Food+Wine // Summer Salads

Summer Salads 2018_Salmon BLT_square_v2
Summer Salads & The Wines They Love!

Whether it’s the main meal or on the side, these salads are simple, fresh, easy to prepare …and oh so good, especially as the weather warms up! Here are some of my favs:

Summer Salads 2018_Cobb_square
Cobb Salad – When all the ingredients are fresh, is there anything better?? Especially if you’re a lover of blue cheese!! Because of the richness of the salad (bacon, avocado, blue cheese, etc), go with fuller bodied white even one with a little oak (Chateau du Grand Caumont Corbières Blanc) or a lighter-bodied Zin would also be nice. Try: Wish Wine Co. Zinfandel (North Coast, CA)

Greek Salad – When tomatoes are in high season (and not before!!), this salad is heaven. It’s light and crisp, so stick with a wine that’s the same: Chablis, Sancerre, or if you want something off the beaten path: Jacquères, a light white from Savoie in the French Alps.

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German Potato Salad – Boring when it’s flat but get some good acidity in there (i.e. vinegar!!) and it’s zingy and crunchy and salty and delicious! With a brat on the side or without… enjoy with Alsatian Riesling or Pinot Gris, (we recommend small producer: Domaine Moltès) both are round with a slightly sweet middle and refreshing acidity on the finish.

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Waldorf Salad – So underrated!! It’s that grape (sweet), celery (vegetal), walnut (nutty) combo that so yummy. Enjoy with Vinho Verde or Prosecco! Both are light, citrusy fruit with effervescence.

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Shrimp Salad – Lemon and dill are key, but the richness of the shrimp shouldn’t be overlooked when pairing. Go with an unoaked Chardonnay or off the beaten path: Falanghina!

Grilled Corn Salad – Don’t forget the cilantro! Pair with a lightly oaked Chardonnay (we like: organic producer Bodegas Langa) or a fuller-bodied rosé: Ozilhan Réservé Côtes du Rhône Rosé

Summer Salads 2018_Caprese_square
Caprese Salad – Again, fresh ingredients is key, so wait until those heirloom tomatoes are at their peak, then get some fresh mozzarella, some freshly plucked basil …and a glass of Reserve de Chevalier Crémant de Bourgogne, and you’re good to go!

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Panzanella Salad – The tomatoes require that you enjoy this dish at the height of summer season. And with that, a light glass of Sangiovese from Tuscany: La Togata Barengo Toscana Rosso. Good acid on the wine pairs beautifully with the tomatoes.

Summer Salads 2018_Tortellini_square
Tuscan Tortellini Salad – This one has my kids written all over it! It has it all… pasta, cured meat, crunchy veggies, spinach & a touch of sweetness. Enjoy with a glass of earthy Lambrusco!

Summer Salads 2018_Salmon BLT_square
Salmon BLT Salad – So, someone had fun making this one up, and it looks delicious. Sort of along the Cobb line, but with seafood. This salad is rich & satisfying. Go with a wine that has a faint salinity for a wink at the salmon: Vermentino or Albariño would be my picks. Prefer a red? Go light & fruity, Pinot Noir, Zweigelt or off the beaten path: Mondeuse!

My inspiration for this post was “The 147 Most Delish Summer Salads” on Delish.com.

Hope you enjoy!
Julie Howe
Co-owner, Portalis Wines

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Food+Wine // Fresh Eggs!

Jaci's HENS_square

I am chicken “sitting” as my new home has a coop and my friends farm had over flow for the winter. Our chickens right now are holding out on us- but in Eastern Washington, it is below freezing for February/March. (I wouldn’t want to do much either!) Fresh eggs are delicious. Not having been an “egg” person, I didn’t really buy into the fresh egg craze until my friend started his own coop in Seattle. Now, keep in mind, I grew up in Skagit Valley. As a youth, I toured Draper Valley Farms and even a USDA egg inspection facility. (I am a nerd, yes.) Maybe my lack of interest was the tours, the knowledge of how old the eggs are by the time they hit the grocery shelf… Maybe it was just me not being adventurous in food …

