Easter is fast approaching and this quintessential Spring holiday never ceases to inspire my desire for refreshing, food-friendly wines that pair beautifully with seasonally-inspired flavors.
So if you’re looking for the perfect wines to serve with your Easter feast (and perhaps all season long), here are five of my favorites. They all possess a beautiful balance of fruit and acidity as well as moderate alcohol and tannin that are sure to appeal to a variety of palates and pair perfectly with everything from rack of lamb to Honey Baked Ham!
Benvolio Prosecco DOC, Friuli, Italy, NV ($14): Brisk + bubbly with floral-infused aromas + flavors of green apple, citrus + pear, this sparkler is perfect as an aperitif or with brunchy type food. It’s reasonable price point also makes it perfect for Mimosas, Bellinis or other sparkling wine based drinks where you don’t want to mask the classic characteristics of more pricey Champagne.
Yangarra Estate Roussanne, McLaren Vale, Australia ($22): Fresh + fruit-forward, this juicy Aussie gem is 100% Roussanne, a grape indigenous to France’s Rhone Valley. Crafted with a kiss of French oak, Roussanne is known for its rich mouthfeel + lush notes of citrus, honeysuckle + spice. This wine pairs perfectly with Spring salads, seafood and/or shellfish + other lighter fare.
Whispering Angel Cotes de Provence Rosé, Provence, France ($24): This lovely, Provencal-style, DRY rose that kicked off the #RoseRevolution a decade ago is made from a blend of Grenache, Cinsault + Rolle (aka Vermentino) grapes. In hallmark Provencal style, this wine delivers delicate, mineral-infused notes of rosewater, citrus + strawberry and is perfect on its own or paired with any variety of Spring-inspired foods such as ham or lamb.
Georges Duboeuf Jean Descombes Morgon, Beaujolais, France ($22): When it comes to Spring red wines, you simply MUST explore cru Beaujolais. Hailing from the Southernmost region of Burgundy, these fabulous light, fruity reds made from the Gamay grape are known for their fruity aromas + flavors and lack of astringent tannins. They are extremely versatile at the table + pair perfectly with ham + a variety of Spring/Easter dishes.
Copain Tous Ensemble Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, California ($28): Hailing from Northern California’s Anderson Valley, this wine is an embodiment of the earthy, sweet beet root undertones that are indicative of the region’s Pinot Noir. This medium-bodied wine has vibrant dark red fruit on the nose and palate and delivers pure, focused flavors with a great lift on the finish from the acidity.
It’s been almost a decade since the #RoséRevolution began and these glorious (dry) pink wines have been enchanting wine lovers ever since. Thankfully, this delightful trend shows NO signs of stopping and to kick off Spring 2021 (aka Rosé Season) I’m sharing some fabulous, reasonably priced rosés that are perfect for your Spring and Summer soirées.
And while Provence is the birthplace of rosé, pretty much every wine region in the world produces its own version of this pink wine, made from its own indigenous grape(s) with its own unique color and flavor profile. For that reason, I’m thrilled to select wines that represent just how diverse these delightful wines are and encourage wine lovers everywhere to taste the #RoséRainbow.
Mionetto Rosé Prosecco, Veneto, Italy, NV ($12): Amen and Hallelujah! Rosé Prosecco is now officially legit as per the Prosecco DOC Consortium who officially signed it into law last year. Glera and Pinot Noir are the only permitted grape varieties and as always Mionetto is offering fabulous value for the price. This blend of 90% Glera and 10% Pinot Noir is transformed into sparkling wine via the Charmat method resulting in a beautiful, soft pink hued sparkler with enticing notes of red berries, grapefruit and honey. Pair with delicious mushroom risotto and buon appetito!
