"Fall" in love with our newest pairings!
Let's kick start Fall off right with comfort food favorites paired with our Winemaker Matt's seasonal wine picks. And just like last time, we're compounding the joy by pairing each dish with two of the delicious October 2023 Club Mini wines. We’re excited for you to try these wines head to head to see which ones you like better with each recipe. It’s our very own “game day” battle!
Not yet a member? Join Club Mini to secure the latest “Sipment” of mini wines and experience the magic that happens when amazing wines meet sensational bites.
Nerello Cappuccio and Rosé
Paired with Strawberry and Goat Cheese Crostini
Nerello Cappuccio is a Sicilian red wine typically has medium acidity and red fruit notes. It pairs well with the acidity and sweetness of strawberries while contrasting with the creamy goat cheese. The wine's acidity can cut through the richness of the cheese, creating a harmonious balance. The Mendocino Rosé wine, with its bright acidity and fruit-forward profile, complements the sweetness of the strawberries and adds a refreshing element to the dish. Its light and crisp character won't overpower the delicate flavors of the crostini.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush each slice lightly with olive oil. Season with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toast the baguette slices in the preheated oven for about 5-7 minutes, or until they become golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and let them cool slightly.
While the crostini are cooling, in a small bowl, mix the goat cheese with a pinch of freshly ground black pepper until it's smooth and spreadable. Once the crostini are cool enough to handle, spread a generous layer of goat cheese on each slice. Top the goat cheese with sliced strawberries. You can arrange them neatly or let them overlap for a more rustic look. Drizzle honey over the strawberry-topped crostini for a touch of sweetness. If desired, garnish each crostini with a fresh mint leaf for a burst of color and flavor. For an extra layer of flavor, you can also drizzle a small amount of balsamic glaze over the crostini. Serve your Strawberry and Goat Cheese Crostini immediately as an easy go-to appetizer on “game day”.
Chardonnay and Verdejo
Paired with Seafood Paella
Chardonnay is known for its rich, buttery texture and flavors of ripe orchard fruits. When paired with seafood paella, it provides a creamy contrast to the dish's smoky flavors and the sweetness of shellfish like shrimp and mussels. The wine's acidity helps balance the paella's richness. Our Verdejo from Spain is crisp, with citrus and green apple notes. It complements the fresh seafood and adds a zesty, herbal element to the dish. Verdejo's acidity and bright profile make it an excellent choice for seafood-based dishes.
In a large paella pan or a wide, shallow skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and diced red bell pepper. Sauté for about 3-4 minutes until the vegetables soften. Stir in the minced garlic, smoked paprika, dried thyme, salt, and black pepper. Cook for an additional 2 minutes until the spices become fragrant. Add the Arborio rice to the pan and stir to coat it with the seasoned oil and spices. Toast the rice for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally until it becomes translucent around the edges.
Pour in the chicken or seafood broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer, uncovered, for about 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally, but avoid stirring too much to develop the coveted crispy rice layer on the bottom (known as "socarrat"). Arrange the seafood (shrimp, mussels, clams, and/or fish) and thawed peas on top of the rice. Place a lid or aluminum foil over the pan and continue to simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the seafood is cooked through and the shells of the mussels and clams have opened.
Remove the paella from heat, and let it rest for a few minutes, covered. Before serving, garnish with lemon wedges and chopped fresh parsley. Serve your simple Seafood Paella hot, straight from the pan. Be sure to scrape up some of that delicious socarrat from the bottom when serving. Enjoy your homemade seafood paella, a flavorful Spanish dish that's perfect for sharing with family and friends!
Pinot Noir and Merlot
Paired with Eggplant Parmesan
Pinot Noir is a lighter red wine with flavors of red berries and earthiness. It complements the roasted and slightly smoky notes of the eggplant. Its mild tannins won't overpower the dish, allowing the eggplant's flavors to shine. Merlot's soft and supple tannins, along with its fruity profile, can enhance the tomato sauce and cheese in Eggplant Parmesan. It provides a nice contrast to the dish's richness while adding depth and complexity.
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish (optional)
Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Place the eggplant slices on a baking sheet, and generously sprinkle both sides with salt. Let them sit for about 15-20 minutes. This helps remove excess moisture and bitterness from the eggplant. While the eggplant is resting, set up a breading station. In one shallow dish, place the flour. In another, beat the eggs. In a third dish, combine the breadcrumbs, dried Italian seasoning, and a pinch of salt and pepper. After the resting period, pat the eggplant slices dry with paper towels to remove the salt and moisture. Dip each eggplant slice first into the flour, then into the beaten eggs, and finally into the breadcrumb mixture. Make sure each slice is evenly coated.
In a large skillet, heat about 1/4 inch of olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the breaded eggplant slices in batches, frying them until they are golden brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Place the fried slices on a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil. In a baking dish, spread a thin layer of marinara sauce. Place a single layer of fried eggplant slices on top. Sprinkle some shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheese over the eggplant slices. Repeat the layering process, finishing with a layer of cheese on top. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
Remove the Eggplant Parmesan from the oven, and let it cool for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh basil leaves, if desired, and serve your simple Eggplant Parmesan hot. Enjoy your delicious homemade Eggplant Parmesan, which is perfect as a main dish or served with a side of pasta or a green salad!
Zinfandel and Dolcetto
Paired with Dark Chocolate Brownies
Zinfandel is known for its bold, fruity, and spicy characteristics. When paired with dark chocolate brownies, the wine's jammy berry notes and hints of spice complement the richness and sweetness of the chocolate. Zinfandel's slightly higher alcohol content can also handle the intensity of the chocolate. Dolcetto is a medium-bodied red wine with dark fruit flavors and soft tannins. It pairs well with dark chocolate because its fruitiness balances the bitterness of the chocolate while the soft tannins match the brownie's texture.
Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease an 8x8-inch (20x20 cm) baking pan or line it with parchment paper for easy removal. In a microwave-safe bowl or using a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Allow it to cool slightly. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar and eggs until well combined. Stir in the melted butter and vanilla extract into the sugar and egg mixture until smooth.
In another bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, all-purpose flour, salt, and baking powder. If you're using nuts, you can also fold them into this dry mixture.Gradually add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet ingredients, stirring until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix; you want the batter to be just combined. Gently fold in the dark chocolate chips or chunks. Pour the brownie batter into the prepared baking pan, spreading it evenly.
Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs (not wet batter). The exact baking time may vary depending on your oven. Remove the brownies from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 10-15 minutes. Once the brownies have cooled slightly, you can lift them out of the pan using the parchment paper (if used) or cut them into squares directly in the pan. Allow the brownies to cool completely on a wire rack. Once cooled, cut the brownies into squares and enjoy!