Don’s February Collector’s Series Top Picks

Casa_Silva_Microterroir_Carmenere-2005Nobody makes better Carmenère than the legendary “King of Carmenère,” Mario Geise, and we know of no better Carmenère than the 2005 Casa Silva Microterroir.  Critics have dubbed the iconic 2005 Casa Silva Microterroir “the ultimate Carmenère,” which no doubt solidifies Geise’s reputation for fashioning knockout, full-flavored Carmenère.

This wine’s saturated purple color, seductive perfume of blue and black fruits, and layer upon layer of complex ripe fruit, chocolate, and spice flavors earn the 2005 Microterroir this month’s Collector Series Top Pick. Elegant, opulent, and powerful all at once, the 2005 Microterroir from a tiny plot in Casa Silva’s Los Lingues Vineyard is as good as it gets.  Enjoy!

Salute!
Don

Don’s February Premier Series Top Picks

mischief_maker_2010This month’s Premier Series offers a formidable line-up of wines from four different countries on three continents: wines from France, Argentina, Chile and South Africa all make their appearance and each offers something special.  Yet, only one gets to be Top Pick, and this month’s Top Pick goes to Mary-Lou Nash’s 2010 Black Pearl Mischief Maker Shiraz.  Mary-Lou makes Black Pearl wines in tiny quantities with tender loving care from her 11 acre property.  Best of all she has the knack for imbuing her wines with the beauty and wonder of the natural landscape of Africa’s Western Cape, which surrounds her perfectly tended vineyard.  Moreover, Mischief Maker reveals a polished purity and sophistication that’s often missing in other South African wines.  Opulent fruit flavors married to ripe tannins make this finely crafted Shiraz an absolute pleasure to drink.  Enjoy!

Salute!
Don

Should You Be Chilling Your Red Wine?

red wineThe answer to the question is an unequivocal yes, and no. The traditional adage says to serve white wines cold and red wines at room temperature, but traditional wisdom appears out of synch with recent studies that indicate the temperature range most of us prefer to drink red wines is much cooler than room temperature in most contemporary American homes and restaurants.  But first and foremost, what is room temperature?  Room temperature varies from season to season and locale to locale.  In addition, the term doesn’t take into account modern heating and air conditioning, which greatly alter the temperature of a room.  Moreover, when the conventional wisdom of serving red wine at room temperature came into vague in England and France centuries ago, room temperature was 55°- 62° F most of the year, if you were lucky.

Not surprisingly, university studies confirm that the vast majority of wine drinkers garner the most flavor and pleasure from red wines consumed between 55°- 65° F, which is decidedly cooler than room temperature in most American homes.  Consequently, the term room temperature is useless to most of us today with central heating and air conditioning.  If one wants to enjoy a good bottle of red wine in July in Arizona or Southern California, room temperature will hardly make the grade, so why not put the bottle of red wine in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to bring it down below 65° F.  And there’s no law that says you can’t chill red wine further, if you prefer it that way.  One wine drinker’s loss of flavor is another’s perfect potion, so as you like it.

Salute!
Don

 

Don’t forget that you can order your favorite wines at www.WineMonthClub.com

Flat Iron Steaks with Blue Cheese Butter

Besides Gorgonzola, this tasty butter is enhanced with shallot, tarragon and Worcestershire sauce; it adds great flavor to any steak, including this seared flat-iron that’s cut from the chuck.

Total Time: 40 Minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

Flat Iron Steaks with Blue Cheese Butter

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 pound Gorgonzola Dolce, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Two 1- to 1 1/4-pound beef flat iron steaks
  • Canola oil, for brushing

Directions:

In a small bowl, blend the butter with the Gorgonzola cheese, minced shallot, chopped tarragon and Worcestershire sauce. Season the blue cheese butter with salt and pepper.

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the flat iron steaks with canola oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the steaks over high heat until they are lightly charred on the bottoms, about 4 minutes. Turn the steaks, brush with 1 tablespoon of the blue cheese butter and grill until medium-rare, 3 to 4 minutes more. Let the grilled steaks rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes. Thinly slice the steaks across the grain and serve with the remaining blue cheese butter on the side.

Make Ahead The blue cheese butter can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Let return to room temperature before serving.

Suggested Pairing

Fruit-forward Malbec (from the steak-loving country of Argentina) is terrific with beef.

Recipe and photo from: www.FoodandWine.com

Red Wine Marinated Flank Steak with Cherry Tomato Caprese Salsa

Grilled or broiled, this recipe is chocked full of flavor! Marinated in red wine and topped with a delicious cherry tomato caprese salsa, this recipe is sure to get you out of your winter funk but is perfect for anytime of year!

Red Wine Marinated Flank Steak with Cherry Tomato Caprese Salsa 3

YIELD: SERVES 2-4
PREP TIME: 2-24 HOURS (FOR MARINADE)
COOK TIME: 15 MINUTES (INCLUDES REST TIME)

Ingredients:

  • 1 (2 pound) flank steak, about 1 inch thick
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • Red Wine Marinated Flank Steak with Cherry Tomato Caprese Salsa 41 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • 2 fresh mozzarella balls, chopped into pieces (about 1/2 cup)
  • 10 basil leaves, freshly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
  • pinch of pepper

Directions:

Whisk olive oil, red wine, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl until combine. Add flank steak to a ziplock bag or baking dish and pour marinade ingredients over top. Marinate (in the fridge!) for 2-24 hours, flipping steak a few times to coat with marinade. When you’re ready to make the steak, heat the broiler in your oven on the highest setting and place an oven rack directly underneath. Broil steak for 6 minutes, flip and broil for 5 minutes more. If your steak is 1-1 1/2 inches thick, this should result in steak that is done medium-well. Let it rest for 10 minutes, then slice thin strips on an angle. You can cook the steak however you’d like! You can grill it if desired.

While the steak is cooking or resting, combine quartered tomatoes, shallot, mozzarella, basil, garlic salt and pepper in a bowl, tossing to combine. In a small bowl, stir together olive oil and balsamic, then pour over top and toss to coat. Just a hint: if you mozzarella comes marinated in olive oil, you can use that oil for the salsa. That’s what I did!

Red Wine Marinated Flank Steak with Cherry Tomato Caprese Salsa

Recipe and photos from: www.HowSweetEats.com