This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Wine Cellar Craftsman and Designer Philippe Leiritz


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

This week’s podcast; Philippe Leiritz and Your Custom Cellar http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/08/05/wine-guy-mike-for-august-5/

Recent podcast; What You Need To Know About Wine  http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/15/wine-guy-mike-for-july-15/

Last week’s podcast; Perfect Patio Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/01/wine-guy-mike-for-july-1/

Recent podcast; (full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/

Father’s Day podcast, Special Father’s and Special Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/17/wine-guy-mike-for-june-17/

Recent Podcast with John Balletto of Balletto Vineyards & Winery http://bit.ly/WineGuyMike2

WineGuyMike with Perfect Patio Wines on KECI NBC Montana Today; http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Mike-Tornatore-8-7-12/-/14594602/15999458/-/67a5ri/-/index.html

NBC Montana Today TV Segment on Easter wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to WineGuyMike show wines for the lowest price.  Located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Philippe Leiritz

Philippe Leiritz from YourCustomCellar.com

Philippe Leiritz was this week’s featured guest on the WineGuyMike Radio Show.  Leiritz is a native of Alsace, France and by professional trade worked as a mechanical engineer.  Leiritz and his wife Frederique worked together in Geneva, Switzerland prior to moving to and settling in Michigan.  Leiritz continued working in the engineering field but had no time to spend with his family. Frederique and Philippe made a decision to move to Missoula, Montana in pursuit of their dreams.

Collectively the Leiritz family is owner and proprietor of the Missoula Winery and Event Center.  Frederique who is from Champagne, France grew up and worked in a winery.  She is now the winemaker for her family winery and Philippe designs and builds wine cellars. 

Leiritz truly is a master craftsman with the mechanical engineering background.  A functional combination that comes together in the form of beautiful wine cellars custom built for all types of homes and businesses.

Learning how light, humidity and temperature are crucial for the finest wine storage.  There are four things that affect wines as they are stored; Temperature, Humidity, Light, and bottles need be stored horizontally on their side.

  1. Temperature 55°F – 59°F
  2. Humidity 50-70%
  3. Light – wines that are stored in areas with ample light often time indicates incorrect storage temperature.  Constant direct light is another factor to consider as it will begin breaking down wine.

In today’s world 90% of wines are made to be drunk within one year.  If you are a collector of vintage wines you already know how and where you should be storing your wines.  The bottom line; temperature is far more critical than a dark wine cellar.

  1. Lying the bottle down is critical, especially if you intend to store the wine for any length of time. The purpose of this is to keep the cork moist, if your bottle is setting upright there is no liquid to keep the cork wet and swollen thus sealing the bottle correctly and keeping the oxygen out until you are ready to drink the wine.

With synthetic corks do not need contact with the wine to protect the bottle but then you should still be laying the bottle down.  This is important for unfiltered wines with sediment being spread out evenly through a horizontally stored bottle rather than collecting on the bottom of one that is stored upright.  Remember the wine in the bottle is alive and changing every day and the sediment in the bottle plays its part in this too, but that is another story for another day…

Commercial wine rack at a local tasting room

Commercial wine rack at a local tasting room

Master craftsman Leiritz also points out the choice of wood used in a cellar is critical for your cellar.  Redwood, mahogany, oak and alder are a few of the recommended choices for cellars.  Price, relative humidity, home décor, and personal preference all become a part of making the right choice for your wine cellar, Leiritz’s expertise is crucial when it comes to assisting you in these decisions.  

It is important to note that Leiritz builds cellars for all types of homes from modest to elegant custom homes.  There are even nice small racks that allow for proper wine storage for common guys like me.

This was a fun and informative radio show this week and Philippe Leiritz craftsmanship is extraordinary, having a nice cellar makes collecting and drinking wine just that much more enjoyable.  For more information please visit the website at; http://www.yourcustomcellar.com/home   

Here are two WineGuyMike wines that I recommend for your wine rack, pick them up at Missoula’s finest wine shopping experience, Liquid Planet located in the Heart of Downtown Missoula.

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

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This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Perfect Wines to Enjoy on the Patio


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s podcast; Perfect Patio Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/01/wine-guy-mike-for-july-1/

Last Week’s(full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/

Father’s Day podcast, Special Father’s and Special Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/17/wine-guy-mike-for-june-17/

Recent Podcast with John Balletto of Balletto Vineyards & Winery http://bit.ly/WineGuyMike2

Recent Podcast with Justin Wylie and Va Piano Vineyards; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/04/22/wine-guy-mike-for-april-22/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment on Easter wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

The weather has finally turned, the days are getting hot and the mountains remain emerald green from the spring’s plentiful rainfall.  A refreshing wine to suit everyone’s palate is welcome on a warm summer’s night.  Wine is seasonal and personal, dictated by your individual taste. 

This week I have a diverse selection of wines to share that will please even the most discriminating palate.  Not only do these wines offer great value in quality but they are budget minded too.  You will find the WineGuyMike recommendations at Liquid Planet located in the heart of Downtown Missoula.

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

The wine selections from today’s show are available today, all especially priced from 7/1 until 7/6, at Liquid Planet, in the heart of Downtown Missoula, Missoula’s ultimate wine shopping experience and the very best of beverage.

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Dessert and Aperitif Wines


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/02/05/wine-guy-mike-for-february-5/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment with Christmas wines; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30063511/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Sponsors      

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

W.J. Deutsch & Sons since 1981 has been marketing quality wines produced by prestigious families from major wine regions of the world. 

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Good Sunday morning and welcome to the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© This week on the show I decided to discuss Dessert and Aperitifwines as a prelude to a special guest that will be joining me on the show in the coming weeks.  Donald Ziraldo ,co-founder of Inniskillin Wines Inc., Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario and current President of Inniskillin Okanagan Vineyards Inc., Oliver, British Columbia, the world authority on Icewine. 

Stay tuned for this show it’s one you will not want to miss.  A friend of mine recently was asking about Dessert and Aperitif wines so I thought this would be an appropriate time to explore this area of wines that many are just not sure about.

My friend Aimee Ryan asked me; Mike I like to drink dry or crisp wines but I never seem to like aperitif or dessert wines.  Can you recommend how I might approach these types of wines?  Aimee thanks for asking, let’s take a moment to understand these wines types and styles a little bit better.

There are some naturally sweet grape varietals such as Muscat, Huxelrebe, and Ortega that are used to produce sweet wines.  The Sweetness of these particular varietals is enhanced by pruning techniques – eliminating bunches of grapes on the vines to concentrate sugar and flavor.

There are a few techniques that are used to produce sweet wines as well.  One winemaking technique that is used is Chaptalization.  This is when sugar or honey is added prior to fermentation process.  Süssreserve is a German technique of winemaking that adds grape juice to the wine after fermentation has been completed.

