Some wines make us gush. Some foods make us sing. And when the exact right combination of wine and foods comes along, it's not hard to go full-on operatic. When Carl and I tasted the just-released 2019 Cadenza Vineyards Albariño with dinner foods specially chosen to make its acquaintance, it was one of the best matches we'd tried in quite a while. Cue the aria...
In a blog post from late September, I recorded a couple of notes about the grape's history here in our Cadenza Vineyard. We also surmised that "It should pair wonderfully with light seafood dishes including shrimp and scallops." Well, now that the wine is ready for the dinner table, I decided to put that prognostication to the test.
For dinner, I made Fettuccini Alfredo, one of the easiest and most delightful pasta dishes in my repertoire. If I'm using fresh pasta, the entire preparation of the dish (including grating the Parmesan) takes only about a total of ten minutes.
To grace the bed of pasta, I also cooked shrimp and scallops in butter (laced with smashed garlic cloves) and finished them with a spritz of lemon and a bit of fresh dill.
All that remained to prepare was the spinach salad, with a fresh lemon-based vinaigrette, and a bottle of our lightly chilled Albariño.
Wow. The dinner foods and wine met each other so seamlessly that Carl called the pairing "ridiculous." When sipping the wine, the edge of bright citrus is first evident, but then it combines in tone and texture with the cream, pasta, and sweet seafoods. The wine and food integrated not just in flavor but also in a textual way, silky and delightful.
This new (to Cadenza Vineyards) style of white wine is a real joy for foodies. Both the big dash of Viognier and its treatment in neutral oak barrels in the cellar make it more than a one-note wine. It was certainly fun to welcome it onto our table, and I'll look forward to inviting it again soon.
Cheers! The 2019 Allegro Petit Verdot has arrived!
Back in mid-September I wrote a post about this grape's growing potential at our vineyards in The Brogue and Stewartstown. As the 2020 wines now sit, full of potential in their fine oak barrels, the 2019s are starting to appear in Allegro's tasting rooms.
Our 2019 PV was grown in what was then called Martha Clara Vineyards (now RGNY), a beautiful site on Long Island's North Fork. The fruit was wonderfully ripe, and the wine is well balanced between bright fruit, acidity, and body.
Traditionally, recommended Petit Verdot food pairings include dishes which are quite bold and rich, including beef and lamb. With our first bottle of the 2019, I made a family favorite one-pot recipe in our instant pot: Pulled Pork with Biscuits. The rich and tangy barbecue flavor met up nicely with the acidity in the wine, and the flavors definitely complemented each other as well.
As colder weather eventually begins coming our way, there's not much I enjoy more than planning for lots of opportunities to enjoy bold red wines, alone and with all kinds of satisfying foods. A red wine night tends to be a good one.
Well, yes--sometimes I do have this. (Cue Tommy Shaw: "I've got too much...") As I write this, the election results are still pending, ballots are still being counted, and we're being asked to go against our American nature and be, of all things, patient. What to do, when we're tired of waiting? Well, sometimes I just start chopping.
My huge boxes of fruits, veggies, and herbs from my CSA (Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative) have stopped coming, as of this week, now that the summer season has ended. Thanks to their generosity, however, the veggie drawers in my fridge have still been overflowing from the bounty of the past few weeks. Sometimes our meals focus on just one veggie or two, but on other days I just pile up a huge variety, turn on some loud tunes, and get out the big knife.
One of our favorite fall veggie feasts is a supper of roasted vegetables. Roasting is so easy and so rewarding. I just turn on the oven to 400 degrees, rub a variety of chopped vegetables with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper, and get everything (including sprigs of fresh herbs and smashed garlic cloves) roasting in shallow layers. I check on them every ten minutes or so, stirring things up, and usually everything is done within about 30-40 minutes. We eat the veggies in large bowls, piled on top of buttered pasta.
This week, our roasted veggie night included an incredible array of colorful root vegetables, including Chioggia (candy cane-colored) beets, watermelon radishes, and sweet potatoes.
Our wine of choice with this roasted bounty was Allegro's 2019 Steel Chardonnay. This light and fruity wine (with no oak to clash with the veggies' natural roasted sweetness) was just right.
Tuesday night found me in the warm and welcoming home of my friend Tracie, social distancing but enjoying time together while the polls across the nation began to close. Part of what made being there so instantly wonderful was the smell of the stew on the stove: Bigos (Polish-style hunter's stew, complete with big hunks of carrot, potato, and bacon).
I was so inspired by Tracie's stew that yesterday afternoon, waiting, with--well, yeah--still too much thyme, etc., I decided to keep the stew train rolling, and I got to work making one of my own.
Chopping everything for my hearty Vegetable Stew took almost an hour, but I wasn't in any hurry. Round one of chopping included the onions, carrots, peppers, and celery. Round two was all the fresh herbs I could find, plus garlic. Then came the potatoes and cabbage. Once everything--including barley, red wine, and tomatoes--was together in the pot, there was still a good hour and a half until supper, plenty of time for the house to become scented with goodness and for me to make a fun batch of "Fluffy Cathead Biscuits" and get them in the oven.
We tried both Allegro's 2017 Merlot (some of which I had already stirred into the stew) and our 2019 Dry Rosé with dinner, and actually ended up preferring the Rosé. Again, the vegetables' inherent sweetness came through in the stew's flavor, and the fruity wine paired well.
While I undertook these culinary tasks, the world didn't change much. No presidents were announced; no world-views changed. But I did. Mindfulness of good food, of good work, is good for me, no matter how much I am asked to wait or worry. The warmth and scents of home cooking make our homes welcoming places. Food and wine bring us together, and will always bring us together, no matter what.