Unionville Grapevine

2012 Pheasant Hill Chardonnay with Mussels in a Garlic and Tomato Broth

Pheasant Hill Chardonnay paired with Delicious Mussels

For those of you who haven’t had our award winning Pheasant Hill Chardonnay, you are in for a treat. Brag I must, this Chardonnay showcases the terroir of our Hopewell estate vineyard, with notes of Meyer lemon which our winemaker, Cam, has found to be a signature of this site. Fresh lemon rind and blood orange aroma waft from a powerful nose. In the mouth, Meyer lemon, hazelnut, orange and kiwi.

Lets get the lineage awards out of the way…

  • Gold, San Diego Sommelier Challenge
  • Gold, Beverage Tasting Institute 
  • Silver, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
  • Gold Best in Class, 2010 International Wine & Spirit Competition

What makes Unionville Chardonnays so special is their restrained oak. Lots of times when you drink a Chardonnay, the first taste to hit you is oak. Somewhere along the way, winemakers thought if a little oak in the wine was good, a lot of oak must be better. Not true. The problem with over oaking a wine is you lose the character of the fruit. 

Ok, I’ll step back for a second. New oak barrels impart oak, vanilla, smoke and tannins into a wine. The older the barrel the less oak. There was a term once used for California Chardonnays, “Chateau 2x4” and it was true.   Too many wines were being produced for the oak flavor, and not the great fruit flavors of the Chardonnay. At Unionville Vineyards we back off of the oak and allow the fruit to stand front and center. The oak is there, but it’s subtle and in the background.

The second thing that makes Unionville Vineyard Chardonnays so special, is Cam makes them crisper, more on the green apple side than the butter.   Most of you know that grape juice plus yeast ferment to make wine, but there can also be a secondary fermentation where the harsher acidic Malic acid is converted into a softer buttery Lactic acid. We call this MLF or malo-lactic fermentation. This is what makes big reds like Cabernets and Merlots drinkable. When it comes to white wines, Chardonnays get the lion share of this treatment. Rieslings, Pinot Grigios and other aromatic whites never have oak. It has both good and bad points. True, it can soften a very acidic wine, but if overdone the MLF can make a white wine flabby and heavy.

Cam arrests the secondary fermentation prior to going through a full MLF. This, combined with his restrained oak, makes the wine crisper and brighter, and translates to a wine that is counterpoint to your turkey dinner than compliment. Think of this as a palate cleanser between bites of gravy and stuffing and buttery rolls.

What’s also great, is this Chardonnay lends itself better to shellfish than most other Chardonnays. Shrimp, Oysters, Lobster, Clams and Mussels all pair perfectly well with this wine because they’re not weighed down with the oak and butter.

It’s for that reason I’ve paired the Pheasant Hill Chardonnay with Mussel in a Garlic and Tomato Broth.   Why it works is the delicateness of the mussels come to life with our Chardonnay. The briny flavors in the mussels match perfectly with the crisp lemon notes in the wine. A wonderful balance that for lack of a better term is sublime.

This is a really nice appetizer for the holidays, and quick and easy to make. If you have all the ingredients ready, you can prepare the dish in 20 minutes. That’s not even half a conversation. Don’t forget a good crusty rustic bread to sop up the sauce.

 

Ingredients:

4lbs mussels
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp olive oil
½ cup shallots, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium tomatoes seeded and diced-Roma if you can find them
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 cup Unionville Pheasant Hill Chardonnay-save the rest for drinking.
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tsps kosher salt
Juice and zest of one lemon
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of fresh ground black pepper
½ cup flat leaf parsley-chopped

 

Instructions

  1. Place mussels into a large bowl and cover with cool water. Set aside.
  2. In a large heavy pot, heat butter and oil over medium heat. Saute’ shallots until translucent. About three minutes. Add garlic and cook just until fragrant, about another minute or two.
  3. Add tomatoes, thyme, white wine, broth, lemon juice, salt, red pepper and black pepper. Turn up the heat to medium high to a slight boil.
  4. Add mussels and cover. Cook for eight to ten minutes. Shake pan every now and again to move mussels around.
  5. Pour into bowl and garnish with parsley and lemon zest.

