Thursday, November 30, 2017

Recipe Thursday: Cook With Your Wine, and Drink It, Too

Show of hands: How many times have you opted for a recipe that calls for wine so you can happily pour yourself a glass while you cook? Not only does “cooking with wine” give you an excuse to drink it on the spot, it also offers a rich layer of flavor to the food. Wine adds acidity, which instantly brightens and extracts flavors in the dish.

Photo: Jim Franco c/o Food & Wine

A fantastic recipe that features one of our favorite wine varietals is Coq au Riesling, like this one from Food & Wine. Deeply savory and enriched with cream and spices, this recipe calls for a good quality dry Riesling. The minerality, crisp acidity and vibrant fruit notes of Schmitt's dry Riesling make it a great one to incorporate into this classic recipe.

Remember: Always cook with a wine you would drink yourself. So, make this dish, and pour yourself a glass!

Let us know if you have tried this recipe! For more food and wine pairing ideas, check out our blog at 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Wine of the Week - Schmitt Riesling

There's no better time to enjoy Riesling than now. While we start to focus increasingly on the meals we prepare, Rieslings have proven to be the go-to wine; providing perfect pairings for almost every cuisine. From deviled eggs to pungent cheese, to shellfish and barbeque, the acidity, minerality, and fruit notes found in all types of Riesling truly enhance a variety of dishes. This week, Schmitt's dry Riesling is featured because of its exquisite expression of the grape and its ability to be a perfect accompaniment at any table.   

Flörsheim-Dalsheim, located in the southern part of the Rheinhessen, is an up and coming area due to the efforts of a handful of ambitious young vintners, Daniel and Bianka Schmitt among them. The winery was certified organic beginning in 2007 and Demeter Biodynamic® certified in 2012, one of only 75 properties in Germany to hold the Demeter certification.  The Schmitts cultivate 15 hectares of vineyard land and produce 50,000 bottles per year. Their wines are food-oriented and meant to pair with a wide variety of dishes. Schmitt epitomizes the new wave of German producers who are creating the highest quality wines from what nature has to offer, with as little intervention as possible. As Daniel puts it, the philosophy of the winery is, “Wine just from grapes!”


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Recipe Thursdays: The Perfect Wine for a Thanksgiving Feast

Some say just about anything goes when it comes to Thanksgiving food and wine pairings, but you can’t argue there are certain wines that do better at the table than others. Since there’s usually a lot going on during feast time – i.e., many different flavors (and personalities) to contend with – it’s best to stick with crowd-pleaser wines that easily complement Thanksgiving’s glorious hodgepodge of stuffing, green beans, turkey, gravy and cranberry sauce.

Photo: J. Kenji López-Alt

That’s where Big Basin’s Homestead comes in. This bright and inviting red blend has juicy blackberry, cherry and plum fruit with hints of crushed flowers and anise. Akin to the cranberry sauce that goes with just about everything, this wine is a very approachable and tasty addition to the Thanksgiving table.

P.S. If you’re still looking for classic Thanksgiving recipe ideas, check out Pioneer Woman’s Best Thanksgiving Recipes. The Pumpkin Gingersnap Cheesecake looks divine!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Wine of the Week - Big Basin "Homestead" Rhône Blend

As we take the time this week to express our thanks for family, friends, and home, it's only fitting that Big Basin's "Homestead" blend is featured. This wine, a California "Rhône" Blend, truly captures the essence of Big Basin's house style. Bright and inviting, yet supple with juicy blackberry and plum fruit balanced by succulent red cherry, plum, rose petal and lavender. Homestead also represents the extraordinary granitic and limestone terroir of the Gabilan Mountains from which the majority of the fruit is sourced. While this blend is ideal for the cooling winter months, it would be especially fitting on the table for Thanksgiving. Try with roasted pork loin and cranberry and sausage stuffing.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The mission at Big Basin is to create wines that show their Santa Cruz Mountains roots. With cool-climate, ocean-influenced, mountain vineyards throughout the AVA, owner and winemaker Bradley Brown strives to showcase location and terroir, forgoing manipulation and intervention whenever possible. The steep hillsides, cooling ocean breezes, fog, and mountain soils of their vineyard locations promote the development of deep color and complex flavors. By keeping the yields very low and harvesting small sections of the vineyard at perfect ripeness, Big Basin strives to achieve the most important part of winemaking – great fruit. The winemaking then becomes the art of gently extracting what the fruit has to offer, utilizing a minimalist approach in the cellar, with hand sorting, gentle pressing, the use of ambient yeasts, and indigenous malolactic fermentation.