Fresh eggs are an adventure beyond the standard grocery shelf egg. They have more distinctions: flavor, richness, spices and delicacy too! Each chicken creates a distinct flavor — by character and by how well it is taken care of. These are the ones created in our backyard:

Jaci's EGGS_4

Blue– almost as beautiful as a robins egg. The color and flavor are delicate. Perfect with light dishes or baked for pastries
Green– similar to the blue in delicacy however a hint of herbs and spice- great for egg bakes, breakfast items or quiches
Warm Red/Brown– earthy and robust. Excellent with meats and rustic flavors (mushrooms, legumes, root vegetables)
Dark Brown with Speckles– These are rare. I am not sure if these chickens are hiding their eggs, but I only collect one a day. A savory dish with meats, mushrooms and hedonistic funky cheeses are winners here.

And here are some recipes with wine pairings to delight:
BLUE
Crepes or French Toast with Berries
pair with: Perraud Crémant de Bourgogne (Burgundy, France)
Tomato-Herb Frittatas
pair with: Bodegas Langa Míto Chardonnay (Calatayud, Spain)
Pavlova With Lemon Cream and Berries
pair with: La Farra Prosecco Brut (Veneto, Italy)
Spanish Flan
pair with: Vinchio-Vaglio Serra Brachetto (Piedmont, Italy)

Eggs_Shakshuka.jpg

GREEN
Crustless Swiss Chard Tomato Quiche
pair with: Scopone Rosso di Montalcino (Tuscany, Italy)
Middle Eastern Shakshuka (pictured above)
pair with: Bodegas Langa Pasíon Garnacha (Calatayud, Spain)
Lentil Salad with Fresh Poached Egg (I prefer my lentil salad as as salad. The Fat Hen has a delicious example!)
pair with: Moulin de Launay Entre-Deux-Mers (Bordeaux, France) or Jean d’Alibert Rouge (Languedoc, France)

And one last thing: Backyard chickens resources> in case you need them!

Enjoy!
Jaci (checking in from Pullman)

Food+Wine: Simple, Fresh, Good & EASY

Jamie Oliver_5 Ingredients_ginger shakin beef_square
That’s our theme for the new year, and we’re using Jamie Oliver’s new book: 5 Ingredients for inspiration. Back story: We got our 16-year old a cookbook for Christmas. She enjoys food, is an adventurous eater …can’t scramble an egg! Had fun at Book Larder: A Community Cookbook Store getting suggestions for an engaging, yummy, EASY cookbook to inspire a teen. Landed on Jamie Oliver’s new: 5 Ingredients. I don’t know if she’ll learn to cook, but she’ll get lots of good meals out of it for sure, because I’m hooked! We’ll use these simple, fresh, good & EASY recipes at Portalis for some 2018 wine pairing ideas, starting with:

5 Ingredients_Sizzling Seared Scallops
Sizzling Seared Scallops — Pair with Bodages Langa Chardonnay (Catalayud, Spain) — organic, lightly oaked, delicious.

5 Ingredients_Epic Rib-Eye Steak
Epic Rib-eye Steak — Pair with (splurge) Chateau des Gravières Graves (Bordeaux, France) or (bargain) 1851 Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley, WA)

Scrambled Egg Omelette — How very French! Pair with (splurge) Chevalliers Chablis (Burgundy, France) or Ozilhan Réservé Blanc (Southern Rhône, France)

Thai Red Chicken Soup — It’s spicy, so enjoy with a round white that will calm the fire: Domaine Moltes Tradition Riesling (Alsace, France) or Domaine Haut de Mourier Viognier (Languedoc, France) or Weingut Prechtl Alte Reben Grüner Veltliner (Weinviertel, Austria).

5 Ingredients_Easy Sausage Carbonara
Easy Sausage Carbonara — Sausage calls for Chianti from Colli Senesi, full of blue fruits and perfect for sausage flavors. We recommend: Nottola Chianti Colli Senesi or Andreucci Chianti Colli Senesi. Both would be outstanding!