Today though we will be focusing on Icewine, a winemaking style where grapes are naturally frozen on the vine, harvested during the middle of the night or early morning and pressed in the extreme cold to separate the juice from the ice crystals.  The fermentation requires special yeast and many months of time.  This remarkable process concentrates the sugar and acids and intensifies the aroma and flavor of the grapes.  The result is very special wine that expresses aromatic flavors of white and tropical fruits.

Natural Icewine by wine regulations require a hard freeze; in Canada the temperature must drop to (-8C or 17°F) colder, and in Germany (−7 °C or 19 °F), this usually occurs months after a typical harvest.  If the freeze does not come soon enough the entire crop can be lost to rot and if the freeze is too severe it can prevent any juice from being extracted when the grapes are pressed.  Animals also love these sweet grapes and left to hang to long grapes will naturally drop from the vine.  This is a very tenuous circumstance waiting for the “perfect” climatic conditions.  Canada and Germany are the world’s largest producers of ice wines.  About 75 percent of ice wine in Canada comes from Ontario.

Late Harvest or Noble Rot wine is made from moldy grapes, a fungus known as Botrytis Cinerea.  This process occurs best in vineyards that experience heavy evening moisture with hot sunny days.  This fungus dehydrates the water from the grape and imparts nuances of Honey, and Apricot once the wines are made.  Sauternes from Bordeaux, Hungarian Tokaji, or  Germany’s Trockenbeerenauslese are some of the world’s finest examples of Late Harvest and Noble Rot wines.

In Austria, Germany, the United States, and Canada, the grapes must freeze naturally to be called ice wine.  Cryoextraction is yet another method (that is, mechanical freezing) used to simulate the effect of a frost.  The grapes are not left to hang for extended periods as is done with natural ice wines.  These non-traditional wines are sometimes referred to as “icebox wines”. 

Good Dessert and Aperitif wines are sweet but remain balanced due to balanced acidity.  These wines can be served alone or with foods less sweet than the wine.  Quite often, the wine itself can be a dessert, but bakery sweets can be a good pairing.

Whites Dessert or Aperitif wines should be served slightly chilled while the red wines should be served at room temperature or ever so slightly chilled.

A sweet or dessert wine that I really enjoy and recommend is the 2010 Deglace Dessert Wine from Adelsheim Vineyard.  This is a beautiful example of a very sophisticated dessert wine made in the Cryoextraction method.

Adelsheim Vineyard

Wine Background:

Dessert wines from red-skinned grapes – especially Pinot noir – are relatively rare in the world.  Adelsheim Vineyard produced their first Deglacé, almost as an experiment, in 2001.  Initially, the wine was created for use at the end of winery dinners.  Neither of the two ways in which dessert wine is traditionally produced – using grapes that have been desiccated by Botrytis Cinerea (“noble rot”), or pressing after the grapes had frozen on the vine – would work for us.  A Pinot noir producer would never want Botrytis in its vineyards (it ruins red wines), and they couldn’t remember a fall when a freeze came before the rains of winter.  That year, winemaker Dave Paige selected one block of grapes to take to a freezer instead of the winery, and then followed the traditional approach to producing an ice wine. (Well, not entirely traditional.  He didn’t have to do any of the work in the middle of the night which is when grapes for Ice Wine are traditionally harvested.)  Their Deglacé dessert wine has a soft pink color produced from contact with the Pinot noir skins.  The residual sugars are on the low end as compared to traditional ice wines, resulting in a consistently balanced wine.

The Wine

Even with this sweet wine, they have stayed true to their winery philosophy that a wine’s highest use is in pairing with meals.  That means retaining enough of the grapes’ natural acidity to ensure that the wine never becomes too cloying.  The Deglacé has amazing strawberry shortcake, citrus blossom, and nectarine aromas that meld with the viscous yet firm texture on the palate.  It should prove to be a perfect match with red berry tarts, pumpkin cheesecake, and a wide range of other desserts.

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

Appetizers and Wines for Superbowl XLVI This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/01/29/wine-guy-mike-for-january-29/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment with Christmas wines; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30063511/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Sponsors      

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

W.J. Deutsch & Sons since 1981 has been marketing quality wines produced by prestigious families from major wine regions of the world. 

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

A preview to Superbowl Sunday appetizers and wines that make them score the touchdown, welcome to the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© this Sunday morning.  Today I have chosen a number of wines that are affordable, most are $10.00 to $16.00.  These selections are very good wines that will match up, (football lingo), well with a few of my favorite football appetizers.

Next week’s Superbowl XLVI television audience will approach 110 million viewers but the the first Superbowl championship was contended in 1967.

Bowl games are not new to football, but the Super Bowl took the concept and elevated the idea to an entirely new level.  This was a way for the champions of the two existing football leagues at the time, the National Football League (NFL) and the American Football League (AFL), and decide who was the best team.  The first Superbowl was born.

Superbowl I took place on January 15, 1967 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.  This game determined the champion of the 1966 football season.  There were nearly 62,000 fans in the stadium to see Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers school the Kansas City Chiefs in a painful lesson about who was top dog, the final score was 35-10.  Millions of viewers witnessed this cool new Superbowl game on TV.  Superbowl Sunday 110 million people will watch the extravaganza this event has morphed into.

Where there is a Superbowl, there is a celebration and that means food and drinks.  I’m not talking about Beer and Soda, but they’re great too.  On today’s show I want to share some of my favorite Superbowl Sunday snacks, treats, and appetizers and what wine I’m going to matching up(that’s football terminology, so I’ll use that today rather than pairing, or wine terminology).

Superbowl Sunday is a fun day to enjoy but you really need to pace yourself.  Otherwise you can’t begin to enjoy this event throughout the entire day.  I’ll be posting a few recipes up on my blog at http://www.wineguymike.wordpress.com for you to use along with my Suberbowl wine recommendations.

I normally write about healthy eats but the following appetizers are real party pleasers.  These apps are so good with the wines I’ve paired them with you, your friends and family will love them.  Disclaimer; I’ll be omitting the nutritional information for the following recipes. 

Tim’s Cascade potato chips with blue cheese and bacon, we’ll call this recipe the “Triple Threat”

Servings; 1 if you’re a glutton, 6-8 if you share

Recipe Ingredients; One baking sheet, 1 large bag of Tim’s Cascade (plain) potato chips, and two wedges of inexpensive Blue Cheese.  Side note; if you really want to take it up a notch with this appetizer use 4-5 strips of pre-cooked bacon chopped into small pieces

Preparation:

Pre-heat heat broiler on low or if you only have one setting on your broiler lower the rack in the oven so it’s not to close to the broiler.  Remember we’re just melting cheese

Take a baking sheet and cover with foil

Spread chips out over the baking sheet, let them overlap one another

Take one wedge of the Blue Cheese and with a knife slice through the cheese until it’s crumbled into small to medium size chunks.  The second wedge is for the second batch of this appetizer, because you’ll just need more.