 

If you have any questions, or need help pairing any other Unionville Vineyards wines, please feel free to contact me at sruffin@unionvillevineyards.com

 

Stephen

 

 

Unionville's Award Winning Rieslings Paired with Chicken Adobo Wings

Unionville's Rieslings with Chicken Adobe

First of all, let me say Happy Holidays to everyone.  This is a great time of year to celebrate with friends and family.  At Unionville we are celebrating another successful year.  We just had our 21 Port release and the winery is hopping.

While we’re in a celebratory mood, we need to get the party started.  For this I offer our Gold Medal winning Riesling. (2010 Riesling, Gold Medal, Beverage Tasting Institute 2012).  This Riesling is a semi-sweet take on the Riesling grape, showcasing a great balance of fruit, sweetness and acidity.  This is a wine of finesse, featuring Granny Smith apple, Bosc pear and honey. Perfect for any occasion.

Also remember, that Riesling is great for brunches and lunches.  It’s naturally low alcohol means your guests can enjoy a glass or two and not head for the sofa when the meal is over for a nap.  It is also great with spicy hot foods.  Low alcohol wines reduce the heat; high alcohol wines exacerbate the heat.  How do you not love Riesling?

What’s even better, is we have a dry style as well; same fruit in the nose and taste only fermented dry.  If there is one wine that’s a true party animal, it’s Riesling.  Its versatility is unparalleled.  Recently, when we held our Wine and Food pairing class, I featured both versions of the same dish, with one slight variance, sugar.

Our semi-sweet Riesling is fantastic with Asian foods-especially if there is any sugar in the dish.  Think of Thai lettuce wraps, Orange Beef or even General Tso’s chicken.  All these dishes have sugar in their sauce.  One of the first rules I learned during my Sommelier training was that sweet foods need to be paired with sweet wines.  If you eat a sugary food with a dry wine, the wine will just taste like lemon water.  Yuck.  If the sugar in the wine matches the sugar in the food, you have a perfect and seamless harmony.  That said, the dry version is equally great with Asian foods, sushi, and Indian as long as they aren’t sweet.  Sorry Teriyaki.

Knowing this, I present my Chicken Wings Adobo recipe two ways.  The basic ingredients are soy sauce, garlic, ginger, scallions and vinegar.  You can vary it from there, but let’s stick with the basics.  Now, let the chicken marinade for 3 hours in the mixture, and pull the chicken out and throw it on a grill.  During this time, reduce the marinade by two thirds and add sugar.  When the chicken is cooked, half is arranged on a plate and the other half of the chicken is tossed in the sugary sauce, then plated.

Now we bring in the wines.  For the dry wings I serve the Unionville Dry Riesling and for the sweet version, the Unionville Riesling.  It’s the same chicken wings and wine, the only difference is the sugar.  Last Saturday night I was at a holiday gathering and I brought both wines and both chicken dishes.  I made sure that the right wine was placed next to its counterpart and watched the crowd.  What was so great, is that people didn’t realize the wine changed with the food.  They just knew both dishes were balanced.  I obsess a little about food parings, but this is fun and it’s also a neat lesson to teach your guests at your holiday parties.  This can also be mostly made in advance so you don’t have to stay away from the festivities too long.

The following recipe feeds about 10 as appetizers, or 4 if they are going to sit down and devour. If you do serve it as a meal, may I suggest pairing it with coconut rice. The recipe is below.

If you want to prepare this ahead of time, marinade the chicken first thing in the morning.  Remove from the marinade and place back in the fridge, then reduce the marinade as directed and place in fridge.  Right before the party starts, grill the chicken, reheat the sauce and toss together.  Easy.

Chicken Adobo Wings

2 40oz bags of chicken wings-thawed
1 head of garlic-minced
1 3-inch piece of fresh ginger-peeled and minced
2 bunches of scallions-finely chopped- reserve about 2 tbsps for serving
2 cups low sodium soy sauce
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
½ -1 cup sugar depending on taste.