Mastroberardino Lacrimarosa Rosato, Campania, Italy ($22): This delightful rosato from the renowned Mastroberardino family who’ve been making wine for 10 generations is made from 100% Aglianico, the region’s signature red grape. “Lacrimarosa” means “pink tears” and is named for the wine’s method of production during which the grapes are gently pressed, imparting a slight pink color to the wine. This wine has a beautiful, pale rose petal pink color and delicate, mineral-infused aromas and flavors of white peach, melon and citrus accentuated by a brisk acidity that is perfectly tamed by a savory antipasti platter.
King Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon ($24): Founded in 1991, King Estate is a family owned and operated winery that focuses on organic, sustainable + biodynamic winemaking with a focus on the Pinot Noir grape. The fruit was whole cluster pressed and left on its skins just long enough to develop the pink color + then moved to stainless steel tanks for fermentation. This 100% Pinot Noir rosé displays a deep, rosy pink hue and fresh, juicy, floral-infused aromas and flavors of ripe strawberries, rose petals, wet stone + citrus. It is light + bright up front + crescendos with a mouthwatering, food-friendly acidity.
Out East Cotes de Provence Rosé, Provence France ($26): New lifestyle wine brand, Out East focuses on wines produced from sustainably farmed vineyards tended by the same families for multiple generations which ensures world-class growing + winemaking standards. This delightful rosé is a classic blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Cinsault harvested from cool climate “Green Provence.” It is displays a bright, peachy hue with complex aromas + flavors of white peach, cantaloupe, red berries, citrus + spice accentuated by a bright, lively acidity and minerality. It’s the perfect pairing for a classic Provençal Salade Niçoise!
Wölffer Estate Summer in a Bottle Rosé, Long Island, New York ($26): This gorgeous estate located in the bucolic splendor of Sagaponack, NY has essentially become the epicenter of the aspirational rosé lifestyle, the US counterpart of Provence. This delightful wine (with an equally gorgeous bottle!) is a lovely blend of 48.5% Merlot, 17% Chardonnay, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc, 3% Gewürztraminer, 3% Sauvignon Blanc, 2% Pinot Meunier + 0.5% Pinot Blanc. It has a coppery-pink hue and savory aromas and flavors of blood orange, pear, apple and spice. The mouth-feel is vibrant, minerally and spicy with a rich texture and fine tannins.
Chateau Musar Jeune Rosé, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon ($28): Hailing from an iconic producer in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley who’s been making wine since 1930, this rosy hued wine is a delightful choice for Spring. The Musar Jeune Rosé is made of 85% from Rhône grapes Cinsault and 15% Mourvedre from vines planted since at around 1,000 meters above sea level. It is made using the ‘saignée’ and pressing method and fermented in cement-lined vats and is released unoaked a year after the harvest. It is smooth and round on the palate with notes of raspberry, almond and red appleskin with a warm, spicy finish. It’s perfect for pairing with shellfish, grilled salmon or lighter pork dishes.
From succulent shrimp, scallops, mussels and clams to flaky flounder, grouper, snapper + mahi, Spring is the perfect time to explore the utter delights of pairing wine and seafood. The classic tenet “white wine with fish” just doesn’t seem to capture all the nuances of flavor and texture that can make these combinations so truly exceptional. And this isn’t exclusively white wine territory either! Rosés and reds are definitely included.
The following ten wines cover ALL the seafood bases and whether you prefer briny oysters on the half shell or seared pumpkin swordfish with Romesco sauce, I’ve got great options for you. I hope you enjoy exploring these delicious combinations and please let me know your favorite in the comments section below.
1.) Bodegas La Caña Albariño, Rías Baixas, Spain ($18): This vinous gem hails from a boutique winery located on the Northeast coast of Spain in close proximity to the Atlantic ocean. As a result, it’s a natural match for just about anything plucked from the sea! It’s vibrant notes of lime blossom, white peach, green apple + minerals pair especially well with grilled octopus, shrimp and/or flaky white fish like snapper, cod or halibut.