Monday, November 20, 2017

Congratulations to Domaine de la Solitude!

We are so pleased to announce that Domaine de la Solitude has landed on the Top 100 of 2017 list published by Wine Spectator. The winery has recently had a flurry of outstanding reviews and it is the 2016 Chäteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc that gained the nod with James Molesworth saying: "This is dreamy, with creamed melon, pear and green fig flavors gliding along, framed by light brioche and meringue notes. The long finish lets the fruit hang beautifully. Offers refined opulence."

Kudos to the Lançon family and we look forward to their continued success!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Recipe Thursdays: Max Ferd. Richter's "Zeppelin" Riesling with Blue Cheese and Pear Tart

Turkey? Check. Mashed potatoes and green beans? Check. With Thanksgiving around the corner, you’ve got the basics covered. But, have you thought about what to serve while your guests arrive and the turkey’s still in the oven? We tend to spend the most time contemplating the mains, while appetizers and aperitifs are an afterthought. In reality though, those first bites and sips your guests take will set the tone for what’s to come.

Photo: Annabelle Breakey; Styling: Karen Shinto

Don’t get stuck scrambling for starter ideas at the last minute. Instead, rely on this brilliant pairing that will surely impress: Max Ferd. Richter's Mülheimer Sonnenlay "Zeppelin" Riesling and a gorgeous Blue Cheese and Pear Tart, courtesy of Sunset. Atop a golden puff pastry, sweet pears and tangy blue cheese are baked to perfection with caramelized onion and thyme. Just the right balance of semi-sweet and savory, the tart pairs beautifully with Richter’s Riesling, which has rich mouth-filling flavors of juicy orchard fruits and spice. Only downside? This pairing is going to set the bar pretty high for the main course.

Let us know if you've tried this pairing! For more food and wine pairing ideas, check out our blog at

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Wine of the Week - Max Ferd. Richter Zeppelin Riesling

This week Max Ferd. Ritcher's Mülheimer Sonnenlay "Zeppelin" Riesling is featured. Richter Rieslings are known for their elegance and precision and the Richter's Zeppelin is no different. The Mülheimer Sonnenlay vineyard is the largest single Richter vineyard, and the source of the grapes used for the Zeppelin. The vineyard soil, which lays on top of a dry river bed, is comprised of slate, pebbles, sand and loam; all contributing to the Zeppelin's precise minerality. Opening with notes of apple, citrus and slate stone, this Riesling has rich mouth-filling flavors of juicy orchard fruits and elements of zest and spice. In addition, the beautiful art work on the label was inspired  by the luxurious airships “Graf Zeppelin” and “Hindenburg” in which Mülheimer Sonnenlay Riesling was served in the 1920's and 30's.

The estate of Max Ferd. Richter has been passed down from father to son for the past 300 years. The current reins are held by Dr. Dirk Richter, the 9th generation, and will eventually be passed down to his son Constantin. The estate produces world-class Rieslings from some of the most esteemed vineyards in the Mosel, and all production comes from estate holdings. The terroir of their steep vineyard sites is generally grey slate with different compositions of ferruginous (Brauneberg), mineral quartz (Veldenz) or clay (Graach, Wehlen, Mülheim) soils; those deeply influence character and flavor of the wines. Strict attention to quality and detail is paid to all vines from the QBAs on up through the Eisweins. Through the entire line of wines, their hallmark balance is evident in every glass.


Thursday, November 9, 2017

Recipe Thursdays: Creole-Style Red Jambalaya with Lou Dumont Passe-tout-Grains

Riesling and tacos. Indian food and rosé. Champagne and fried chicken. Sometimes the most surprising and unusual pairings are the best kind. This week we’re craving another unconventional wine and food combination that may surprise you: Serious Eats’ New Orleans jambalaya and Lou Dumont’s Passe-tout-Grains

While you may think any Bourgogne Rouge would work for this pairing, Passe-tout-Grains offers a unique flavor profile as it contains both Gamay and Pinot Noir. There’s something about the rich layers of flavor in the jambalaya that jibes beautifully with the powerful red fruit notes and touch of peppery spice in the Passe-tout-Grains.

What surprising food and wine combos do you love?

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