Distribute the Blue Cheese over the top of the chips and place the baking sheet of chips in the oven.  If you are adventurous feel like living large distribute the bacon over the blue cheese and chips before placing your appetizer sheet in the oven.

Watch the cheese and let it melt, usually around 3-5 minutes, then pull they sheet of chips out of the oven.  The Blue Cheese should be melted but not to the point of running off the chips.

 Velveeta Queso Dip with tortilla chips, okay this dip is just downright addictive.  That’s why you make an entire crockpot full of this gooey crowd pleaser.

Ingredients

1 lb. (16 oz.) VELVEETA Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 whole jar of Pace Picante Sauce, I prefer the hot Picante Sauce

1 lb. of lean ground beef that has been browned and drained

Optional for a spicier dip; Tabasco or a hot sauce to taste(consider your guests)

Directions

Combine Velveeta and Pace Picante Sauce in a crockpot and melt cheese.  When cheese is melted add browned ground beef and a little Tabasco or hot sauce and combine.

Serve

In a bowl as a dip or pour over your favorite tortilla chips.  This dip is delicious.

Wines to pair with these first two appetizers:

Wallace Brook 2009 Pinot Noir ($15.99)

Good Pinot Noir is hard to find at this price point but this wine is made by one of my favorite Willamette Valley wineries, Adelsheim Vineyard.  This Pinot Noir offers a complex nose of red fruits and vanilla.  The supple mouth feel layers raspberry and red cherry fruit, and is complemented by balanced oak and well-integrated tannins.

2009 Balletto Pinot Gris ($13.99)

This Pinot Gris is a complex, pale, straw-colored wine that opens with musky and exotic fresh fig and floral honey tones.  The secondary aromas reveal ripe red apple, melon and lemon. The aromas are ever-changing and intoxicating, and on the palate this wine is lush and perfectly viscous with a dose of tartness that balances and holds the wine together.

Tuck Beckstoffer’s 75 Sauvignon Blanc ($11.00)

This wine presents as a classic Graves-style Sauvignon Blanc.  The light straw color is reminiscent of classic left-bank Bordeaux Blanc, while the flavors are a perfect blend of old-world complexity and crisp North Coast fruit.  The nose is just right on this gem, neither to fruity or grassy, but a nice aromatic of grass and grapefruit. On the palate this wine offers bright fruit flavors of apple skin and pear balanced by undertones of cherimoya, fig and melon.

Little Smokies, now I have a special way I like to prepare these delectable little pork parts in a tube.  First you open the package and find a big sauté pan that will hold 2-3 packages of the smokies.  Take two bottles of dark beer and turn up the heat just high enough for a low boil to cook off the alcohol.  Drain the pan and dump them into a crock pot with a fresh bottle of dark beer, add two bottles of your favorite barbeque sauce and a few shots of Tabasco sauce.  Cover them up, start them on high to bring all that goodness together in the crock pot, stirring occasionally, and then turn the heat down enough to keep heat consistent. Yikes these things are just redneck delicious.

Lucien Albrecht Reserve Riesling

A beautiful French Riesling from the Alsace region of France.  This wine has a lovely nose that offers up both minerality and nice floral notes.  In the mouth this wine is both elegant and robust.  It has such great structure and being an Alsatian Riesling is beautifully dry and crisp.

2008 Balletto Gewurztraminer

The aroma of Lychee fruit, guava, red pear and granny smith apple aromas are ever present in this wine. Bright fruit and citrus flavors highlight the dominate aromas of this beautiful Gewurztraminer.  Once in your mouth tropical flavors from the nose translate to the palate and are accompanied by subtle tangerine and lemon.

The wine is lushly textured and light, balanced tannins and a delightful finish of toffee, lingering apple, and pear make this a perfect wine to compliment your thanksgiving turkey and all of the lovely side dishes.

2010 Hugel Gentil

The Hugel Gentil revives an ancient Alsace tradition that wines produced from a blend of noble varietals were called “Gentil”.

Hugel Gentil is a traditional Alsace blend of primarily Gewurztraminer paired with varying amounts of Pinot Gris, Riesling, Muscat and Sylvaner.

The Gentil blend of Noble grapes from Alsace region display a light youthful color in the glass and is ripe with floral, fruit and notes of spice.  This wine is rich, yet dry with a hint of lemon zest and mineral is the perfect complement for your dinner.  This is an outstanding Thanksgiving wine selection.

Burgers, I have you covered here.  I have recipes from Chef Bob Waggoner, host of PBS’ Ucook with Chef Bob.  Chef Bob was a guest on the show and I have the recipes he matched up, there is that football lingo again, with Beaujolais.  I’m making a few other wine suggestions for you to enjoy with these delicious burgers.

RECIPE #1- ANGUS BURGERS (For 2 people)

 INGREDIENTS:

· 2 regular sesame buns

· Angus ground beef – 160z

· Red heirloom tomato – 4 slices

· Vidalia onion – 4 slices

·Smoked bacon – 4 slices – diced finely

· Fresh rosemary -1 tablespoon

· Peeled shallots – 3 diced thinly

· Butter lettuce – half of a small head

· Salt

· Fresh ground white pepper to taste

· Aged white cheddar cheese – 2 oz diced into small cubes

DIRECTIONS:

In a small sauté pan cook the bacon until crisp.  Add the shallots and cook for 3 more minutes on low temperature.  Add the chopped rosemary and cook for another 30 seconds.  Remove from pan and let sit at room temperature.

Form 4 thin patties of beef approximately 4 oz each.  Then place bacon, shallot and rosemary mix on top of 2 of the patties.  Add diced cheddar, salt and fresh ground pepper.  Cover with other patty.  Pinch the sides together to form one big burger.  Salt and pepper the top of the patty.  Preheat grill and grill burgers.  When the burgers are almost done, lightly grill the bun.  On the bottom bun place the burger, Vidalia onion rings, tomato rounds and lettuce.  If you like you may add mustard, mayo or ketchup.  Top with other bun.

