Category Archives: Wine Pairings

Summer Pairings: A Cool Dish for a Hot Week

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It’s hot.

The air is hot. Our political climate is hot. Our society is hot. And we’re not even halfway through the Summer of 2016.

Things could change if we all cool down our own little corners of the world, one step at a time. And a good place to start is at the table, with family and friends.

Begin with a delicious, refreshing and easy to prepare chilled dish from Jason Timothy, chef/owner of Providence’s Laughing Gorilla Catering, that’s sure to please the crowd of 2 or 10 gathered at your table. Add open bottles of icy beer and wine (our picks below), good conversation, laughter and love, and watch the mercury drop.

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We can’t get enough of the Gobelsburg Cistercien Rosé from Austria. Its bright balance of fresh acidity and excellent, round strawberry and peach fruit flavors make this a great match. The sauce’s citrus and jalapeno tang will be cooled by the fruit, while the minerality and acid provide enough structure to round out the whole dish.

We chose Revival Brewing Co.’s Fanny IPA as this noodle dish’s ideal beer partner. Its fruity hops from the Southern Hemisphere will highlight the melon’s cool notes, which piney North American hops accentuate the dish’s spicy flavors. And what’s even better, Fanny is low in alcohol, so it says as light in your  as does the salad, keeping everything in harmony.

And for the recipe, published in the beautiful Summer 2016 issue of Edible Rhody:

CHILLED VIETNAMESE RICE NOODLE SALAD
A note from chef Jason Timothy:  This is an easy, flavorful salad that is incredibly versatile. It’s been a favorite among my friends at summer cookouts when the weather is hot, the grill is going and the produce is abundant. I love to grab herbs and vegetables from the Armory Farmers’ Market that’s almost outside my door.

INGREDIENTS
1 package rice noodles (size noodle to your liking)
2 tablespoons neutral oil (such as grapeseed or canola)
¼ cup fish sauce
¼ cup water
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup fresh-squeezed lime juice, plus extra wedges for garnish
1 cucumber, seeded and sliced
2 cups sliced melon (watermelon or cantaloupe), rind removed
1 pound (3–4 cups) fresh bean sprouts
½ cup fresh Thai basil leaves, torn
½ cup fresh mint leaves, torn
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
3 jalapeños, sliced (optional)
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

In a large pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook for 4–5 minutes. Strain noodles. Give them a quick rinse with cold water just to get the cooling started and, once well drained, toss lightly with oil. Let rest in the refrigerator, covered.

Meanwhile, combine fish sauce, water and sugar in a 1-quart saucepan. Cook until sugar is completely dissolved, 3–4 minutes. Add lime juice and set aside to cool.

When ready, add noodles to a large mixing (or serving) bowl. Add sliced cucumber and melon slices, bean sprouts, basil, mint, cilantro and sliced jalapeños. Toss with sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with lime wedges. Serve immediately or cover and chill until serving.

Serves 4–6.

Stay cool, eat well, and carry on.

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Wine & Beer to Pair with Clams & Favas

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Can’t get more “New England in the Spring” than with this classic clam & squid salad from the current edition of Edible Rhody and Al Forno‘s Chef David Reynoso. The addition of the fava beans and scallions anchors it to the season, and allows for more adventurous parings.

Try it with the Brasserie Dupont Foret for a perfect ‘surf & turf’ pairing. The Saison’s well-integrated spice notes balance the earthiness of the fava beans and richness of the squid.

As for wine, we really enjoyed the salad with Camp Chardonnay. This is not your typical California butter bomb — it truly is more like a fine white Burgundy. Bright lemon, green apple and fresh herb flavors make it perfect match to the clams and favas.

Cheers and Bon Appetit!

WARM CLAM AND CALAMARI SALAD WITH FRESH FAVA BEANS AND SCALLIONS
Executive Chef David Reynoso, Al Forno, Providence

Ingredients
24 littleneck clams, washed and scrubbed
½ cup dry white wine
1 garlic clove
1 pound cleaned calamari, cut into rings, tentacles left whole
2 pounds fresh fava beans, shells and skins removed (should yield about 1 cup)
4 scallions, thinly sliced, placed in ice water
½ cup loosely packed parsley leaves, finely chopped
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Maldon Sea Salt

Place the clams, wine, garlic and ½ cup of water in a large covered pan. Steam the clams over medium heat. Check the clams after about 5 minutes and place the open clams into 4 warm bowls. Continue steaming, checking every few minutes, until all the clams have opened and been distributed evenly between the bowls.

