Archive for Sips & Tips

Perfect Pairing: Salmon and Pinot Noir

Monday, May 4th, 2015

With a few ingredients and a good bottle of wine you’ll have dinner ready in less than 30 minutes.

This pan seared salmon recipe hits all my weeknight dinner needs: Easy, healthy, filling, delicious and pairs great with wine!

Pinot Noir is the ideal pairing with salmon. The light red fruits and earthy, savory nature of a Pinot are a perfect match to the rich and savory meat of the salmon.  Since salmon is an oily fish, a Pinot with a medium acidity helps to cut through and balance the dish’s oiliness.

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This Calera Pinot Noir Central Coast 2013 was recommended by Wine Exchange. If you’re looking for the best selection of wines with best prices, then you need to visit their showroom located in Santa Ana. or check out their website Winex.com  Here is a link to an article  I wrote about Wine Exchange

James Laube of Wine Spectator describes Calera Pinots as “among the most distinctive in California, admired far and wide for their deliberate style and authenticity.” The Wine Advocate adds, “Readers who want to experience the finest Pinot Noirs being made in California should put Calera at or near the top of their lists.”

Winemaker’s Notes:

Aromas of boysenberry, blueberry, spice and sandalwood lead you into this alluring 2013 Central Coast Pinot Noir with its graceful yet structured body. Flavors of black plum, graphite, cinnamon hearts, cherry cola, forest floor, oolong tea and a faint whisper of watermelon meander across the palate into a lively, bright and very flavorful finish. 

Pan Seared Salmon with Mushrooms and Spinach

Ingredients

  • Salmon fillets
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil or cooking spray
  • 1 Tablespoon butter or cooking spray
  • 1-2 shallots, sliced 
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • Juice of lemon

Directions

Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper.

Coat the bottom of a pan with oil or add cooking spray and place on medium-high heat.  Add salmon to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Remove from pan, and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

In the same skillet, melt butter. Add shallots and sauté for a minute. Add mushrooms and continue to sauté for a few minutes.  Add spinach; cook 30 seconds or until spinach wilts.

To serve; Place salmon and sautéed vegetables on a plate, drizzling any pan juices on top. Squeeze lemon over salmon and vegetables and dinner is served! 

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Hosting a Wine and Cheese Party

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

Wine and cheese are two great pairings in life. But with so many options, where do you start? As with food pairing, there are no “rules”. It really comes down to personal preference and matching wine and cheese to enhance the flavor/taste, not overpower the other.

Does the cheese enhance the taste of the wine? Does the wine enhance the taste of the cheese? If you agree, it’s a good pairing and if you don’t, try a different pairing!

If you are planning a wine and cheese party, it’s best to provide a variety of  cheeses with different textures for comparison:

–          Fresh /milder cheese (Mozzarella, Havarti)

–          Soft cheese (Brie,  Camembert)

–          Semi hard cheese (Gouda, Gruyère)

–          Hard / stronger cheese (Aged Gouda, Manchego)

 

The same with wine. Have a variety to taste and compare and provide wines some may not have tried:

–          Sparkling (Prosecco, Cava )

–          White (Sauvignon Blanc, Albarino)

–          Red  (Tempranillo, Zinfandel)

–          Sweet (Riesling, Sauternes)

 

Though there are no rules, below are some approaches to pairing:

  • Pairing wine & cheese from the same region is a good, “safe” start (Spanish Tempranillo with Manchego cheese)
  • Identify dominate flavors of cheese & seek wines that share similar flavor profiles ( acid with acid)
  • Identify dominate flavors of cheese & seek wines that share opposite flavor profiles ( salt with sweet)
  • Determine wine list first & cheese will be dependent upon type of wine chosen

 

Once you determine your approach, below are some guidelines or suggestions:

 

Match Textures and/or Flavors

  • Goat cheese ( acidity)  pairs well with light acidic wines such as Sauvignon Blanc
  • Brie (creamy/buttery)  pairs well with a buttery wine such as  Chardonnay

Pair White Wines with Light Cheeses

  • Fresh / semi soft cheeses are lighter, has milder flavor and less salt which pairs well with  delicate white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.

(If you prefer red wine with lighter cheese, Pinot Noir pairs well as it’s the lightest of the reds)

 

Pair Red Wines with Stronger Cheeses

  • Intense red wines such as  Bordeaux or Cabernet Sauvignon can handle stronger types of cheeses, such as aged gouda
  • Spicy wines such as Zinfandel with smoked cheddar

(Exception: young red wines with high tannins are better with buttery/creamy cheese for balance)

 

Champagne /Sparkling Wine  with Blue, Creamy and Salty Cheeses

  • Yeasty, toasty qualities of sparkling wines balances with blue cheese
  • Rich and creamy cheese contrasts with the bubbles
  • Bubbles help diffuse salt in stronger cheeses (salt and sweet combo)

 

Hosting a party can be expensive so if you are planning your wine and cheese pairings ahead, assign each guest a bottle of wine or cheese pairing. I’m sure your guests will be happy to contribute for a fun evening with great friends!
Cheers!!

Thanksgiving Wines

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Thanksgiving is a day of the ultimate feast. So what wine pairs best with this feast?   Forget about the traditional food and wine pairing as there are too many food varieties and flavors in addition to the turkey such as cranberry, cinnamon, sweet potato, etc. And what about appetizers and dessert? 

It’s best to serve different wines so guests can choose what they want to drink but will also be versatile enough with go with the various dishes  While chardonnay tends to be the popular choice, offer your guests other wines they may not have tried or expect.

Sparkling wine is a great way to start off your celebration feast as an aperitif to pair with appetizers.  

For white wines, Riesling with its acidity and fruitiness will pair well with sweet potatoes, turkey and herb stuffing.  Gewurztraminer with its spice and aromatics is also a good choice.

For red wines, look for something not too high in alcohol.  Lighter wines such as Pinot Noir or Beaujolais will pair well with turkey.  If you want something more intense, try a Zinfandel which will go with richer sides such as your stuffing. 

 

 

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Categories : Sips & Tips, Wine