Crab & Fennel Spaghetti — Enjoy seafood meals with world-class fish wine like Albariño (we recommned: Outon Albariño from Spain’s Rias Baixas) or a light red with some licorice undertones. We recommend Palazzo Malgara Negroamaro from Salento, Italy’s heel of boot. Seafood is a staple in this part of the world, and this wine would pair beautifully!

Roast Tikka Chicken — Curry flavors call for an off-dry white, a juicy red, or bubbly! Looking for something festive? Go with Bodegas Maset del Lleo Cava Reserve from vineyards outside of Barcelona.

5 Ingredients_Pork and Mash Gratin
Pork & Mash Gratin — A little spice from the Muscadelle in this French white blend would be terrific: Chateau des Eyssards Sec (Bergerac, France) or a lighter red with lean pork. Try: Weingut Castelfeder Vernatsch (Alto Adige, Italy)

Ginger Shakin’ Beef — It’s beef, but it’s got some sweetness with the honey. Don’t go too tannic! A Pinot Noir would be great. Splurge with Chelan Cellars Pinot Noir (Lake Chelan, WA). Go thrifty with Louise Dubois 1885 Pinot Noir (Languedoc, France).

Have fun! More to come…
Julie

Archive: FOOD + WINE by Jaci

Food + Wine

Ballard Bakeries – A Tribute

Ballard is bursting at the seams with businesses.  One does not have to go far to have their needs met.  And one of those needs in my family is a weekly trip to the bakery.  Now, let me precursor here- I am Celiac, but my children are not.  That doesn’t stop the weekly trip.  This month, in honor of sweets and love, my daughter and I took a trip to some of our favorites (but not limited to these, mind you).

Our tasting exposition with quotes by Keskah June:

HONORÉ
Is only a block away. We ordered the Kouign Amann ($2.75) for Keskah and the Almond Croissant ($3.95) for Julie.  “My Honoré pastry was super yummy, crunchy and flakey on the outside and soft on the inside. The bit of carmelized sugar or whatever gave it a good kick of sweet but the salt in each bite from the bottom gave it back that savory flavor.” Pair with Lustau Pedro Jimenez  (Jerez, Spain) — Reg $39.99 | Mixed Case $31.99

Scandinavian Specialties
If you have never been in this shop, turn around and get to it.  Not all pastries- they have excellent deli foods (all Scandinavian) as well as a killer cheese and salami section, and of course, all the fairs from cute souvenirs to tasty candies too. But we were on a treat mission, so Keskah picked the Verdens Beste Kake.  It is a double layer of almond meringue with vanilla custard cream center ($4). “It’s super airy and not too sweet, I love it.  It’s delicious 20 out of 5 stars!” Pair with Bodegas Maset Cava Lleo (Penedes, Spain) — Reg $14.99 | INSIDER $13.99 | Mixed Case $11.19

Cafe Besalu
The creations out of this bakery are well worth the line.  As one would see on a daily basis, the line out the door is all the locals and many who know exactly what they want.  When I could eat gluten over a decade ago, I would have the ginger biscuit.  I waited to snap a photo of it, but someone bought the entire plate before we arrived at the pastry box.  Keskah could not decide.  The problem is- everything is amazing.  So, she got a few!
Gruyere and Onion Pastry — “Besalu onion and Gruyere was delicious. I couldn’t stop eating it, just the perfect combination of savory in a pastry.”
Pair with Château des Roques 2012 Vacqueyras Southern Rhône Reg. $22.99 | Mixed Case 18.39

Hazelnut Twist  “The hazelnut twist was good, just not my sort of flavor I guess. It didn’t have a good nutty to sweet balance.” Pair with  Domaine d Moltes Riesling Reserve (Alsace, France) — Reg. $19.99 | INSIDER $16.99 | Mixed Case $13.59

Quiche Lorraine — “The quiche Lorraine was awesome as usual. It had a great egg to other ingredient ratio and the bacon was cooked just right!” Pair with Domaine d Moltes Pinot Blanc (Alsace, France) — Reg $19.99 | INSIDER $16.99 | Mixed Case $13.59 or Domaine Claude Nouveau 2010 Santenay Premier Cru Grand Clos Rousseau (Burgundy, France) — Reg $49.99 | INSIDER $47.99 | Mixed Case $38.39

