We recently launched several new wine clubs designed with our clients in mind. They are not your typical monthly wine clubs featuring mass producing wineries and costing $30/month. With those wine clubs….how can we say this nicely…well, you get what you pay for. Our wine clubs feature rare and boutique wines from established producers and rising superstars (most not available in stores) so you are always on the cutting edge of what’s new in wine.
Do you like wines from around the world? We have a club for that. Are you a self-proclaimed wine “connoisseur”? We have a club for that. Do you have a favorite grape? Sauvignon Blanc? Pinot Noir? Cabernet? We have a club for all of those. Ok, I’m done impersonating the verizon wireless commerical – I promise.
Another benefit of the wine clubs are custom designed wine clubs from yours truly. If you’ve read “Cooked” before and wanted to try one of my food and wine pairings, but didn’t have the wine – well now you don’t have an excuse! Join one of our clubs! This will be one of the only times that I am sharing the recipes with everyone on the blog. That’s right, they’re a secret, meant only for those in the wine clubs.
Chicken Paprikash Crostini. Pair with Beaux Freres ‘Les Cousins’ Pinot Noir 2009
Chicken Paprikash is a traditional Hungarian dish — chicken breasts cooked with onions, red peppers and lots of paprika; usually served with buttered noodles. Pinot Noir is so easy going and therefore easy to pair with wines. It is elevated with chicken and great with spice – making paprikash a perfect match. It is also great for appetizers and that is why we are turning paprikash into a small bite!
Makes 4 appetizer servings
4 chicken breasts, sliced thin, on an angle
½ baguette, sliced thin, on an angle
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
1 clove garlic, grated
Juice from ½ lemon
1 red pepper, sliced thin
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Brush baguette slices with 1 tablespoon olive oil (split among slices). Place on preheated grill pan, about 3 minutes per side, just until you see some color.
Season chicken slices with salt and pepper. Add to a preheated pan over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook 1-2 minutes per side, set aside. Add red pepper slices to pan and cook 1-2 minutes until softened.
Aioli: Combine mayonnaise, smoked paprika, paprika, salt, garlic and lemon in a small bowl.
Generously spread aioli over baguette slices. Top with chicken and red peppers.
I must admit, I have been a little obsessed with baking my own pizzas lately. The refrigerated section of the grocery store makes it so easy for you! The pre-made crusts are delicious and inexpensive. Since my short rib flatbread recipe was such a big hit, the Baron des Chartrons Bordeaux 2009 caught my attention as my next great pizza-pairing wine.
What makes the Baron des Chartrons great for pizza is the blend of Cabernet and Merlot. The balance of tannins lets you be creative with pizza toppings. You don’t have to stick with an acidic red sauce, or limit yourself to a white pizza – you can do both! And that is exactly what I did with roasted tomatoes and fresh ricotta. I am also a big fan of red wines that pair with chicken. I try to keep my weeknight menus relatively healthy, straying from red meats, but I am also a girl who likes to have a glass of wine with dinner. This wine let’s be have the best of both worlds! (And PS, this pizza is great cold the next day J)
1 lb chicken sausage (your choice of flavors, I used a Roasted Garlic
½ cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
2 large tomatoes, sliced into ½ inch pieces
1 package store bought pizza dough, thin crust
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons each garlic powder, dried oregano
Salt and pepper
¼ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 lb fresh ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon finely diced fresh chives
Mix chicken sausage and breadcrumbs in a large bowl until well combined. Start forming into small meatballs. Add more breadcrumbs if needed, but you only want enough to keep the meatballs together and not dry them out. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place tomato slices on a cooling rack, on top of a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes until soft in the center and crisp around the edges.
Stretch pizza dough to fit into a baking sheet, leaving a small crust on each edge. Brush with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with seasonings,
salt and pepper. Bake for 7 minutes until lightly brown.
While crust is baking, brown meatballs in a non-stick skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Top pre-baked crust with meatballs, tomatoes and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake for 5 minutes until meatballs and crust are finished cooking.
Remove crust from oven. Using a small ice cream scoop, add dollops of ricotta to pizza. Place back in oven and turn off heat. Let sit for 5 minutes in the oven to warm through the ricotta, without cooking it.
Remove from oven, top with chives and serve!
With the debut of our new (and might I add fabulous) section, Cooked, I thought it would be appropriate to post a few wine and food pairing basics. While we don’t all have time to spend crafting our meals to a particular wine (which is why Cooked is only posted once a week), a few simple tips can take any meal to wine pairing stardom.
1. The key is balance.
Balance is probably the best word to describe any good wine OR wine and food pairing. Imagine your dish, will your tomato base sauce overwhelm your Sauvignon Blanc…probably. So don’t pair a light white with it. Food and wine should match each other in terms of body and acidity. Reach for a medium to heavy bodied red instead, say a Chianti?
2. Never, ever pair oil with tannin.
A great example of this is serving a food bodied Napa Valley Cabernet with Salmon, it just doesn’t work. Again the two elements are out of balance.
3. Sweet and spicy.
I know this goes against my whole balance concept, but hey it works. The sweetness in wines (i.e. Riesling, Gewürztraminer) balances spice in most dishes and pairs perfectly with Asian flavors.
4. Think flavors, not protein.
Most pairing descriptions go something like this…”Best served with poultry and pork.” It’s a good start, but very wide open. I like to tell people to think more in terms of flavor. Pork may be great with Pinot Noir but if you sear it with a black pepper crust, the food flavors will pummel the delicious and fragile flavors of the wine. Instead of focusing on the type of protein you are serving with the wine, focus on any sauces and herbs that will be the star of the dish.
5. If all else fails, serve Pinot Noir.
It’s the most food friendly wine out there, most likely it will serve as a great compliment to your meal.
You can find our food and wine pairing section, Cooked, here every Wednesday. Cooked is written by Jackie Poole, Decanted’s Marketing & E-Commerce Manager (and my sister). She has been into food and crafting custom recipes for as long as I can remember, although I did not inherit any of that talent!
I stay in the same box all the time: chardonnay, cabernet and occasionally get crazy with some pinot noir. But lately for some reason all I want to drink is zinfandel. It’s so god damn good! And no, it doesn’t matter that we’re heading into the unbearable hot summer in Florida. Apparently zin pairs perfectly with humidity.
Last Wednesday was my blue collar day. A full day of manual labor, I packed and shipped around 125 cases of wine. At the end of the day most people crave a beer…all I wanted way a cheeseburger and a glass of zinfandel. Maybe it stems from my recent memory of heavy wine and burgers. About a month or so ago, a friend suggested a bottle of 1997 Guigal La Tourque with a Five Guys, not your typical pairing but I was up for it. Turned out to be both a brilliant and delicious idea.
Unfortunately, since then I haven’t been able to replicate that bottle of Guigal but have found that zinfandel pairs equally as well with burgers (Five Guys or not). Some recent finds include Martinelli Giuseppe and Luisa and for those ‘everyday drinking’ bottles Klinker Brick. So for me, put those summer whites and roses away. Just hand me a big, bold, kick you in the teeth wine and a juicy burger and I’m all set.