Archive for the ‘ Wine and Food Pairings ’ Category

On The Road Eating and Drinking

Regional Beer of Barcelona, Spain

I cannot stress enough that if one is traveling abroad you must first try regional cuisine and drink. Drink of course includes lots of water if one is walking the city- then have the wine, beer, and any other libations the area consider part of their culture or heritage.

While in Spain and the southern region of France we did just this. If you are not sure what to drink, do not hesitate to ask. We found ourselves in a few eateries that offered beer selections to match the food, and they were all wonderful. My son who is twenty three thoroughly enjoyed this. Sampling beer along the trail was one of the highlights of his trip. Wine of course was ours. Among other things they had to offer was a Segovian made Whiskey- D.Y.C., and in four styles.

Your basic DYC, an 8, 12, and a Pure Malt version. Not to mention it was a very low euro price too. Well, at least outside of the city, and in the small markets. Many hotels charge an arm and a leg for most drinks, so beware. At fifteen euros for a cheap glass of scotch or whiskey, you might find yourself in one of their bread lines, literally (LOL). They offer up plenty of bread at the Tapas Bars, but there is where you will find your bargain food and drink!

Olive You!

More on the D.Y.C. Whiskey later, but for now, my favorite pairing on the trip- Local olives and a great glass of red wine!

Cheers!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling

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Pays Basque Wines of Xareta

Hotel Restaurant Lastiry, Sare/Fr

Most recently a trip was taken by my family to Espaina and the southern region of France- Xareta, which means “Wooded Valley”. We visited one of the villages, Sare (Sara) in the Basque region.

This charming town is part of the winding roadways off the major Autovia, or highway once you cross the French border. There we had two wines of the area with our meal, before setting off to San Sebastian, the other side of the Basque border.

A white and red wine, both AOC Irouleguy- Andere D’Ansa (white, 09) and Gorri D’Ansa (red, 07). Soft and light, but well matched for the regional dishes of seafood (squid and scallops, of which are mostly small) and le boeuf (veal).

A plus in this region and Spain were the offerings of small bottles, and no competitive pricing. Spain has no taxing on alcohol, because the believe that ‘Wine Is Food’, so I suspect France may be the same. Finding a bottle for as little as 1 Euro is not uncommon. Maybe not as good, but easy on the Euros with meals. I would suggest if you are ever near this region, which just above and to the left is Bordeaux- do not pass this experience up.

Our hotel and restaurant are connected- service, food and wine were excellent. If you do not speak French (a bit different in Basque), the hotel receptionist if on duty speaks English, and helped us with the menu since the wait staff had no patience with my son’s Spanish or our unused French from college and about. Spanish is also spoken, but a bit choppy with the French mixed in. I would suggest a Berlitz course, or lessons before you go.

Food- Basque, but French in many ways. Scallop pie, Le Boeuf Kidney Pie, and a beautiful Squid Casserole.

Also, one last suggestion- For breakfast, skip the lobby breads, and head down to the left, around the corner, and down the alley like street to the local bakery- Pan/Pain for some chocolate crescents. The memory of them lingers…some red wine would go well!

The food, wine and scenery is beautiful!

Cheers!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

HISTORY: Xareta is an association law 1901 of French right dating from September 2004, gathering 4 villages on the two side of the border: Ainhoa, Sare, Urdazubi-Urdax and Zugarramurdi.

The country of Xareta, zone of a few square kilometres, forms a common basin of life on the two side of the border, around the villages Urdazubi-Urdax, Zugarramurdi, Ainhoa and Sare. The territory is located near mountains and sea. Moreover, Xareta has a strong cultural identity, thanks to the bonds of its inhabitants, who exceed the borders.

Sare/Sara, Fr Village View

Arizona Wines- MeCaSah

Southwest Arizona Scenery

Not only is southern Arizona beautiful in paintings of the southwest style, but it is a great place to visit. Being from Texas and not having such good wines produced, I was skeptical about trying Arizona wines, but it was a good experience.

Visiting Tucson, Elgin, Sonoita areas we found a few wineries who were producing some decent grapes, but some were just bringing them in from California. What was the point? Maybe their grape varietals needed more maturing, but one winery was producing good cabernet, merlot and syrah grapes on their sprawling vineyard. A beautiful day and drive, we ended up purchasing a great bottle of wine.

After sharing it with my partner in wine sister, Adrienne, we decided it was worth the extra weight in the luggage after all. Sonoita Vineyard’s MeCaSah (My house wine), 06 Red Table Wine was a good match to the Italian meal we enjoyed together. Of course hubby broke out a Nickle and Nickle, and Adrienne brought a bottle of Sancere and an Isocolis cabernet blend, this bottle almost had not chance of survival. Well I was in love with its mellow and medium body. They were all good, but with a glass left in the MeCaSah bottle, I snuck it back into the carrier, and enjoyed it the next night. Savored every last drop.

When in Rome, or should I say Arizona, visit Sonoita Vineyards and pick up a bottle- tell them the chef from Texas sent ya’ll!

Cheers!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling  Food ~ Wine ~ Fun! </a> Read her post on ‘dogeuro’ stands along the Arizona highways!