Add the calamari and fava beans to the pan, stir constantly and cook for 3–4 minutes, until the calamari is firm.

Remove the garlic clove. Drain all but 1½ cups cooking liquid and add the scallions, parsley, olive oil and lemon juice to the calamari. Divide the calamari and fava beans among the 4 bowls. Finish each bowl with a pinch of sea salt. Serves 4 as a first course or light supper.

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This Season’s Rosés, Part Three

Ah – here we are at last at the end of our rosé spectrumwith the wines that are darker, have a more intense fruit flavor, and finish on a savory note.

Though there’s lots of variation within this subsection, these wines are all bone dry. They drink more like a red wine than their lighter counterparts and match well with the widest array of food – especially rustic summertime grilled fare.

This style is for you if:

-strawberry rhubarb pie is your jam, and you’d bathe in BBQ sauce if given the chance.
-you think white wine is for wimps and on wine lists you look for big-fruit/high-acid reds such as malbec, cabernet sauvignon and chianti.

Buyer Beware! Due to the significant supply and demand issues, availability of each bottle changes daily. If you find one you like, buy multiple bottles because it may not be in store on your next visit. And if it isn’t, don’t fret! Bottles will be your rosé HQ this summer so visit often for a rotating selection of delicious fine rosé wines.

Here are our favorite medium to full, rich & savory styles from the 2015 vintage:

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Honoro Vera, Spain
A powerhouse of a rosé. Said one of our regulars: “It’s like a space party in my mouth!” Its refreshing flavors of strawberries & cherries are offset by an earthy dried-herb finish.

Taron Rosado, Spain
Debate reigns at Bottles on this one. Some find it subtle with light floral aromas. Others find it crisp with ripe strawberry flavors offset by subtle earthy notes. All find it eminently drinkable (especially given its low price).

Paul D., Austria
Clean and bright with flavors of honey, strawberry, dried apricot. Fresh, fruity, soft and smooth.

Domaine Vetriccie, Corsica
Big, bold fruitiness with notes of orange peel. Rustic Mediterranean summer wine at its best.

Chateau Trinquevedel, Tavel
A staff favorite, this Kermit Lynch import (ya’ll know how much we love his wines) is dry, tart, spicy and herbal. It’s the rosé for serious red wine drinkers.

Mulderbosch, South Africa
Tons of zippy flavor, this gem is balanced with fresh acidity and flavors of strawberries, cherries, and peach.

Las Perdices, Argentina
Big bodied, bold ripe cherry with a rich round finish. Toss a rib-eye on the grill and have at it.

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This Season’s Rosé, Part Two

It’s finally arrived!

East Coasters are finally enjoying the warmer, delightful weather that most people call Rosé Season. We at Bottles drink the pink year-round but it is an undeniable fact that longer sunny days and spring blossoms go hand-in-hand with bottles of chilled, crisp rosé.

This week, we explore the middle of the rosé spectrum. They’re the wines that, while still dry, are a bit more fruity, aromatic and floral. This style is for you if:

-you start your day with a bowl full of juicy fruit salad, and eat your weight in watermelon each summer.

– your fridge is usually stocked with new-world sauvignon blancs and other aromatic whites, or your go-to reds are medium bodied blends like Chianti and Cotes du Rhone.

These wines sing when paired with rustic, grilled foods such as mediterranean lamb, grilled fish and pork, and herbal sauces (think pesto).

Buyer Beware! Due to the significant supply and demand issues, availability of each bottle changes daily. If you find one you like, buy multiple bottles because it may not be in store on your next visit. And if it isn’t, don’t fret! Bottles will be your rosé HQ this summer so visit often for a rotating selection of delicious fine rosé wines.

Here are our favorite light-medium & floral rosés style from the 2015 vintage:

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Gobelsburg, Austria
A staff favorite, the Gobelsburg is elegant and crisp with flavors of wild cherries and fresh berries.

Bridge Lane, Long Island
Made in Long Island, this rosé is perfect for the beach. It’s full of ripe red berries, guava & peach and has a lovely, lively, dry finish.

Zestos Rosado, Spain
Eminently drinkable, this Spanish beauty is brisk and refreshing with flavors of strawberry and watermelon.

Banshee, CA
One of our best-sellers, the Banshee screams with vibrant Mandarin orange and peach skin flavor and is accented with ripe  n’ tangy strawberry notes.

