Tomato Tarts … Absolutely Delicious with an Italian Chardonnay

Pairing:  Tomato Tarts Paired with a 2012 D’Amico Chardonnay Calanchi di Vaiano

Food: As the autumn harvest nears it’s end here in northern New England, we cherish the last few evenings that are warm enough and light enough to enjoy dinner on the terrace. It is also the time to catch the last of the heirloom tomatoes before the frost hits. These tomato tarts capture the rich, deep flavor of the heirlooms and showcase them as the centerpiece of the meal. We use the recipe found in The French Culinary Institute’s Salute to Healthy Cooking from America’s Foremost French Chefs, a fabulous cookbook. The recipe calls for making a savory pastry from flour, egg, olive oil, canola oil, salt and water. Chill the dough, then shape it into six-inch rounds. Top the rounds with overlapping thinly sliced tomatoes and sprinkle with parmesan cheese, fresh basil, salt, and pepper. Bake at 375F for about 8 minutes. Unbelievably good!

Tomato TartsJPG

Wine:  For fun … over the next few months we are going to sample Chardonnays from several different parts of the world, exploring different expressions of the Chardonnay grape.  This Calanchi di Vaiano winery is located in the Lazio wine region of central Italy, the locale of the ancient city of Rome.  The D’Amico’s Chardonnay is unoaked allowing only the terroir created from the eroded lava hillsides where the vineyards are planted to shape the flavors of the wine.

Calanchi ChardonnayJPG

Tasting Notes:  A beautiful medium-gold color. Inhale deeply … one is almost knocked over with the delightful aromas of honey, honeysuckle and peach. On the palate, one recalls one’s youth eating a bowl of honeyed peaches. But it’s not a sweet wine … there is just enough acidity to brighten and balance the flavors. Another sip … is that apricot there in the orchestra of tastes … maybe a little bit of spice, too … nutmeg? Gosh, this is a really, really nice wine. One of the top 5 Chardonnays I’ve ever tasted! And … $14 … get more! Oh, and it’s a brilliant pairing with the tomato tarts. Just brilliant. (do I detect a little bit of head-swelling? … nay). The wine, the tomatoes, the crust, the cheese … all work together to enhance each flavor. Wonderful!

Other Wines That Pair Well with Tomato Tarts:  Soave (Italy), White Burgundy (France), Pinot Grigio (Italy), Vouvray (Loire), Albarino (Spain).

Other Food That Pairs Well with Italian Chardonnay:  Pasta with a Light Cream Sauce, Crab Cakes,  Fresh Tuna and Tomato with Pasta, Pasta Salad with Mushrooms & Tomato.

Read More About Lazio Wines:  http://winefolly.com/review/the-wines-to-know-from-lazio/

A Source:  www. klwines.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Chardonnay … Versatility is Thy Name

Two Pairings:  Fish Timbales one night and Pizza the next night … Both Paired with a 2012 Dutcher Crossing Chardonnay Stuhlmuller Vineyard Alexander Valley

Food: We are creatures of habit. On Fridays we always seafood (perhaps a remnant of my Catholic upbringing). Saturday is always homemade pizza (the origin? … maybe because it was easy to eat on your lap while the family watched Star Trek – Next Generation … or some other long repressed memory). Anyway, we enjoy a gazillion different ways to prepare both seafood and pizza so the pattern is never boring. Back to the food …

Our fish timbales are made with mackerel and haddock, poached or sautéed or broiled first. A white sauce is made with shallots, cooked and chopped spinach cooked together in cream (and some mashed white beans). Season with salt and pepper. The cooked fish is flaked and added along with a small beaten egg to the sauce. Divide the fish mixture into two six-ounce buttered ramekins. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes. Unmold the ramekins onto warmed plates. We like to serve the timbales with chard that has been sliced into 1 inch pieces, cooked in a little olive oil and water, then seasoned with salt, nutmeg and garlic powder.  (Bonus:  our fish timbales are 290 calories each!).

The next night is pizza … Instead of tomato sauce, the unbaked pizza shell ( we continue to enjoy our sourdough pizza crust) is covered in pesto sauce with cooked chicken, chanterelles, red or orange bell pepper, bacon, red onion, and grated mozzarella cheese. The recipe we use is from Flavors of Prince Edward Island:  A Culinary Journey. The recipes in this cookbook were provided by the PEI Association of Chefs and Cooks. Wonderful cookbook … great pizza.

 

 

Wine:  My wife and I typically drink a bottle of wine over two meals. So … here’s the dilemma … what wine will pair nicely with a seafood dish one night and with some recipe for pizza the following night? And, of course, what do we have on hand in the larder and cellar? The fish we have in the fridge really needs a white wine. Even a lighter weight red would likely overwhelm the fish. So … what white wine will also go well with what pizza?

