Tag Archives: pairing

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!

Super Bowl Party Pairings

So your team hasn’t made it to the big game. So what. We can think of at least one reason why this could be a good thing: You now have more time to pay attention to the food on the table and the drink on the bar than the action on the field. And sure, yes, ok, your standard suds will be just fine with traditional game day fare. But put in a touch of extra effort, people – it’ll make game day that much more delicious.

Here are the brews we’ll be drinking when watching the two teams vie for their big fancy rings.

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Smokey Sausages with Doppelbocks. The German beer’s big, strong and dark maltiness is a natural fit with the smoky meaty flavor of cocktail sausages & pigs in a blanket. We’re reaching for the  Weihenstephan Korbinian Doppelbock for its figgy, nutty roastiness.

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Bowls of Chili with Big IPAs. A classic marriage of a hot-spicy chili with the hop-spicy IPA. We’re going for the sticky, hoppy, bold Lord Hobo Boom Sauce IPA.

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Buffalo Wings & Blue Cheese Sauce with German Pilsners. The crisp, floral and refreshing German pils will balance out the wings’ addictive cheesy, spicy goodness. And the classic Bitburger Pilsner fits the bill for us every time.

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Potato Chips & Onion Dip with Saisons. Nothing’s easier than ripping open a bag of chips and dipping them into a can of good old creamy, herbal onion dip. Nothing, that is, except cracking opening a bottle of a saison, whose herbal and spicy notes will balance that creamy dip. Allagash Saison, anyone?

Enjoy the game and may the best team win!

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!

Wines to Pair with Braises, Roasts & Stews

They’re the mainstay cooking methods in winter kitchens, and the backbone of virtually all of the comfort foods we are genetically inclined to crave when the mercury dips below 32. Here are our picks for the wines that will match the rich, warming flavors these techniques will bring to your table.

2010 Chateau Magneau Rouge
Graves, Bordeaux, France
A particularly dry wine with only hints of fruit and a pronounced minerality that goes especially well with the flavor of roasted lamb.

2010 Domaine Bessa Valley
‘Petit Enira’
Ognianovo, Bulgaria
A sturdy red with a judicious amount of boastful red fruit that stands up just fine to the richest of roast beef dishes. It’s 100% merlot and it’s from Bulgaria (Bulgaria? Bulgaria!). Trust us, it’s a perfect match!

2014 Il Casolare (Verdicchio)
Marche, Italy
A white wine that is more savory than fruity with loads of flavor like roasted almonds, fresh herbs and sweet hay.  Great with herb-rubbed roasted chicken as the wine and chicken share many of the same flavors.

2014 Gia (Barbera/Dolcetta/Nebbiolo)
Langhe, Italy
Intense and highly appealing aromas and flavors that are a perfect match to the rich personality and creamy texture of Osso Bucco.

2012 Pujol Izard
Minervois (Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah)
Languedoc, France
A serious dish like short ribs requires a serious wine like this one.  Studded with intense flavors of dark red fruit with hints of black pepper, this full bodied beauty can stand up to the richest of ribs.

2014 Penya
(Grenache, Carignan, Syrah)
Cotes Catalanes/Roussillon, France
Silky and not too heavy, this blend from the South of France is a perfect match to your favorite Coq au Vin dish.  Perfect to cook with and great to drink!

2014 Terre Nere
Etna Bianco D.O.C.
Sicily, Italy
An interesting and rich white wine to go with a rich seafood, such as an oyster stew.
Definitely floral on the nose with a fresh and salty flavor profile that has hints of minerals, just like oysters!

2013 L’Argentier
(Cinsault)
Languedoc, France
A deliciously rustic wine that’s an ideal partner for cassoulet. Highly aromatic and medium bodied, this wine is perfectly at home with whatever your cassoulet recipe calls for.

2014 Astoria ‘Caranto’
(Pinot Noir)
Veneto, Italy
For a traditional Boeuf Bourguignon recipe, we’re shaking things up with a pinot noir from Italy. Perfectly balanced between light and heavy, the Caranto’s flavors make the beef sing while being heavy enough to not get lost.

Cheers and Bon Appetit!

New Cigars for Spring! Smoking Monk by Drew Estate

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Warmer weather means cigar season is here!

The most recent addition to our humidor is the Smoking Monk series from the cigar firm of Drew Estate.  Among their familiar labels is the Acid line (we have the Acid Blondie in stock).

The Smoking Monk series has five blends all intended to match with specific beer styles.  All five are rolled only in a generous 6 x 54 shape.  This is a lengthy smoke for perhaps relaxing on the 19th hole or while playing a round of golf.

The Hefeweizen blend is on the mild side and an easy smoke.  I smoked all five blends and prefer the fuller style of the remaing four: they are Imperial Stout, American IPA, Porter, and Triple Belgian.  The Smoking Monk is well constructed and contains high quality tobaccos.  Any of these blends smoke well with a fine beer or ale, or simply by itself.

Enjoy one during the Masters Tournament this weekend!

Cheers,
Don

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How to Pair Wine with Your Pizza!

winesDon’t want to drink beer with your pizza? Or that pesky water stuff?? Gross! Well, here is our handy dandy guide to pairing wines with different varieties of our, (and hopefully your) favorite pizzas!

-Margharita, pepperoni, white, vegetable, Greek, and Hawaiian-

All pizza in this video is from the delicious Nice Slice in Providence.

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Cheers, 

The Bottles Team

Have a Cigar & Sip Rum! 5 Vegas Classic Corona

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New cigars at Bottles! And we recommend you enjoy 5 Vegas Classic Corona with a stronger drink – Clément V.S.O.P. Agricole Rhum, a barrel-aged sipping rum. Rich and strong without being overly powerful, the Classic is blended to smoke like a Cuban cigar. A winning pairing to enjoy on late summer evenings.

