Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wine Review: Ceja Vineyards 2009 Blanc de Noir

This Blanc de Noir sparkling wine is a wonderful salmon hue. The nose has aromas of brioche, apples and berries. The palate has flavors of berries, mostly cherries and a hint of cranberry, orange zest and a bit of cooking spice. This wine is 88% Pinot Noir, and 12% Chardonnay. It has a creamy and full mouth feel, with a bit of structure and acidity. The flavor profile of this wine makes it a great wine to pair with food. I would pair this wine with Purple Haze goat cheese on a thin slice of baguette, orange glazed salmon, Grilled salmon coated with sea salt,black pepper and Herbes de Provence, and chicken breast chunks wrapped in bacon coated in a brown sugar and spice mixture (include a pinch of cayenne pepper), then baked until the bacon is crisp.

 Another pairing would be a salad, made with Herbes de Provence and a pinch of sea salt sprinkled in Panko bread crumbs coated goat cheese rounds; that are put in the freezer to get firm enough to pan fry in extra virgin olive oil until lightly browned. You want the cheese rounds to stay intact, that is why you should allow them to get very firm before frying.  Then put the goat cheese rounds on your favorite salad greens and a light vinaigrette. This would make for a nice pairing.  Check out the Ceja Vineyards video tasting of this wine  Note:  This wine was a sample provided by Ceja Vineyards SRP $40.00 This wine is on sale now for $26.00, so check it out!

Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps
Serves: 12-15 appetizer servings


1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (about 4 breasts)
1 (1 pound) package of sliced bacon
1 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
¼ teaspoon of Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning
1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Cut chicken into 1 inch cubes. Cut each bacon slice into thirds. Dredge chicken into mixture, then wrap each chicken cube with bacon and secure with a wooden tooth pick. Coat a rack and broiler with nonstick kitchen spray. Place chicken on rack in broiler pan. Bake 350 for 30 to 35 minutes or until bacon is crisp. Note: You can also use a baking pan lined with release foil paper if you don't own a rack. With this method you may need to let the chicken wraps drain on paper towels before putting them on your serving platter.
Life is good, so we should celebrate life! What a better way to celebrate life than with a bottle of sparkling wine, and a wonderful gourmet food pairing.

Wine Review: Ceja Vineyards 2009 Brut Sparkling Wine

This Brut sparkling wine was a joy to sample. The wine is a light straw color. The nose is filled with ripe fruit flavors of apple and citrus; it was almost like a sweetness like berries and honey with the first sniff, which is unusual to experience in a sparkling wine because of its serving temperature being a little colder than still white wines. The sweet smell was delightful and quite different in a wonderful way. The palate has flavors of apples, and citrus, with lemon notes on the finish. This wine has a wonderful mouth feel, and enough crispness and acidity to pair well with food. I loved looking at this wine; the bubbles were so tight and ongoing in my glass. 

I did an experiment in my pairing to show that diversity is a good thing on so many levels, even in the world of wine and food. I paired it with one of my favorite store bought appetizers from my local Kroger food store, Spanakopita. Spanakopita is a Greek food. This wine paired so well with the flaky phyllo dough appetizer filled with a blend of spinach, cottage cheese, onion and dill. So, a sparkling wine made by a family of people of Hispanic decent paired well with a Greek appetizer. I so love diversity, as much as I enjoyed this sparkling wine and food pairing. Note:  This wine was a sample provided by Ceja Vineyards  SRP $40.00


Try this sparkling wine and food pairing and tell me what you think. I would also pair this wine with fresh goat cheese on a thin slice of baguette, or oysters prepared almost any way! Salud!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Aging Like Fine Wine

Okay, today I felt I needed to change my look. So, this is my new Facebook picture. Just as the seasons change, we may want to make changes in how we look. I like to think of myself as a bottle of fine wine; only getting better with age. I've realized that not many things in life are permanent; so,  I just want to live life like it is golden...

I want to become creative in the kitchen to match my new look. So, when you think about trying something new, don't run away, embrace it .....

This wine is a dark garnet color. The aromas are of dark ripe fruit like blackberry and plums along with hints of dusty cocoa. The mouth feel is soft and lush. This wine has soft supple tannins, making for a great wine to sip alone or pair with food. The palate's flavors mirrored the nose. I always am amazed how well this wine tastes each vintage. It has yet to disappoint me! I would pair this wine with Fall appetizers, gourmet burgers, maybe a burger stuffed with Castello blue cheese. I'd also pair this wine with a steak or aged cheddar cheese. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Rodney Strong Vineyards SRP $25.00

Lorrie's Super Bruschetta

1 head of roasted garlic (recipe will follow)

(1) 8 oz package of cream cheese

½ cup of sharp cheddar cheese

1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon of Creole seasoning

2 tablespoons of melted I can't believe it's not butter

¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil

20 diagonally sliced pieces of French bread

(1) 12 oz jar of roasted red peppers

½ lb. of thinly sliced beef pastrami

(1) 8 oz. block of Fontina cheese

dried chives for garnish

To roast garlic: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the top off the head of garlic, just enough to see the garlic toes exposed. Put in a square of aluminum foil. Put olive oil on top and add about a teaspoon of water on the bottom of the foil, close up and bake for an hour. After the garlic has cooled, squeeze the roasted garlic toes in a small bowl. This can be done ahead of time to save in prep time.

