Love Wine? There’s an App for That!

December 23, 2009 at 12:22 am (Uncategorized)

Wine.com has launched a new iPhone app just for oenophiles. Availableat Apple’s App Store, the freeapplication puts over 45,000 wines at users fingertips! You can review wines you love (or hate), discover new favorites, and share your findings with other members of this wine-loving community.

From the press release: The app connects consumers with easy-to-understand wine descriptions, professional ratings, winemaker notes, pricing information and label images. Additionally, customers can save wines in their virtual cellar, create shopping lists, rate wines and share them with friends. Wines can also be added to a shopping cart for purchase.

Soon, Wine.com plans to add a wine and food pairing tool to the application, making meal-planning a snap. All you do is input your main ingredients and the perfect wine pairings will magically appear! Cheers and bon appetit!

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Would YOU Drink Wine Out of a Tumbler?

December 16, 2009 at 12:10 am (Uncategorized)

photo by Flickr user jenny downing

Matt Kramer, long-time contributing editor of Wine Spectator and renowned wine critic, has a new web column. In Drinking Out Loud, of course devoted to wine, Kramer’s opinion-peppered articles are full of searing commentary. He’s an exceptional story-teller and uses his personal experiences as a jumping off point for sharing his deep insights about wine culture. And he isn’t shy about it!

In his second and most recent installment –  “All Right, It’s Elitist. So What?”  – Kramer poses the question, “Is deliberately serving wine in inadequate glassware any less pretentious than demanding the right stem?”.  The question may seem dull at first glance, but how he arrives at the answer is far from it. He blatantly calls out a Napa Valley restaurant and chef, blasting the establishment (and an unsuspecting waiter) for committing his idea of a cardinal sin in the world of wine.  Would you drink wine out of a tumbler? Probably not after reading this column. If you want to know which Napa Valley restaurant is now in the hot seat, and exactly how Kramer let ’em have it, read the column here.

This snippet makes his argument clear,  but you’ll have to read the juicy bits for youself:

“And we need wines that are served co-equally: well-chosen, decently priced and presented to us in glasses that allow the wine to shine, that signal a respect for the effort that went into creating such wines and that, not least, allow us to effortlessly enjoy the wine.”  Well said!

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Wine and Chocolate at Theo’s Chocolate Factory for Seattle Uncorked Members

December 1, 2009 at 9:35 pm (Uncategorized)

Theo Chocolate pic courtesy of Flickr user xmatt

When the days start getting dark and chilly, there’s nothing better than seeking comfort in a decadent holiday confection and a soothing glass of wine. If you’re a member of Seattle Uncorked, Seattle’s fun, unpretentious wine enthusiast club, tonight you’re invited to do just that at Chocolate & Wine at Theo’s Chocolate Factory.

(If you’re not a member – sign up here! It’s totally FREE, and all they need is your email address).

That’s right, the city’s favorite chocolatier is offering a tour of its factory along with tasty chocolate treats for $17.50 a person. A fun twist is that guests are asked to bring a bottle of their favorite red wine to share with the group! Again, you must be a member of Seattle Uncorked to attend so signup now and get the rest of the details for yourself! If you can’t make this evening’s festivities, there will be more!

Burnt Caramel Almonds from Recchiuti

Whether you attend or not, if you find yourself craving wine and chocolate, treat yourself (and a loved one, if you’re feeling the holiday spirit!) to an exclusive Holiday Caramel Almond Gift Set from RivkaSimone Wines. The set includes a bottle of 2007 Russian River Valley Viognier and delectable burnt caramel almonds from San Francisco chocolate-maker Recchiuti Confections. Recchiuti’s description of the almonds reads:  “The whole, organic almonds are drenched in dark chocolate with a hint of burnt caramel before getting a generous dusting in cocoa.” Happy holidays indeed!

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Recipe of the Week: Eggplant with Creole seasoned Wild Rice Stuffing

December 1, 2009 at 12:39 am (Food Pairing - Roussanne, Recipe of the Week, Uncategorized)

photo courtesy of Flickr user Robyn Gallagher

Thanksgiving may be over, but stuffing should stick around all year long! This is a delectable and hearty vegetarian recipe from Snooth author Gregory Dal Paz. Eggplant with wild rice, garlic, and French bread…. Yum!

It pairs perfectly with a glass of Roussanne – a tasty, acidic Rhone varietal. If you’re looking for a bottle to drink with this dish, try our RivkaSimone Wines 2008 Santa Ynez Valley Roussane.

Keep the holidays alive while you enjoy this creative twist on stuffing 🙂

Eggplant with Creole seasoned Wild Rice Stuffing

Serves 6.