 

Except for the sugar, throw everything in a large bowl and toss in the fridge for three hours. Every hour rotate the chicken to make sure all pieces are well covered.

After three hours, fire up the barbecue, remove the chicken from the marinade-keep the marinade, and toss the wings on the fire.  Chicken wings cook fairly quickly, about 4 minutes per side.  Meanwhile take the reserved marinade and pour it into a large sauce pan set at medium high and reduce by 2/3rds. Stir often to make sure nothing burns. You should end up with about 2 cups.  Once reduced, add the sugar and stir to blend in.

Once the chicken is finished, place half on a platter and toss the other half in the sauce. Remove the sweetened version from the sauce and place on a platter.  Top both with the reserved chopped scallions and serve with their respective wines.

Coconut Rice 

2 cups white Rice
2 cups Coconut Milk
2 cups Water
½ teaspoon salt.

  

Mix all ingredients in a small pan.  Just as the liquid starts to boil, turn the heat to low, put on the lid and let simmer for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes remove from the stove and fluff with a fork. 

If you have any questions, leave a comment below.

Happy Holidays!

Stephen

Marinated Eggplant Sandwich with Soppressata and Mozzarella

This past summer, I had the opportunity to visit a friend in Italy. Everything about Italy was fantastic; the scenery, the wine, the food...and the sandwiches were the best. Freshly-baked bread layered with honest, real ingredients. 

Marinated Eggplant Sandwich

Often wrapped in butcher paper and served with a light drizzle of olive oil and vinegar - no soggy bread. These grab-and-go sandwiches became our staple lunch. 

Marinated Eggplant Sandwich

Reminiscing about picnic lunches in Italy, I decided to whip up a batch of these at home this weekend. They were simple and flavorful. The perfect combination. I can't wait for warmer weather and a blanket under a maple tree. 

Marinated Eggplant Sandwich with Soppressata and Mozzarella

Total Time: 30 minutes   Yield: 2 sandwiches  

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 sandwich rolls or bread of your choice
  • 1 jar (8 oz) roasted red peppers, drained, patted dry, and halved
  • 1 jar (8 oz) marinated eggplant, drained, patted dry, and halved
  • 6 slices of fresh mozzarella
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced soppressata
  • 1 cup of arugula
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

DIRECTIONS 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Cut the rolls in half and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Bake until lightly toasted. Let bread cool.
  2. On one half of the roll, layer soppressata, mozzarella, eggplant, roasted red peppers, and arugula.
  3. Drizzle balsamic vinegar on the other half of the roll.
  4. Place sides together and cut roll in half. Enjoy!

Green Bean and Tomato Salad with Tarragon Dressing

I have a revolving front door. People come and go regularly. And when they come, they come hungry. To stay ahead of the game, I prepare a few salads that can either be eaten as a side dish or by themselves. 

tarragon tomato salad with fields of fire

Preparing a few easy salads in the beginning of the week, gives me versatility when it comes to feeding others as well as myself. As I dash around the house in the morning, it takes only a few additional moments to pack my lunch. 

tarragon tomato salad with new jersey blush wine

This salad utilizes tarragon, an herb that I rarely cook with. Tarragon tastes similar to anise or black licorice with the essence of sweetness. I enjoyed this for lunch and then decided to take it on a picnic - what a hit! 

tarragon tomato salad with new jersey blush wine

Green Bean and Tomato Salad with Tarragon Dressing

total time: 30 minutes    yield: 4 servings 

ingredients

  • 2 lbs green beans (mixed colors if you can) trimmed and cut diagonally into bite size pieces
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 medium shallots
  • 2 tbsp chopped tarragon
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

 directions

  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the beans until just tender, about 4 minutes. Drain the beans and spread them on a large baking sheet to cool. Pat dry.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil with the shallots and tarragon and season with salt and pepper. Place the beans and tomatoes in a large bowl, add the dressing and toss well. Transfer to a platter and serve.

