Chicken Chasseur … with a Classic Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley

Pairing: Chicken Chasseur Paired with a 2013 Belle Glos Pinot Noir (Dairyman Vineyard, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County)

Food: Chicken Chasseur, also known as “hunter’s chicken”, is a classic French dish that harkens back to the days when a traditional autumn hunt would result in a table laden with the harvested game and wild mushrooms gathered from the forest. The “game” in our version is chicken, but we have also made it with pheasant. Either way, what makes all the difference in the world is the use of a mix of edible wild mushrooms. assuming you are or know an experienced mushroom hunter. Otherwise, many grocery stores are now making them widely available to the consumer. Oftentimes we make ours with leftover roast chicken, along with the mushrooms, some sliced carrots, onions, shallots, a few favorite herbs, and a light brown sauce, all served over noodles. Easy and delicious and absolutely perfect with Pinot Noir.

The mushrooms in this Chasseur are wild chanterelles, field, and bi-color boletes.

Wine: Cool temperatures and fog rolling up the Russian River from the cold ocean water of the Pacific make for ideal growing conditions for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Indeed, one can make the case that some of the very best Pinot Noir in the world are made in this remarkable Russian River wine region. The river flows south from Mendocino through Healdsburg then turns to the west toward the ocean. The climate gets progressively cooler as the river moves south and west. Belle Glos is widely known for some of the most distinctive Pinots harvested from vineyards throughout the Russian River Valley region as well as from nearby vineyards. This is a classic new world wine – riper, more full-bodied, higher alcohol, and more fruit-centered than old world wines that are noticeably more nuanced (for example, the Pinots from the Burgundy region of ‘France).

Tasting Notes: Dark garnet color. The aroma of sweet, fully ripe black cherries. Evokes a memory of “… sitting on the back porch on a beautiful July day pitting ripe cherries … smelling the bowl of slightly crushed ripe cherries next to you … the juices running down your fingers and hands.” And the wonderful smells of baking cherry cobbler wafting from the kitchen. It’s amazing the imagery that a great wine can conjure up. Wow!

This wine, with its full flavored, fruit forward taste is a perfect example of a New World Pinot Noir, decidedly different from the earthy, slightly acidic, nuanced Old World Pinot Noir such as those from the Burgundy region in France. And cherry aromas and flavors are prevalent throughout New World Pinots from New Zealand, Australia and other non-European countries.

Other Wines That Pair Well with Chicken Chasseur: Red or White Burgundy (France), Chardonnay (California), Chianti Classico (Italy)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Pinot Noir: Cheese (Brie, Camembert, Gruyere), Roast Pheasant or Other Game Birds, Salmon, Rabbit

View the Beautiful Russian River Valley Region: Russian River

A Source: www.wine.com

Fresh Fettuccine and Wild Mushrooms … Perfect with Barbera d’Asti

Pairing: Homemade Fettuccine al Funghi Paired with a 2016 Michele Chiario Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza Cipressi 

Food:  OMG!! There are some meals (food and wine together) that transcend even our highest expectations. This dish is one that falls in with that august company.

We are very fortunate indeed to live in a region where several different edible wild mushrooms grow in convenient, accessible places to us. Woodlands with mature oak and spruce growth, old apple orchards, open verge, even our lawn. Years ago we participated in a number of mushroom identification workshops led by very experienced mycologists. Even though we have several years of mushroom gathering under our belts, we still exercise caution when we’re out on a mushroom hunt, double checking for the telltale signs of familiar safe mushrooms, as well as signs identifying unsafe (aka, poisonous) ones. As the saying goes, “There are old mushroom hunters … there are bold mushroom hunters … but … there are no old, bold mushroom hunters.”

King Boletes and Bicolor Boletes are among our favorites and are the focus of this dish. Boletes are sliced, sautéed in butter, then add a little heavy cream and mascarpone cheese with some of the pasta cooking water. Stir in the cooked pasta with the mushrooms and sauce. Interestingly, the addition of cream in the recipe tells us it’s from northern Italy. Because of that, fresh pasta is better than dry pasta. And, the accompanying Barbera wine is also from northern Italy. What synergy!

Note:  The fresh pasta is just a simple combination of a cup each of all-purpose flour and semolina mixed with an egg and kneaded. The resulting dough is then cranked through a pasta machine, or cut by hand. Place in boiling, salted water. Fresh pasta cooks much faster than dried pasta.

Pasta and Cepes

Wine:  Barbera d’Asti is a subregion of the famed Piedmont wine region of northwestern Italy. Records show that Barbera, native to the Piedmont area, goes back to at least the early 1600’s. It boasts a world-wide popularity  among wine drinkers and pairs beautifully with many classic Italian dishes, most notably, perhaps, pizza. Barbera d’Asti, not surprisingly, comes from the extensive acreage planted in the hills surrounding the town of Asti. It’s sister wine (so to speak), Barbera d’Alba, hails from the vineyards near Alba, to the northeast of Asti. The Nizza Cipressi area creates its own unique territorial identity within Barbera d’Asti.

Barbera d'Asti

Tasting Notes: A deep, deep maroon color. Almost black. Aromas of blackberry and blueberry with hints of sweet caramel, brown sugar and vanilla. The palate builds on the themes of blackberry, blueberry, caramel, and vanilla. Velvety and lush with slightly dusty, but perfectly soft tannins. Coats every corner of your mouth as the finish goes on and on. A nice mature wine, but with the youthful qualities of fresh berries. The stars aligned in this absolutely perfect pairing with the wild mushroom pasta.