2.) Banfi La Pettegola Vermentino IGT, Tuscany, Italy ($20): Hailing from the coastal Maremma zone of Southern Tuscany, this bright, lively white wine is the vinous equivalent of a squeeze of lemon with its lively acidity + vibrant citrus notes! Pair it with just about any fish dish you’d enjoy lemon on like fried calamari, crab cakes and/or shrimp and your palate is in for a real treat.
3.) Craggy Range Te Muna Sauvignon Blanc, Wairarapa, New Zealand ($22): This 100% Sauvignon Blanc from the Martinborough district of New Zealand’s North Island is fermented entirely in stainless steel resulting in a wine with alluring notes of citrus, white flowers + stone fruit. On the palate, layered flavors of white peach, pear + lemon meringue are accentuated by a zesty, juicy acidity that make it perfect or pairing with the delicate flavors of shellfish like raw oysters, steamed clams and/or mussels.
4.) Truchard Vineyads Roussanne, Carneros, California ($25): Originally from France’s Rhone Valley, the Roussanne grape produces aromatic, viscous white wines in the Carneros region of California as well. Its aromas and flavors of white flowers, pear, minerals and tropical fruit accentuated by notes of brioche and vanilla make it the perfect pairing for seafood with a hint of sweetness such as plump scallops, clams, stone crabs and/or lobster.
5.) Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc, Napa, California ($23): Introduced by Robert Mondavi in 1968, Fumé Blanc, is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon that’s fermented in a percentage of oak for added depth and complexity. This wine exhibits refreshing notes of lime blossom, citrus, juicy peach, fresh melon and a hint of jasmine along with a rich texture and lengthy finish. It’s perfect for pairing with heartier seafood dishes such as lemon capellini with caviar, linguine with clam sauce and/or seafood gratin.
6.) King Estate Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, Oregon ($18): If oily fish like salmon and mackerel are your jam you probably know how challenging it can be to find the right wine pairing. And while many people love to pair them with Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris can make a much better match. The gorgeous viscosity of Pinot Gris more closely echoes the delightful, oily texture of the fish.
7.) Rock Angel Cotes de Provence Rose, Provence, France ($32): This delightful rosé is made of primarily Grenache and Rolle but, unlike it’s little sister Whispering Angel, it received a kiss of oak that resulting in a fuller bodied wine with more complex aromas and flavors of red berries, citrus, strawberry and rose with a hint of spice. It’s also perfect for pairing with heartier fish dishes like grilled swordfish or tuna steaks as well as tomato-based seafood dished like bouillabaisse.
8.) Craggy Range Pinot Noir Martinborough, Wairarapa, New Zealand ($25): By definition, Pinot Noir is on the lighter end of the red wine spectrum and this incarnation embodies all of this coveted grape’s best qualities! With notes of black cherry, strawberry and cola accompanied by earthy tannins, this wine is a perfect pairing for salmon, tuna, marlin, swordfish, mackerel, bluefish or other fatty, meaty, big-flavored fish.
9.) Cune Rioja Crianza, Rioja, Spain ($14): This delightful blend of 85% Tempranillo, the signature red grape of Rioja, and 15% Garnacha Tinto and Mazuelo, was aged in American oak barrels resulting in a wine with savory aromas and flavors of tart cherry, plum, cocoa and clove accompanied by supple, earthy tannins. It’s a natural match for grilled or smoked fish dishes like fish dip or fish served with a Romesco sauce.
10.) Domaine du Pavillon de Chavannes Côte de Brouilly Cuvée de Ambassades, Burgundy, France ($24): Cru Beaujolais (not Beaujolais Nouveau) like this stylish, under-the-radar gem are fabulous choices to pair with meaty, full-flavored fish and seafood dishes. Made from the Gamay grape, this medium-bodied, stylish red displays alluring notes of black cherry, plum, violet and cassis accompanied by light, supple tannins that are key to its ability to pair so well with food.
Valentine's Day is the perfect opportunity to treat your sweetheart to something special and show them how much you care. If they happen to have a passion for food and wine (in addition to you!), you're in luck because in this post I'm sharing my top 10 favorite Valentine's Day gifts for food and wine lovers!