Potato Salad with Bacon and BBQ Sauce

There are a few classic dishes that remind each of us of childhood, signature dishes in each family. Mine are my grandmother's salad dressing and my mother's potato salad. 
Potato Salad with BBQ Sauce and Bacon
After countless attempts and several tutorials, I still cannot recreate my mother's potato salad. I decided, therefore, to create my own recipe. 
 
Potato Salad with BBQ Sauce and Bacon
This salad takes all of the key elements and incorporates a few new ones: BBQ sauce and bacon. Yum! Make the salad ahead of time and bring it to your next neighborhood BBQ or pack it for the perfect spring picnic. 
Potato Salad with BBQ Sauce and Bacon

Potato Salad with Bacon and BBQ Sauce

total time: 45 minutes      yield: 4 servings

ingredients

  • 4 lbs small red potatoes
  • ½ lb bacon
  • ¾ cup mayo
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp mustard
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp celery seeds
  • ½ cup diced pepper (orange, red, and yellow)
  • ½ diced scallions
  • 1 small red onion
  • ¼ cup bean sprouts for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp BBQ sauce
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped tarragon

directions

  1. Quarter your potatoes into bite sized pieces. In a large pot, cover the potatoes with cold salted water and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Cook until the potatoes are tender and can be pierced with a fork - about 15 minutes. 
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, cook the bacon slices over moderate heat until crisp, about 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels and coarsely crumble.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the mayonnaise with the BBQ sauce, yogurt, mustard and sherry vinegar. Fold the potatoes into the dressing while they are still warm. Let the potato salad stand, stirring a few times, until the potatoes have cooled and absorbed most of the dressing, about 20 minutes.
  4. Add the celery, red onion, peppers, parsley and tarragon to the potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Let stand for an additional 20 minutes, stirring a few times. Garnish with the bacon and sprouts, then serve.
  •  

    Wine Pairing: Pork Loin Chop with Amwell Ridge Vineyard Counoise

     

    Pork loin chops with pomegrate reduction recipe

    I create meals that I would want to eat.

    All too often I will be discussing a recipe with a friend when she stops and says, “But I don’t like that.”

    “Well," I respond, "Let’s find a suitable substitute.”

    For this recipe, instead of running to the store to pick up all the necessary ingredients, experiment with a few substitutes. Since I cook the pork chop at a higher temperature for an extended period of time, I want a fat that will not break down. Coconut oil is the my first choice, but it can be substituted with olive oil or canola oil. Unless you lower the temperature, which you can do, avoid using butter. It will break down and burn. If you do not have pomegranate juice, you can substitute it for another tart acidic fruit such as cherry or cranberry, just make sure you use pure fruit juice without any added sugar. 

    Pork loin chops with pomegrate reduction recipe

    Experimenting with recipes that have opposing yet complementary tastes and textures is a lot of fun. I've found that many of these recipes are flexible and forgiving - I can always adapt them to my friends' preferences and allergies.

    Texture evokes nostalgia in a way that taste cannot. When I close my eyes and sip a creamy soup or dig into the crunchy breadcrumb layer on a homemade macaroni and cheese I am always transcended back into childhood.

    The more depth and opposing dynamics you build into a recipe the more interesting it becomes: balance a rich element, such as cream, with an acid like lemon juice. Round out a spicy dish with a pinch of brown sugar.

    Playing with complementary flavors is my artistic outlet and extends beyond the main recipe and into other components of the meal such as which wine to serve.

    Pork loin chops with pomegrate reduction recipe

    Tonight I am serving the 2013 Amwell Ridge Vineyard Counoise.

    Counoise is a red variety traditionally grown in the Rhone region of France and often blended with other red varieties. Unionville Vineyards is one of only a handful of wineries worldwide bottling this flavorful, fruit-forward wine as a single varietal. I am in love.

    The bright acidity of Counoise complements the richness of the pork loin and the pomegranate reduction. The broccoli pesto and wild rice bring out a more earthy side to the pork, balancing the white pepper notes in the Counoise. The pomegranate reduction rounds out the the fruit notes in this rare wine.

