Pot Roast … the Ultimate Comfort Food … Served with an Elegant Cab Sauvignon

Pairing:  Pot Roast Paired with a 2014 Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley – Sonoma County)

Food: My wife and I each grew up in the 1950’s with Pot Roast as a fairly regular feature to the dinnertime meal. My mother’s go-to cookbook for such a meal was the Joy of Cooking, while my wife’s mother relied on Fannie Farmer’s Boston Cooking School Cookbook as her cooking bible.

Two iconic Cookbook “Bibles” Fannie Farmer and Joy of Cooking

To this classic dish of braised bottom round beef, potatoes, carrots, and onions we’ve added mushrooms (fresh shiitake and dried porcini) and a splash of red wine to the braising liquid. Mom might be a little shocked!

Beef Pot Roast Braised with Carrots, Potatoes, Onions, and Mushrooms

Wine: Perhaps the most important wine made in the Alexander Valley, located in Sonoma County, is Cabernet Sauvignon. The grape thrives in the lands surrounding the Russian River that flows through the Alexander Valley in the warmer climates north of the city of Healdsburg. The Russian River Valley lands south of the city are cooler and foggier, perfect conditions for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Taken together, these two valleys account for some of the finest wine production in the United States.

Tasting Notes: Color is a deep violet-red … or dark garnet. The nose is rich in the aromas of cocoa, black cherry, black currant, hazelnut, and allspice. The palate furthers the black cherry and currant, and adds pepper, leather and cedar. Wonderfully complex. The black currant persists on the long finish. The Cabernet really brings out and enhances the earthy mushrooms in the sauce and the wonderful beefiness of the meat. A superb pairing!

Other Wines That Pair Well with Pot Roast: Merlot (Chile), Zinfandel (California), Barolo (Italy), Cotes du Rhone (France)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Cabernet Sauvignon: Roast or Grilled Lamb, Roast Duck, Venison, Game Birds

View the Alexander Valley Wine Region:  Alexander Valley AVA

A Source: www.wine.com

Mediterranean Vegetables and Lamb Pasta … with a California Cabernet

Pairing:  Mediterranean Vegetables, Lamb, and Romano Cheese on Penne paired with 2011 Dutcher Crossing Taylor Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Food:  They say (though I’m not exactly sure who) that “necessity is the mother of invention”. And we need to deal with those leftover Mediterranean veggies (cubed and sautéed eggplant, zucchini, tomato, onion and a bit of garlic) and ground lamb … in the back of the fridge  … leftover from different meals enjoyed earlier in the week … before they go bad.  Hmmmm … what to do … ah … throw them all into some pasta. Grate a generous amount of Romano cheese, add some rosemary or thyme, and drizzle with a little olive oil. That was easy!

Pasta with Med Veg

Wine:  True confession … for years, I didn’t like Cabernet Sauvignon. How, you say, could I possibly not like the most widely consumed red wine in the world? Maybe it was my own little rebellion … who knows. Well, a few years back, we were driving through the Dry Creek Valley area of Sonoma wine country north of San Francisco Bay stopping at small, lesser known wineries sampling their wines. Dutcher Crossing winery turned out to be our very favorite. One sip of their Cabernet Sauvignon and I was hooked. It was terrific, and I have been enjoying Dutcher and many other Cabs ever since. What was I thinking? … (sigh) … one of life’s little lessons … don’t give up on a wine … it could surprise you!  Note:  Dutcher Crossing is a small winery and the best way to obtain their wines is directly from them through their website (see below).

Dutcher Taylor Cabernet

Tasting Notes:  On the nose one gets the delicate aroma of black currants similar to the smells you get when reaching into the currant bush while picking the fruit. Not surprisingly, on the palate you encounter a lush combination of fresh black currants combined with black currant jam … what a rush! Very soft tannins and the wine needed little or no decanting. The Cabernet Sauvignon proved to pair particularly nicely with the lamb, eggplant and Romano cheese ingredients of this dish. A worthy way to elevate the sometimes lowly status of leftovers!