As I mentioned, those were only a few to stop at.  We frequent these ones as well, for the following reasons:
Larsens Bakery-  Not fancy but still delcious.  My son LOVES to get donuts and the gigantic M&M cookies.  I of course stock our house with the cheesy croissants or small rolls for afternoon snacks.
Tall Grass Bakery- Any time I have guests in town, we stop by for a few loaves to enjoy fondue. ( I make my own GF bread fyi).
Fresh Flours- excellent macaroons and the coffee is always fantastic.
MIRO Teas-  A wide selection of Gluten Free pastries.  My personal favorite is carrot cake.
If you have a favorite in Ballard, please let me know!  Keskah always loves a pastry date.

All the best-  Jaci

 

Food + Wine

Food + Wine_ legumes 2
What is a Pulse?  It is a legume or “grain legume” and internationally recognized as a vital player in crop rotation world wide.  2016 is the International Year of the Pulses by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.  Washington State is the largest producer of garbanzo beans in the world as well as one of the large producers in legumes in the United States.

Morroccan Lentil Soup  –  Pair this with Vinchio Vaglio Serra Nebbiolo Lange Piedmont Italy  Reg. $19.99 | INSIDER $18.99 | Mixed Case $15.19 — Light bodied, yet expressive tannins, plum skins and cherry.

Mung Bean – Pair this with Bodegas Rauda Tinto Roa Crianza Castilla Y Leon Ribera del Duero Spain — Reg. $22.99 | Mixed Case $18.39 — Ripe raspberries, red currant & blackberries delicately meshed with notes of toast and balsamic

Black Eyed Pea and Collard Greens Soup – Pair this with La Fleur Chazal Rouge Bordeaux France — Reg. $15.99 | Mixed Case $12.79 — Blue currants, black raspberries, plums with medium tannins, structure and depth.

Vegetable Chickpea Curry – Pair this with Petit Romain Rouge Costieres di Nimes France  Reg. $15.99 | INSIDER $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99 —  Dark rich summer cherries, white pepper, hillside herbs and soft tannins.

Smoky Chili – Ashobourne Red Hemel en Aarde South Africa — Reg. $44.99 | Mixed Case $37.49 — This Pinotage blend is expressive with rich cranberries, cherries, black raspberry, iron, leather, smoke and earth.

Brazilian Freijoada (Black Bean Pork Stew)  – Pair this with La Puerta Gran Reserva Blend La Rioja Argentina  Reg. $55.99 | Mixed Case $44.79 — Malbec, Bonarda and Syrah.  Intense dark plums, Rainer cherries, wood smoke, peppercorn and vanilla.

Red Beans and Rice – Pair this with Casto Pequeno Cotoval Castilla Y Leon Spain Reg. $14.99 | INSIDER $13.99 | Mixed Case  $11.19  —  Summer fruits- blackberries, raspberries, wild strawberries mixed with black peppercorn, soft tannins and subtle hints of vanilla

Here’s to your health!  Enjoy!  Jaci
Food + Wine_ legumes
Check Recipe Archive> for earlier posts!
Front Page Image  |  Above Image

Food + Wine

Dilemma with Dessert- Pairing

Pairing with desserts can be a challenge- already a treat and sweet, yet the wrong combo can be so wrong.  Like ying and yang, food pairing should keep in mind complementing as well as contrasting.  Most people assume dessert wines are syrupy sweet, but several are not.  And dessert wines don’t have to be what one pairs with dessert- sometimes a beer, cider, cocktail or wine is a better choice.  And if all else fails, have a few options and make it a fun end of the meal conversation!

Since many of you are entertaining the holidays, here are a few ideas to strike your fancy as well as some fun reading links!

