Cupcakes are more popular than ever – they come in many different flavors and styles and even have their own TV show! Serving cupcakes for a party or dessert is great. Pairing those cupcakes with wine kicks it up a notch to excellent. (more…)
As old as ancient Greece, yet as fresh and new as spring day, Greco di Tufo is an Italian white wine from the Compania region of Italy with a long history and a lasting impression. It is perfectly matched to some of the best Italian specialties that share its geography, including tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and seafood. (more…)
May 26th, 2011 by eileen in recipes
Love wine and grilling? Looking for a great recipe for barbeque sauce to pair with wine? Then you’ve found the right page. (more…)
For juicy, dripping, hand-sticky end-of-the-summer fruit, it’s hard to beat a raw peach. But alas, we all don’t live in permanent supply of perfectly ripe peaches, and even September supermarket fruit can be tough specimens. This recipe for ice wine poached peaches is an easy way to turn sub-par stone fruit tender and flavorful, delicious on their own (more…)
Sometimes, it seems, that the occasional late afternoon calls for a cocktail. Nay, craves a cocktail. This phenomenon is particularly acute in late summer, when afternoons seem hotter than what might be deemed appropriate for polite society. A wine-based cocktail, with grape juice made musky and rich with sweet vermouth, is in order. (more…)
Marmitako is a Spanish fish and potato stew deeply rooted in Basque cuisine. This dish is simple, hearty, and a fantastic way to travel to northern Spain without leaving your kitchen. Marmitako was originally a fisherman’s stew, as Basque fishers would cook their daily tuna catch on board fishing boats.
A touch of red wine in the recipe is not orthodox, but if you choose an earthy Spanish red wine, like Tempranillo or Garnacha, you will be richly rewarded. Marmitako has few ingredients, and a few glugs of dark red wine give a special depth of flavor to the dish. Best of all, you won’t need the whole bottle for this recipe, so you can enjoy a few glasses of Rioja while slurping in the stew from Basque Country. (more…)
In honor of our recent release announcement on these exciting limited edition wines, I’d like to share a recipe specifically created for another style of seasonal wines available for just this summer. Our Twisted Mist wines (Strawberry Margarita and Mojito) are wine cocktails in and of themselves: once they are made, all you’ve got to do is chill, pour and serve.
Sometimes, though, a special occasion* may call for a few extra steps. With just a bit of slicing and stirring, you can enjoy an interesting twist on traditional sangria by making a pitcher with the Twisted Mist Mojito. The wine, with its inherent sweetness and minty flavors, is a perfect foil for fresh fruit. A little white grape juice adds a touch of sugar, while balancing some of the wine’s acidity. Sliced apple and oranges lend a complex fruitiness, and fresh lime enhances the mojito flavor. (Mojitos are made with fresh mint and lime, topped with ice, rum, simple syrup, and a splash of club soda.)
*It’s up to you to determine what constitutes a “special occasion”. Mine, for instance, was lunch.
1 bottle Twisted Mist Mojito
1 cup white grape juice
1 apple, sliced
2 oranges, sliced
1 lime, sliced
Combine all ingredients into a large pitcher, and mix well with a wooden spoon. For maximum flavor, let the sangria sit, while the fruits can release their juices. Enjoy chilled, in a big wine glass, a few hours later.
May 20th, 2010 by jolan in recipes
Granita is a traditional Italian dessert, a semi-frozen treat related to sorbet and the ubiquitous Italian ice. “Granita” actually comes from the Italian for “grain”, as each spoonful is a small scoop of sweet, icy flakes. Granita is easy to make, as long as you have a blender and a freezer – you can spend a few minutes in the kitchen after breakfast, and have a light, refreshing dessert in time for dinner.
The base recipe begins with a few simple ingredients: water, sugar, and flavorings. From the broad category of “flavorings”, though, comes a wide world of options including fruit, coffee, and chocolate. This recipe uses the bright citrus of naval oranges and a bit of pineapple, the tropical touch of mango, and the warm spice of a California Chardonnay.
Chardonnay from the New World (in this case, California) is a lovely compliment to the tropical fruits in this granita, as the style of wine tends towards aromas of, well, pineapple and mango. Fret not, however, if you don’t have a bottle from California Chardonnay in your refrigerator – crisper, lighter dry white wines (like a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio) would work equally well here, if bringing out different subtle flavors in the granita.
Enjoy your granita with an espresso after dinner, or slushy-style with a spoon and a straw, or (my personal favorite) with brioche and butter in the morning. Granita truly is a refreshing treat for most any time of the day.
Orange Mango Granita with Chardonnay
Note: I stipulate the 1/3 cup pineapple simply because I didn’t have enough chopped mango to measure a full cup. You can certainly decide to go full mango (hey, that’s a good blog name) and forgo opening a can of pineapples; the point here is to have a full cup of fruit. (Though to be honest, the touch of pineapple turned out splendidly.)
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup ice cubes
2/3 cup mango, chopped (about 1 mango)
1/3 cup pineapple chunks
1 cup Chardonnay
Start off by making a simple syrup: bring the water and sugar to a boil, then reduce heat and let the mixture simmer for about 5 minutes. While the syrup simmers, add the cinnamon stick, so it may infuse its pungent spice.
Once the simple syrup is on the stove, grate the rind of one of the oranges. You should measure just over a tablespoon. Squeeze the juice of the oranges to measure ½ cup.