Other Food That Pairs Well with Cabernet Sauvignon:  Pizza (made with blue cheese, leeks and chanterelles), Roast or Grilled Lamb, Eggplant Parmesan, Grilled Beef or Lamb Burgers, Steak

Other Wines That Pair Well with This Pasta Dish:  Bandol (Provence), Cote de Rhone (France), GSM (Australia), Cabernet Sauvignon/ Merlot Blend (Australia)

Enjoy the Views of Sonoma Wine Country:  sonoma county

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

Pairings with Pork? … Anything Goes!

Pairing: Roast Pork Tenderloin with 2010 Tait “The Ball Buster”

Food: Roast pork is one of those universal foods that goes well with almost any wine, red or white. For this meal we first pan-seared a pork tenderloin (seasoned with salt and pepper) until brown on all sides, then roasted it for about 20 minutes at 350. The sauce is made from black currant jam, whole black currants, a splash of soy sauce, and a few tablespoons of this wine. Combine in a saucepan and reduce until thickened bit. We’ve served the pork with broccoli and rösti potatoes.


Wine2010 Tait “The Ball Buster” Leave it to the Aussies to come up with interesting and fun names for their wines. The origin of the name is explained on their website. This deep, lush, concentrated red is a blend of 77% Shiraz, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 7% Merlot and comes from the Barossa Valley in South Australia. This region has a long, distinguished history in winemaking, as does the Tait name, particularly when in comes to crafting Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Ball Buster has consistently won high praise over the years as a tremendous value for such a high quality wine (about $20 or less). This is a great wine … get it if you can.


Tasting: This particular combination of grape varieties results in a terrific complexity of very pronounced aromas. Leather, earth and, most apparent, dark fruits … black currant, blackberry, and black raspberry. Every time you take a sniff, you get different smells coming to the forefront. On the palate, you get a smooth amalgam of flavors that can best best be described as hedgerow fruit leather (if such a thing existed!). Dark fruit jam with overtones of leather and earth is another way to describe this big, rich, powerful wine. Delicious! Maybe the name says it all!

Other Wines that Pair Well with this Meal: (white wines) Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay, Riesling, Vouvray. (red wines) Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel

Other Foods that Pair Well with this Wine: Steak, Grilled Lamb, Venison, Duck, Aged, Hard Cheeses

Read More: taitwines.com.au

A Source: southernwines.com    wine.com   


In Portland, Maine, one of our favorite restaurants is Fore Street. http://www.forestreet.biz One of our dinners there inspired this pizza.

Food: On each 8” pizza shell (see Feb 12 posting Pizza v. 1.0) smear some richly-flavored vinaigrette salad dressing, then a large dollop of plain yogurt. Sprinkle over it: ¼ cup sauteed sliced leeks; 1/2 oz cooked, chopped chanterelle mushrooms; ½ oz crumbled bleu cheese; 1/2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese.ForeStreet Pizza

Wine: Mitolo “Jester” Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010. From McLaren Vale, AustraliaMitolo Cabernet Sauvignon, the Jester

Tasting notes: This pizza is absent the tomato sauce, mozerella cheese and Italian seasonings common to the more traditional pizza that pairs so nicely with a Chianti. Instead, we’re looking for a wine to pair with bleu cheese, leeks, and mushrooms. Cabernet Sauvignon is an excellent pairing with these ingredients, particularly with a delightfully sharp blue cheese. Our choice for this dish is the 2010 Mitolo “Jester” Cabernet Sauvignon from the McLaren Vale in Australia. It is a lush, richly-flavored Cab, amazingly complex and concentrated, with aromas and tastes of black currants balanced with silky smooth tanins. An unusual feature of this particular Cab is that 20% of the grapes are air-dried, similar to the making of an Amarone wine. And this wine is a steal at about $16.

Read more: http://www.mitolowines.com.au/?method=products.productDrilldown&productID=4e764c67-1cc4-81ae-75d5-a539fc763ab0&originalMarketingURL=product/Jester-Cabernet-Sauvignon

A Source: wine.com