I started teaching myself about wine several years ago. I have many books and kits and favorite websites. I feel like I am pretty okay when it comes to choosing a nice wine to enjoy with my carefully crafted meal. I also feel like I still have a long way to go and so much more to learn. Wine is a complex and beautiful thing. Before the grapevines even break through the soil the impending wine is being crafted by the land from which it grows.
I have traveled to France and Italy where I learned about local wines and how people enjoy them. I took a wine class in school last year and loved every moment. My professor was a great teacher and extremely knowledgeable sommelier (he was studying for his Master Sommelier exam), and the subject was intriguing.
Last November I attended IFBC where I got a two-hour refresher of the class I had just finished in school. The panel was “How To Incorporate Wine Into Your Food Blog”, hosted by The Crusher, a Don & Sons wine. The panel got in to basic food and wine pairing guidelines and we had a wine tasting.
Shortly after the conference I was offered a sample of some of the other Don & Sons wines. Of course I agreed! I love wine and I love free samples. Since the panel had been about food and wine pairing they also sent along recipes to pair with their wines. I didn’t realize what I was getting in to when I agreed to these “samples”, but I was pleasantly surprised to receive six bottles of wine accompanied by six recipes!
I was excited to try these wines and the pairing recipes and I thought what better way than to make a dinner party out of it! So I invited my friends over to my place for a six-course food and wine pairing dinner! I cooked all day long and then enjoyed good food, good wine, and great company.
The wines and recipes we enjoyed are as follows:
Smoking Loon Sweet Red Wine, 2009 with Bacon Plates
The Crusher Petite Syrah, 2010 with Soppressata Bean Soup
Pepperwood Grove Pinot Noir, 2009 with Truffled Spinach and Prosciutto Salad
Aquinas Chardonnay, 2010 with Mushrooms Three Ways
Project Paso Red Blend, 2010 with Greeky Pizza
B Side Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010 with Steak and Wild Rice Wrap
I didn’t follow all the recipes exactly, but I did adhere to the main flavors in the dishes. Don’t worry, I will share all the recipes and notes about the wines in the coming weeks, but for today you’ll have to settle for the evening’s dessert. I thought it apt to serve a wine-poached dessert to follow our wine and food pairing dinner:
Tweaked from a recipe I learned in Italy
8 Pears, I use D’Anjou
1 Cup White Sugar
1 Bottle Chianti Wine
12 Whole Cloves
-Heat oven to 350
-Place pears in a glass baking dish
-Pour sugar, wine and cloves into dish around pears
-Bake 30-45 minutes, or until pears are soft
-Serve hot with liquid drizzled on top and vanilla ice cream