 

Drink Pink!

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Vintage 2015 Rosé, Part One

It’s official: rosé is the “it” wine of the year.

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Everyone’s drinking it, from big burly men whose usual go-tos are big tannic reds, to ladies who like a light white with their luncheon salads.

That’s because rosés, with their wide spectrum of aromas and flavors, have something for all.

This week, we explore the lightest end of the spectrum. This style is for you if:

-your go-to morning fruit is grapefruit, you like lemonade on a blazing hot day, and you eat oysters by the bushel.

-your fridge is usually stocked with pinot grigio, vinho verde and sancerre, or you always reach for barbera or pinot noir.

These wines are terrific when paired with goat cheese, salads, shellfish, or best of all, just a beach chair on a hot summer day.

Buyer Beware! Due to the significant supply and demand issues, availability of each bottle changes daily. If you find one you like, buy multiple bottles because it may not be in store on your next visit. And if it isn’t, don’t fret! Bottles will be your rosé HQ this summer so visit often for a rotating selection of delicious fine rosé wines.

Here are our favorite light & mineral-y rosés style from the 2015 vintage:

perassolChateau Peyrassol, Cotes de Provence
It’s fresh & crisp with notes of fruit blossoms, citrus and apricots, and finishes with a stoney minerality.

cassanovaLa Spinetta Il Rosé Di Casanova, Tuscany
This wine is super light, with flavors of early season raspberry & cranberry.

montaugChateau Montaud, Cotes de Provence
It’s bright & lean, with notes of dried berries, cherries and red currants.

sansecrreLucien Crochet Sancerre, Pinot Rosé
This wine is all early-season strawberry and cherry with light herbal undertones.

Tune in next week when we explore rosés with a touch more body and and delightful floral flavors.

Drink Pink!

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Four Reds for Easter and Spring!

Last week we gave you Bottles’ top Spring picks for white and rosé wine. Today we share our favorite reds that will pair beautifully with lamb, ham, and other heavier dishes you’ll have on your table this season.

primariusPrimarius, Pinot Noir, Oregon
A rich, luxurious pinot from Oregon with bold fruit and an interesting mineral/graphite element that makes it a no-brainer pairing with lamb. It’s also gentle enough for fish.

guerraArmas de Guerra, Mencia, Bierzo, Spain
One of our favorite values in the store! It’s made from grapes from super old vines (50+ years!) and is studded with energetic aromas and flavors of sappy black fruits and fresh violets.  A perfect springtime wine!

bruniBruni “Poggio d’Elsa” Red Blend, Maremma, Tuscany, Italy
A “Super Tuscan” 50/50 blend of sangiovese and cabernet sauvignon that over delivers for the price.  Rich, dry and brooding with a softness and a gorgeous depth of flavor that will pair well with roasts and richer meat-based dishes on your Easter table.

secatursAA Badenhorst “Secateurs” Red Blend, Swartland, South Africa
Our favorite wine (at the moment) from South Africa.  A perfect blend of grapes usually found in the South of France, this wine typifies the terroir of South Africa: minerally, juicy and bold. Terrific with grilled or roasted pork.

Happy Spring!

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Three Whites & a Rosé for Easter

Springtime celebrations, Easter being among the first this year, call for sprightly wines that revive our taste buds after a winter of more weighty flavors. In spring, we look for zing and zest, bright fruit and floral aromas to match the young season’s flavors of lamb, fresh greens, ham and fish.

Here are the three white wines, and one of the many rosés we have in store, that are perfect for your Easter and spring celebration tables.

drpaulyDr. Pauly Bergweiler, Dry Riesling, Mosel, Germany
Proof positive that not all rieslings are sweet. Gobs of ripe peach flavors with an unbelievable amount of zingy freshness will make your taste buds sing with glee! The good Dr. pairs really well with ham, lamb and spring-y vegetable side dishes.

joseJosé Pariente, Verdejo, Rueda, Spain
Perhaps the best white wine to come into the store in a long time.  Ethereal and sublime, this falls under a “sensation” rather than a wine.  A slam dunk with ham or anything else that marries salty and sweet.

firesteedFiresteed, Pinot Gris, Rogue Valley, Oregon
Fun and light but expressively zesty with flavors of ripe lemon/lime and fresh melon. Mouthwatering and enticing, this will be right at home with any spring dish, especially first-of-the-season asparagus, ramps & fiddleheads.

rosatoTintero Rosato, Red Blend, Langhe, Italy
A wine that is as fleeting and beautiful as spring flowers.  Bright, tart and lively with zippy acidity & a peek-a-boo raspberry flavor that weaves in and out of a mouth-watering, fresh citrus zing. If that isn’t enough to convince you, it’s also Frizzante — just a touch fizzy! A great picnic wine, and a terrific way to kick off Easter dinner!

