Tourtiere paired with a Rhone-style South African Red Blend

Pairing:  Pork Tourtière paired with 2011 Boekenhoutskloof The Wolftrap Red Blend

Food:  Tourtière is a pork pie traditionally eaten in French Canada in winter, often on Christmas  Eve. It’s origins can be traced back to 14th Century France. Our recipe is from Craig Claiborne’s 1971 classic New York Times International Cookbook. A wonderful explanation of the dish can be found here. It calls for ground pork, pork or chicken stock, onion, garlic, cloves, cinnamon. savory, and a bay leaf. All wrapped up in a flakey, savory pastry. We’ve served it here with roasted vegetables (carrots, parsnips, and squash), pickled beets, and assorted relishes (maritime chow and mustard pickle). Hint: Make the Tourtière ahead of time, freeze it for a few days or weeks, then thaw it and bake it. It’s even better that way!


Wine: This Rhône-styled red blend is from the Boekenhoutskloof Winery located in the stunningly beautiful Franschhoek Valley near the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. For those readers unfamiliar with South African vineyards, there is some fabulous wine coming from there … most notably Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinotage, and several excellent red blends. The Wolftrap is a blend of Syrah (65%), Mourvedre (32%) and Viognier (3%). Viognier is actually a white wine. The folks at this winery are borrowing a technique from the northern Rhône in France where vintners there  combine a little dollop of Viognier with their Syrah to make their world-renowned Hermitage and Côte Rôtie wines. And the addition of the Mourvedre creates a dynamite blend.


Tasting:  The strong presence of Mourvedre in this wine brings out a real earthiness that complements very well the spices in the Tourtière. On the nose, one gets leather and blackberry, along with a plethora of earth smells. The tastes of forest floor, earth and tobacco vie with the flavors of blackberry, allspice, and cinnamon. What a great tasting wine … and less than $15.

Other Wines That Pair Well with This Food: Beaujolais, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Tempranillo

Other Foods That Pair with This Wine:  Sausage, Grilled Meats, Venison, Mushrooms

Read About:

A Source:


Enchiladas and Sauvignon Blanc … Mexico Teams Up with New Zealand

Pairing: Creamy Enchiladas (Enchiladas Suizas) with Chicken, Tomatoes and Green Chile paired with 2014 Clifford Bay Sauvignon Blanc

Food: Our “go-to” source for Mexican cuisine is Rick Bayless. This recipe for enchiladas is from his cookbook, Mexico, One Plate at a Time. It calls for using shredded leftover roast chicken, but I’m sure any cooked chicken would work just fine. As  Bayless points out, these Enchiladas Suizas “… pay homage to a distant land where cream rules” (i.e., Switzerland). It’s a fairly involved sauce recipe which I won’t try to duplicate here. Suffice is to say, the recipe for the sauce makes a lot and freezes beautifully. The picture below shows leftover sauce from about 6 months ago made into fresh enchiladas. Once you have the sauce, the enchiladas are a snap. Here is a link to Bayless’s recipe for Enchiladas Suizas. It is well worth the effort. Positively delicious!


Wine:  Yes, I know … why wouldn’t you pair this meal with a nice Mexican beer?  It’d be perfect. But this blog is about finding a good pairing of wine with most any meal. And, believe me, the cool, crisp, fresh taste of this Clifford Bay Sauvignon Blanc will surprise you with how well it goes with the creamy, spicy enchiladas. This wine comes from the Marlborough region of New Zealand which is the northern most part of the South Island. It is the largest wine-growing region in the country, and though they make other wines there (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, etc), Sauvignon Blanc is king. It is often described as one of the best places in the world for growing this grape.  And the price … $10. Terrific!


Tasting:  Pale yellow in color. A delightful, clean, fresh smell on the nose, with clear notes of lemon and grapefruit. A crisp, clean lemon flavor continues on the palate and really works as a terrific complement to the spicy, rich flavors of the enchiladas. On the finish, one gets some grapefruit entering the profile. Very, very nice!

Other Wines That Pair Well with This Food: Gruner Veltliner, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Beaujolais.

Other Food That Pairs Well with This Wine:  Jambalaya, Fajitas, Fish Tacos, Taco Chips and Salsa.