Apple based:  cider, hot cider with rum or whiskey, Alscaian Rielsing, or Kabinett Riesling, Oregon Gewurtraminer, Sauternes, Blanc du Blanc Sparkling (100% Chardonnay)
Berry based:  Australian muscat, brachetto recioto di valpolicella, sparkling rose, sparkling shiraz or red wine (Malbec, Syrah, Tempranillo), Campari

Rich cream based, such as custards or creme brulee:  (Matching weight) Amontilado (nutty), Tawny Port, Sauternes (esp if fruit), LH Alsacian Riesling, Trocken Riesling, Moscato (for light and floral)

Chocolate based: Bual or Malvasia Maidera, Ruby Port, Dark German Ales, Porters, California Cabernet, WA Syrah, Austrailian Shiraz

Caramel, butter based: Bual Maidera, Single vintage or white Tawny port, Pedro Ximenez, Belgium beer

Cookies and simple cake/cake breads:  Trocken Riesling, Moscato (for light and floral), Beaumes de Venise (Eames), vermouth, Lillet, Sparkling Cider, Rose, Lambrusco
Coffee and cream based: Chocolate or Espresso Martini, Amarone, Barolo, Stouts, Malvasia Madiera

More reading 1 | 2 | 3

Pairings with Northwest Fresh & Foraged!

NW Bounty_Fiddlehead fronds_Jaci_040815

Photo credit:  Photo Guide: The ABCs of Northwest Spring Produce>

I have been blessed to work with many local chefs that utilize and live by the standards that their cuisine should reflect what is currently produced.  Right now, Chef Don Curtiss at Volterra is using fiddlehead fronds, English peas and morels served with a scallop which admittedly sparked this article.

I LOVE fiddlehead fronds.  They are the youthful beginning of ostrich ferns that curl tightly and have the same texture as slightly cooked pea vines. Some say fiddlehead fronds are similar to asparagus.  I do not find them as bitter and the flavor is richer.  At Volterra, we pair the scallop and spring vegetables with Montenidoli Vernaccia.  However if you are cooking these at home without morels, try them with a verdejo such as Chamelin (currently on close out SALE for $10.99 | Mixed Case $8.79) or a local Washington Sauvignon Blanc.   (But please not a New Zealand or Loire- too much citrus, not enough grassy undertones.)

Mmmmmm…. Morels!  A meaty mushroom treat sautéed in butter and red wine- serve this with any local Syrah, such as Darby or 5 Oros Tempranillo (Spain).

Dandelions tossed in a salad with some pansy petals or sautéed with a touch of oil and sea salt… pair this with VVS Arengo Barbera or Barbanau Rosé.  Or both. 

NW Bounty_Morels_Jaci_040815
Nettles
are a bit time consuming to harvest but such a healthy and unique delicacy.  These are another bitter green yet high in iron.  Nettle gnocchi, similar to spinach gnocchi, paired with Noveau Aligoté or Tenuta Giaccobe Soave.

The beautiful white flower, Elderflower, with its delicate fragrance is a fantastic dessert as a simple syrup.  I like Dolin Blanc on the rocks with a touch of Elderflower simple syrup.  Chef Don Curtiss served his lemon mascarpone custard with Elderflower simple syrup last fall! We paired that with VVS Brachetto.

Watercress salad or garnish with Ossau-iraty and enjoy with Clos du Bosqut Pinot Noir

Rhubarb as a pie is always nice- but as chutney with your pork tenderloin…  Yes please.  Pelassa Barbaresco with its rich cherry undertones, tannins and soft leather is a great match.

Next time you are at your local farmers market, ask for something off your beaten path.  How is your local farmer cooking it?  What are your local chefs growing and bringing in?  Each season presents bounty here in the PNW.  Portalis is here from 11am-5pm on Sundays if you are at the Ballard Market and need a pairing with your freshly foraged produce and local finds.

Cheers!
Jaci
Sommelier, wine+food writer

http://www.oregonlive.com/mix/index.ssf/how-to/field-guide-to-foraging-in-the-northwest.html
http://www.activelynorthwest.com/food/photo-guide-abcs-northwest-spring-produce/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiddlehead_fern
http://www.grownorthwest.com/2010/05/wild-edibles-making-a-menu-with-nettles-fiddlehead-ferns-and-morels/

Cheese & Wine ~ Your Pairing Guide

Wine&Cheese Pairings_Feb 2015
The quintessential match made in heaven, right? Here’s a website that does a great job giving you the nitty-gritty on the cheese: The Cheese Course> We’ve taken it a step further and paired each type of cheese with a wine in the shop that would taste fabulous!