Other Wines That Pair Well with Pasta and Wild Mushrooms: Pinot Noir (Oregon), Pomerol (Bordeaux, France), Barolo (Italy), Rioja (Spain)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Barbera d’Asti:  Pizza, Pasta with Tomato Sauce, Grilled Chicken, Lamb, and Pork, Mushroom Risotto

More About Asti:  Asti

A Source:  www.wine.com

Chicken a la Goudaliere … Paired with a California “Wild Horse” Pinot Noir

Pairing: Chicken Breasts with Pine Nuts, Cèpes and Ham Goudalière Paired with a 2013 Wild Horse Cheval Sauvage Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley) 

Food:  Boletus edulis is widely viewed as one of the best tasting wild mushrooms anywhere, and can be found throughout North America, Europe and Asia. In Italy it is known as porcini, while in France and elsewhere, they are called cèpes. Dried versions of these mushrooms are available in most supermarkets these days, and reconstituted can work beautifully in most recipes. But having them fresh … well, they are truly amazing. Come September, we can stroll out our front door and pick an abundance of cèpes (or King Boletes as they are known here in New England) growing under an old oak tree. Caution: some wild mushrooms are very toxic, so it’s really important to work with experienced mushroom hunters to learn how to identify safe, edible fungi.

The recipe for this chicken dish comes from Paula Wolfret in her outstanding cookbook, The Cooking of South West France. It is made with such signature regional ingredients as pine nuts, duck fat, Bayonne ham, and Cognac. The recipe is here.

Chicken with Cepes and Ham

Wine:  Wild Horse Winery is located in the Central Coast wine growing region of California. The vineyards that produce their Pinot Noir wines are found in the Santa Maria Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area). The cool, maritime conditions that heavily influence this valley, plus the east-west orientation of the valley, create one of the longest growing seasons anywhere. These climatic conditions are ideal for growing Pinot Noir grapes, a finicky grape to say the least. The results are world-class wines.

Wild Horse Pinot Noir

Tasting Notes: Pinot Noir is a well-considered companion for this dish being an excellent pairing for each the key ingredients to the meal … chicken, mushrooms, duck, and ham.

The color is a pale garnet with a nice brownish tinge. Black cherry, leather and earth all combine in a delightful aroma. The cherry flavor that dominates the palate reminds one of the smells (yes, I know we’re talking about flavor here) in the kitchen while in the process of making cherry jam. While cooking down the fruit with its juice and sugar, the taste is more like fresh fruit before it cooks down to the final jelly stage. This wine captures that moment of flavor while still in the fresh fruit state just before it moves into that cooked state. Transformative.

Other Wines That Pair Well with Chicken with Cèpes And Ham:  Red Burgundy (France), Chardonnay (California), Red Bordeaux (France), Barolo (Italy)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Pinot Noir:  Roast Duck, Grilled Salmon, Soft Cheeses (Brie, Camembert, etc.), Pork

Maps and Views of Santa Maria Valley Wine Region:  Santa Maria Valley

A Source:  www.klwines.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pasta with Chicken and Mushrooms … Paired with an Australian Grenache

Pairing:  Pasta with Chicken and Mushrooms Paired with a 2008 Clarendon Hills Kangarilla Grenache

Food:  A simple dish made with whatever type or shape of pasta you like (we’re using gemelli here), whatever mushrooms you enjoy (we’ve got an assortment of sautéed wild mushrooms), cooked chicken meat, a béchamel sauce, and some grated parmesan cheese. We’ve served the dish with cool, sliced cucumber, and a handful of fresh cherries.

A word about wild mushrooms:  Many markets are now starting to sell cultivated “wild” mushrooms (seems like a contradiction of terms). They are quite delicious. If you are feeling adventuresome, you may have an inkling to go off into the wild and forage for wild, edible mushrooms. My advice … DON’T! Don’t unless you are going with a reliable, experienced, knowledgeable companion who knows what to look for and can distinguish between the delicious and the deadly.

Pasta With Chicken and Mushrooms

Wine:  This Clarendon Hills ‘Kangarilla’ Grenache hails from the beautiful McLaren Vale wine region in South Australia. Vineyards were first planted in the McLaren Vale in the early 1800’s. Today wine from this region is considered to be among the best in all of Australia.  Grenache (Garnacha in Spain) grapes are perhaps best known for being one of the three principal grapes used in the iconic French wine, Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Throughout southern France, Australia, and California, Grenache is used in the making of GSM’s (Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre), a very popular blended wine. However, in Spain and more and more in Australia, Grenache is grown to make wonderful single varietal wines. And Clarendon Hills makes one of the best. By the way … What is a kangarilla? A cross between a kangaroo and a gorilla??? Hey, Siri …

Clarendon Hills Grenache

Tasting Notes:  Wow … a very special wine. The color is garnet red like the color of bing cherries. Aroma of cherry pie with a shortbread crust, warm and fresh out of the oven. Absolutely amazing! On the palate one gets a hint of earthiness and leather combined with the cherry flavor resulting in a cherry fruit leather taste. Some raspberry overtones play out in the latter stages of the tasting experience with cherry and raspberry lingering through the long finish. The mushrooms help bring out the earthiness in the wine and the fresh cherries served with the pasta … well, you can guess that they help advance the already cherry presence in the Grenache. A great wine … a great pairing!

Other Wines That Pair Well with Pasta, Chicken and Mushrooms:  Pinot Noir (New Zealand), Red or White Burgundy (France), Cote du Rhone (France), Chardonnay (California)

Other Foods That Pair Well with Grenache:  Grilled Lamb or Chicken, Sausage, Turkey, Eggplant

See Photos:  mclaren vale

A Source:  www.wine.com