When Its Time For Wine, It Can Be Spectacular

Opus One 1999

Aging wine can be a tricky thing. You have to be comfortable with spending money on wine, and letting it lie on its side until the right moment arrives. When is that? Not sure, then read up on the wines, and follow a few simple procedures- temperature, keeping it in a dark place, and on its side. A temperature controlled environment is the best, but understandably if one cannot afford to build a cellar, or basement area, then an upright refrigerated unit works.

How do you know a wine is meant to be aged? Here are a few notes-

Knowing how long to age wines can seem difficult. There are many types of grapes, many methods of production, a great variety of storage conditions and an overwhelming number of personal preferences. Each of these factors has an impact on how long a wine should be held before drinking. In general, wines gain complexity and lose fruitiness as they age. Tannic red wines also mellow and become softer as they age. Once a wine reaches maturity, it will usually plateau before slowly going downhill. Different grapes make wines with different aging profiles. As an example, most Cabernet Sauvignon will age for longer periods than most Merlot’s.

Of all the wines produced, more than 90% are designed to be consumed within a couple of years after they are produced. Understand that it is just as possible to age a wine for too long a time as it is to age it for too little a time.

In general, more expensive wines are usually designed to become better with age. Most inexpensive wines do not benefit from aging.

If you are not sure then read, or do your research. The internet is full of wine sites, forums and blogs, so it would be almost impossible not to find out a recommended aging time-line for your bottle of wine.

Hubby and I opened up this Opus One with a meal at Ruth Chris Steak House. Corkage fee of $15 for a 1999 was a bargain. They did offer an 06 for $210, but you can purchase them for around $100, sometimes less if the store wants to unload them. Friends have often purchased wines off of Ebay, but unless you trust how it was stored, and the temperature, be careful.

I was disappointed in the Ribeye I had, over cooked, but hubby’s lamb chops were perfect. Sure I could have sent it back, but by the time we waited and arrived for dinner, I was hungry. They removed some of the bill for the mistake. I however feel a good Ribeye on the home grill is by far the best experience. Eating out is risky, and an expensive lesson.

Bordeaux Blend- Cab and other grapes

Opus One has lost some of its momentum in the wine connoisseur circles, but we felt it had aged perfectly. There are some higher end wines out there, but Opus One is still producing some good grapes, and is perfect for aging. Mellow and meaty- great with grilled meats. The recommendation for this wine was to open no later than 2012, so it just felt right to enjoy the wine. The best part of our meal was the company and the wine by far!

Cheers!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

Pairing Wine with Market Finds

Over the summer Farmer’s Markets and Flea Markets are a great way to find local made goodies to introduce to friends along side a good wine.

We recently discovered a new friend was in the business of making biscotti- many flavors, and interesting combination’s too! As well as some hot sauce, or where I come from in Texas, Chili Paste who’s flavors still ring out in my memory, and I want to spread on even just the simplest piece of cheese.

Being sent a few bottles of wine from a winery in California’s Lodi region, especially a Syrah, Partner’s In Wine felt it was time to take the treats to the table to get others opinion on some pairings.

Earthquake Syrah-

Invited to a gathering and fundraiser, her and I each took a bottle to compare side by side. Both were good meaty and jammy on the taste buds. Syrah is know to pair well with spicy, with its own spicy notes. The chocolate biscotti also was good match, but a surprise was the coffee toffee biscotti that held up to the match.

Syrah is a good bottle to introduce those white zinfandel to white chardonnay drinkers to some good red wine. Drank with good bites like the Saba’s Hot Sauce Spread, and Randi’s Gourmet Food Biscotti will help them quickly decide red is the road to follow. It worked for us!

Cheers!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

Check out the Hatch Chili Post- Now these would go perfect with my Earthquake Syrah!

South Jersey Wines & Steak

South Jersey Vines

Jersey Fresh Wine & Food Festival, Heritage Winery, Sat & Sun 12-5 PM, 480 Mullica Hill Road (Route 322) in Mullica

Want a chance to taste some of the wines of Amalthea Cellars I have been so excited about? Up against other wineries of the region? Then come find me roaming about Heritage Wineries Property today during the Jersey Fresh Wine and Food Festival from Noon till 5 PM.

If you miss it today, then you have another chance Sunday from Noon till 5 PM. I will be unfortunately (or not) tasting twelve Zin’s with Adrienne, and we will be reporting back!

You can read my report on a great ribeye steakhouse in south Arizona over at Food ~ Wine ~ Fun! ‘Warning Steak Lovers’. The Pinot Noir I had with it was not so bad either, but the Zinfandel would probably have been a dead on tasting…

Cheers!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food & Wine Writer/Chef-Owner CookAppeal, LLC Princeton, New Jersey

More Wine(ing) To Come

Corky is on the job as we speak!

Partners In Wine Club Press will be bringing you new and updated information on the marriage of food, wine, technology, and social media…

Both Chef Elizabeth Stelling and Adrienne Turner are attending classes, meeting with wine producers, and getting ready for Wine Art Music Poetry Project, and will begin regular posting soon…