Category 1: FRESH CHEESE – fresh, tangy & crisp flavors
o Chevre- goats milk- tangy and crisp.
Pair with: Chateau de la Bigotière Muscadet (Loire)
o Burrata- soft, rich and creamy texture.
Pair with: Nottola Chianti Colli Senesi (Tuscany)
o Triple cream- layers of delicate soft creaminess.
Pair with: Cave de Bissey Crémant de Bourgogne (Burgundy)
o Feta- herbaceaous and salty
Pair with: Bodega Casto Pequeño Chamelin Verdejo (Rueda)
o Smoked Mozzerella- delicate and moist
Pair with: Domaine de Marcé Sauvignon Blanc (Touraine)
o Ricotta- subtle sweetness with soft creamy texture.
Pair with: La Farra Sparkling Rosé (Veneto)
o Mascarpone- naturally sweet
Pair with: Castlefedder 15er Pinot Grigio (Alto Adige)

Category 2: BLOOMY RIND– soft, delicate flavors
o Boucheron- goat flavors, tangy hints of citrus, and an herbal quality
• Roche de Lune Vouvray (Loire)
o Camembert- mushroomy, garlicky, woodsy flavor
• Domaine Perraud Le Grand Sorbier Bourgogne Rouge (Burgundy)
o FROMAGER D’AFFINOIS- aromatic and delicate brie.
• Domaine La Bessonne Rosé (Provence)
o PIERRE ROBERT- Classic triple cream brie.
• Domaine de Frégate Bandol Rosé (Provence)
o GAPERON- assertive cheese, with a Brie-like texture, flavored with chunks of garlic and cracked black pepper.
• Domaine de Nalys Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvée Rouge (Southern Rhône)
o L’EDEL DE CLERON- gently sweet, slightly woodsy and quite delicious.
• Maison Paul Reitz Vosne-Romanée (Burgundy)
o LANDAFF- flavors, tangy with a clean finish. The open and buttery texture.
• Nottola Tre Pezzi Toscana (Tuscany)

Category 3: WASHED RIND– creamy, funky with occasional brine rind
o EPOISSES- aromatic and creamy.
• Domaine Claude Nouveau Santenay Le Chainey (Burgundy)
o CHAUMES- rich, full-bodied flavor and creamy texture
• Chateau des Roques Vacqueyras (Southern Rhône)
o GUBBEEN- mushroom and earth.
• Palazzo Malgara Primitivo di Manduria (Sicily)
o MUNSTER- supple and golden, slightly sticky and sweet, with huge flavor, rich and beefy.
• Domaine Moltès Riesling Réserve (Alsace)
o RACLETTE- deliciously fruity mountain cheese is traditionally melted over open flames.
• Pelassa San Vito Roero Arneis DOCG (Piedmont)
o TALEGGIO- farm yard and cream
• Vincho Vaglio Serra Barbaresco DOCG (Piedmont)
o L’AMUSE GOUDA- aged amber, hazelnuts and butterscotch.
• Le Gravillas Sablet AOC (Southern Rhône)

Category 4: BLUE CHEESE– pungent, sharp & salty
o CAMBOZOLA- mushroom, lemon zest
• Domaine de Nalys Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvée Classique Blanc (Southern Rhône)
o CASHEL BLUE- sweet creamy tangy
• Chateu des Eyssards Sec Cuvée Prestige (Bergerac)
o GARROTXA- mild herbal flavors with a hint of hazelnuts.
• Tenuta di Corte Giacobbe Soave (Veneto)
o GORGONZOLA NATURALE- firmer texture with more pronounced, intense flavor.
• Nottola Anterivo Supertuscan (Tuscany)
o MONTBRIAC- blue version of a double-cream Brie
• Bodegas Rauda Tinto Roa Crianza (Ribera del Duero)
o VALDEON- salty, pronounced, piquant and long lasting.
• 5 Oros Vendimia Seleccionada DOC (Rioja)
o STILTON- rich, creamy taste with nuances of honey, nuts and leather.
• Chateau Franc Grace Dieu Saint Emillion Grand Cru (Bordeaux)
o ROQUEFORT- soft, crumbly paste melts in the mouth with an intense and complex spicy, salty, flavor.
• Bodega Casto Pequeño Gravedad Tempranillo (Toro)