All of these items are near and dear to my heart and I'm very excited to share them with you. Please scroll down to browse the descriptions and simply click the name of an item to view purchasing information. Just FYI, some of the links are affiliate links which result in NO extra cost to you, and a small commission for me if you purchase something.
If you have any questions about any of these items, please feel free to reach out using the comments section below. Also, please scroll down for info on when I'll be revealing my 2021 Valentine's Day wine recommendations:
I hope you find these Valentine's Day gifts for food and wine lovers helpful and if you’re looking for some delicious wine recommendations, please check out my recent appearance on WPTV Newschannel 5 featuring Romantic Red Wines for Valentine’s Day.
In the meantime, for even more Valentine's Day resources, check out my favorite recipes, desserts and playlists that are guaranteed to set the mood for l'amour. Wishing you and your loved one a deliciously Happy Valentine's Day! xo
I just love this quote and if you’re looking for a Winter-inspired dish that embodies all of these seasonal necessities this Boeuf Bourguignon Pot Pie is just the ticket! As if Boeuf Bourguignon and pot pie weren’t delicious enough on their own - combining them creates some truly decadent, delicious synergy.
This recipe features rich, savory beef short ribs slow-cooked in a star anise, bay leaf and red wine scented broth. The resulting heavenly mixture is then topped with puff pastry and baked until it emerges from the oven crowned with a gorgeous, golden brown, flaky tiara - hungry yet?
Unlike my Fast + Fabulous recipes that are ready in 30 minutes or so, this dish requires time. It’s the perfect Sunday Supper or any day of the week you plan on spending a day at home. Be sure to read through the recipe first to get a feel for the timing of it and you’ll also want to decide on a baking dish prior to beginning your culinary journey because this will determine how much puff pastry you’ll need.
If you bake off the entire mixture in one baking dish, you’ll only need one piece of puff pastry, however, if you decide to do divide the mixture among individual bowls, I highly recommend these onion soup-style dishes, you might need 2 sheets in order to have enough pastry to cut circles to top each dish.
The short rib mixture can be made up to two days ahead of time. Simply cover + chill in the fridge when you’re done preparing it and then bring to room temperature when you’re ready to assemble the pot pie.
I usually prepare the short rib mixture at least one day in advance because when you pull it out of the fridge the next day, the chilled fat has congealed on the surface making it really easy to scoop out.
As for something to pair with this delicious dish, a hearty, full-bodied red like Cabernet Sauvignon or Côtes du Rhône is a wonderful choice. The plentiful tannins and full body of the wine balance out the richness and complexity of the dish resulting in pure, synergistic heaven! For more delicious red wines to enjoy with this dish, simply click here.
I guarantee, this decadent, flavorful Boeuf Bourguignon Pot Pie will reward you with a heavenly smelling home and a very happy family. What are some of your favorite Winter dishes? Please let me know in the comments below. xoprint recipe
“BOEUF BOURGUIGNON POT PIE”
3 Tablespoons olive oil
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus more
Kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper
3-4 lbs. bone-in beef short ribs
4 slices bacon cut into ¼-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 medium leek, white + pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled + finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 Tablespoons Cognac or Bourbon
4 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped
1 bay leaf
1 star anise pod
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup red wine (a medium to full-bodied red is best)
5 Tablespoons butter, room temperature, divided
8 ounces cremini mushrooms
8 ounces frozen pearl onions, thawed
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1-2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 large egg, beaten
Place a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 350°. Add ½ cup flour to a gallon plastic bag + season with salt and pepper. Add short ribs in batches and toss to coat; shaking off excess. Heat olive oil in a large heavy braising pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sear beef, turning often, until browned all over, 8–10 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.
Add bacon to same pot + cook, stirring often until brown and crisp, scraping up browned bits. Lower heat to medium + add onion, leek + carrot + cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic + parsley + return beef to pot. Add Cognac or brandy + simmer until liquid is almost completely evaporated, about 1 minute. Add thyme leaves, bay leaf, star anise, broth + wine + season with salt and pepper; bring to a simmer.