Well, Chardonnay is not one of most widely planted grapes and one of the world’s most widely drunk wines for nothing. Many different style, grows in many different regions. France, Italy, California, Oregon, Australia, New Zealand … to name just a few. Being a guy who ‘marches to a different drummer”, “swims against the tide” (you get the picture), I would normally not be inclined to go along with the masses, many of them who only drink Chardonnay (you … hiding there in the back … you know who I’m talking about). But, come on … the Dutcher Chardonnay is really, really good … and I think ideal for these two meals. Go for it! Perfect!

 

Dutcher Chardonnay

Tasting Notes:  Lovely yellow-golden color. The nose carries delicious scents of fresh orange slices and orange blossom. Flavors detected include honeysuckle, honeydew melon, and orange zest, with hints of spice (coriander and mace). The wine’s ability to both quietly refresh the delicate tastes of the fish timbales while at the same time assert itself to enhance the rich, complex flavors of the pizza is positively magical. An exceptional wine we have enjoyed time and time again.

Other White Wines That Pair Well with both Fish Timbales and Pizza with Pesto, Chanterelles and Chicken: Verdicchio (Italy), Soave (Italy), White Rhone-Style Blend (California), White Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhone Valley, France).

Other Food That Pairs Well with a New World Chardonnay:  Clam or Corn Chowder, Mushroom Risotto, Chicken in Cream and Morel Sauce, Smoked Salmon Omelette.

Read About:  http://winefolly.com/review/chardonnay-wine-guide/

A Source:  http://dutchercrossingwinery.com

 

Grilled Chicken … with a Chardonnay From a Napa Valley Legend

Pairing:  Wood Charcoal Grilled Chicken paired with a 2011 Grgich Hills Estate Napa Valley Chardonnay

Food:  Everyone has a favorite grilled chicken recipe they can’t wait to use as winter lets go and the weather starts getting warmer (and the black flies starting swarming!). For years, our go-to recipe for the marinade-basting sauce was composed of olive oil, ketchup, maple syrup, worcestershire sauce, and chili powder. Good stuff … great with a Zinfandel. A few years ago, however, our younger son turned us on to an entirely different take on grilled chicken with a recipe he invented from bits and pieces found on the internet and through his own experimentation. A chip off the old block!

He combines 2 minced cloves of garlic, 1 T chopped fresh ginger, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 2 T canola oil, 1 T honey, and 6 T fresh lime juice (3 limes). Mix thoroughly and marinate the pieces of chicken (about 3 and 1/2 pounds) for about 5 hrs in the mixture, turning occasionally. Grill over a wood charcoal fire for best results. Fantastic! Works really well with pork, too. Serve it with your favorite potato salad and coleslaw.

Grilled Chicken

Wine:  The Grgich name is legendary in the annals of California winemaking. Mijenko “Mike” Grgich crafted the Chardonnay that won “The Judgment of Paris“, the famous France vs California wine competition held in 1976. The results of this blind tasting done by an all-French panel of wine experts elevated the then little appreciated California wine industry to the world-class status it holds today. Grgich Hills continues this tradition of crafting fine wines with this exceptional 2011 Chardonnay from the Napa Valley.

Grgich Hills Chardonnay

Tasting Notes:  A pretty golden-colored wine with a slightly greenish tint. The sweet smell of ripe cantaloupe melon infused with honeysuckle nectar. One could be content just smelling this lovely wine, but do taste it. The combined flavors of ripe melon and peaches, with a “squirt” of lime juice. I kid you not! The lime notes of both the chicken and the wine all spin together into a marvelous dining experience. Outstanding!

Other Wines That Pair Well with This Grilled Chicken: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Sparkling Wine, Dry Riesling

Other Food That Pairs Well with Grgich Chardonnay:  Crab Dishes, Mushroom Risotto, Grilled Swordfish or Halibut or Salmon

Read About:  https://www.napavalley.com/blog/chardonnay-tasting-napa-valley/

A Source:  www.wine.com

 

Mom’s Tuna Casserole … Dressed Up with Fresh Ingredients and White Burgundy

Pairing:  Tuna Casserole (version 2.0) paired with a 2011 Jacques Bavard Saint-Romain

