merlot from becoming flabby in the mouth. The finish has an essence of coca blended in the spice making you want to take another sip, just to be sure this merlot is really as good as it seems.

For pairing, I would seek out a wild mushroom risotto rolled in a soft burrito with seared flank steak strips. The creaminess of the risotto and boldness of the meat will certainly bring out the best characteristics of this wine!


Recipe: Guinea Fowl with Maple Onion Glaze

Guinea Fowl with Maple Onion Glaze

Guinea Fowl with Maple Onion Glaze

Having grown up in a rural area, we had a lot of food stuffs available to us that are often considered “exotic” or “unusual by the masses. Guinea fowl falls into that category, they are rather fascinating creatures and will certainly keep a yard free of insects providing rich eggs with yolks that are second to none! The best thing being a delicate dark poultry meat that anyone willing to explore their palate is certain to fall in love with! I promised you in the previous post describing Delta Luna’s Carignane a roasted Guinea Fowl recipe, here it is!


1 guinea fowl
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp dried thyme
2 TBS unsalted butter
3 TBS olive oil
1 large white or yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
½ cup or dry white wine  + ¼ cup
½ cup of pure maple syrup


Preheat the oven to 325 F. Rinse bird inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Season inside and out with salt, pepper and thyme. Heat 1 TBS of butter and 1 TBS of olive oil in a dutch oven until hot. Add the bird and brown on all sides, deglaze with ¼ cup of wine. Place in the oven and roast with lid on for about 1 hour.
In a hot skillet, add remaining butter and olive oil. Saute the sliced onions, stirring constantly over medium heat, until onions are brown (about 10 minutes). Deglaze the pan with beer or wine. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Then add the maple and heat until the liquid thickens. Reserve and toss with the bird once cooked to serve. Serve immediately.

Guinea Fowl

Guinea Fowl


Wine: Delta Luna Carignane

Delta Luna Carignane

Delta Luna Carignane

Delta Luna is a new line of wine to our shop. We have enjoyed their wines so much we have worked to entice them to attend the 2012 Blue Ridge Wine and Food Festival!

Their wines tend to be medium to fuller bodied with fairly classic profiles. Today I’m taking a look at the Delta Luna 2009 Carignane. Originating from the Aragon region of Spain, this grape grows rather happily in the Mediterranean-light climate of Lodi with hot days and cool nights.

The Delta Luna Carignane has a rather refractive appearance in the glass as the light dances through the garnet colored gem in the glass. The aromas of light mocha and cassis predominate yielding to a light bing cherry aroma. As it crosses the palate, the bold acidity transforms into brilliant cherries and raspberries transforming into a brilliant leathery spice on the finish. This carignane is a delight, but on the softer side of the carignanes I have tried over the years; a good introduction to those folks afraid of bold grapes usually!

Because of the bright acidity, I would recommend you have this wine over dinner with friends you want to impress. The perfect pairing for me would be an orange glazed guinea fowl with a side of root vegetable hash topped with a soft fried egg. I’ll post those recipes in another posting,


Recipe: Shrimp and Veggie Pot Stickers

Pot Stickers

Pot Stickers


  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 leek, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1 head Napa cabbage, finely shredded
  • ½ pound of cleaned shrimp diced in a medium dice
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 medium carrot, grated on finest holes of a box grater
  • 24 wonton wrappers
  • Asian Dipping Sauce, recipe follows

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  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 lemon, zested


Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and garlic and cook until leeks begin to soften, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cabbage, vinegar, soy sauce, and ginger and cook, stirring, until cabbage is soft, about 3 to 4 minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in the carrot and shrimp. Allow the filling to cool.

Transfer cabbage mixture to a mixing bowl and work together until fully incorporated. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

To make the potstickers, lay a wonton wrapper on the work surface and put about 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center. Dip your finger in a little water and wet the edges of the wonton wrapper; this will help the potsticker seal when cooking. Bring the outside edges of the wonton wrapper together over the filling and press it together to form a pouch. Continue with the remaining wrappers and filling.

To cook the potstickers, heat the remaining oil in a very large skillet over high heat. Place all of the potstickers upright in the pan and cook, without disturbing them, until browned on the bottom, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water to the pan and immediately cover. Allow the potstickers to steam for about 3 minutes, then remove the skillet lid. Continue cooking until the water is completely evaporated.

Transfer to a platter and serve with the dipping sauce.

Stir all ingredients together in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Yield: about 1/3 cup


For your wine pairings, this recipe is fairly soft on the palate and a softer wine is recommended typically. Should you opt to add a bit more ginger and a pinch of white pepper, I would recommend pairing a dry Riesling from the white wines. If you’re more like most of my friends and really want a red wine that will pair well, I recommend finding a well balanced Petite Sirah.



Sipping for fairness

He sat in a sparsely furnished room- waiting. Nervous as the moment he had first met the love of his life, he sat in the waiting room- waiting. He was not allowed into the room where his love lay fighting for life- he was waiting. The life they had lived together for so many  years was in the delicate balance of the life precariously perched in the room on the other side of the hospital wall, and he wasn’t allowed to be there to offer solitude, comfort and the love they had shared all those years- he was forced to wait.

There were memories rushing through his mind of dinners, wine, laughter, and tears- and he could only wait. The fears, hopes and dreams they had shared, built, and worked towards wore heavy on his mind- and he had to wait. In the last moments of his true love’s life he was forced- to wait. In those last moments he had no way to inflict the will of their love and share the tears of mourning with his love- he had to wait.

We are in a moment in time when we cannot afford to wait any longer. We are in a moment in time when waiting will result in the basic right of one person to love another is on the precipice of being resolved illegal. We cannot wait, we must act. We shall be defined in how we act in times such as these. Will we be defined as callous bigots who refuse the basic right of the human desire to love and be loved; to protect those we love; and seek the freedom to be the creation that god made us into? Or, shall this this defining moment reveal a brighter, more civilized society?

In North Carolina, we as citizens have been asked to take that stand on May 8, 2012. We are asked to vote if our neighbors that do not fit perfectly into a mold be classified as not worthy of the same rights as those who conform to that small mold. We have an obligation to help educate others as to what this means not only to a small minority of citizens in our state, but how this vote will define us as a people.

There will be a fund raiser to assist in the effort to inform the voters of our state on the afternoon of March 24, 2012.  If you’re in town, stop by Christopher’s Wine and Cheese and participate in our tasting that day and we’ll send the proceeds to help educate the voter and get them to the polls to defeat Legislative discrimination against families in North Carolina.


The Perfect Pairing

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