Ingredients

  • 2 large or 3 medium eggplants
  • 1 cup wild rice, uncooked
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup onion, fine dice
  • 1 cup celery, fine dice
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, fine dice
  • Scooped out insides of eggplant, 1/2inch dice
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 chipotle chili pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 cups of French Bread, ½ inch dice, baked until well toasted, Toasting the bread cubes before adding them to the stuffing will help produce a crisper crust for the finished dish.
  • ½ cup chopped celery leaves, or parley leaves
  • 2 eggs, well beaten

Directions

  1. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, and scoop out the center, leaving enough meat inside the skin, about an inch, so that it holds its shape when baked. Dice the scooped out flesh, and reserve for use in the stuffing.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F, make sure to place racks in the lower and middle thirds of the oven.
  3. In a strainer, rinse the rice well with cold water.
  4. Place a large (6qt or larger) stock or sauté pan over medium high heat. When the pan is warmed, add the butter and allow to melt. When the butter is melted, and just beginning to brown, add the onions, celery, peppers, diced eggplant and salt.
  5. Sauté the vegetables until the have softened, about 6-8 minutes, then add the garlic, chipotle, dried thyme and paprika. Blend well and sauté until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  6. Add 3 ½ cups of the vegetable stock. Raise heat to high until the stock comes to a simmer.
  7. Add the rice, reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover the pot.
  8. The rice will take about 40 to 45 minutes to fully cook.
  9. While the rice is cooking you can slice and toast the bread cubes and turn your attention to preparing the squash.
  10. Toast the bread cubes on a baking sheet placed on the middle rack of the pre-heated oven. After 4 minutes or so give the cubes a stir to help promote even browning. Allow to bake for an additional 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. Remove the bread from the oven and raise the heat to 425F
  12. Once the rice is fully cooked remove the pan from the heat and blend in the bread cubes, adding additional stock as required. Allow the rice to cool enough so that the eggs won’t cook when you stir them in.
  13. Add the celery (or parsley) leaves and eggs and blend until well combined.
  14. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired.
  15. Fill the scooped-out eggplant halves with this mixture, dividing it evenly among the halves. Place them on an oiled oven tray or baking dish, and bake for 40 minutes, on the lower rack in the preheated oven.
  16. Let cool briefly, slice widthwise and serve.

Del Paz offers this recommendation to make this dish even more delicious:

    I like to top the eggplants with a bit of cheese for color and flavor but I’ve omitted the cheese, keeping this strictly vegetarian. For this dish I like a Sheep’s milk cheese such as Manchego or Pecorino.

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The Grape Cup: Husky vs. Cougar Winemakers, Thurs. Nov 19 6:30-9pm, The Pickering Barn, Issaquah

November 18, 2009 at 2:02 am (Uncategorized)

What: Dinner and wine-tasting competition between Husky and Cougar Alumni Winemakers! 24 local wineries are taking the intense UW / WSU rivalry from the playing field to the tasting room to see whose wine is better – the Dawgs or the Cougs. The event is a fundraiser benefiting the Farmworkers Housing Trust.

When: Thursday November 19, 6:30-9pm

Where: The Pickering Barn in Issaquah, WA

Why: Benefit the Farmworkers Housing Trust and support your alma mater!!

Tickets: $35/person includes dinner and wine-tasting. Buy tickets here.

Wineries:

Huskies
Cougars
Anton Ville Winery Basel Cellars
Brian Carter Cellars Coyote Canyon Winery
DiStefano Winery Edmonds Winery
Ferraro Cellar Efeste Wine Cellars
Gilbert Cellars Mercer Estates
Lost River Winery Milbrandt Vineyards
Nota Bene Cellars Palouse Winery
Otis Kenyon Wine
Tefft Cellars
Plaza Winery
Reininger
Two Mountain Winery Rock Meadow Cellars
Waterbrook Samson Estates
Wilridge Winery Smasne Cellars
Skylight Cellars
William Church Winery

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Recipe of the Week: Cornish Game Hens with Stuffing

November 10, 2009 at 12:05 am (Food Pairing - Malbec, Recipe of the Week, Uncategorized)

malbec

photo courtesy of flickr user longhorndave

This flavorful poultry dish pairs perfectly with a glass of full-bodied Argentinian Malbec.  I was lucky enough to have this for a family dinner last night, and it was truly delicious – definitely a rival for traditional Thanksgiving dinner!

Cornish Game Hen Dinner

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 Cornish Game Hens
  • 4 full garlic bulbs
  • 2 lemons
  • 6 sprigs of Rosemary
  • House herb mix
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Wash Cornish Game Hens inside and out with cold water and dry with paper towels.

3. Stuff each game hen with 1 full garlic bulb cut crosswise.

4. Stuff each game hen with 1/2 of 1 lemon cut in quarters.

5. Stuff 1 sprig of rosemary in each game hen.

6. Tie legs together with string.

7. Pour Olive Oil over each bird to cover it.

8. Sprinkle house herb mix over each bird and skin rosemary of each branch and sprinkle over each bird.

9. Salt and pepper each bird

10. Lay all 4 birds in a greased casserole dish, not touching each other

11. Cook in preheated oven for 1 hour for normal sized birds.

12. Take out when golden brown and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

———————————-

In a separate large pan make stuffing to serve on the side.