Food:  Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, I remember a staple of Friday night dinners was tuna casserole. Garrison Keillor’s stories are laced with anecdotes about bringing tuna casseroles to church suppers. The formula for making it usually consists of a can of concentrated Cream of Mushroom soup (Campbell’s of course), a couple of cans of tuna, a generous Tbs or 2 of Old Bay Seasoning, some form of cooked noodles or pasta, and a heavy dusting of fine bread crumbs and grated cheese. Assembled and baked at 400F until golden brown and bubbling on the edges. Still a fine, tasty and quick meal. (Version 2.0) takes it up a few notches and takes a little longer to prepare. Instead of the canned soup, make a simple béchamel sauce and combine it was sautéed, sliced fresh mushrooms. In place of the canned tuna, take a fresh tuna steak (about 6 oz.), cube it (1/2 in. cubes), pan sear the cubes, and mix it into the sauce with the Old Bay Seasoning and noodles. Same crumbs and parmesan cheese topping. Bake until golden and bubbly on edges. Viola!

Tuna Casserole

Wine:  It is fair to say that the word, Burgundy, is probably one of the most widely known wine terms in the world of wine. Yet, only the hearts of true oenophiles skip a beat when thoughts turn to Burgundy. This relatively small wine region in east-central France is where arguably the world’s finest, most exclusive wines are made (though vintners in Bordeaux may take exception to that claim). One often hears of the extraordinary (and expensive) wines of the Cote de Beaune sub-region of Burgundy where one finds some of the rarest and best white wines on the planet. These wines often have the word Montrachet as part of their name. However, there are some quiet backwaters tucked into the remote hills and valleys of this area that produce some very flavorful Chardonnays (all whites in Burgundy are Chardonnays) at very reasonable prices. Saint-Romain is one of these places.  A charming place we were lucky enough to stay in for a few days during our first visit to Burgundy.

Saint-Romain

Tasting Notes:  The bouquet of this pale gold wine is of apple blossoms, green apples and hints of citrus. On the palate one gets Granny Smith apples and honeysuckle. A very pleasant, drinkable white wine by itself or as an accompaniment to food. Flavors are a nice complement to the tuna, mushrooms and the mace and nutmeg added to the béchamel sauce. A real treat.

Other Food That Pairs Well with Saint Romain:  White Fish (Grilled, Roasted), Roast Chicken,  Oysters, Lobster, Trout

Other Wines That Pair Well with Tuna Casserole:  Unoaked Chardonnay, Beaujolais, Pinot Noir,  Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand or California), Dry Riesling (Australia)

Read About:  http://winefolly.com/review/white-burgundy-tasting-pairing-and-french-chardonnay/

A Source:  www.klwines.com

Something to Do with Leftover Lobster

Pairing: Lobster Aromatique and 2012 Marques Casa Concha Chardonnay

Food: I know … who ever heard of leftover lobster? Well, here is a dish and a wine pairing that is worth saving some of that cooked lobster from your summer cookout or clambake. It’s a recipe we found in an ancient copy of the Four Seasons Cookbook. Not sure if the famous Four Seasons Restaurant in New York City even still exists. But their recipe for Lobster Aromatique is simply astonishing. It calls for 2 cups of cooked lobster (for 2 servings), a cup of your favorite béchamel sauce, and the following seasonings: 2 T chopped shallots, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp each of mustard, paprika, cayenne, and curry powder, and 1 T each of lemon juice, minced chives and parsley. Lightly saute the shallots, add the chopped lobster and flame with 1/4 cup Pernod or brandy. Add all of the seasonings to the pan. Mix and add the béchamel sauce and reduce over low heat for 3-5 minutes. Serve warm. You may never again eat lobster any other way!

Lobster Aromique

Wine: 2012 Marques Casa Concha Chardonnay hails from the Llunaras de Camarico  Vineyard in the Limari Valley in Chile. This growing region is one of the northern most wine growing regions in Chile, 200 miles north of Santiago. A number of grapes are grown in the Valley, but Chardonnay is the star. And the 2o12 Marques Casa Concha received numerous accolades from several prominent reviewers highlighting the lovely flavor and the modest price.

Marques Chardonnay

Tasting:  The nose reveals aromas that reminds one of a Spring walk through an apple orchard with the trees in full bloom and white clover growing in the grass. On the palate one gets a mix of fresh apple, peach, pear, and honeysuckle, with hints of lemon. What a lovely wine and a great pairing for this elegant lobster dish. Enjoy!

Other Wine Pairings for the Lobster:  Viognier, White Burgundy, Sparkling Wine

Other Food Pairings for the Chardonnay:  Seafood or Chicken (grilled, roasted, or with a Cream Sauce)

Read More:  http://www.conchaytoro.com/descubre-vinos/fine-wine-collection/marques-de-casa-concha-chardonnay-en/

Sources:  Prince Edward Island Liquor Stores, www.wine.com