RECIPE #2 – GRILLED PORTABELLA (BURGER) (For 2 people)

 INGREDIENTS:

· 2 large portabella mushrooms – Stems removed and gills scraped

· Fresh thyme – 2 tsp

· Green onions – 4 each

· Yellow tomato – 4 slices

· Large eggplant – 4 round slices

· 2 Kaiser Rolls

· “Beaujolais Wine” – 4 tbsp

· Olive oil – 4 tbsp

· Salt

· Fresh ground white pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Gently drizzle the olive oil over the sliced tomatoes, eggplant and green onions. Salt and pepper all.  Gently grill and set aside -1 1/ 2 minutes on each side. Salt and pepper portabella mushroom.  With a small paring knife make checkerboard cuts going halfway into the mushroom.  Drizzle 2 tbsp each of “GDwine” onto each mushroom and let it seep in for 2 min.  Add a tiny bit of olive oil on the mushrooms and grill for 2 1/ 2 minutes on each side.  Once pulled from grill sprinkle with fresh thyme.  Gently grill Kaiser Roll.  Stack portabella mushroom, tomato, green onions and eggplant on the Kaiser Roll.

RECIPE #3-TURKEY BURGER SLIDERS with SUNDRIED TOMATO&BASIL (For 2people)

INGREDIENTS:

· Ground turkey meat with 15% fat -1/2 pound

· Sundried tomato – 2 oz

· Shallots 3 each – sliced thinly

·Medium sized garlic cloves -3 each – sliced thinly

· Fresh basil- 8 large leaves – roughly chopped

· Olive oil – 2 tbsp

· Water – 11/ 2 cups

· Baby arugula – 1/2 cup

· Red onion – 4 slices

·1 ripe avocado

· Mini pita pockets – 4 – split in half

· Salt

· Fresh ground white pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

In a 10 inch saute pan, heat the 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the sliced shallots and cook for 1minute.  Add the sliced garlic and cook for another minute.   Add the sundried tomato.  Add 1tsp of salt, 3 cranks of fresh ground white pepper and 11/ 2 cups of water and let simmer until all water is evaporated.  Add chopped basil, remove from pan and set aside.  Leave at room temperature.  Form 4 small patties using 1/2 pound of turkey meat.  Salt and pepper both sides.  Gently grill for 11/ 2 – 2 minutes per side, depending on temperature of your grill.  Grill the red onion slices at the same time. Just before the burgers are done, lightly grill the pita pocket that you have split in half. When the burger is cooked, place a small amount of arugula in the bottom of the pita.  Top with a turkey patty and arrange your slider with the grilled red onions and the sundried tomato basil mixture.

Choose a couple of these wines for your burgers:

The Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages 2009 is so well made, wonderful tannin, this wine is lush and full of its beautiful berry self.  It is a wonderfully balanced wine that will be so food friendly due to its fruit and acid companionship.  It doesn’t stop there though this wine for me delivers a great little nuance of toast and butter too.  It’s like a great mildly toasted piece of bread with homemade raspberry and cherry jam; yes it’s a really great wine to complement the burger recipes.

The 2009 Brouilly has nice dark fruit, plum, and black cherry.  The palate displays silk like tannin, it’s chewy with a little tobacco, yet the texture of this confident wine is like that of  the very finest velvet.  This is a beautiful wine that those of us who enjoy a slightly fuller body to our wines will absolutely love, enjoy, and crave more.

2010 Balletto Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

This dark, garnet-colored Pinot Noir is floral with aromas of rose petals, spice, ginger, cassis and fruit aromas of raspberry.  There is a bit of dusty earth with just hint of vanilla too. This wine is showy with a seamless viscosity that is balanced with a healthy bit of tartness to keep the wine fresh and lively. It’s full in the palate with fine, coco-powder-like tannins.  A long beautiful finish.

Paul Hobbs has always been committed to crafting unfiltered and unfined wines and utilizing native yeasts in the fermenting process.  His commitment to winemaking technique results in exceptional wines that are well structured. Paul’s wines are a product of classic old world technique.

The Felino wines express great balance of pure, concentrated fruit that is lively with acidity and smooth, fine, tannins.  The Viña Cobos Felino label offers Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Chardonnay that is vibrant, lush, mouth-filling wine with beautiful texture that pairs exceptionally well with food.  Did I mention these wines sell for under $16.00.  These wines offer incredible value as many of Paul’s California wine offerings are far north of $100.00.

The 2009 Viña Cobos Felino Cabernet Sauvignon is 88% cabernet sauvignon, 8 % syrah, 4% petit verdot.  A deep ruby hue paves the way for a nose that is ripe with aromas of saddle leather, subtle sweet tobacco, minerality, and earthiness. The palate is lush with a rich well rounded mouth-feel that is complex.  There is a great balance of dark fruit, black currant and boysenberry, mineral, sweet tobacco, and acid. This wine is both rich yet remains lively and well structured with perfect tannin.

2009 Felino Viña Cobos Malbec ($16.99)

Visually this 2009 Malbec presents a beautiful crimson color in the glass.  The nose of this South American beauty is ripe with red raspberry, anise, with a slight nuance of cocoa, a wonderful aroma.  The palate delivers a rich spicy mouth-feel that reveals fruit, a hint of caramel and mineral.  This malbec has a nice round balance with sturdy structure.  This wine is supple, smooth with refined tannin that makes this a great wine to drink and pair with food.  A long finish from this wine that you don’t want to end.

Cannonau di Sardegna D.O.C. Riserva (Under $11.22)

This wine is Old World and rustic in nature.  The Cannonau is native to Sardinia and is unique in aroma and on the palate.  I don’t recommend drinking this wine without a food accompaniment.  With food this will be one of the best food wines you will ever taste.  I recommend this a prime rib, roast beef, stew, and heavy appetizers.  An amazing food wine.

Bright ruby color, with purple hues, the aromas project ripe red berry, including strawberry and raspberry jam. In the mouth, coffee, spices and herbs, including an aroma of violets, plummy fruit flavours and aristocratic oak overtone. Full, round, fruit forward, consumer friendly taste profile. Oak aged for two years in large Slavonian casks with several additional months in the bottle.

Le Clos ($11.99)

A terrific companion to accompany a big juicy burger.  The wine blend is comprised of 45% Merlot, 20% Carignan, 20% Grenache, and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon.

It is unique in that it has a slight, refined oak character, highlighting a sturdy base of red fruit and oriental spices. Bringing into play terroir and savoir-faire, tradition and exotic flair, Le Clos seems to be like something out of “The Arabian Nights.”

This wine displays an attractive raspberry red color with hints of garnet.  Its nose is lively and complex, with notes of red and black fruits.  Refined oak fragrance(very subtle) with hints of incense, spices (nutmeg, clove, ginger), anise, autumn woods and tobacco.  Le Clos is very soft on the palate, with a fresh, tangy acidity, and delivers wonderful balance.  It is well-structured yet elegant, with fine tannins.

My Superbowl game prediction; Giants 21-Patriots 17, but I’m hoping I’m wrong.  I’m rooting for the Patriots, Tom Brady is still the best quarterback in football because he’s smart and he’s experienced. 

