My Legends of Wine Favorites
It sure has been a wonderful past two weeks and another successful Farm-to-Fork celebration here in Sacramento. I feel especially grateful to live here during this time of the year. One of the key events during Farm-to-Fork Week is Legends of Wine, which took place last September 17th on the steps of the Capitol building.
I attended with Andy and I brought my mom with us, who was visiting from Ohio that week. It was a gorgeous, classic Sacramento September night, and we had a great time. We caught up with many industry friends and tasted dozens of labels—some familiar, some not so familiar—but all chosen by wine experts Darrell Corti and David Berkley to be at the present.
As always, I took pictures of my favorites and am presenting them to you here. I am not being compensated for my opinion, I just really like the wines you’re about to see, and I encourage you to try them if you have not already! 🙂
First up is a 2013 Semillon from Andis. If you attended Legends of Wine, you probably tried this wine, because they were one of the first booths of the event near the entrance. It’s a great wine to begin the evening. Bright, fruity and readies the palette for more!
My second favorite from Legends of Wine was the 2013 Séka Hills Viognier (shown below). Speaking of bright and fruity, this wine has the same descriptors. It’s a crisp, flavorful wine straight out of Capay Valley.
Near the Capay Valley lies Esparto and my good friends at Matchbook. Their Rosé of Tempranillo is currently my favorite domestic rosé. It will probably be on my table this Thanksgiving, it goes with almost anything.
Another favorite wine of mine is the 2014 Chenin Blanc from Revolution Wine in Sacramento. Craig Haarmeyer is the winemaker there and is making Chenin cool again. Check out Revolution’s tasting room and restaurant over on 29th and S. In their tasting room, don’t miss their Albariño and Malbec. They are by far my two favorite wines that Craig makes. 🙂
This Vermentino from Lone Acre (Simone Giusto Cellars) was one of Andy’s favorites. Vermentino is one of the most popular white grapes in Italy and is becoming more popular in California. The grape tends to do really well in warmer regions just like Amador! It might be time to roll out the red wines, but keep this one in mind for a starter glass before dinner.
We also liked this rosé by Uvaggio (Lodi). It’s a blend of Primitivo, Barbera and Vermentino, which is like the Italian grape version of The Three Musketeers!
For all you red wine folks, my last choice is Michael David’s Ancient Vine Cinsault. It’s very similar in body/taste to a Pinot Noir (cherry/berry). The Cinsault was planted in all the way back in 1885 by Joseph Spenker, which pretty much qualifies it as ancient vine, as it is Lodi’s oldest producing vineyard. I wish there were more Cinsault planted and produced!
I am already looking forward to next year’s Farm-to-Fork celebration and another Legends of Wine. To keep up with all the delicious Farm-to-Fork events, click here, “like” Farm to Fork on Facebook here, or follow them on Twitter here. Cheers! 🙂
Flights By Night #2: A Sangiovese & Cabernet Pairing
Today’s “Flights by Night” features a Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon matched up with my Spicy and Sweet Tomato, Beef and Mushroom Sauce over Roasted Spaghetti Squash.
A traditional pairing with any spicy red sauce would be a sangiovese, and we chose one by Luna Vineyards. Most sangiovese have an acidic body accented with bright, red fruit flavors, very similar to the flavor notes of a tomato (that of course would be the main ingredient in a red sauce). 😉 The acid in the wine fends off the heat of the red pepper flakes in the sauce.
Speaking of the sauce… Sometimes when preparing a meal during a busy work week, one has to take some shortcuts. For instance, I used a jar of organic 365 Everyday Value Pasta Sauce from Whole Foods as a base for my sauce and added:
1 sauteéd onion
1 1/2 cups mushrooms
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbs dried basil (Litehouse Foods has a freeze dried basil I absolutely love!)
1 pound grassfed ground beef
Then, I wilted 1 cup fresh basil into the sauce right before serving.
The spaghetti squash was the easy part. I preheat my oven to 400°F, then I poke holes in the squash before microwaving for about 4 minutes (so that I can cut it more easily). I cut the squash open and remove the seeds, then put the squash on a parchment lined baking sheet. I also season the squash with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil. Then I bake the squash until it gets all roasty and browned on the edges. 🙂
You can also cook your squash in a crockpot—You don’t de-seed it until after cooking. Just poke holes in the squash, pour 2 cups of water in the crockpot, place the squash in the pot and let it cook on the low setting while you’re at work all day. If you make your sauce ahead of time, you’ll have dinner in less than 5 minutes! 🙂
The other wine we paired with dinner was a bottle of Nadia Cabernet Sauvignon. This makes sense because of the richness of the beef in the sauce. Also, most of our 2012 Cabernets are just getting old enough to enjoy now in late 2015, because they have aged for 3 years. Their tannins have softened and the fruit is lush. Besides, most wine produced domestically is made to drink sooner than later, so don’t wait too long to open that bottle you’ve been aging. Nothing is worse than opening a bottle that is over the hill (besides opening a bottle that is corked)! Cheers!
Pork and pinot on the next Flights By Night? Stay tuned… 🙂
Flights By Night #1
Hello food and wine lovers! Today is the start of a new series called “Flights by Night”. Each post is intended to be a short and sweet glimpse of some of the Paleo/Primal meals and wine pairings that Andy and I enjoy when we cook at home. Perfect to give you ideas for dinner and short enough to give a quick read.
First up was Tuesday night’s dinner: Beef sliders with blue cheese and mushrooms, on tomato and red onion stacks, and a side of Brussels sprouts.
We paired the burgers with Bella Winery Two Patch Zinfandel and Rombauer Merlot.
The Zinfandel was an obvious pairing with the burgers, but the Rombauer was a special choice for a Tuesday night. Andy says, “it’s (the Rombauer Merlot) a soft, round wine with a nice touch of oak and cocoa flavors. Very long finish.” I thought the fruit in the Merlot was a great match for the mushroom topping on the burgers.
Thanks so much to Andy for having dinner ready for me so many times when I get home, as well as meticulously choosing the wines we will share with the meal. 🙂
What will he come up with next? Stay tuned for the next Flights by Night. 🙂