In addition, the cream cheese mixture can be made ahead as well.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix melted margarine and olive oil together in a cup. Brush the bread with the olive oil mixture and bake for about 5-7 minutes.

In a food processor, combine cream cheese, roasted garlic, cheddar cheese, cayenne pepper and Creole seasoning and pulse until blended.

Remove the bread slices from oven and spread a teaspoon of cream cheese mixture on each slice of bread. Then add a piece of roasted red pepper. Then add a small piece of pastrami, then a thin slice of Fontina cheese, and a drop of oil on each slice of bread. Sprinkle with chives. Bake in oven until the cheese is melted. About 5 minutes.

Try this pairing and tell me what you think!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Wine Review: Dashwood 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand

Well, Earth Day will be celebrated on April 22, 2012. I can remember when I was a young woman in New Orleans, planting marigolds around my mailbox to celebrate Earth day and add beauty to the front of my first home. But as I got older and realized how the earth sustains us, and that is when the concept of "going green" had finally taken on a whole new meaning to me. Wineries have become aware how important it is to preserve the earth, because it provides us with all the things we need. This New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is a Certified NZ Sustainable wine.
This wine is a light straw color. The aromas of gooseberry, citrus, stone fruit, and wonderful tropical fruit notes just jump out of the glass. Those same bright fruit flavors are on the palate, all in harmony to create this refreshing wine. The finish is nice and has some mineral notes, and just the amount of acidity to make this wine pair well with food. This wine is just what you need to sip on a spring or summer day. I would pair this wine with fresh goat cheese, grilled shrimp or chicken skewers, fish, and crab cakes. I also love the fact that this wine has a screw cap!  Note: This wine was a sample provided by Pasternak Wine Imports SRP $14.99

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Wine Review: Les Charmes Chardonnay Macon-Lugny, France

This wine is a straw color. The nose is filled with beautiful aromas of ripe citrus fruit, a hint of peach and floral notes. The palate is lush, and has those same ripe citrus fruit flavors, peach notes, and hint of lemon zest on the finish. The wine has some mineral notes along with a nice dose of acidity. It was like I was transported to France, or maybe I just got a bit of France in my wine glass. This wine would be great to sip alone or be paired with light appetizers, light cheeses, grilled shrimp or fish, crab cakes, grilled chicken on skewers. I think it be wonderful paired with fresh goat cheese coated with Panko bread crumbs and pan fried until lightly brown, and then placed on top of your favorite salad greens with a light salad dressing. This would make a wonderful spring or summer salad. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Pasternak Wine Imports  I also love that this wine has a screw cap!

I had this wine in my Fleur De Lis wine glass from Ballard Designs   How French of me! 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Wine Review: Trumpeter Rutini Wines 2010 Torrontes, Mendoza Argentina

This was a wonderful white wine to sample. The color is a light straw. The nose has beautiful aromas of peach and floral notes, similar to a Viognier or Pinot Gris. The palate has citrus notes, hints of peach, grapefruit and mineral notes, that makes you just want to keep on sipping.  The wine also has a wonderful fruit and mineral infused finish. This wine reminds me of a cross between Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc. The mineral notes do add that Sauvignon Blanc flavor profile to this wine! So, as you can imagine, this is a white wine begging to be sipped in spring or summer. I would sip this wine alone or pair it with fresh goat cheese on a thin slice of french bread, grilled fish, crab cakes, grilled shrimp with a sweet glaze or orange glazed pork or chicken.  Note:  This wine was a sample provided by Pasternak Wine Imports

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wine Review: Valdo Nerello Mascalese Brut Rose`, Italy

Valdo Nerello Mascalese Brut Rosé - Holiday Sparklers

Let me first say, I love the beautiful salmon pink hue of this sparkling wine. This Prosecco has aromas of strawberries, raspberries and hints of breadiness which is found often in sparkling wines. The palate has the same fruit profile, along with hints of citrus notes on the mid-palate and finish. This wine is dry, dry in a pleasant way. This wine would be great to sip alone on a spring or summer day. I would pair this wine with fresh goat cheese spread on a thin slice of french bread, appetizers wrapped with bacon, and grilled salmon with an orange glaze. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Pasternak Wine Imports