Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Grilled Ham & Gouda Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions and J Russian River Valley Pinot Noir (Plus Three More Comfort Food and Wine Pairings)

Our hearts go out to everyone still coping with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy this Halloween. (By the way, if you live in an unaffected area and haven't yet made a charitable donation to the Red Cross, we encourage you to do so.)

During trying times, the instinct to cook definitely kicks in, so here are some especially comforting dishes we've come across lately along with recipes J wine pairing suggestions for each.
  • Smoky Grilled Ham and Gouda Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions and J Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. With bright cherry aromas and flavors of vanilla and nutmeg, our Russian River Valley Pinot Noir pairs beautifully with the salty smokiness of this grilled ham and Gouda sandwich with caramelized onions quite possibly the ultimate comfort sandwich from Bon Appétit. 

  • Achiote Chicken and Dumplings and Jewell Ranch Chardonnay. The divine interplay of dough and broth is maintained in this rendition of chicken and dumplings from the Food Network, but gets a subtle boost of spice from achiote and cilantro. We love this dish with a medium-body white like our 2010 Jewell Ranch Chardonnay; the fresh, vibrant pineapple and Meyer lemon characters provide perfect counterpoint to the rich dumplings. The Jewell Ranch also works well with a more traditional recipe like this one with leeks and tarragon.
  • Grilled Skirt Steak with Charred Pepper Sauce and J Freestone Hill Pinot Noir. Because of their sweet yet sharp flavor red peppers can be tricky for wine pairing but this inspired charred red pepper sauce from Smitten Kitchen prompted us to find the perfect pick. The clear winner was our Freestone Hill Pinot Noir with a complexity that nicely matched that of the sauce and stood up to the steak, too. The hearty yet elegant Freestone has aromas of cedar and blackberry jam that give way to vibrant cherry and exotic plum flavors with an earthy padding of mushroom and cocoa notes. This is a truly exceptional food-wine pairing for late fall and winter.

  • Brownie Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting and J Cuvée Brut. The crisp, clean bubbles and lively apricot characters of our Cuvée Brut are perfect for washing down Bon Appétit's chocolate brownie cupcakes, which for some will merely act as a delivery vehicle for the outrageousely creamy peanut butter frosting. If you'd prefer a varietal wine, try our J STRATA Chardonnay, which has a nice acidity to cut the richness of the peanut butter.
And since it's Halloween, you should check out one of our other recent food-wine pairing posts, "Salted Pumpkin Caramels and J Barrel 16 Pinot Noir," plus three other Halloween treats for foodies.

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