Next week we’ll share our picks for the top reds to go with ham, lamb and the glorious springtime weather.

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Drink Your Chocolate

Skip the chewable chocolate this Valentine’s Day and give your sweetie the sippable sort. We’re crushing on a few bottles made with real chocolate and genuine skill, those that are good enough to be enjoyed year-round.

Meletti Cioccolato
Thick, dark, creamy, this Italian liqueur is pure pourable decadence. It’s made in Italy with milk and Dutch chocolate, sugar and alcohol, and is intensely rich and smooth with a balanced sweetness. We’re crazy for the Cioccolato any way it’s served: cold & neat (think adult pudding pop), warmed, over ice cream, or as a mixer in any number of cocktails.
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Young’s Double Chocolate Stout
This full-flavored dark beer made with chocolate malt and real chocolate is luxurious without being overtly sweet. It’s certainly a satisfying treat on its own, but for something special, consider combining it in a frosty mug with vanilla ice cream and bourbon for the ultimate grown-up float.
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Nickle Creek Decadence
A Rhody original, from Foster! This beautiful bottle, reminiscent of Port, has warm flavors of cherry and plum that make way for a dark, bittersweet chocolate finish. It’s a delicious way to end a romantic dinner.
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Cheers and Happy Valentine’s Day!

A Mushroom Wine Pairing

Photo by Chip Riegel

The humble mushroom is a cook’s best friend, given its amazing flavor and texture, versatility and nearly year-around availability in local farmer’s markets. It’s also beloved in the wine world as it has a natural affinity for so many different wine grapes and styles.

When pairing wine with mushrooms, consider their power: delicate varieties (the chanterelle, the oyster, for example) play best with light to medium bodied wines. Meaty ‘shrooms (portobello) love big, bold styles.

For the following dish of blue oyster mushrooms roasted with grape tomatoes and tarragon (from the Winter 2015 edition of Edible Rhody), we zeroed in on the texture of the mushrooms: roasting adds a richness to their delicate nature, calling for a medium-bodied wine. We also wanted to complement the dish’s other ingredients and aromatics: tomatoes and tarragon. And for this we turned to Italy for a white and a red that work well with acid and herbs.

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2014 Cantine Colosi, Nero d’Avola, Sicily There’s a supple cherry fruitiness in this medium-bodied bottle that is a lovely balance to the oyster mushroom’s delicate earthiness, and its menthol finish is just delicious with the dish’s tarragon notes. The nero d’avola grape – the superstar of Sicily – is a natural match for tomatoes.

2013 Argillae Orvieto, Umbria This blend is a beautiful example of the savory white wines Italy is known for. It has floral and tropical notes that add a brightness to the roasted dish, but it is its savory, almond notes that we prize with the mushroom’s earthy flavor and the warm licorice aromas from the tarragon.

ROASTED BLUE OYSTER MUSHROOMS WITH GRAPE TOMATOES AND FRESH HERBS
Co-owner Bob DiPietro, RI Mushroom Co., South Kingstown

Just about any type of fresh herbs can be used in this recipe—just be careful they don’t overwhelm the dish. Use less of stronger herbs like rosemary or sage than you would basil or tarragon. You can also substitute different mushrooms or opt for a mix. (Total cooking time may vary.)  Bottles’ Note: we like to use tarragon in this dish, and think it’s sublime served over pasta.

¾–1 pound (5–6 cups) blue oyster mushrooms
1 cup (½ pint) grape tomatoes, washed and halved
2–3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1–2 tablespoons red wine or cider vinegar*
2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons mix of chopped fresh tarragon, thyme or Italian flat leaf parsley, divided
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray or brush with olive oil.
Trim off woody stems of the mushrooms and reserve for another use (a terrific addition to homemade stock). Shred the remaining mushrooms lengthwise into a large bowl.

Add tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, garlic and 1 tablespoon herbs. Toss well.

Arrange the mixture in a single layer on the baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, turning halfway through to ensure even browning.