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

Award winning artisan Blue Cheese producer Rogue Creamery and Cheese Monger Tom Van Voorhees on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©


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Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

This week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© I would like to introduce you to my special guest Tom Van Voorhees.  I have been waiting to have Tom as my featured guest for one year now and his incredibly busy schedule has opened up for a brief moment and allowed him to join us today.  Tom and his wife made a decision about three years ago to move from New York all the way out to the small city of Central Point, Oregon.  You’re probably scratching your head and thinking Central Point, Oregon?  It may just be a small blip on the radar of Google Earth but in the world of cheese the Rogue Creamery from Central Point, Oregon has had an impact that is on a world scale.  If you love wine and cheese like you and I do you will never forget the Rogue Creamery but we will get to that in a moment.  First things first here, let’s get back to my friend Tom Van Voorhees, the top Cheese Monger in the United States and perhaps the world in my opinion.  A few years back Tom was officially recognized as top Cheese Monger in the country.

Tom Van Voorhees "The Cheese Monger"

Tom Van Voorhees "The Cheese Monger"

I know I wondered the same thing, what in the heck is a Cheese Monger?  In a nutshell a Cheese Monger is the cheese department or cheese shop manager. Becoming an expert in this field, just like becoming a Sommelier or a Chef, requires a formal education with years of tasting and hands-on experience.  A Cheese Monger is typically responsible for managing the cheese inventory, selecting the cheese menu, purchasing, receiving, storage, and ripening of the cheese.  This is what Tom Van Voorhees is an expert of at the Rogue Creamery.

Follow me to the Rogue Creamery

Follow me to the Rogue Creamery

Tom and I met about a year or so ago at the Rogue Creamery which is located in the heart of the southernmost Oregon wine country or better known in the world of wine as the Rogue Valley AVA, (American Viticultural Area).  It’s made up of three adjacent river valleys (Bear Creek, Applegate, and Illinois valleys) that extend from the foothills of the Siskiyou Mountains along the California border north to the Rogue River.  It is 70 miles wide by 60 miles long and encompasses the Applegate Valley sub-appellation.  There are 1,400 farmed acres comprised of 130 vineyards, and 16 wineries.

Del Rio Vineyards from the Rogue Valley AVA

Del Rio Vineyards from the Rogue Valley AVA

The Rogue Valley’s wine history dates back to the 1840s when European immigrants began planting grapes and eventually bottling wines.  In 1852, an early settler named Peter Britt began growing grapes and in 1873 officially opened the Valley View Winery-Oregon’s first official winery.  Valley View remained open until 1907.  Prohibition brought the wine business to a standstill in the Rogue Valley. The Wisnovsky family once again adopted the name Valley View Winery for their label in 1972.  It was in 1968 though when a professor from Oregon State University had planted an experimental vineyard for research purposes that winemakers realized what a great terrior the Rogue Valley is.  As they say the rest was history as the Rogue Valley became an official appellation in 2001.

The predominant wine varietals that are grown in the Rogue Valley are; Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay.  There are three valleys that have progressively warmer microclimates.  This provides the Rogue Valley a diverse and unique opportunity to grow both warm and cool grape varietals.  Pinot Noir is grown to the west as this microclimate is influenced by mountain and ocean winds that cool the area.  To the east the warm weather varieties thrive.  Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc grow in the hills at elevations of nearly 2,000 feet which help to produce grapes with nice concentrated fruit.

The Rogue Creamery has quite a history that spans nearly eight decades.  Italian immigrant Tom Vella who had settled in the Sonoma, California area set his sights on the Rogue Valley as an area of opportunity to found a creamery.  When Tom arrived it was small farms and pear orchards and the main industry was lumber.  Tom being a visionary and entrepreneur that he was opened the small creamery during the Depression, a gutsy move considering the lack of economic climate in the United States.  Tom’s goal was to grow the creamery as fast as possible in order to provide employment and sustain the areas small farms.  The farmers were with Tom from the very start.

The Southern Pacific Rail line that ran from Los Angeles, California to Seattle, Washington passed through Medford which is the larger city located right next to Central Point.  Passengers traveling between San Francisco, California and Seattle stopped to enjoy theatrical performances at the historic Holly Theatre.

The Rogue Creamery flourished during the Depression and provided significant amounts of Cheddar cheese for the troops that fought in World War II.   After the war the Rogue Creamery changed focus and was retooled to serve civilian markets.  Cottage cheese was very successfully introduced to the consumer market and served as the transition for the Rogue Creamery to become the premier producer of Blue Cheese that it is today, and may I add the finest Blue Cheese in the world.

Inspired by the success of the Cottage cheese Tom Vella knew that he needed to grow his product base and Blue Cheese was on Tom’s radar.  As the wise entrepreneur that he was he decided to go right to the source of the best Blue Cheese in the world, Roquefort, France.  It was there that Tom and his wife spent the summer of 1955.  Tom’s good fortune, talent and fluency in Italian opened many doors.  The Roquefort Association, although shrouded in secrecy, welcomed Tom when he spoke to the supervisor of the facilities in the man’s native dialect. They became instant blood brothers.  Presented with a gold pass signed by all functionaries of the Society, Tom toured operations from farms to cheese factories to the curing limestone caves at Cambalou.  At the end of summer he departed France with plans for a Roquefort type cheese factory, already producing Oregon Blue in his imagination.  Construction began in Central Point in 1956.

Tom envisioned caves similar to the environment of Cambalou and designed a building to duplicate that atmosphere.  Two Quonset shaped half circled rooms of cement were poured, one over the other, with space in between for insulation. The result was a true cave-like atmosphere.

Production of blue began in early 1955.  Instant success validated Vella’s business acumen.  It also went down in the books as the first blue cheese produced in caves west of the Missouri River.  Over the years Vella’s dedication to quality was unwavering to the end as was his enthusiasm for the business and this valley.  He died on December 23, 1998, at age 100.

The Rogue Creamery was inherited by Tom’s family and his son Ignazio became the driving force behind the creamery.  His reputation as “The Godfather of the artisan cheese industry” really says it all.  Ig as he was known stayed on as mentor to current owners David Gremmels and Cary Bryant who are now the senior cheese makers.

Ig, Cary and David

Ig, Cary and David

Today, the Rogue Creamery is thriving.  Gremmels and Bryant have steadfastly held to the principles laid out by Tom and Ig Vella.  The creamery’s Mission Statement; An artisan cheese company, with people dedicated to service, sustainability and the art and tradition of making the world’s finest handmade cheese.

In the first two years under the leadership of Gremmels and Bryant the Creamery has won numerous trophies and awards, including World’s Best Blue Cheese at the 2003 World Cheese Awards in London, a first for a U.S. creamery.