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5 Vegas (Farms) Classic is an exceptional smoke. It receives consistently high ratings, and ranked as one of the best non-Cuban cigars in a Cigar Aficionado blind taste test. The long fillers are a blend of Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos, and it is finished with a rich, flavorful Sumatra wrapper. This is a medium bodied smoke, with earthy flavors and just a hint of cedar. The Corona size is perfect for a 45 minute smoke. Your new go-to cigar!

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Pair the Classic with Clément V.S.O.P. Rum, an Agricole Rhum aged a minimum of four years. What makes is rum special and sippable is how it’s made – from freshly pressed sugarcane juice, which is then matured in oak barrels. The barrels impart a deep, rich mahogany color and notes of caramel, dried fruits, and spices. The long finish makes this a superior sipping rum to complement the Classic cigar.

Enjoy!

Chameleons of the Sea

Seafood and rosé wine pairing! It’s a match made in heaven. You may have read our grilled tuna steak or swordfish kebab pairings, however, we have saved the best for last with this light & simple, yet slightly southern Pan Roasted Fluke & Fried Green Tomatoes with Jonah Crab-Chive Remoulade. Thank-you Edible Rhody Magazine for this fabulous recipe!

Brand new to the store, Bodegas Taron has been flying off our shelves and we are happy it is. Zesty, fruity, and earthy it is the perfect summer sipper for light seafood fare.

Fish Recipe & Rose Wine Pairing

Fluke
Found most commonly in the Mid-Atlantic from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to Cape Fear, North Caroline, fluke (or Summer Flounder as they are also referred to) are left-eyed flatfish. Fluke are highly valued for their lean white meat and light, delicate flavor. As bottom feeders, they are able to change their coloring to blend in with the bottom of where they live, thus allowing them to be predators and to protect themselves from predators.

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Bodegas Taron
Bodegas Taron is the collaboration of four small towns in Rioja Alta, Spain who pooled their vineyards and generations of experience together in order to share what they do best with the world. Together with the know-how of the experienced and the spirit of the young, they have created a winery based on tradition and innovation, producing wines of outstanding quality.

50% Viura and 50% Garnacha, this pale pink rosado is smooth and light, with ripe fruit and floral aromas followed by a fresh crisp palate of ripe strawberry, offset by a subtle hint of earth. The perfect addition to the Pan Roasted Fluke for some added zippy acidity and subtle fruitiness.

Pan Roasted Fluke & Fried Green Tomatoes with Jonah Crab-Chive Remoulade

Executive Chef Karsten Hart, Castle Hill Inn & Resort, Newport

Fresh local seafood and vegetables from our Castle Hill Inn garden were the inspiration for this dish and, with it, a nod to my Louisiana heritage.

Jonah Crab–Chive Remoulade:
1 fresh farm egg yolk
½ teaspoon mustard
½ cup vegetable oil
½ clove garlic, finely minced
¼ cup minced celery
¼ cup minced red bell pepper
½ teaspoon fresh jalapeño or Serrano pepper, finely minced
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus additional for garnish
1 pound Jonah crab meat (or fresh lump crab meat)
Juice of 1 lemon

Fried Green Tomatoes:
2 fresh farm eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup Kenyon’s jonnycake meal (or other white corn meal)
1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
2 large green tomatoes, sliced ½ inch thick
Juice of 1 lemon

Fluke:
4 (6-ounce) fluke fillets (or flounder)
Freshly ground white pepper

In a stainless steel bowl, combine egg yolk and mustard. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle ½ cup vegetable oil into the egg mixture to form a mayonnaise (or substitute with your favorite mayonnaise). Once the mixture is fully emulsified, combine remaining remoulade ingredients. Adjust seasoning. Refrigerate.

For the tomatoes, whisk together eggs and buttermilk in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Dip tomato slices into liquid mixture first, then dredge in the flour mixture. Heat ½ cup vegetable oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until temperature reaches 375°. Gently submerge tomatoes in the hot oil. Fry until golden brown. Place on a clean paper towel. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Keep warm.

Season both sides of fluke with salt and freshly ground white pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a sauté pan over high heat. Add fillets and sear both sides until golden brown and cooked through.

To serve, place 3 slices fried tomatoes on warm dinner plate. Place the fluke fillet on top of the fried tomatoes and cover the fish with the remoulade sauce. Garnish with fresh chives and enjoy! Serves 4 as a main course.

Don’s Cigar Pick: Alec Bradley Occidental Reserve Corona

Sometimes, there’s nothin’ better than the perfect drink and a cigar to match. Don’s selection this week is Alec Bradley Occidental Reserve Corona  ( 6 x 43 ). The ultimate compliment to this cigar? Henry McKenna 10 Year, a Bottled-in-Bond, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

Alec Bradley Occidental Reserve Corona Cigar

Don first smoked this brand when it was first introduced in the 1990’s. A consistently high quality cigar from one of the Dominican Republic’s outstanding cigar factories, and the same factory that makes Avo cigars among many.  Occidental Reserve is a blend of three Dominican tobaccos along with Indonesian longfiller, finished off with a Connecticut shade wrapper.  The smoke is well balanced; expect an even draw and burn. A fine quality cigar and great value!

Cigar and Bourbon Pairing - Occidental Reserve and Henry McKenna

Occidental Reserve needs to be paired with Henry McKenna 10 Year. Smooth and creamy, seductively full-bodied, and one of the best bourbon values at Bottles. It’ll be tough finding a better value, 10-year-old bourbon than Henry McKenna. Cheers, and enjoy!