Remove from oven, add remaining herbs and season with salt and pepper to taste. (I always add salt at the very end whenever cooking mushrooms, otherwise they will exude their natural juices.)

May be served as a side dish, tossed with pasta or as a topping for steak or burgers. Serves 4.

* Instead of vinegar you can use pickle brine. I highly recommend the pickle brines from Rhode Island’s own Fox Point Pickling Co.

Cheers and Bon Appetit!

 

 

Wines to Pair with Butternut Squash Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Photo by Amy McCoy

Come ON … look at that photo … why are you still reading and not on your way to the market to pick up fixins to make this Butternut Squash Mac ‘n’ Cheese?  While you’re out, stop by Bottles for one (or more) of the wines we suggest to pair with this absolutely delicious, rich and comforting dish. (Recipe below, courtesy of Edible Rhody.)

White Wine:

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Evolucio Furmint. Grown primarily in the Tokaj region of Hungary, the furmint grape produces both sweet and dry wines. This crisp, refreshing easy-drinking bottle is a dry version, though given its ripe apple and floral aromas, it presents as a touch on the sweeter side. Which means it will echo the beautiful sweet squash, and its tangy acidity will slice through all that cheese.

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Souscherie Savennieres Clos Des Perrieres. One of our favorite expressions of the chenin blanc grape is the beautiful wine made in the Savennieres region of France’s Loire Valley. This medium bodied, stunning and very special bottle has notes of honey and apricot (both of which have a natural affinity for cheese) and a vanilla finish, which is a lovely complement to butternut squash.

Red Wine:

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Caiado Red Blend.
A mix of cabernet sauvignon and two other relatively-obscure red grapes from Portugal, this terrific-value-of-a-bottle bursts with juicy fruit, is slick with silky tannins and is low in alcohol – all things we like when pairing wine with cheese-based dishes. It reminds us of the jam on a well-crafted cheese board: it’s the bright, sweeter yin to the cheese’s rich, creamy yang.

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Laurence Remi Dufaitre Cote de Brouilly. Most wine pros have the gamay grape on their short list of wines that match mac ‘n’ cheese really well. And given its lighter style, and fruit-forward elegance, we have to agree. This in particular is a really fun, organic bottle from one of the more pristine of the Beaujolis cru. It’s succulent with bright fruit and a crispy acidity which will complement the squash and the cheese in equal measure.

FARMERS’ MAC ‘N’ CHEESE WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH
By Amy McCoy, author of Poor Girl Gourmet and founder/blogger of TinyFarmhouse.com

Master recipe (serves 4–6):
3¼ to 3½ pounds whole butternut squash, peeled, seeded and sliced into ½-inch rounds
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound pasta, such as ziti or penne rigate, prepared al dente according to the manufacturer’s instructions
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
4 cups (1 quart) whole milk, warmed
8 ounces (approximately 4 cups), grated sharp cheese (Narragansett Creamery Atwell’s Gold, cheddar cheese or a mix), divided
⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
1 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly oil a 13- by 9-inch baking dish. In a large mixing bowl, toss the squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil, then transfer to a large, rimmed baking sheet and arrange in a single layer.

Roast on the middle rack for 50 to 55 minutes, until the edges are golden brown, and the squash easily mashes with a fork.

Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly. Transfer squash to a mixing bowl and mash.

(Can be done a day ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight.)

Place cooked pasta in a large mixing bowl.

Then make the béchamel sauce. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour gradually, using a whisk to blend it into the butter. Cook until the mixture is a light caramel brown shade, approximately 5 to 7 minutes, being careful not to burn. Slowly add the warmed milk, whisking constantly to keep the mixture from clumping. Cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until the sauce is the consistency of pancake batter, approximately 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove the sauce from the heat, stir in half the shredded cheese and sprinkle with nutmeg, then season with salt and pepper.

Add the butternut squash and stir to combine evenly throughout the sauce. Mix the butternut-béchamel sauce with the pasta, stirring well to combine, then transfer to the baking dish. Top with remaining cheese, sprinkle with thyme leaves, season with salt and pepper and bake until the cheese is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes.

Notes: Can be prepared up to the point of topping with added cheese then covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day. Please note that the cooking time may need to be increased as the ingredients will be starting from a colder temperature right out of the refrigerator.

For a slightly creamier finished dish, increase the milk to 5 cups.

Bon Appetit!