Rogue River Blue - With Certificates

Rogue River Blue - With Certificates

Their long list of accomplishments also includes the coveted Best New Product Award as the World’s first Smokey Blue, one of my favorites, at the National Association for the 2005 Specialty Food Trade (NASFT) Food Show in New York.  The Rogue River Blue, another one of my favorites, took Best in Show at the 2009 American Cheese Society in Austin Texas. They have garnered more than 4 trophies and 30 medals & awards.

Cheese Girl Miranda at the Rogue Creamery

Cheese Girl Miranda at the Rogue Creamery

Hey here is the deal, every cheese that the Rogue Creamery produces are my favorites and I know you will love them too.  The cheese that the Rogue Creamery produces, the Blue’s in particular, are the finest that the world has to offer.  Pair their cheese with the right wines and you are not only living large but you will experience wine and cheese nirvana; I’m not kidding the creamery’s cheeses are fantastic.  Can you tell I love Cheese Monger’s Tom Van Voorhees cheese, I do, I do.

WineGuyMike’s  favorites and his Wine Pairing selections:

Caveman Blue; Caveman Blue is a rich, complex blue that is deliciously sweet & fruity with slight vanilla tones and a texture of butter and crystals…

Caveman

Caveman Blue

Balletto 2007 Chardonnay

Tasting Notes:  This beautiful golden-straw colored wine has lush and heady aromas of honey, cream and mango that nicely compliment its brighter green apple and pear aromas.  There is a touch of spice and vanilla from oak ageing and a scent of Meyer lemon that foreshadows the wines crisp acidity.

In the mouth, the viscosity and balance of the wine instantly stand out.  There’s a gorgeous weight and texture which is offset by both the wines bright fruit and its refreshing acidity.  It’s one of those wines that draws you in for a second (and third) sip. Granny Smith apple, baking spices and rich creme brulee round out the initial flavors, and then it finishes with lasting apricot and light butterscotch.

This wine is easy to enjoy at the dinner table.  It has the rare quality of being lush and refreshing at the same time and will enhance a wide variety of foods.  Because of its tartness and texture, it will pair well with salty foods like aged cheeses.

2009 Sauvignon Blanc from Tuck Beckstoffer

The 75’(the label) is comprised of 80% clone one Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Musque clone, this wine is not allowed to go through secondary fermentation and sees only stainless steel during fermentation and aging. The result is a vibrant wine showcasing ripe summer melon, honey suckle, crushed rock and lemon oil aromas followed by great texture, richness and acidity.  This wine showcases the tremendous quality of Sauvignon Blanc grown in the Lake County region California and is a must have for the serious white wine drinker.  This wine is one of the finest examples of a domestic Sauvignon Blanc there is, and the price offers terrific value.

Crater Lake Blue Cheese; This is their most robust blue cheese.  It is a contemporary complex blend of molds from Rogue Creamery and around the world.

The 2007 Helix Syrah is 100% Syrah; this fresh, juicy red is a carnival for your senses with a veritable menagerie of delicious flavors!  On the nose you will experience more berries than a midsummer farmers market, a hint of freshly spun cotton candy, orange peel and lavender. Enjoy perfectly ripe flavors of blackberry and white pepper accompanied by a thick round mouthfeel and a loooong dark chocolate finish.

Oregon Blue Cheese; Created a half a century ago, Oregon Blue Vein cheese has been the West Coast’s exemplary award-winning Raw Milk Blue cheese.

2008 The Sum from Tuck Beckstoffer

This amazingly well endowed 75’(the label) Red Blend by Tuck is profoundly rich red wine that must be smelled and tasted to be believed.  The color is a rich, deep purple garnet and gives but a small hint as to what’s inside.  The nose gives off soaring and wonderfully focused aromas of ripe stone fruit, vanilla, cherries, cedar cigar box, blackberries and cinnamon. In the mouth, there are layers upon layers of broad, sweet opulent fruit balanced by firm tannins, great acidity and oak.  This wine is one of the best Red Blends of domestic wines you will find, it offers significant value.  You will be pleasantly shocked by the price of this bottle of wine.

Oregonzola Cheese; This Gorgonzola style cheese is aged a minimum of 120 days in their caves.

Oregonzola

Oregonzola

2009 Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc-Viognier Blend

This unique marriage of these two varietals that would never share the same bottle in their native France unites the crisp, honeyed fruit of Chenin Blanc with the plush body, light floral aromas and juicy stone fruit notes of Viognier.  This wine is refreshing, easy drinking and if you like peaches you will love this wine.  The bouquet of this wine is beautiful and the finish lingers on the palate just as the aroma fills the room.  I love this wine and with the Oregonzola, give it to me all day long.

Adelsheim 2009 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

“With its broad array of origins and clones, this wine displays red aromas (candied cherry, pomegranate and raspberry), on the nose and the palate. In addition, one finds a light touch of brown spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice). True to the Adelsheim house style, this Pinot Noir is elegantly textured with seamlessly integrated, silky, polished tannins.

Smokey Blue Cheese; Rogue Creamery’s “Oregon Blue” is the first blue cheese made on the West Coast, so we thought it only fitting that it be the first blue ever smoked.

Smokey Blue Cheese

Smokey Blue Cheese

2009 Layer Cake Shiraz

Dark, dense and creamy, complex aromas of black plum, Bing cherry, blackberry and pepper merge with licorice, tobacco, mocha and dark chocolate. This is one inky Shiraz; an explosion of dark, super ripe, wild blackberry, with a touch of cigar box finishing with a mélange of exotic spices. A pure fruit bomb…complete from attack through a long, lingering finish.

2009 Plungerhead “Lodi” Zinfandel – This wine is dark ruby in color with flecks of orange.  The old vine Zinfandel vineyards ripened evenly in the Lodi heat of 2009. This allowed the old vine character to explode in this blend with aromas of jammy raspberry, hints of orange rind, clove, and rich caramel oak.  In the mouth, this Zinfandel has flavors of dried strawberry, dark raspberry, plum sauce, cedar, and pomegranate, with hints of white pepper and cherry liquor. The finish is sweet fruit, toasty oak, and lingering warm spices.

Newest Cheese(Cheddar); TouVelle(their newest cheese, an American original semi- hard cheese).

Balletto 2009 Russian River Pinot Noir

Tasting Notes:  This dark, garnet colored Pinot Noir exhibits floral aromas of rose petals intertwined with spice components of ginger, dusty earth and a hint of vanilla. Fruit aromas of raspberry and cassis form the core of the wine, and in the mouth, create a long, delicious finish that can be tasted for several minutes.