Category 5: SEMI-HARD RIND– full rich & bold flavors
o APPENZELLER- herbs, spices, white wine, and salt which contribute to its sophisticated, fruity flavor.
• Torre Gajo Pinot Grigio delle Venenzie IGT (Veneto)
o BEECHER’S RESERVE CHEDDAR- smooth, grassy and slightly sweet.
• Wish Wine Co Cabernet Sauvignon (Northern Coast, CA)
o BRA TENERO- soft, delicate and aromatic.
• Vinchio Vaglio Serra Dorato Gavi DOC (Piedmont)
o EMMENTHALER- sweet, nutty flavor
• Weingut Prechtl Satzen Zweigelt (Weinviertel)
o FONTINA D’AOSTA- firm, but supple paste with flavors of grass, nuts, and fruit.
• Zuazo Gaston Finca Costanillas DOC (Rioja)
o CABRA AL VINO- aka Drunken Goat, due to the dousing in red wine that gives this cheese a sassy edge, while the interior is mild and smooth.
• Señorio de Fenojal Reserva DOC (Rioja)
o GRAFTON 4 YEAR CHEDDAR- sharp, earthy flavor and a slightly crumbly texture. Made from the raw milk.
• Les Chevaliers de Dauprat Pauillac Rouge (Bordeaux)
o PETIT BASQUE- sheep cheese with an oily and slightly woodsy flavor.
• L’Adage Saint Emilion Rouge (Bordeaux)

Category 6: HARD RIND– mature & developed flavor
o WENSLEYDALE- It has a smooth thin natural dry rind which is bound in muslin with a moist hazelnut creamy taste and salty tang.
• Pelassa Bricco Enrichetta Langhe Barbera/Nebbiolo DOC (Piedmont)
o TOMME DE FEDOU- a mild earthiness to the aroma and flavor of the cheese while the interior has a firm texture and flavors of hay and nuts.
• Domaine de la Croix Bouquie Sauvignon Blanc (Touraine)
o PIAVE- an intense, full-bodied flavor, reminiscent of Parmigiano Reggiano, that intensifies with age and makes this cheese absolutely unique
• Palazzo Malgara Shiraz (Sicily)
o OSSAU-IRATY- lactic, nutty, rich slightly oily, firm texture.
• Bodegas Maset Reserva Cava Brut (NU) (Penedès)
o MANCHEGO- delicious briny, nuttiness; earthy, hearty and wonderful.
• Bodegas Tavera Cendal (La Mancha)
o MAHON- bold, magnificent one that could never be called mild. The yellowish-orange rind conceals a soft, salty and decidedly spicy interior.
• Domaine Le Mourre Chateauneuf-du-Pape (Southern Rhône)
o IDIAZABAL- buttery, balsamy taste and a nutty finish.
• Cruz de Piedra Umbral de los Tiempos Malbec (Mendoza)

Any questions? Stop by and visit with us about it. You’d make our day!
Jaci Kajfas, Sommelier

Chocolate & Wine for Valentine’s

Food_Cadeaux Chocolates
Janet Shimada’s beautiful, award-winning Cadeaux Chocolates (above)

As with food, when pairing wines with chocolate, match lighter-flavored chocolates with lighter-bodied wines, and more “intense” flavored chocolates with more full-bodied wines. When pairing wine with chocolate, you can look for wines with have the same flavor profile as the chocolate (nutty, cherry, other fruit, mint, etc.), or look for contrasts. Most experts would recommend “sticking” with fortified wines (ports), because the sweetness of the wines match well with chocolates. But there is more behind it. Let’s take a journey beyond fortified wines.