    There is nothing a cook enjoys more than new and interesting ingredients, especially ones you can enjoy in a glass with friends. What are some of the new ingredients you are experimenting with in the kitchen?

    Pork loin chops with pomegrate reduction recipe

     

    LOIN PORK ROAST WITH POMEGRANATE SAUCE AND BROCCOLI PESTO

    total time: ~45 minutes    yield: 4 

    ingredients

    • 4 pork loin chops, cut a ¼ inch thick
    • 1 tsp coriander seeds
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
    • 1 tsp black peppercorns
    • ¾ tsp cinnamon
    • ¾ tsp salt
    • 1 tbsp coconut oil
    • 1 cup pomegranate juice
    • 1 tbsp cornstarch
    • 1 tbsp butter
    • Broccoli Pesto
    • 2 cups wild rice

    directions

    1. Use a mortar and pestle to grind the cumin, pepper, and coriander to a fine dust. Combine with salt and cinnamon. Rub onto loin chop and set aside
    2. Meanwhile prepare the broccoli pesto and wild rice, according to the package's instructions.
    3. Heat 1 tbsp of coconut oil over medium low heat in a pan - I prefer to use a cast iron pan
    4. Place the loin chops on the pan and cook, flipping occasionally, for approximately 20 minutes or until an internal thermometer reads 145F. Do not crowd the pork chops. This step may need to be done in batches.
    5. Once the pork chops are cooked, reduce heat to low and deglaze the pan with pomegranate juice by using a wooden spoon to scrape the pan. Reduce the juice to about half.
    6. Mix the cornstarch with a ¼ cup of warm water and whisk into sauce. Stir in butter until incorporated. Add Unionville’s Counoise to taste. Salt and pepper if needed.
    7. Slice the pork chop and serve with the pomegranate reduction, a spoonful of broccoli pesto, wild rice, and a glass of Counoise.

     

     

    Wine Pairing: Lamb Moussaka with Unionville Vineyard's 2012 Pheasant Hill Vineyard Syrah

    

    I have been feeling restless lately, a little stuck. In pursuit of a little personal development, I have been pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.  

    Once I let go of my expectations, I no longer felt parameters around what I had to do and I began to have fun.

    I learned a new knitting stitch, attended yoga, and increased my running speed. I signed up for ballet classes again, and I cooked a dish I love but have always been intimidated to prepare.

    Learning a new recipe often also means learning a few new culinary or food science tricks and tips. For this recipe I learned:

    1. If you add egg to a Mornay sauce* it allows the sauce to set, making it more like a custard. The trick here is patience. Once cooked, the custard must cool and set before you dig in. Trust me, it is worth the wait. Adding lemon zest brightens the cream or cheese sauce, the acidity balancing the richness.
      *Mornay sauce is a variation on Bechamel, with shredded or grated cheese.
    2. I also re-learned something I thought I knew. Oh knowledge is a funny thing. I thought the purpose behind salting eggplant was to simply extract the bitter water. I don’t mind this taste, so I never bother with this step. The science behind this never actually occurred to me. The extraction of water allows the eggplant to relax, preventing it from soaking up as much oil during cooking.  

    Being a newbie, I let science overshadow my culinary gut instinct and underestimated the amount of oil still needed to cook thin slices of un-breaded eggplant and prevent it from sticking to the pan.  Sticking can be prevented by being watchful and flipping it, something I neglected to do as I tried to multi-task.

    This recipe may look a bit intense and have a fair amount of ingredients. I promise you it is worth the work and the wait. Break it down into it’s three components and it becomes manageable. This is a lesson I take out of the kitchen. By breaking down new tasks into smaller pieces, I am able to  focus one step at a time.

    This rich dish can really go a long way. I serve it over white rice and either invite family over or prepare this in two smaller casserole dishes and freeze one. I get my lamb from a local, trusted farm in Hopewell, NJ: Beechtree Farm. The Pheasant Hill Vineyard Syrah pairs well with lamb dishes such as this. Enjoy a glass with friends and family as you dig in to this delicious dish.

