A Wine Pairing A Month for 2015
Let’s celebrate 2015 with a wine pairing for every single month! This post is sponsored by Columbia Crest.
Happy New Year! I’m really looking forward to 2015 and a year full of tasty food. I hope you are too!
To start things off, I thought we should celebrate the upcoming year and so I’m sharing a recipe with a wine pairing for every month of the year.
January: Asian Salad in a Jar
January is a time to recover from the holiday season and to be a bit healthier. This Salad-in-a-Jar is a light and fun appetizer that fits the bill. It’s paired with the Columbia Crest Grand Estates 2012 Unoaked Chardonnay. The butter on the brown-butter-roasted peanuts highlights the creaminess of the wine and the Asian pear in the salad brings out the wine’s white fruit flavors.
February needs chocolate. Whether for Valentine’s Day or for another special occasion, these little lava cakes will win the hearts of everyone who tastes them. These molten cakes are paired with the 2009 Grand Estates Amitage Red Blend wine. The wine has notes of blackberry so it goes perfectly with the blackberry sauce. Add a good glug of wine to that sauce and they become best friends. There’s a bit of the wine in the cake batter too to bring everything together. And a touch of cinnamon and clove for warmth.
Heading into March I start craving fresh bright flavors. The melon, cilantro and citrus in these Prosicutto and Melon Cups satisfies that craving especially when paired with the refreshing Columbia Crest 2012 Grand Estates Pinot Gris Washington State wine. The citrus notes in the wine match the citrus in the melon mixture and the melon brings out the fruity flavors in the wine. The salt in the prosciutto cuts the sweetness and adds fun interest to the pairing.
Spring! Easter! Lamb! This rack has a crunchy pesto crust and is roasted alongside plums and honey. So much flavor! It’s a wonderful complement to the fruit-forward Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot Columbia Valley wine. The richness of the meat and the intense sweet-and-sour notes of the roasted plums bring out the fruit-flavors and the luscious texture of the wine.
As Spring drifts towards Summer we start having friends over more and more often. Having a low-fuss easy crowd-pleaser up my sleeve is key. This oven-baked Asian risotto does the trick. To make it more impressive, pair it with the Columbia Crest 2012 Grand Estates Pinot Gris because this wine loves Asian flavors. The subtle heat of the ginger and chili in the risotto is cooled by the crisp, tropical fruit, pear and peach flavors in the wine and balanced by the bright acidity.
When Summer finally comes around, it’s time to hit the grill. These beef ribs are slow-roasted for extreme juiciness before hitting the grill. A sticky 5 Spice Powder-Maple Sauce is irresistible, as are the clean crisp flavors of the accompanying cucumber salad. To go with this flavorful meal I’ve chosen a robust wine, the the Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cabernet Sauvignon. With aromas and flavors of dark red fruits, this bold style Cabernet Sauvignon displays fruit complexity and structure – a wine that is perfectly paired with beef.
I’m not sure if anything is as summery as a pulled pork sandwich. This version is a great way to feed a crowd while also surprising them a little bit. It’s a basic pulled pork sandwich that’s been fancied-up by braising the meat in a wine and rosemary sauce and then offering some sophisticated toppings for piling on top. And of course a fancy sandwich requires a wine pairing. I’ve matched it up with the Columbia Crest Grand Estates Syrah because the smoky, spicy and dark fruit notes of the wine stand up against the pungent rosemary and to the cheese and tapenade toppings.
In August we cling to summer while starting to think about Fall. This dish marries the two seasons by pairing together summery basil and autumnal squash. It’s a flavor combo you’ll want to have again and again. Add some scallops and put it all on the grill and it’s a perfect late-summer appetizer. When trying to decide on a wine to pair with this dish, I was naturally drawn to a Chardonnay. Chardonnay goes beautifully with seafood, and especially with the sweet and salty scallops. It also loves the buttery creamy flavors of butternut squash. The orchard fruit and buttery flavors in Columbia Crest Grand Estates Chardonnay create a lively, vibrant wine that really complements the flavors and textures in this dish.
I fell in love with rustic tarts in 2014. You simply pile fruit onto a rolled out pastry, bring in the edges and bake it. So easy! This tart recipe has that rustic crust filled with apples, raspberries, thyme, a bit of balsamic vinegar and a splash of wine. I like to serve this tart with red wine because it has red wine right in the fruit mixture. The Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cabernet Sauvignon is a great match. It has rich chocolate and vanilla flavors that blend well with the sweet-and-sour fruit flavors in the tart. The raspberries in the filling bring out the dark berry and plum notes in the wine.
October: Traditional English Potted Cheese
I think of October as the start of The Big Entertaining Season. Halloween is coming up, followed by Thanksgiving and then the whirlwind of December. I use this recipe right through the fall and winter because it uses up any bits of cheese that I have leftover from cheeseboards or that are for whatever other reason hanging out on the door of my fridge. You process the bits of cheese together with butter and other flavorful ingredients to make a tasty cheese spread. A perfect wine for this cheesy treat is the Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot, a very cheese-friendly wine with aromas of chocolate and cherries and dark fruit flavors.
A turkey breast is a fabulous option for Fall dinners (including for Thanksgiving itself). This version has a delicious stuffing and is roasted on a bed of root vegetables. When it’s done you have the turkey, a stuffing and a vegetable side dish to serve. It’s a real one-pan pleaser. I’ve chosen the Columbia Crest Grand Estates Syrah to go with the turkey breast. It adds spice, smoky tones and flavors of dried herbs to the meal and is a beautiful complement to the turkey, roasted vegetables and herbaceous peppery notes in the stuffing.
I’m always looking for easy but special appetizers in December. Little finger foods to have when people come over. For this shrimp cocktail the shrimp are poached in butter. It’s an easy technique but it makes a huge difference to the flavor. The cocktail sauce is a riff on the classic with roasted pepper and rosemary. Try serving it with the Columbia Crest Grand Estates Unoaked Chardonnay. The buttery shrimp compliments the lively acidity and citrusy notes in the wine while allowing its crisp freshness to shine through. This Unoaked Chardonnay can also be paired with mildly spicy foods which is why it works well with the touch of horseradish in the cocktail sauce.
Wow! I feel like I’ve already tasted my way through 2015! I hope you enjoyed the journey as much as I have.
Best wishes for a delicious 2015!