Milk Chocolate
Milk chocolate has a higher percentage of sugar, and a smaller percentage of chocolate liquor (unsweetened chocolate). In addition with its higher milk content, milk chocolate is a milder, sweeter product with fewer aromas and flavors.  Wine pairing suggestions: a Tawny Port (try: Quinta De La Rosa 10y Tawny Port) is the ultimate match. Its nutty, caramel flavors highlight the milk chocolates’ own flavors and intensify the overall chocolate flavors.

Semisweet Chocolate
Dark chocolate with 50% to 69% cacao has strong, complex flavors, with notes that are nutty, spicy, floral, earthy, fruity, and/or caramel. The aftertaste is balanced, not too sweet. Wine pairing suggestions: fortified fruity wines like Banyuls and Ruby Ports (try: Niepoort NV Ruby, Quinta De La Rosa Finest Reserve) have cacoa and chocolate aromas and flavors as well as cherry, raspberry or other berry fruit, and are classic companions with chocolate. Vintage Ports should be matched with caution: The high sugar and alcohol content can overwhelm the chocolate. Banyuls and nonvintage Ports have softer, rounder tannins than vintage Ports and pair better with chocolate.  Another classic choice is Cabernet Sauvignon (try: Heitz Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon or Sparkman Kingpin Cabernet Sauvignon) or Bordeaux (try: Château Pibran Pauillac or Château Pichecan Margaux). It brings out the fruity-peppery-grapey notes in the chocolate. Zinfandel brings out chocolate’s spicy notes. Tawny Ports, which have nutty, tobacco and leather notes, also make good pairings.

Bittersweet Chocolate
The most intense, richly-flavored dark chocolate is 70% to 100% cacao. Bittersweet chocolate can have bitter, roasted, fruity, earthy, woodsy, ashy and/or nutty notes. The same wines will match bittersweet and semisweet chocolate.

Chocolates with Caramel or Toffee
Wine pairing suggestions:  Hungarian Tokaji, with notes of apricots, butter and caramel, pairs well with buttery salt caramels. Young Madeira (try: Broadbent Madeira 5y old) has classic caramel and toffee flavors and good acidity to pair with that kind of chocolate. Buttery caramels and toffees pair well with buttery wines. Mersault from a ripe year, with rich, lush fruit and low acid or a rich buttery Chardonnay from California (try: Shannon Ridge Chardonnay) complements the brown sugar and caramel flavors as well as the cocoa flavors of the chocolate. The nutty bouquet of a dry Oloroso Sherry complements the nuts in toffee. It’s also great with salt caramels. Sauternes, a rich sweet dessert wine from Bordeaux, has honey, apricot and peach notes, also pairs well with caramel and toffee chocolates. The chewiness of the candy stands up to the viscosity of the wine. Tawny Port enhances the nutty notes of toffee, and to a lesser extent, caramel.

Chocolates with Cinnamon and Ginger
A spicy, dry Zinfandel (try: Four Vines Maverick Old Vines Zinfandel) or a sweet Late Harvest Zinfandel (they can almost be port-like) are good options to complement the spicy notes of chocolates with cinnamon and ginger.

Chocolates with Coconut
Brachetto D’Aqui (try: Giacomo Bologna), a light sparkling dessert wine from Piedmont, with typical aromas and flavors of strawberries and roses, is a great match with nuts and coconut. Sauternes or a Late Harvest Semillon or Moscato from Australia (try: Two Hands) are other options.

Chocolates with Coffee Flavors
Chocolates with espresso, mocha, coffee bean and other coffee flavors. Oloroso sherry or cream sherry (coffee, nutty flavors) or Australian Shiraz (try: Langmeil Valley Floor Shiraz), with dark fruit, mocha, coffee, espresso flavors.

And last … Chocolates with Nuts
Including hazelnuts, almonds, and other nuts and pralines. Wine pairing suggestions: nutty Tawny Ports are the perfect match for chocolates with nuts. Sherry that is not too sweet is a good companion to almond-based chocolates, ideally a Pedro Ximinez with its almond aromas and flavors, or a well-rounded Fino. Cream Sherries match well with hazelnuts. Lighter nuts like pistachio can be served with Sauternes. Other options would be Brachetto D’Aqui and Cabernet Sauvignons.

Cheers & Happy Valentine’s Day!
Jens