Wine and Food Pairing - Cantaloupe Wrapped in Proscuitto

Greetings Everyone:

This month’s newsletter features The Seghesio Family Wines. Edoardo Seghesio planted his first Zinfandel vineyards in 1895 on the family’s Home Ranch in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley.

Since then, four generations of the Seghesio Family have tended remarkable vineyards with the perspective gained from history, the humility of hand farming, and the enduring passion to improve with each vintage.

Featured Recipe Are:

As a budding gourmet chef, you simply cannot overestimate the importance of correctly matching food with wine. It is amazing how getting this right enhances the flavor of both the food and the wine. It’s almost magic.

Peter Seghesio brought several different kinds of his families wines and matched them with different entrees.

The first wine was 2010 Pinot Grigio ($17.99 per bottle 93 Points Wine Spectator

Peter’s family has grown grapes in Sonoma County since 1895 and, in Russian River Valley, since 1961. A decade ago, they began an aggressive move toward producing all estate wines which included an extensive vineyard-replacing program. Pinot Grigio is part of that plan to grow intriguing varieties in the best and most appropriate sites. Noted for its unusual grayish/pink clusters and shared lineage with Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio is well suited to the cooler climate of the Russian River Valley.

Wine and Food Pairing - Cantaloupe Wrapped in Proscuitto

Paired with:

Cantaloupe Wrapped in Prosciutto

Very easy – simply wrap cantaloupe slices in prosciutto and serve. The Pinot Grigio pair nicely with the sweetness of the cantaloupe and the saltiness of the prosciutto. NEVER SERVE THIS WINE WITH ANYTHING THAT HAS LEMON IN IT! Peter had us taste the Pinot Grigio, chomp down on a lemon slice, and then take another taste of the Pinot Grigio. The lemon totally blocked the taste of the wine!

The second wine was: 2009 Pinot Noir ($39.99 per bottle 93 Points Wine Spectator Costiera meaning coastal, represents their quest to find the finest vineyard lots in the Sonoma Coast. This Pinot Noir is blended from three such vineyards – the famed Peters Vineyard, the storied Nuptial Vineyard, and the sought after Widdoes Vineyard – each near the town of Sebastopof in the cool Russian River Valley. While these vineyards are planted to low vigor rootstalks, meticulous farming ensures vine balance and keep yields at or below 2 tons per acre.

Wine and Food Pairing - Sauteed Shitake Mushrooms over Tagilatelle

This mushroom entree paired nicely with the mushroom flavors in the Pinot Noir.

Sauteed Shitake Mushrooms Over Tagliatelle

  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 pound fresh shitake mushrooms, stems discarded and the caps sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup medium-dry Sherry
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

In a large skillet heat the butter over moderately high heat until the foam subsides and in it saute the mushrooms, stirring, until they are tender. Stir in the Sherry, boil the mixture for 1 minutes, or until the liquid is evaporated, and stir in the cream, the parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over tagliatelle pasta.

And the last wine was: 1009 Old Vine Zinfandel ($35.99 per bottle 92 Points Wine Spectator, 94 Points Wine Enthusiast. Seghesio Old Vine Zinfandel perfectly embodies Peter’s family’s goal of Sharing Uncommon Ground as only the finest lots from their oldest vineyards are selected for this composite blend. These vineyards are rare treasures they have farmed over the course of their family’s century as grape growers. Although Old Vine is often loosely interpreted in the wine industry, their benchmark is fifty years. The average age of the vines producing this wine nears 90 years.

This wine pairs nicely with the chicken because the wine is actually used in cooking the dish.

Wine and Food Pairing - Zin Braised Chicken

Zin Braised Chicken

  • 3 lb. chicken parts such as breasts and thighs (with skin and bone) and drumbsticks
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cups zinfandel
  • 2/3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs

Pat chicken dry and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown chicken, starting skin sides down, turning over once, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet.

Add butter to skillet and heat over moderately high heat until foam subsides. Add broth, zinfandel and thyme and deglaze skillet by boiling, stirring and scraping up any brown bits, 1 minute. Return chicken, skin sides up (do not cover skins with liquid), to skillet along with any juices accumulated on plate, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until chicken is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes for white meat, about 25 minutes for dark meat. Transfer chicken to a serving bowl and keep warm, loosely covered with foil.

When all chicken pieces are done, reduce the sauce and transfer to bowl to serve over chicken, discarding thyme,

Serve with Parmesan Polenta.

Parmesan Polenta

  • 9 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons butter

Bring chicken stock to boil in heavy large saucepan. Reduce heat to medium. Gradually whisk in cornmeal. Cook until cornmeal is very soft and mixture is thick and creamy, whisking occasionally, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in Parmesan cheese and butter. Season polenta to taste with salt and pepper.

I hope you all enjoyed these wine pairing combinations and that you will try them at home. Matching food with wine is both an art and a science. It is one of those areas you should never stop learning about. Every year, new vintages of wine appear. New food recipes come along all the time. You must try to keep up with it all. It’s a nasty job, but somebody’s got to do it. Ha!

REMEMBER: Wine should be matched with a dish’s dominant flavor, which, in many cases, is the sauce. For instance, a simple grilled halibut matches best with Sauvignon Blanc; halibut topped with a rich cream sauce matches best with Chardonnay.

Wine glasses should be held by the stem in order to maintain a consistent temperature for the wine. Holding the glass by the bowl can warm the wine inside. Note: if a wine is served too cold, wrapping both hands around the bowl can help get it to the proper temperature.

When assessing the quality of a bottle of wine, in a majority of cases, the most important consideration is the wine’s place of origin – read the front label carefully.

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