Stuffing Ingredients

  • 1 large package of Pepperige Farm Stuffing (small bits)
  • 4 stalks of celery washed and strung
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 apple skinned and cored
  • 1/2 cup of dried cranberrries
  • 1/2 cube of butter
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • Olive oil

Directions

1. In a large pan over medium heat place olive oil in pan.

2. Dice onion, celery, apple and saute in the pan for 5+minutes stirring occassionally.

3. Add butter and chicken stock

4. Add stuffing mix and heat together for 2-3 minutes under low heat

5. Transfer to a greased baking dish

6. Place in oven with the birds for the last 1/2 hour of cooking until hot

Serve the birds and stuffing with any version of cranberry sauce you like. Adding lemon zest over cranberry sauce gives it a tasty zing!

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Recipe of the Week: Curry Pumpkin Soup

November 2, 2009 at 11:42 pm (Food Pairing - Viognier, Recipe of the Week, Uncategorized)

soup

Halloween has come and gone once again… This means that chilly weather is swiftly approaching and you probably have some extra pumpkins on your hands! This week’s recipe will solve both problems by warming you up and making use of those leftover gourds (well, using canned pumpkin is probably easier). Did I mention this Curry Pumpkin Soup recipe pairs beautifully with a glass of aromatic, fruit-forward Viognier? Viognier is known for complementing spicy foods… perfect for this tasty seasonal dish from allrecipes.com. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Arrange pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in preheated oven for about 10 minutes, or until seeds begin to brown.
  2. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in flour and curry powder until smooth. Cook, stirring, until mixture begins to bubble. Gradually whisk in broth, and cook until thickened. Stir in pumpkin and half-and-half. Season with soy sauce, sugar, salt, and pepper. Bring just to a boil, then remove from heat. Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds.

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Achaval Ferrer 2007 Malbec: A Keeper

November 2, 2009 at 11:41 pm (For the Love of Wine, Uncategorized)

Jane Macquitty, Wine Correspondent for The Times of London, recently reviewed The Wine Society, the largest mail-order wine club in the world. She reviewed many of the club’s wines and finished the article by selecting her favorite wines of the week.”The Keeper” title went to Achaval Ferrer’s 2007 Malbec! You can read the whole article here or her wonderful description of the Mendoza, Argentina Malbec below:

THE KEEPER

2007 Malbec Achaval Ferrer, Mendoza, Argentina Corney & Barrow (020-7265 2400), £12.49 Cellaring a New World wine may sound daft but Argentina’s full-throttle malbec, the country’s finest red grape, is an obvious contender. Put away this distinguished and already seductive, spicy, mulberry-stashed malbec, from one of the finest Argentine producers, for five years or so and it will develop all sorts of dusky, complex, earthy flavours. Drink now until 2012.

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Fifth Edition of South African “Wine Tourism Handbook” Launching in 2010

October 15, 2009 at 8:55 pm (Book Review, For the Love of Wine, Uncategorized)

Experts on South African wine tourism have created an informative and exciting compilation of the country’s many wine estates. Learn what went into the making of this multi-faceted book below:

Fifth guide ripe for the picking

‘The World’s Favourite Publications’, founders of two highly successful publications – the Wine Tourism News online and the annual Wine Tourism Handbook, both considered leading authorities on wine and tourism in South Africa, is proud to launch the fifth edition for 2010 – ‘The Wine Tourism Handbook’. This definitive guide to the Winelands is available and endorsed by Cape Town Routes Unlimited (CTRU) in line with its ‘Beyond 90 Minutes’ campaign.

The 2010 issue is also available at major local and international tourism trade shows;www.kalahari.net; leading book sellers; as well as through wine farms and hotels throughout South Africa priced at R110.

This issue has taken the handbook to another level by bringing with it a number of exciting new features such as updated maps demarcating all wine farms; major roads and places of interest for each wine route. In fact, given the size of the Stellenbosch wine route, there’s a map for each of the five sub-routes for 2010. Each map comes with an easy reference guide giving grid indicators; contact details for every farm; and tasting room hours. Read the rest of this entry »

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Value seeking leads buyers to malbec

October 14, 2009 at 10:20 pm (For the Love of Wine, Uncategorized)

Looks like malbec is making waves all over the world, including the southern coast of Oregon! The following is a newspaper article from The World praising Argentinian malbec for its value and its taste.

Value seeking leads buyers to malbec

By Tom Marquardt and Patrick Darr

Don’t look now, but malbec is gaining ground.

Once grown extensively in Bordeaux, this often overlooked and fickle grape variety has put Argentina on the map in recent years. So how could a grape variety rejected by the French flourish in Argentina? Did the French miss the boat on this one?
Read the rest of this entry »

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