Mix 1 Tbsp. flour + 1 Tbsp. butter in a small bowl until smooth, then stir into meat mixture. Cover pot + braise in oven until short ribs are very tender, approximately 4 hours until the meat is tender + falling off the bone, stirring occasionally.
Melt remaining 4 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms + pearl onions and cook, stirring, until browned, 8–10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice + season with salt + pepper. Add mushrooms + onions to stew, cover pot + return to oven. Cook until onions are very tender, 25–30 minutes, then let stew cool.
Before proceeding with either assembling pot pie or refrigerating the beef mixture, remove the bones from the short ribs + bay leaf. Then use two forks to pull apart + shred the short ribs into bite size pieces + add back to the mixture.
Meanwhile, roll out one pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface until about 4” larger than baking dish (if cooking in one dish - 8” square is recommended) or cut circles to place over individual bowls that are 1” wider in circumference. Using a small knife or small circular cookie cutter punch out a small circle in the center of the puff pastry sheet or each individual circle.
Transfer stew to baking dish or divide among bowls, drape pastry over filling + trim to a 1” overhang. Crimp edge + then lightly brush top + edges of pastry with beaten egg.
Bake until crust is a golden brown, 30-35 minutes, keeping an eye on it to be sure it doesn’t burn.
Your favorite cashmere sweater. A cozy fleece blanket. A succulent bowl of savory Boeuf Bourguignon. These are definitely a few of my favorite Winter things and you know what makes them ALL even BETTER? Enjoying them with a nice, big glass of RED WINE!
In my opinion Red Wine is the PERFECT Winter accessory and this post features some of my absolute favorites that are guaranteed to warm you up from the inside out. They are intensely colored, full-bodied, mouthfilling wines with oodles of ripe fruit and copious amounts of tannin. If you crave this style of wine or are in the mood for further exploration these Somm selections will inspire you to race to your local wine store OR your favorite online purveyor. And in order to accommodate your vinous whims, I’ve chosen wines at a variety of price points featuring both steals AND splurges ~ Enjoy!!!
1.) CLINE ANCIENT VINES MOURVEDRE, CENTRAL COAST, CALIFORNIA ($18): Crafted from the concentrated fruit of 80-120 year old vines, this full-bodied beauty delights with mouth-filling notes of luscious plum, blackberry, chocolate + eucalyptus accompanied by supple tannins + a lengthy finish.
2.) ALTA VISTA ESTATE MALBEC, MENDOZA, ARGENTINA ($24): Hailing from the mountains of Mendoza, this 100% Malbec seduces with a dense, inky purple color + fragrant aromas + flavors of blackberry compote, plum, violets + spice with firm tannins + a peppery finish.
3.) ROBERT OATLEY SIGNATURE SERIES CABERNET SAUVIGNON, MARGARET RIVER, AUSTRALIA ($22): This fresh, juicy red delights with a bright garnet color + aromas + flavors of black currant, raspberry, cassis + dried herbs with grippy, gravelly tannins + a lengthy finish.
4.) GAJA CA’MARCANDA PROMIS, TUSCANY, ITALY ($50): This savory blend of Merlot, Syrah + Sangiovese is a stunner with heady floral aromas of rose, violet + earthy red + black fruit. On the palate, mouth-filling flavors of wild strawberry, black cherry + plum are accentuated by rosemary, fennel + smoke + supple tannins which culminate in a long, lingering finish.
5.) LA JOTA MERLOT HOWELL MOUNTAIN, NAPA VALLEY, CALIFORNIA ($85): This beautifully structured blend of predominantly Merlot with dollops of Tannat + Petit Verdot crafted from coveted mountain fruit entices with heady aromas of ripe black fruit, earthy truffles + spice. Opulent layers of blackberry, roasted plum, cassis + espresso delight on the palate + are accompanied by affable tannins + a mineral-tinged finish.
