wine pairings

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I am afraid by saying it out loud that I am going to jinx it, but patio season feels like it may have arrived in Boston. . . fingers crossed that it stays! I have been longing for warm evenings outside on our patio and on the boat, and I recently tried a couple of wine samples that are the perfect additions to the season.

Patio wines should be easy to drink all by themselves, paired with sundresses and flip flops, but also delicious with summery foods.

Mas Janeil Hauts de Janeil Syrah Rosé 2015

Patio season obviously means copious quantities of rosé, and  Mas Janeil Hauts de Janeil Syrah Rosé 2015 from Languedoc-Roussillon is simply delicious. This blend of Syrah and Grenache is bursting with fresh berry notes and offers a beautiful ballet slipper hue. It really brings the acid that both refreshes and adds to a meal, especially one that is prepared on the grill. This wine would be perfect with grilled shrimp but also has enough personality to pair with grilled chicken, veggies, and even steak, because it’s summer, and everything is just better.

grilling

Food on the grill and summer wines basically equal heaven for me.

Dopff & Irion Crustacés 2014, If you’re looking for the perfect seafood white wine, look no further than Alsace.

Dopff & Irion Crustacés 2014

Now, I am not one to judge a wine by its label, but come on. . . this is the perfect addition to your summer clambake! This blend of Sylvaner and Pinot Blanc is light and mineral-forward, with hints of apricot and a bit of acidity. The label may make it part of the decor, but what’s inside makes it a perfect pairing with shellfish (Add a splash from your glass to your steamed clams!) and other seafood, including a hot buttered lobster roll, of course.

 

steamers

 

Both of these wines were provided as review samples; all opinions are my own.

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Tags: rose, Rosé season, seafood, wine, wine pairings, Wine Wednesday

If you missed part one of our Savor Healdsburg Food Tour, you can check it out here.

After SHED, we headed to the Williamson Wines tasting room on the Healdsburg Plaza. We had tasted here before, but I was excited to sit down and taste wine with our fun group. I always love tasting wine with new people; it’s fun to discuss what we get from the wines as well as likes and dislikes.

What I love most about the Williamson tasting room is that they have a food and wine pairing experience. Each wine is paired with a little bite, which you are meant to try alone and again with the wine to see how the flavors are brought out in each. It’s really fun, like a little food and wine pairing light bulb goes off with each taste.

Williamson Wines

In total, we did six food and wine pairings at Williamson, and while I loved them all and could write about them all, I’ll share the highlights to hopefully keep your interest. Smile  Maybe I should start doing wine tasting “outtakes” to include those I loved but didn’t feature? Blog writing for days!

A few Williamson Wines pairing favorites:

Chantilly Chardonnay with a Mango Stilton Cheese – the gentle butterscotch notes and lemon meringue-y notes in the wine were great on their own. The fruit in the cheese brought out more fruit notes in the wine, and as with all the cheeses, a little saltiness made for a memorable (in a good way) contrast.

Enchant Trinity GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) – The wine is fruit and spice and luxurious texture, a fireplace wine for sure. It was paired with pure heaven: Dubliner Irish Cheddar, Balsamic Garlic Jam, and Truffle Salt. How good does that sound?! The spices in the wine and the earthiness of the little snack were perfection. This wine is recommended for big dishes like pot roast and short ribs, which I plan on mastering this winter.

Seduce Cabernet Sauvignon – This Dry Creek Valley Cab is fruitier than its Napa Valley counterpart and lacks those sometimes over-the-top mouth-drying tannins. The pairing was a piece of Dubliner topped with blue cheese, pecan, and honey. Since the wine had such nice fruit, the nuttiness and saltiness of the blue cheese was a tasty contrast, and the honey brought out the natural juiciness of the fruit. Yum.

wine and food pairing

We didn’t want to leave Williamson; it’s a great, comfortable tasting room on Healdsburg Plaza, well worth a visit. It turned out to be a good thing that we moved on though, as our next stop may be my new favorite Healdsburg restaurant.

 

Bravas Healdsburg

Bravas Bar de Tapas is so much fun. They have a gorgeous outdoor seating area and bar and space for making huge pans of paella. We kicked our time at Bravas off with their white sangria; it was well into the 90’s, and this drink was pure refreshment. I loved the little hint of bitter from the grapefruit!

At Bravas things got even more festive! We shared plates of Cider Braised Chorizo and Padron Peppers, a Watermelon and Tomato Salad, and a Tostada with Onions, Raisins, Goat Cheese, and Balsamic, which is basically the best thing ever. Crunchy, salty, creamy, sweet, this tapa had us all swooning. Everything was so delicious, and the California sun did not hurt! I can already tell each Healdsburg visit will include time at Bravas.

Bravas Healdsburg

Bravas Healdsburg

Our final stop was Moustache Baked Goods for our choice of a sweet treat to end the food tour. We were all stuffed from the goodness we got to try throughout the afternoon, and I think every last one of us got dessert to go.

meyer lemon cupcakes

maple spice and bacon cupcakes

Moustache Baked Goods

I decided to go with the Dry Creek Peach because I love the Dry Creek Valley, and the peaches were in season and perfection. The cupcake was pretty amazing and left me wishing we had left with a box. This is another place I will visit again.

