Super Bowl Foods & Wine

The big game is happening this Sunday. Party food is high in calories, so we will all be chucking that diet we all started at the first of the year. Oh boy, I am looking forward to eating party food and drinking my fair share of some tasty wines. Oh yeah, and watching the Patriots and Seahawks battle for the title.

Don’t just stick to one type of wine, enjoy your Super Bowl party food with a variety of wines. If your friends are like mine the wine won’t go to waste. Start with a sparkling wine, Viognier, Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc with the veggie tray or chips if you dare.

Work your way through the game with either a Merlot or Zinfandel and then a Cabernet Sauvignon while munching on the chili, burgers, meatballs and pizza.

Just because it is game day don’t forget the chocolate with a port or a sherry to complete a great party night.

Here is an infographic to help you pair up your party foods with your wines for the Big Game Day.

Wine-Pairings

Sour-Cherry-Stuffed Duck Breasts with Thyme

This festive duck roast is stuffed with a delicious sweet-and-sour cherry filling. Pair it with our Collectors Series Silvio Grasso Barolo 2011.

SERVINGS: 8 TO 10

Sour-Cherry-Stuffed Duck Breasts with ThymeINGREDIENTS

  • Four 1- to 1 1/4-pound whole boneless Muscovy duck breasts (see Note), skin scored in a crosshatch pattern
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 cup dried sour cherries (6 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • Freshly ground pepper

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

Lightly season the duck breasts all over with salt and set them skin side down on a large baking sheet. Refrigerate uncovered until the meat looks shiny, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, melt the butter. Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until just starting to brown, 4 minutes. Add the dried sour cherries and sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and just starting to caramelize, 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and 1/4 cup of water and cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed, 3 minutes. Fold in the parsley and thyme and season the stuffing with salt and pepper. Let cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 400°. Set the duck skin side down on a work surface. Spread the cherry stuffing over the breasts evenly. Fold over one side of each breast to enclose the stuffing and tie them in 5 places with kitchen twine to make 4 neat roasts.

Heat a large ovenproof skillet. Season the roasts all over with pepper and cook over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until the skin is browned and nearly crisp, 10 to 12 minutes; spoon off the excess fat in the skillet as needed.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the duck for about 12 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of each breast registers 118° to 120°. Transfer the duck breasts to a carving board and let rest for 5 minutes. Snip off the kitchen twine. Thinly slice the roasts crosswise and serve.

MAKE AHEAD
The sour cherry stuffing can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before using.

NOTE
Ask your butcher for whole boneless duck breasts. They are also available online from D’Artagnan or Grimaud Farms.

Recipe and photo from www.foodandwine.com.

What to Look For In January

chateau-beauregard-ducasse-graves-rouge-2012In January, The International Wine of the Month Club offers four outstanding wines from two continents.  Produced from Bordeaux’s classic red wine varieties of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, the 2012 Château Ducasse Graves delivers an exceptional glass of red Bordeaux from Bordeaux’s oldest and greatest wine-producing appellation.

The 2014 Château Chanteloiseau Cuvée Jean Jules Graves Blanc is a fine white wine from Graves.  As a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, this classic white Graves is blessed with beautiful citrus aromas and flavors, pinpoint minerality, and a refreshing finish.  It makes a wonderful aperitif and comports itself equally well at table with seafood, salads, pastas, and white meats.

From the golden hills of Amador County, the 2013 Terra d’Oro Amador County Zinfandel delights the nose and palate with juicy berry flavors, hints of bramble, spice, and wild herb.  This is a bold, beautiful red Zinfandel that combines rich flavors and fine-grained tannins.  As a classic, old-vine California Zinfandel from America’s own red grape varietal, this Terra d’Oro offering over-delivers in every way.

Wine lovers in search of hand-crafted Chardonnays are in for a treat with the 2014 Complicated Sonoma Coast Chardonnay.  Fashioned by two next-generation winemakers, Carlo Trinchero and Josh Phelps, from two of California’s iconic wine families, this seductive Chardonnay offers opulent fruit aromas and flavors that integrate deft touches of spice and French oak to provide one tasty, uncomplicated Chardonnay.

The International Wine of the Month Club’s Collectors SeriesSilvio-Grasso-Barolo-2011 is proud to offer three special January features.  Our first January feature is the outstanding 2011 Silvio Grasso Barolo from one of Italy’s iconic producers.  Barolo, known as, “the king of wines, and the wine of kings,” ranks as one of Italy’s best red wines.  The 2011 Silvio Grasso Barolo offers up an amplifying bouquet of red fruits, plum, rose petal, and spice, while it delights the palate with supple, complex, and expansive flavors. This is a wine perfect for enjoying now or cellaring for a decade or more.