6.) CHATEAU DE BEAUCASTEL CHATEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE, RHONE, FRANCE ($90): This Southern Rhone classic, a blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah + Counoise, delights with aromas + flavors of black currant, black cherry + plum as well as savory notes of smoked meat, tapenade + garrigue + chewy tannins. It all culminates in a lengthy, richly textured, mouthwatering finish.
For purchasing information for any of these Winter Red Wines, simply click on the wine’s name above. And, just in case you can't find a particular wine or it's not available in your area, please don't give up! Ask a clerk at your local retail store to recommend a wine that’s similar to the one you're looking for. Better to enjoy something similar than nothing at all!
Also, if you're interested in learning more about wine this year, I have the perfect place to start: my White Wine 101 and Red Wine 101 blog posts. I hope you enjoy them and please feel free to share this post with your wine loving friends!
This month I am craving white wine. Not the bright, citrusy Sancerres and Pinot Grigios of Summer, no, this week I'm craving WINTER white wines! The vinous equivalent of a lush, luxurious cashmere sweater.
But what exactly does that mean?
Winter white wines have a little somethin' extra - a little vinous booty if you will. Winter white wines are rich, creamy and delicious and capable of keeping you warm on a chilly night. They should even be served about 5 degrees warmer than lighter-bodied Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc (50-55 degrees is ideal). This allows the complexity of their aromas and flavors to really shine.
Luckily, I've had the chance to sample some of these beauties recently. From a luscious Viognier from France's Rhone Valley to a Marilyn Monroe-esque Chardonnay from California's Napa Valley, I've got some steals and splurges that I think you are really going to enjoy!
1.) YALUMBA Y SERIES VIOGNIER, BAROSSA VALLEY, AUSTRALIA ($12): This alluring, medium-bodied winter white displays floral-imbued notes of honeyed citrus, peach and spiced pear with a delightful palate-hugging viscosity.
2.) CROSSBARN SONOMA COAST CHARDONNAY, SONOMA, CALIFORNIA ($28): A medium-bodied wine with delightfully creamy notes of spiced apple, peach, apricot, fig and vanilla which culminate in a long, lovely, lingering finish.⠀
3.) ZIND-HUMBRECHT GEWURZTRAMINER, ALSACE, FRANCE ($27): Fragrant aromatics of lychee, rose and ginger emanate from this completely delicious, spicy Gewürz that should be dubbed "the official Wine of Winter!"
4.) HARTFORD COURT FOUR HEARTS VINEYARD RRV CHARDONNAY, SONOMA, CALIFORNIA ($42): Floral and fabulous this Chardonnay entices with glorious aromatics of honeysuckle and orange blossom. On the palate, alluring notes of Meyer lemon, red apple, candied ginger, peach and spice are followed by a mineral-tinged finish.
5.) CLIFF LEDE NAPA VALLEY SAUVIGNON BLANC, NAPA, CALIFORNIA ($24): This medium-bodied white wine envelops the palate in rich, elegant notes of mandarin orange, white flowers and peach balanced by a delightfully crisp, lively minerality.⠀
6.) CHATEAU DE SAINT COSME CONDRIEU, RHONE, FRANCE ($78): This perfumey and richly textured white wine, made from 100% Viognier, delights with enticing notes of honeysuckle, lemon verbena, star fruit and apricot which you can readily savor on its luxuriously lingering, spice-tinged finish.
For purchasing information for any of these Winter White Wines, simply click on the wine’s name above. And, just in case you can't find a particular wine or it's not available in your area, please don't give up! Ask a clerk at your local retail store to recommend a wine that’s similar to the one you're looking for. Better to enjoy something similar than no wine at all!
Also, if you're interested in learning more about wine this year, I have the perfect place to start: my White Wine 101 and Red Wine 101 blog posts. I hope you enjoy them and please feel free to share this post with your wine loving friends ~ Cheers!