    In what ways do you enjoy pushing yourself? Are there certain hobbies that you enjoy learning more about? Share below.


    (Local) Lamb Moussaka

    total time: ~2 hours       yield: 6 - 8

    ingredients

    Moussaka

    • 4 tbsp olive oil
    • 3 medium or 2 large eggplant, sliced
    • 1 large onion, finely chopped
    • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
    • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
    • 1.5 tsp ground ginger
    • 1 tsp cayenne
    • ½ tsp cardamom
    • 1 tsp fresh oregano/marjoram
    • 1 tsp fresh thyme
    • 1.5 lbs minced lamb (I found some great lamb at a neighboring farm in Hopewell, Beechtree Farm.)
    • 1 tbsp tomato purée
    • 1 16oz can of tomato puree
    • ½ cup Unionville Vineyards Syrah
    • Small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

    For the Mornay:

    • 16 oz milk
    • ½ cup butter
    • ½ cup plain flour
    • ½ cup pecorino cheese, grated
    • ¼ cup feta cheese
    • the zest of 1 lemon
    • 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk, beaten
    • ½ tsp grated nutmeg

    directions

    1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Cut the eggplant into quarter inch slices. Layer flat on a cookie sheet, salt each layer. Wait 30 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, if you are using lamb stew meat, cut the pieces bite sized. Then salt and pepper lamb and coat with ¼ of flour. Set aside.
    3. Rinse the eggplant and place in a colander to dry.  
    4. Put eggplant slices on a well oiled baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Watch and flip slices as needed. Bake for about 20 minutes or until soft, golden and floppy.
    5. Meanwhile, put 2 tbsp olive oil into a large frying pan over a medium high heat. Cook the onion and garlic until browned and wilted. Cook the lamb. Add the cinnamon and cook for 2 minutes. Return the meat to the pan. Stir in the tomato and wine, bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down low and cook for 30–40 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season and stir in the parsley, oregano and thyme.
    6. Meanwhile, make the Mornay sauce. Melt the butter in another saucepan. Whisk the flour into the butter and cook for a couple of minutes, then gradually whisk in the hot milk. Cook until you have a thick sauce, then stir in the cheese until melted. The feta cheese may take a little longer to melt. Turn the heat down low, and whisk vigorously every few minutes. This will prevent the sauce from burning and speed up the melting.  
    7. Take the sauce off the heat and allow to cool slightly, then beat in the eggs, salt, pepper, lemon zest and and nutmeg to taste.
    8. Arrange a third of the eggplant in the base of an oven dish, and top with half the meat. Repeat these layers, then finish off with a layer of eggplant, and top with the sauce. Bake for about 45 minutes until well browned, and then leave to cool for 30 minutes before serving.
    9. Serve with quinoa tabbouleh and a glass of Unionville Vineyards Syrah.

    Enjoy!

                 Tweet: I know what I'm making for dinner http://ctt.ec/ae8el+ @unionvillewines

    Wine Pairing: Seared Sole over Arugula with Rosemary Potatoes With Unionville Home Chardonnay

    Recipe: Sole paired with New Jersey wine (Chardonnay)

    Writing tasting notes is a team activity at Unionville. Whoever is at the winery, minion or guest, gets a glass and a pour. Everyone swirls, sniffs, and sips and we take turns sharing what our senses pick up. We popped open a bottle of the 2013 Unionville Home Single Vineyard Chardonnay and set to work. Lemon, orange blossom, and peach were unanimously agreed upon. Someone even suggested creamsicle due to the bright flavor yet subtle creaminess.  While we were tasting, Cameron described a mouthwatering dish that pairs well with our new wine. Sauteed grey sole coated in lemon zest and white pepper panko crumbs, served on a bed of wilted arugula. A light refreshing dinner and a nice break from the endless stews I seem to be eating. 