I love how this food tour opened our eyes to so many Healdsburg businesses we hadn’t met before. Savor Healdsburg Food Tours offers a couple of different options, and I will be taking the other tour on our next trip.

Many thanks to Tammy for hosting us and making our day so delicious and special!

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Tags: Bakeries, Caliornia, Dry Creek Valley, Food, food tour, Healdsburg, Healdsburg food tour, Restaurants, Sonoma, Sonoma County, Tasting Room, wine country, wine pairings, wine tasting, winery

Post 390 is one of those places I keep meaning to visit. I had dinner there when they very first opened and have been in for drinks, but every time I try to go in for dinner, they are completely packed. It turns out, there’s a very good reason for that.

Wednesday night I had the delicious opportunity to attend the kickoff dinner for Post 390’s latest Farm to Post series, this time around featuring 5Spoke Creamery, raw milk cheese makers from Goshen, New York.

As I always do, I arrived early, which gave me time to photograph the beautifully set table. An upstairs private room was set up for our group, and the table featured floral arrangements mixed with cheese. One of the arrangements was inside of a basket made of baguettes.

Post 390

While I took photos, I was offered a Provencal Gimlet, a refreshing cocktail made of fennel-infused vodka,thyme, basil, lime, and lavender syrup over ice. Wow.

The Post 390 cocktail menu is creative and exciting, and this Provencal Gimlet was absolutely delicious. I loved the hint of lavender along with the herbs.

Provencal Gimlet

Before we all sat down, introductions were made, and we snacked on some incredible appetizers made with 5Spoke cheeses. These included griddled Tumbleweed Cheese and Ham Salad “Tacos” and Redman Cheddar-Pecan Shortbread with Apple Butter. I definitely want to make a cheddar shortbread sometime soon; it was the perfect vehicle for apple butter!

The owners and cheese makers at 5Spoke, Alan and Barbara Glustoff are delightful, and they have quite the interesting backgrounds. Cheese has always been an interest and passion of Alan’s, but his background is in food science. Barbara has a background in advertising. Now that their children are in college, they’ve taken on this exciting new venture, renovating a farm outside of New York City for their 35 Holstein cows. The farm will include a farm museum along with their farmhouse, which is over 100 years old.

Once we were seated, we devoured several courses, all paired perfectly with wine.

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{Cauliflower and 5Spoke Heritage Cheese Soup, Brambly Farm Pork and Apple Croquette – paired with Godello, Rafael Palacios, Louro, Valdeorras Spain, 2011}

The soup was velvety and warm with the perfect hint of cheese flavor. The pork and apple went very nicely with it and added a hearty element to the soup course.

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{Roasted Monkfish, Foraged Mushroom-Talcott Gratin, Lobster Demi Glace – Paired with Chenin Blanc, Marc Bredif, Vouvray, Loire, France 2010}

I have been loving Vouvray since the Hooray for Vouvray panel I participated on, and Post 390 could not have chosen a better wine for the flaky yet meaty monkfish and rich gratin.

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{Rabbit and Welsh Cheddar Tamale, Ensalada de Pimientos – Paired with Brut Rose Cava, Anna de Codorniu, Spain NV}

First of all, we were served bubbly in the middle of the meal. What’s not to love? The crisp, light bubbles paired deliciously with the tamale and even better with the citrusy pepper salad. It was so fresh and perfect for refreshing the palate before the main course.

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{Herb Roasted Veal and Sweetbreads, Orecchiette with Broccoli and Crawford Cloth Bound Cheddar Cheese – Paired with Barbera d’Alba, Sottimano, Pairolero, Italy 2009}

Wow. There was so much going on in this dish, but it came together and was wrapped up with a nice little bow of Barbera. :) Orecchiette with the 5Spoke Crawford Cloth Bound Cheddar should be the new macaroni and cheese everywhere. Between that and the meat and the juices on my plate, my palate was in pure heaven. Talk about a perfect dish for a day that started with snow.

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{Welsh Cheddar Bavarian, Honey Apricots and Cinnamon Phyllo Crunch – Paired with Royal Tokaji, Mad Cuvee Late Harvest, Hungary, 2009}

I don’t know how we did it, but we even ate dessert. I adore desserts that incorporate cheese, and this one was simple and outstanding. I only wish I could have finished it. The team at Post 390 definitely deserved a round of applause for this meal.

This meal was definitely a treat, and I love what Post 390 is doing with its Farm to Post menus. The Post 390 team gets to see the highlighted ingredient/s right where they are produced and learn the stories of the producers, making a true farm-to-table relationship. The support for small farmers and producers is certainly evident in Post 390’s menu. In these times when, I think, small business can change our futures, it’s great to see a high-profile restaurant paying such attention to where their ingredients come from.

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Tags: Boston, cheese, cocktails, creamery, Dining out, dinner, events, farm to table, Post 390, wine, wine pairings

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