The 2013 Maison Gille Rully Premier Cru Rabourcé 2013 is this month’s Collectors Series special white wine.  It offers a radiant straw color and scents of acacia, privet, and orchard fruits before revealing pure Chardonnay fruit flavors in the mouth.  Born in the fashionable Rully appellation of Burgundy, this Premier Cru demonstrates why Burgundy is the spiritual home of Chardonnay and why Rabourcé’s special terroir merits Premier Cru status.

The 2009 Château Armandière Diamant Rouge Cahors Malbec is a rich, ripe, and sophisticated Malbec that delivers the boldness and intensity of the finest Argentinean Malbecs, along with the added complexity, refinement, and sophistication of the best French wines. The 2009 Diamant Rouge is a rare and highly allocated wine from Château Armandière, one of the greatest estates in Cahors, the original home of Malbec.

Curried Chicken and Vegetable Pan Roast

Perfect for your next dinner party, this dish will warm you up with roasted winter vegetables and savory curried chicken. Pair it with our Premier Series Château Chanteloiseau Cuvée Jean Jules Graves Blanc 2014.

SERVINGS: 12

Curried-Chicken and Vegetable Pan RoastINGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds butternut squash in 1-inch cubes (from one 2 1/2-pound squash)
  • 1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, halved
  • 2 large red onions, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Madras curry powder
  • 4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • Warm naan, for serving

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

Preheat the oven to 450° and position racks in the upper and middle thirds. In a very large bowl, toss the butternut squash with the brussels sprouts, onion wedges and 1/2 cup of the canola oil; season with salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables on 2 large, sturdy rimmed baking sheets.

In the same bowl, combine the cup of yogurt with the ginger, garlic, curry powder and the remaining 1/2 cup of oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken and toss until thoroughly coated. Arrange the chicken on top of the vegetables. Roast for about 40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, until the vegetables are nearly tender and the chicken is nearly cooked through. Pour off any accumulated liquid in the pans and roast for about 20 minutes longer, until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is lightly browned. Transfer the chicken and vegetables to a platter and serve with warm naan and yogurt.

MAKE AHEAD
The chicken and vegetables can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently before serving.

Recipe and photo from www.foodandwine.com.

The Best Red Wines of Bordeaux

Cars_GirondeFor most red wine drinkers, Bordeaux aficionados included, the best red wines of Bordeaux are not, and will likely never be, the region’s illustrious First Growths, Grand Cru Classés, and other classified or press-deified garagiste wines of miniscule production. Many wine lovers know the best red wines of Bordeaux will be the finest red wines they can afford from the world’s most renowned wine region, but let’s face it: only a small handful of billionaires can afford to fork over thousands of dollars for a single bottle of a fine vintage of Château Margaux, Petrus, or Haut-Brion, and fewer still will wait until these sanctified reds are truly ready to be enjoyed to the fullest.  So, what can red Bordeaux lovers do to slake their thirst for fine red Bordeaux?

Bordeaux, France, is the largest fine wine producing region in the world – a viticultural paradise jam-packed with small, family-owned châteaux and affordable red wine treasures.  This is particularly true in excellent vintages produced in 2010 and 2012.  Consequently, some of Bordeaux’s best bargains and most pleasing, ready-to-drink red wines can be found among Bordeaux Petits Châteaux, many of which bear just a Bordeaux Supérieur classification.

These are not the “big” names of Bordeaux, nor are any of these châteaux’s wines household words. However, select Petits Châteaux, such as the 2010 Château Barreyre and 2010 Château Laronde Desormes, constitute some of the best bargains in all Bordeaux and are ready to enjoy now. These are tasty, beautiful reds that over-deliver in every way.

For even more bang for the buck, the elegant, silky smooth 2012 Château Saint André Corbin St. Georges St.Emilion is downright irresistible now and much more inviting than many of the wines from its St. Emilion neighbors, most of which cost two to three times the price.  Another tasty, affordable gem is the 2012 Château Ducasse Graves, a sophisticated red Bordeaux that demonstrates why Graves, the oldest wine-producing area in Bordeaux, continues to enjoy the favor of critics and consumers alike.

The keys to finding the best red Bordeaux are the track record of a given château and the quality of the vintage.  Presently, the 2010 and 2012 vintages are the ones to look for, while we await the best red Bordeaux wines from the outstanding 2014 and 2015 vintages.

Salud!
Don