    Roasted potatoes with herbs, paired with Unionville Chardonnay

    I stopped at my local market on my way home and cooked up an early dinner. I couldn't help myself, the recipe sounded too good. The baby arugula has a light spiciness, which balances the wine's creaminess. The rosemary adds an earthy element that pairs well with the citrus of both the wine and the fillet. The pairing of wine and food may be, as Sid Goldstein of The Wine Lover's Cookbook says, a complex and highly inexact science, but I've found much success breaking down why these pairings work and much satisfaction testing and tasting.  

    Roasted potatoes with herbs, paired with New Jersey Chardonnay

    My fish market had very thin fillets. I opted to serve two per person. Depending on the thickness, adjust serving size and cooking time accordingly. 

    Seared Sole over Arugula with Rosemary Potatoes 

    ingredients

    total time: 45 min          yields: 2 servings
    • 4 sole fillets
    • 2 tablespoons of lemon zest - about two lemons
    • 1 lemon quartered for serving
    • 1 ½ cups of buttermilk
    • 1 cup of white pepper panko breadcrumbs
    • A handful of arugula to cover each plate
    • 1-2 lbs of red skinned potatoes quartered
    • 1 sprigs of rosemary chopped
    • 2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil separated
    • salt and pepper to taste

    directions

    • preheat oven to 400F
    • place a covered sauce pot over high heat - salt generously
    • while the water is coming to a boil, combine lemon zest, bread crumbs, salt and to taste - mix well
    • dredge sole in buttermilk and set aside
    • once the water is boiling, add potatoes and parboil for 5 minutes. When finished your fork will just barely break the outside of the potato but not go all the way through. Think al dente pasta.
    • when the potatoes are finished drain and place in a bowl. add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and chopped rosemary - toss to evenly coat potatoes
    • place potatoes on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes - about halfway through shake the pan
    • remove the sole from the buttermilk and place in the bowl with the breadcrumbs - take care to cover the entire fillet.
    • heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. once the pan is hot, place two fillets in the pan and cook on each side for about 2-3 minutes depending on the fillet’s thickness. flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes. cook fillets in batches of 2.
    • serve the sole with a wedge of lemon over a bed of baby arugula and a side of roasted rosemary potatoes
    • pour a glass of 2013 Unionville Home Chardonnay. cheers!

    Sauteed sole with potatoes and arugula, paired with New Jersey Chardonnay

    Wine Pairing: Roasted Veggies with a Bechamel Sauce and Marsanne Roussanne

    I cannot get enough of roasted root vegetables. I could eat them every night. Roasting is one of the easiest, most magical ways to prepare vegetables.

    Hot out of the oven, they are crispy salty sweet treats. Left overs? Roasted veggies are perfect for a colorful hearty salad the next day. You can't go wrong. Think of these veggies as more diversified french fries.

    When cooked at a high enough temperature, the naturally occurring sugar in the root veggies will caramelize. Vinegar will amplify these flavors bringing out a slightly nutty taste. Serve alongside a cream sauce, and pair with a dry, nutty, white wine such as Unionville Vineyards’ Marsanne Roussanne and you are in for a real treat!


    ROASTED ROOT VEGGIES WITH BECHAMEL SAUCE

    ingredients

    total time: 1 hr       yield: 4-6 servings

    • 2-3 purple potatoes; diced into cubes
    • 2 sweet potatoes; diced into cubes
    • 4 parsnips; diced into cubes
    • 3 turnips; diced into cubes
    • 4 beets, diced into cubes
    • 5 carrots; diced into cubes
    • 2 onions; quartered
    • 3 cloves of garlic; minced
    • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
    • salt and pepper to taste

