Grilled Vegetable & Sausage Pasta … Served with a French Syrah

Pairing: Grilled Vegetables and Sausage Paired with a 2012 Cornas “Les Chailles”

Food:  This is wonderful summertime fare. We make ours with dark green zucchini, yellow summer squash, yellow bell pepper, and red onion. Using multi-colored pasta adds even more color and fun. Season with salt and pepper and toss the vegetables with some olive oil before placing the mix into a grill pan over a hot fire. Keep an eye on it and stir or toss the vegetables frequently so you don’t accidentally blacken them (though we like a little woodsmoke and charcoal flavor … the operative words being “a little”).

Before hand you’ve grilled up some favorite sausage. We like the flavor of bratwurst sausage. After grilling them, slice them up and combine with the finished vegetables, the cooked pasta, some béchamel sauce, and grated parmesan cheese. What a treat to enjoy outdoors on a warm summer evening! And you can make as much as you want for friends, family … or leftovers.

Grilled Veg & Sausage

Wine:  When grilling is a focal point of a meal, we frequently reach for a Syrah, whether from Australia, California, France, or elsewhere. Cornas is an appellation and a village located in the northern Rhone Valley region in southern France. Les Chailles is the name given to the rich, flavorful Syrah grapes from combined named locales in Cornas.

Cornas Rhone Red

Tasting Notes: The nose: Imagine … walking into a leather shop in Florence, inhale deeply … catch that wonderful aroma of leather. Ahh … Then … sneak out the back door (no, you haven’t done anything illegal) and run into a bramble tangle of black fruits and blueberry. Inhale deeply … mmmm. The palate:  A positively beautiful integration of black fruit flavors and soft tannins. Interesting to note that one of us (my wife) tasted fresh fruit, while I tasted cooked fruit (like jam). The background hints of charcoal and parmesan cheese in the pasta play very well with this Syrah.

Other Wines That Pair Well with Grilled Vegetables and Sausage: GSM (Australia or California), Gigondas (France), Pinot Noir (New Zealand), Syrah (Washington)

Other Food That Pairs Well with French Syrah (Cornas): Roasted or Grilled Chicken, Duck, Beef, Lamb or Pork, Mushrooms, Grilled Tuna

View the Beautiful Cornas Wine Region:  Cornas Wine Region

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Leftover Pheasant … with a Shiraz from Western Australia

Pairing:  Pheasant and Wild Mushrooms paired with 2011 Frankland Estate Rocky Gully Shiraz

Food:  It’s nearing the dining time. Well … time to dive into the freezer to see what delectable leftovers we can uncover. Ah … some leftover roast pheasant (doesn’t everyone have that buried in their freezer?) and a bag of assorted wild mushrooms gathered late last summer  (chanterelles, fairy ring mushrooms, meadow mushrooms). Yum … surely there is something to be done with such special ingredients. Sauté the thawed, partially cooked mushrooms in some butter, add a little red wine (the wine we are drinking, of course) and brown stock/ sauce/ gravy. Cook down until the desired consistency. Warm the boneless pieces of the pheasant in the sauce, season with salt and pepper, and pour it all over some noodles. Perfect!  Wine?  Hmmm …

Leftover Pheasant over Noodles

Wine:  When we think of Shiraz, our thoughts frequently go to Australia … often to the Barossa Valley region of South Australia. But … not today. We’re going to travel further west on that beautiful continent, about a thousand miles, to the appropriately named Western Australia. Those clever Aussies! Clever indeed to grow their beloved Shiraz grapes in a wine region known more for Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling. The Frankland Estate winery is located near the Frankland River about 50 miles inland from the ocean, giving a Mediterranean-type climate to the area. The making of their Rocky Gully Shiraz follows the principles born in the Northern Rhone region of France, where winemakers add a teeny bit (about 5%) of white Viognier wine to the red Syrah (what they call Shiraz) to make their renowned Hermitage wine. So, Rocky Gully tastes a lot like Hermitage, but way less inexpensive (about $15).

Rocky Gully Shuraz

Tasting Notes:  You’re standing by the stove making a black currant/ black cherry jam. The kitchen takes on the aromas of the cooking  jam. That’s the nose of this deep, dark reddish-purple wine. Dip a spoon into the cooling jam and taste it. That black currant and black cherry jam is the dominant flavor you get on the palate … along with a touch of pepper. What a nice warm sensation you get in your mouth as you sip this wine. And what a nice lingering finish … delicious!

Other Food that Pairs Well with This Shiraz:  Venison, Duck, Mushrooms, Grilled Sausage, Barbecue Ribs

Other Wine that Pairs Well with Pheasant: Red Bordeaux (Saint-Émilion), Red Burgundy, Pinot Noir (Oregon), Chardonnay (big and oaky from California), Barolo

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