Burgundian Ham Flan … Lovely with a Pinot Noir from Tasmania

Pairing: A Burgundian Ham Flan Paired with a 2013 Spring Vale Pinot Noir from the Freycinet Coast, Tasmania

Food: Our recipe for Burgundian Ham Flan comes Anne Willan’s first book on French Regional Cooking. Although we have a number of cookbooks on French cooking, this was our first and remains our favorite. For two people, the recipe calls for 2 and 1/2 oz of ham (diced), 1/2 oz prosciutto, 4 eggs, 1 cup of milk, 2 T flour, a pinch or 2 of ground allspice, 1 tsp fresh thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Brush lightly with olive oil an 8 inch baking dish. Distribute the ham over the bottom of the dish. Add the allspice to the milk, and bring it slowly to a boil. Whisk the eggs with the flour until it is smooth. Take the milk off the heat. While you whisk, add the egg/flour to the milk, then stir in the thyme, salt, and pepper. Pour over the ham in the baking dish and place some parsley leaves on the surface of the eggs. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes, until the eggs are set and golden brown. Serve cool or at room temperature along with a simple green salad. Delicious!

Wine: So, let’s be honest, when was the first time you heard the word “Tasmania”? I was six or seven years, old watching a Loony Tunes cartoon on TV. Racing across the screen, chasing our intrepid hero Bugs Bunny was a whirling dervish called … the Tasmanian Devil. Some years later I learned this was a real animal (a marsupial) from a real place … Tasmania. Located 150 miles off the southeast coast of Australia, the island has been gaining well-deserved accolades for its wines. Particularly noteworthy is their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, both still wines and sparkling wines. The Freycinet Coast is not only an ideal locale for vineyards (like the Spring Vale winery), but is also breathtakingly beautiful.

Note: Yes, the classic pairing for this Burgundian dish would be a red burgundy or white burgundy wine. But, as readers of this blog have come to know, Peter’s Picks is all about expanding possibilities when pairing food and wine.

Tasting Notes: Color is dark purple with a very light brownish orange tint. Repeated sniffs of the wine reveals a bouquet of raspberry, blueberry, wild cherry, and black plum. Amazingly, the wine combines the taste of both fresh fruits and fruit jam of the same fruits that describe the bouquet. You could sip this wine all evening … enjoyable with or without the food, but … Pinot Noir and ham is a classic pairing you don’t want to miss.

Other Wines That Pair Well with Ham Flan: Sancerre (Loire Valley, France), Beaujolais (France), Chardonnay (Oregon), Pinot Blanc (Alsace)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Pinot Noir:  White Fish in a Cream and Mushroom Sauce, Pan-Seared Salmon, Prosciutto, Quiche Lorraine

Views of the Tasmania Wine Region:  Tasmania Vineyards

A Source:  www.wine.com

Easter Ham … with a Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel

Pairing:  Baked Ham Paired with 2012 Dutcher Crossing Proprietor’s Reserve Zinfandel (Dry Creek Valley)

Food:  If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that our family is big on traditions when it comes to food. So, every Easter, we celebrate the day with friends and the traditional Easter meal of our family … baked ham, pineapple, popovers, potatoes gratin Dauphinois, asparagus, and lemon meringue pie. Served … always … with Zinfandel. Each person has a favorite part of this holiday meal … some say it’s the ham centerpiece with the mustard and brown sugar-crusted topping … others can’t get enough of the over-the-top gratin Dauphinois with it’s thinly-sliced potatoes baked in a cream, butter, and Gruyère cheese sauce. For me, though, it wouldn’t be Easter without  our giant, puffed up 6-inch popovers. My … oh my!

Easter Dinner with Zin

Wine:  Although Pinot Noir is the most widely recognized pairing for baked ham, we have found that the slight sweetness and spicy flavors of Zinfandel is a perfect foil to the salty ham with its mustard/ brown sugar topping. Although Zinfandel traces its origins back to Croatia and is the same grape used to make Primitivo wine in Italy, the vast majority of Zinfandel in the world today is grown in California. And in California, many are convinced that the best Zinfandel comes from the Sonoma region. Our favorite Zinfandel  is produced in the beautiful Dry Creek Valley area of Sonoma. This Zinfandel made by Dutcher Crossing is blended with a bit (13%) of Petite Sirah.

Dutcher Crossing Zin 2012

Tasting Notes: One really gets the spices of mace, allspice and vanilla notes on both the nose and the palate. The flavors of blackberry jam and leather also emerge along with some earthiness resulting from the inclusion of a little Petite Sirah in the blend. And there’s just enough fine tannins to result in good balance in the wine so as not to be too “fruity”. This is yet another example of a wine that goes well with several elements of the meal … the salty/ sweet ham, the cheesy potatoes and the buttery popovers in particular. Even, surprisingly, the pineapple soaked in kirschwasser.

Other Wines That Pair Well with Baked Ham:  Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, Riesling, Rose (Dry), Sparkling Wine

Other Food That Pairs Well with Zinfandel:  Barbecued Meats and Chicken, Cheeseburgers (with Blue Cheese), Duck, Lamb, Mushrooms, Pizza, Turkey

Read About:  http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/wine-topics/wine-educational-questions/grapes-for-wine-making-flavor-characteristics-explained/zinfandel-wine-grapes-flavor-character-history/

A Source:  http://www.dutchercrossingwinery.com