    directions

    • preheat oven to 400F.
    • I prefer to eat the skins of my root veggies, if you do not like the skins feel free to peel them - if not just make sure you give them a good rinse and maybe a little scrub to make sure you get all the dirt off. Cut off the tops and bottoms and dice into bite sized cubes.
    • Add olive oil, vinegar, and the diced vegetables, except the onions and garlic, into a large mixing bowl. Top with a generous pinch of salt and fresh cracked pepper.
    • Toss the vegetables, sometimes this is easier to do with another bowl on top, until they are evenly coated in olive oil and seasoning
    • Place vegetables onto a roasting pan and place the pan in a preheated oven for about 30 minutes. You do not want the vegetables to be too close to one another or they will steam instead of roast. If you find that your veggies look cramped, use two pans instead of one!
    • Check the oven a few times throughout the cooking process to shake the pan and make sure no one is sticking.
    • When the vegetables look almost done - around 25-30 minutes of cooking, add the onions and garlic and shake the pan well to incorporate them. Continue cooking until the onions are nice and wilted about 15 more minutes.
    • Serve as a side dish with Honey Roasted Chicken and a glass of Unionville Vineyards’ Marsanne Roussanne.
    • If you are serving immediately, top with a bechamel sauce. If these crispy morsels stay in the bechamel sauce for too long, they will get a little soft. If in doubt, serve the sauce alongside for dipping!

    Wine Pairing: Honey Roasted Chicken and Cranberry Relish with Marsanne Roussanne

    I have always eaten my condiments with food, not my food with condiments. My mom loves to tell stories of me licking ketchup off of french fries.  I know there are other condiment lovers out there! Are french fries not merely a vehicle for the ketchup?

    As I began to experiment in the kitchen, I started by perfecting recipes for the condiments I enjoyed as a kid.  My recent obsession- honey mustard. Local honey simmered with fresh whole grain mustard - to die for.

    We all know that honey mustard and chicken are a classic combination. Instead of a dipping sauce, simmer the chicken in the honey mustard with fresh herbs and dry white wine. The house will smell fantastic - drawing your family to the dinner table!

    I prefer to cook this in a cast iron skillet, as a one pot meal. If you do not have a cast iron skillet, simply saute the onions and garlic in a standard skillet; then use a baking dish to cook your chicken.

    Wine Pairing

    Marsanne and Roussanne are two white grape varieties traditionally hailing from the the Rhone valley.


    This full bodied white wine, has the brightness of lemon with subtle floral hints of honey suckle. An old dynamic duo - Marsanne adds structure while Roussanne adds more aromatic notes - together they create a medium to full bodied white wine. Its supreme ability to age makes it a collector's favorite. Aging imparts more nutty notes than citrus.


    Similar to Chardonnay or Viognier, a dry white wine pairs naturally with most chicken recipes. The tartness of the cranberry relish and earthy notes of the herbs make Marsanne Roussanne my go-to wine for this pairing.

     

    HONEY ROASTED CHICKEN AND CRANBERRY RELISH

    ingredients

    total time: 45 minutes   yield: 4 servings

    • 3 tablespoons of dijon mustard
    • 3 tablespoons of honey
    • 3 tablespoons of whole grain mustard or honey mustard of your choice
    • ½ tsp of fresh grated ginger
    • 2 sprigs of thyme and marjoram
    • 4 chicken thighs
    • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
    • ¼ cup of Marsanne Roussanne
    • 1 yellow onion chopped
    • 2 cloves of garlic minced

    rub

    • 1 tablespoon of whole grain mustard
    • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
    • salt and pepper to taste

    directions

    • Preheat your oven to 400F.
    • Mustard Rub: Combine mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Using your fingers or a brush work the rub into both sides of the chicken. Set aside
    • For the Sauce: Whisk together the mustards, honey, ginger, and olive oil into a small bowl and set aside
    • For the Chicken: Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in your cast iron skillet, or standard skillet, over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add your onions and garlic. Cook until golden brown or about 5 minutes. Add the chicken and sear for 2-3 minutes on both sides. Add the ¼ cup of wine and honey mustard sauce. Nestle in a few sprigs of fresh herbs and place in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes or until chicken has reached the internal cooking temperature.
    • Serve along side rice to soak up the honey mustard sauce. Enjoy with cranberry relish to brighten the dish and pair with Unionville Vineyards’ Marsanne Roussane!