Remove the simple syrup from heat, and stir in the ice cubes. Place the mango, pineapple, and simple syrup mixture into your blender, and process for a minute or so until smooth.
Stir in the orange juice and rind, and the cup of Chardonnay. Pour into an 8 inch square pan (I used my handy Pyrex piece), cover, and freeze until firm (about 8 hours).
Once the mixture is firm, remove the pan from the freezer, and scrape everything with a fork until fluffy. Serve in cold bowls or cups, with spoons, straws, or cookies.
As the weather warms up, it’s time to think of ways to keep cool. Weekends mean time at the pool, stretching out on the porch, and neighborhood barbecues (and picnics and festivals and beaches, oh my!). We’ve put together a list of classic wine cocktails, all the more enjoyable for their simplicity. With a small splash of liquor, or fruit puree, or some fresh berries, you can explore the tastes of France, Italy, and Spain – without leaving the cool shade of your own backyard.
1 part black currant liqueur + 5 parts white wine + 1 lemon twist = kir
The kir (pronounced keer) originates from Burgundy, France. Traditionally, the wine cocktail is made with crème de cassis (black currant liqueur) and Aligoté (a light, acidic white wine from Burgundy). Of course, you can add black currant liqueur to a variety of white wines to get the refreshing sweetness associated with the kir. I do recommend a lighter white, like a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, but there certainly will be no Wine Police chasing you down if you decide on a full-bodied Chardonnay.
A kir royale (keer roy-ALL) is simply crème de cassis and Champagne. In my heart of hearts, though, I can’t recommend that you spoil deliciously expensive, true Champagne by any additions; instead, try a touch of crème de cassis to sparkling wine from California or Spain.
Enhance your kir or kir royale with a lemon twist. Lemon twists are easy: use a vegetable peeler to get a thin (you want none of the bitter, white pith) strip of lemon peel, and simply twist it. Twisting the peel releases the skin’s aromatic oils; run the peel around the top of your glass, and either drop the twist in your drink, or let it hang languorously on the lip.
1 part peach puree + 3 parts sparkling wine = Bellini
The Bellini comes by way of Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy (which has been quite the source of culinary creations, as it also claims to be the first to have served Carpaccio). A Bellini is simply fresh peach puree, topped with sparkling white wine. In Venice, the traditional formula involves white peaches and Prosecco, a sparkling white wine that comes from the region.
Enjoy your Bellini in a Champagne flute, topped with a slice of fresh peach, or a lemon or orange twist, for an extra special touch.
1 bottle red wine + 1 lemon, sliced + 1 orange, sliced + 1 apple, sliced + 1/4 cup cranberry juice + 2 tablespoons sugar + 1 shot brandy = red wine sangria
1 bottle white wine + 1 lemon, sliced + 1 cup strawberries, sliced + 1 cup raspberries + 1 tablespoon honey + 1 cup club soda = white wine sangria
“Sangría” is a Spanish term, translated loosely into English as “bleeding” or (so says my dictionary) “phlebotomy”. Perhaps the term comes from the color of the wine, or how the cocktail’s fruit components ooze out sweet flavor, but whatever its murky origins, sangria means something delicious. This is one of the more versatile wine cocktails, so I give the above recipes as something as a starting point. The basic formula is wine and fruit and a touch of sweetener, and perhaps a touch of liquor and/or carbonation (like club soda or Sprite). If you have a favorite sangria recipe, I’d love to hear it.
On that note, who has a particularly good wine cocktail, classic or not, that would be perfect for summer? Have you had a great wine cocktail somewhere, but aren’t sure how to make it? If you describe where and when you had what you had, we could figure it out together!
April 28th, 2010 by jolan in recipes
Robin Raible, the Director of Operations for Vintners Circle Franchising, suggested this easy and delicious scallop dish. She adapted the recipe from the Barefoot Contessa’s Bay Scallop Gratin, found at foodnetwork.com.
This dish is a wonderful blend of both light and rich flavors, balancing the gentle sweetness of bay scallops with a full-bodied white wine (in this case, a Chardonnay-Semillon blend made at Vintner’s Circle). White wine and butter provide the substantial backbone of the gratin, ensuring each delicate bite of scallop goes down with a smooth creaminess. Panko is a Japanese breadcrumb: lighter and crispier than traditional Western-style breadcrumbs, panko is a perfect compliment to tender seafood. Most supermarkets carry panko; look for a bag or box in the International aisle of your local grocery store.
Robin served this dish with angel hair pasta, to make the gratin a complete and hearty dinner for her family. She notes that even her teenage daughter, normally a picky eater, ate the scallops and pasta with gusto.
Bay Scallop Gratin with White Wine
24 ounces Persian Bay scallops, cleaned and dried
6 – 8 tablespoons Chardonnay-Semillon
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 small onion, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil
¾ cup panko
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Using the paddle attachment in an electric mixer, blend together the butter, garlic, onion, parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper on low speed. Once thoroughly blended, slowly add the olive oil. With a rubber spatula, fold in the panko, and set the mixture aside.
Pour the wine into an 8 – 9 inch casserole dish, and place the scallops in, as well. Spread the butter-breadcrumb topping evenly over the scallops, and put the casserole dish into the oven.
The length of baking time depends on your personal taste: if you prefer barely-cooked, juicy scallops, bake for 10 to 12 minutes; if you prefer thoroughly cooked, firmer scallops, bake for close to 20 minutes. Once the casserole is finished, serve atop freshly boiled angel hair pasta for a readily sauced, hearty dinner.