Read About:

A Source:

St. Nicholas Day … Hungarian Goulash with Petite Sirah

Pairing:  Hungarian Beef Goulash with 2005 Michael David Winery Petite Petit

Food:  December 6 is St. Nicholas Day, a really big deal throughout Europe. The custom of hanging one’s stocking for St. Nicholas to fill with gifts began with the “Legend of St. Nicholas.” The first time we ever heard of the celebration of St. Nicholas Day was in the Kate Seredy’s children’s book, The Good Master. As in the book, we started putting out our boots on the eve of St. Nicholas Day. Because this book takes place in Hungary, we began making Hungarian Goulash as our traditional meal for that day. Our recipe is adapted from Craig Claiborne’s 1971 classic New York Times International Cookbook. Generously season 2 lbs of chuck beef with salt, pepper and paprika. In a heavy skillet, brown the beef in some oil and or butter. Add 2 onions, chopped, until lightly browned. Add one or two Tbs of floor to the beef and onions and cook for a few minutes. Add to the pot 1 and 1/2 cups of beef stock and 2 Tbs tomato paste. Cover and simmer over low heat for about two hours. Check periodically to make sure there is sufficient liquid in the pot. Add more stock if needed. Serve over noodles. Note:  this stew freezes very well, and keeps for a few years in the freezer in case you want to save some for the following year (as we do!).


Wine:  OK … this is a little complicated. The Petite Sirah grape (spelled with an i, and also called Durif) is the offspring two varieties, Syrah and Ploursin. Petite Syrah (spelled with a y )  is a clone of the Syrah grape called Petite Syrah because it is smaller in size and yield. Now, to more thoroughly confuse you, this wine from the Michael David Winery in Lodi, California is actually a blend of mostly Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot. Hence, the name Petite Petit. Petit Verdot is often found in small amounts in French Bordeaux and Champagne. Petite Sirah is a relatively rare grape grown primarily in California, but also to a much smaller extent in Australia, Israel, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina.


Tasting:  This Petite Sirah is a deep red (almost black), lush, full-bodied wine that complements the beef goulash particularly well. Blackberry, black currant, and blueberry are all present on the nose. On the palate, these dark fruits come together into a “hedgerow jam” flavor. Add to that some leather, earth, nutmeg and cinnamon and you arrive at an extraordinarily flavorful wine. The paprika notes in the goulash seem to really bring out the spice flavors of the wine.

Other Foods That Pair Well with This Wine:  Steak, Game, Cheese (strong flavored), Mexican Cuisine.

Other Wine That Pairs Well with This Food:  Cabernet Sauvignon, Côte du Rhóne, Zinfandel, Rioja, Shiraz

Read About:  

A Source:


Penne with Fresh Tuna … and Soave

Pairing:  Penne with Fresh Tuna, Herbs and Tomatoes paired with 2013 Le Battistelle Roccolo del Durlo Soave Classico 

Food:  A favorite pasta dish that we have enjoyed many times over the years. Our simple technique is adapted from a recipe in the marvelous cookbook, Diary of a Tuscan Chef. In a few Tbsp of olive oil, sauté some finely chopped garlic and 2-3 Tbs of fresh oregano until slightly browned. Add about 1/2 lb of 1/2 inch cubes of fresh tuna and cook until lightly golden brown, but still slightly pink on the inside. Splash in some of the Soave Classico and scrape up the bits from the bottom of the pan. Add a small box of cherry tomatoes, halved, and cook until softened and some of the juices have melted into the pan. Season with salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Mix everything into some already cooked penne, drizzle with a little more olive oil, and stir in 3 Tbsp of chopped fresh parsley. Check for seasoning and serve with a green salad. Great as leftovers, too!


Wine:  Soave Classico is a white wine that comes from the Verona province of northeastern Italy in the beautiful hill country quite far west of Venice. Soave Classico is a region just outside of the town of Soave. The wine in this region is distinguished by the fact that it is made with 100% Garganega grapes, an ancient grape that has been grown in this area since Roman times. It is regarded as one of the finest white wine grapes in all of Italy. Other Soave wine is usually made from a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, Trebbiano, and Garganega grapes. Consider, too, that this wine from the Le Battistelle vineyard is very reasonably priced at about $15.


Tasting: Pale gold in color. The nose of this wine reminds one of the smells encountered on a walk through freshly mowed green grass while munching on a Granny Smith apple. Green apple also pervades the palate along with some honeydew melon. A perfect complement to this pasta dish, but one could thoroughly enjoy this wine all by itself. A delight!

Other Wines That Pair Well with This Food:  Pinot Grigio, Un-oaked Chardonnay, Italian Chardonnay, Verdicchio

Other Foods That Pair Well with This Wine: Chicken Salad, Shrimp, White Fish, Pasta in a Light Cream and Seafood Sauce

Read About:

A Source: