wine and food pairing

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My love affair with Vermentino continues, thanks to recent Sardinian wine events. A while back, there was a day on a boat with Santa Maria La Palma tasting some absolutely beautiful Sardinian wines. A few weeks later, I had the pleasure of a delicious wine lunch with Vigne Surrau at Select Oyster Bar, cementing my desire to wander around Sardinia on our trip to Italy this coming summer. We have a wedding in Tuscany in July and are hoping to tack on another destination. We’ve both done Rome, Florence, Pisa, Venice, and the beautiful Le Marche and Abruzzo regions (BEST wine tasting day ever), so Sardinia is looking like a real possibility.

Okay, enough of our travels for now.

Back to the wine. . . Vigne Surrau wine lunch Warm and charming hosts from Vigne Surrau welcomed us into a cozy space in the back of Select Oyster Bar, wine and information awaiting our arrival. Learning about where wine is grown is always fascinating to me, especially when it is on an island like Sardinia, and all of the conditions of the island affect the grapes. Surrau’s vineyards are in Gallura in the northern part of Sardinia, and they are directly affected by the Mistral wind and the granite earth and clay where they grow. Their website says “Nature imitates art and man pick it”, a concept I found so beautiful as the wines truly were works of art created by nature.

Sardinia is home to incredible Vermentino, and that’s what we started our lunch with.

BRANU Vermentino di Gallura D.O.C.G.2015

Lemony and with a great, food-friendly acidity and freshness, this wine’s stainless steel fermentation means that the flavors are not influenced by oak or anything else. This wine was like sunshine and a day at the beach, but has enough body to be a winter white, we all agreed.

SCIALA Vermentino di Gallura D.O.C.G. 2015

This wine is a blend of the best Vermentino and aged on its lees, making it feel like a more substantial wine. Less lemon and more pineapple/mango/minerals than the BRANU.

Sardinian wine

 

 

select oyster bar

While we learned about Vigne Surrau, we also indulged in perfect pairings of the seafood that Select Oyster Bar is known for. Heavenly salmon crudo and Vermentino are quite possibly the perfect pairing. This menu was clearly planned keeping both the food and wine in mind.

salmon crudo

 Vermentino

As we moved onto our second course and the red wine, I deviated from the seafood menu because there was AVOCADO TOAST. I’m sorry, but I just can’t say no to that. Last sips of Vermentino cut through the creamy fattiness of the avocado and brightened it up in the best way, while my first sips of Cannonau added a bit of spice to the pairing.

avocado toast

As I mentioned in my last post on Sardinian wines, Cannonau makes for a beautiful, light red that can be enjoyed year-round. We compared the SINCARU and the Riserva, two different vintages, and noted similarities and differences. As simplistic as it sounds, both were just so delicious. The Riserva is aged in Slovenian oak which gives it a fuller body and richer texture, and I also noticed a slight hint of saline or minerals on this wine. Truth be told, the 2014 was my favorite of the two because of the spicy notes. . . I could see it being perfect for a casual pizza night in front of the fire.

SINCARU Cannonau di Sardegna D.O.C. 2014
SINCARU RESERVE Cannonau di Sardegna D.O.C. Riserva 2013

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vigne surrauFor the final course and wine, I went back to seafood, a steaming bowl of clams with chorizo, I think the key component of pairing with the wine.

BARRIU I.G.T. Isola dei Nuraghi 2013

This blend of Cannonau, Syrah, Carignan, and Cabernet Sauvignon was big and bold, notes of baking spices and pepper along with stewed fruit. It was so cozy, and while you might not think a red would go with clams, the flavors in the broth along with the salinity of the clams really worked with the wine’s beautiful characteristics.

sauteed clams  

This wine lunch was a delicious and educational way to spend an afternoon. Thank you to Vigne Surrau for hosting me!

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Tags: Boston, events, Sardinia, sardinian wine, seafood, wine, wine and food pairing, wine blog, wine events, wine tasting

Last Saturday we attended the Boston Wine Expo with press tickets generously provided by the Expo. It had been several years since I had attended; I typically go out of town for the long weekend and was glad to be able to browse and do some wine tasting this year!

Boston Wine Expo

The Expo is loved by many because of the enormous number of vendors. It’s a great place to discover new foods, wines, and other products to fall in love with, but it is also overwhelming at times! As soon as we walked in, I was looking every which way, trying to decide where to taste first. It really is best to go into a wine expo with a plan on what tables you want to visit most.

We snaked our way through the aisles of tables, and below are just a few of the highlights of my experience.

Truchard ChardonnayTruchard Chardonnay – I loved this wine for its hint of oak and citrus, and I loved even more that the winery owners were pouring it themselves. They were so sweet, and I have their card in hand for my next trip to Napa.