The wine is showy with a seamless viscosity that is balanced with a healthy bit of tartness to keep the wine fresh and lively. It’s full in the palate with fine, coco-powder like tannins and a nice dose of astringency that lend additional grip and structure to this wine. Overall, the wine has struck the fine balance between delicate and structured, and will improve with bottle aging during the next five years (or more).

Tom you were an even better guest than I had hoped, and I had super high expectations having met you a year ago.  Not only does the Rogue Creamery sell all of their products but Tom also sells a collection of his favorite cheeses from around the world.  The Rogue Creamery is honestly worth a vacation trip just to visit the creamery, it is an amazing place where you can just sense all the history that has taken place.  I recommend it and give my whole hearted recommendation to visit their website and try these amazing cheeses; www.roguecreamery.com

Here are specific recommendations from the Rogue Creamery’s website:

I. BLUE CHEESE: Generally pairs well with full-bodied reds, or sweeter whites such as Gewürztraminer or late harvest.  Port is classic.  Specifications follow:

·        Oregonzola:  The cheese is milder in flavor than Roquefort or Danish-style blues.  Pairs with Viognier; check out Pinot Noirs on a case-by-case basis; yeasty champagnes work; spicy Zinfandels, robust Merlots and Cabernet Francs; Bordeaux-style blends.

·        Oregon Blue: A full-bodied blue cheese which requires a wine correspondingly robust in flavor.  Try Fruity Pear wine, Late Harvest White, Cabernet Sauvignon, Claret, Syrah; Port is excellent.

The Famed Oregon Blue

The Famed Oregon Blue

·        Crater Lake Blue:  A full-bodied blue, with a long finish.  Late Harvest White, Cabernet Franc; Claret; Syrah; Port.

Craterlake Cheese

Craterlake Blue

·        Echo Mountain:  An earthier blue cheese (a blend of cow’s milk and goat’s milk), with its own unique flavor.  Pinot Gris; Viognier; Cabernet Franc;  Cabernet Sauvignon.

·        Smokey Blue:  Pairs well with  good “food” wines; Pinot Gris; Chardonnay; well-rounded reds on the fruity side, lighter on tannins and acidity – i.e., selected Zinfandels, Merlots and blends.

·        Rogue River Blue:  This cheese has a strong, well-aged flavor with hints of brandy and fruit – a medium wine won’t stand up to it.  Choose wines with the fullness of age –   Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Port – or the classic French or German Gewürztraminers.

Rogue River Blue

Rogue River Blue

II.     CHEDDAR: Generally pairs well with medium to dry white and red wines, especially the sharp and extra-sharp cheddars.  Flavored cheddars, usually at the mild or medium level, will expand the selections in both categories.  Don’t forget the beers – cheddars are classic companions to a variety of ales, stouts and lagers.

An Assortment of Cheddars

An Assortment of Cheddars

·      Sharp and Extra-sharp Cheddar:  pair with full-bodied whites and reds – Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Claret.  Muscats also complement this cheese.  Ales and pilsners are good  with sharp cheddars.

·        Rosemary Cheddar:  Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir.

·        Chocolate Stout:  Keep to a fruity wine, on the dry side, in the Viognier, Claret, or Zinfandel families.  For beers, try a stout or porter.

III.   CURDS: Very light in traditional cheese characteristics; the flavoring agents become prevalent in the flavored varieties.  Curds pair well with most beers, and with lighter white and red wines.

"Squeaky" Cheese Curds

"Squeaky" Cheese Curds

·        Plain Curds:  good with Rose, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir.

·        Pesto Curds:   Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir.

·        Jalapeno Curds:  Ales, Lagers, Pilsners.

·        Garlic Curds:  Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir.

Pairing Tips: Pair regional foods, wine and beer together.  Pair light colored wines and beers with fresh cheeses.  Wines higher in tannin exaggerate flavors in cheese ie. fat, sharpness, sweetness and animal flavors.  Dessert wines pair nicely with cheeses that have a salty, sharp or bitter flavor.

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

Grillin’ and Chillin’ on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Perfect Wine and Beef for Your Barbeque.


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MDT.

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Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

This week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© we’re Grillin’ and Chillin’.  The dog days of summer are upon us and I wanted to share with you my thoughts on pairing wines with beef.  Its summer and I’m thinkin’ about grillin’ and chillin’.  When we think about food and wine paired together it is worth putting a little bit of thought into it.  Why?  When you match or pair the right food with the right wine it’s like magic, the wine and food not only complement one another they bring out the best in each other.  So what do you need to know?  Matching wine and food is just a balancing act and here are a few things to think about.  Is the food texture heavy or light, how I will be cooking my meal, and are there any sauces involved?  As for the wine piece of this equation what type of wine do your guests and you enjoy.   

Okay so it’s a beautiful summer day I’ve got some friends and family coming over and I’m in the mood to grill and chill.   Now I am thinking about what type of beef I’m going to select, how I’m going to prepare it, and finally how I’m going to serve it.  The next thing I’m going to consider is the texture of the particular cut of beef that I’m going to serve my guests for dinner.  What makes this thought process fun is when you set down to share your meal with your friends and family and you can let them know about the wine your serving with the meal and why it makes them feel like the special guests that they are.

Now let’s talk a little about steak sauce.  Most folks like to garnish with a steak sauce and this is something to consider as well.  Steak sauce if you will notice on the list of ingredients has a great deal of some form of vinegar included in it, this is a form of acid.  One of the reasons these sauces include vinegar or acid is the fact that acid brings out flavors in food and helps to leave a lingering flavor on your palette.  If I were to recommend a wine with a crème or cheese sauce I would be suggesting a wine with a high acid content that would be medium to full bodied.  A red tomato based sauce such as a marinara would call for a light body red wine, but for this dinner we are grilling steaks.

Just as foods have a texture and firmness wines also have a quality of texture.  Remember we are looking for balance and a synergy between wine and the foods they are paired with.  A full bodied wine bold on texture should not be paired with delicate dishes nor should they be paired with a food dish that is big on flavor.  Big wine and big flavor just don’t work well together, we are looking for harmony.  A mild food dish would do well to be paired with a medium to light body wine.

I’m going to choose some cuts of beef that are my personal favorites.  I love prime grade Top Sirloin; prime grade beef is richer and has a much suppler mouthfeel than the standard grade of beef.  Just as wine has a texture and mouthfeel so does your beef if you think about it. Rib Eyes are another great cut of beef I love, oh that’s right I love all beef.  Beef and wine matched correctly is just a beautiful thing. 

As I share this love affair of wine and beef with you I would like you to note that I really consider the percentage of marbling in particular cuts of beef as I’m choosing the right wines to partner with my guests meal.  

The Chuck Section: Hamburger has a higher fat content and will make a tasty, juicy burger that is well suited for a nice fruit-forward Cabernet Sauvignon.  A Cabernet varietal is a big, powerful red wine that is full in body, rich, and very flavorful.  Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine that imparts flavors of fruits, berries, currants, and plums.  This wine may also exhibit slight spicy nuances.