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Barolo is hard to pass up!

 

Chamisal Vineyards Chardonnay

Unoaked Chardonnay is often a go-to summer wine for us; Chardonnay haters still often love it! I enjoyed this one from Chamisal Vineyards and it was a good reminder I want to explore the Central Coast of California and its wine. So many wine regions, not enough time!

Anna Codorniu

While expanding my wine knowledge and palate is important to me, so are bubbles. I always seek out the bubbly at events, and I loved these Anna Codorniu minis. How cute are they?

Gloria Ferrer is a must-visit when we are in Sonoma County, and of course we stopped by the table for a tasting. The winemaker often attends these events, and it makes all the difference. I love Gloria Ferrer wines, I love their property in Sonoma County, and they win me over every time.

Gloria Ferrer

There were many tables representing various regions of Italy, and I tried some Prosecco that I liked; I am not always a fan of Prosecco as I often find it to be too sweet or to have a fake pear flavor that I don’t love.

prosecco minis This table had a mix of Cava and Prosecco from Premier Estates, and I preferred the Cava, though could definitely see how a fan of sweeter wines would like the Prosecco.

prosecco

I stopped by to meet the people behind VinoVersal wine club, which I will be reviewing soon. It was great to meet them and to try some of the wines from my wine club review box, all delicious and from Salento, a region of Italy I know nothing about!

VinoVersal Wine Club

wines from Marche

I also loved this table, featuring wines from Marche. We have family in Marche (read about their amazing home here), and the region has great wine and sentimental value to me!

One of the downfalls of the wine expo experience, which I often find with big wine events, is that many of the people pouring either weren’t very knowledgeable or not very interested in the wines they were pouring. I get very excited and have lots of questions/love hearing wine stories, so my favorite tables are those with people really connected to the winery they represent.

Sugar Bob's Smoked Maple Syrup One thing I found impressive about the Boston Wine Expo was the huge amount of food offered. We ended up not needing lunch after all of the samples, and it helps to keep you in check when surrounded by wine!

My client, the Olive Connection sells this Sugar Bob’s Smoked Maple Syrup, and I stopped by to say hi and for a taste. It is smoky, sweet, and delicious, really great in cocktails!

smoked maple syrup

I also visited The Olive Table, another friend of the Olive Connection. They are doing an event together on March 23 in Brookline!

The Olive Table

We never miss a chance to eat Kerrygold cheese. We have all of these cheeses at home, but it’s always fun to chat with the Kerrygold rep and taste cheeses with wine samples. I love Kerrygold!

Kerrygold cheese

Montilio’s Bakery had an amazing array of sweets for when we had enough cheese and wine.

Montilio's  

I have been in love with Waterford Crystal probably since I first visited Waterford Ireland when I was a kid, and I just stared at these beautiful pieces, picturing them at my home, and realizing I would break them within a week. Still, they are pieces of art, and what makes a great wine even better than gorgeous Irish crystal?

Waterford Crystal

Overall I really enjoyed the Boston Wine Expo. There was so much to see and taste. I recommend getting there early and having a plan to get the most out of your experience. I look forward to next year’s Expo.

 

I received complimentary passes to the wine expo. All opinions are my own.

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Tags: Boston, Boston blogger, Boston Wine Expo, Food, foodie, wine, wine and food pairing, wine expo, wine tasting

65% Sonoma County, 35% Napa County = a little vacation for my palate. If you’re a long-time reader, you know that we try to visit Napa and Sonoma twice a year. Travel recaps can mostly be found here.

This year, due to visiting new places and traveling for weddings and the Chicago Marathon, we have no trips to Sonoma planned, and while I am a little sad about this, I know that a little piece of me can visit through old photos, great memories, and of course wine. This is one of the reasons I love wine; pouring a glass and breathing it in can transport you back to a place in time that’s warm and sunny and gorgeous.

 

Ghost Pines Cab Sauv

This Ghost Pines wine will forever make me think of colder climate memories; I enjoyed it recently at a dinner at my sister’s house, Sunday night in winter with the family all around. My mom made an incredible roast prime rib with coconut shrimp, baked potatoes, kale Caesar, and other veggie sides.

The wine is rich and spicy with jammy blackberry and cocoa notes to balance it out. It was great with the roast meat, complementing the slight saltiness of the marinade perfectly, but it would also be great with a warm berry pie. It drank nicely long into the night, its long and lovely finish the perfect winter warmer.

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Tags: Cabernet, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa, Sonoma, Travel, wine, wine and food pairing, wine tasting, Wine Wednesday

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