2009 Layer Cake Cabernet

Layer Cake Cabernet Sauvignon from California

Layer Cake Cabernet Sauvignon from California

The 2009 Layer Cake Cabernet displays a beautiful deep garnet color.  Aromas of blackberry, cassis, violets, cedar, tobacco, and hints of minerals and graphite.  Sweet, densely packed and creamy in the mouth, but with firm, underlying structure that gives lift to the dark berry, chocolate, and coffee flavors.  This is a very lush, soft, complex wine that coats the palate and spreads out on the long, lingering finish.

The Rib Section: A Rib Eye steak that is well marbled is a rich and flavorful will pair well with a bold, spicy Syrah.  Syrah is a big powerful full bodied wine, also known as Shiraz in Australia.  Supple, smooth, rich with well mannered mellow tannins describes the Syrah wines.  Flavor wise a Syrah can be slightly spicy, fruity like black cherries, or some may have a deep nutty flavoring.

2009 Layer Cake Shiraz

Layer Cake Shiraz from the Barossa Valley in South Australia

Layer Cake Shiraz from the Barossa Valley in South Australia

Dark, dense and creamy, complex aromas of black plum, Bing cherry, blackberry and pepper merge with licorice, tobacco, mocha and dark chocolate. This is one inky Shiraz; an explosion of dark, super ripe, wild blackberry, with a touch of cigar box finishing with a mélange of exotic spices. A pure fruit bomb…complete from attack through a long, lingering finish.
The Short Loin Section: Filet Mignon is a lean, delicate cut that is well suited to a nice smooth wine with great body.  The wine Pinot Noir is the grape variety of red burgundian wines; it can produce wines that are incredible.  When aged in oak, it should have a sweetness reminiscent of raspberries, with undertones of vegetation and chocolate.  The wine can stand up to aging for many years.  Pinot Noir at its best will be smooth, full of flavor, and have a beautiful bouquet.

Adelsheim 2009 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Adelsheim 2009 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Adelsheim 2009 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

“With its broad array of origins and clones, this wine displays red aromas (candied cherry, pomegranate and raspberry), on the nose and the palate. In addition, one finds a light touch of brown spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice). True to the Adelsheim house style, this Pinot Noir is elegantly textured with seamlessly integrated, silky, polished tannins.  This is perfect match with any Filet Mignon that you serve.

The Sirloin Section: Boneless Sirloin is a less tender but tends to be more flavorful than other cuts of meat from the loin section.  Malbec is one of Argentina’s finest!  A good Malbec will present itself as fruit forward, medium bodied and flamboyant, I love this red.  Spicy and tannic at its best this wine can be outstanding.

Maipe Malbec

Maipe Malbec

Maipe Malbec – Smooth enough it really doesn’t even need food, and has a 90 point rating. The Mendoza region of Argentina produces amazing Malbec.  In this warm dry climate the Malbec achieves near perfect ripeness and have a silky texture with intense flavors of blackberry, peppery spice, and balsamic herbs. The cooler, well-drained slopes of the hillsides of the region are perfect terrior for the Malbec grape.

The Round Section: An Eye of Round served pepper-crusted and rare is a very lean, slightly chewy cut.  This will pair well with a Red Blend that has great structure. 

Bookwalter Subplot No 25

Bookwalter Subplot No 25

Subplot No 25 –  A great red blend from the Columbia valley comprised of 30% Cabernet 27% Merlot 14% Syrah 9% Petit Verdot 4% Barbera 3% Cab Franc.  Aromatics of currants, dark berries, black plums, mocha and marzipan linger as the wine enters the palate full of ripe fruit flavors, Black Forest cherries, Boysenberries, and dates layered with cola, resin, graphite and a dash of Thai spice. You will experience a lush and full mid palate prelude that leads to a velour like finish.  This wine is great balance of fruit and acidity.

Each lot of wine selected for Subplot is carefully chosen each year after they have made their final blends for their top tier wines.  Bookwalter creates a flavorful, full-bodied yet approachable wine by layering vintages, vineyards and varietals in their Subplot wines.  Press wine from our oldest vineyards are aged longer in the cellar to help soften the tannins and create more mature flavors and wine from their  younger vines and more recent vintages are added to the blend to bring the lush and bright fruit characteristics forward in the wine. 

The Brisket Section: Brisket that is slowly cooked on the barbeque can be buttery, smoky, with flavors that call for the red fruit and fig aromas and full bodied profile of Sangiovese A.K.A. Chianti, but in this case we are going to take it up a notch and go right to the heart of Tuscany and into the Chianti Classico region.  This spicy medium bodied red will exhibit nuances of cherry and raspberry flavor with just the right amount of tannin, acid, and fruit.  A nice Chianti Classico will pair so well with the buttery and smoky flavor of the Brisket.

Castello di Fonterutoli 2006

Castello di Fonterutoli 2006

Castello di Fonterutoli 2006

This wine is a stunning composition of strikingly diverse Sangiovese’s notes, some of which are exclusively found on the Mazzei Estate, and have rarely been tasted before.

This incredible wine has a deep and impenetrable ruby red color.   The wine is incredibly layered, it opens up with subtle hints of fresh spices (black pepper) that develop into perfumes of fresh red fruits (red currant), and followed by more intense dark ripe fruits (plum).  The harmony of flavors is concluded by notes of forest undergrowth and an earthy, musky finale.  This is an unbelievable wine.

The Flank Section: Thin Flank Steak is best slowly grilled over a low flame.  The smoky flavors from the grill and intense beef flavor compliment a Zinfandel.  This full bodied, fruit forward, and spicy wine is one of California’s favorites, and most plentiful.  Berries, cherries, tobacco, oak, and vanilla this wine seems to have it all.

2009 Plungerhead "Lodi" Zinfandel

2009 Plungerhead "Lodi" Zinfandel

2009 Plungerhead “Lodi” Zinfandel – This wine is dark ruby in color with flecks of orange.  The old vine Zinfandel vineyards ripened evenly in the Lodi heat of 2009. This allowed the old vine character to explode in this blend with aromas of jammy raspberry, hints of orange rind, clove, and rich caramel oak. In the mouth, this Zinfandel has flavors of dried strawberry, dark raspberry, plum sauce, cedar, and pomegranate, with hints of white pepper and cherry liquor. The finish is sweet fruit, toasty oak, and lingering warm spices.

Alright head to the store and purchase you beef selection you’ve decided on, stoke up the grill, and open up your wine so it can breathe and be at its best to serve to your guests.  They’ll think they are kings and queens, remember keep the wine in the house in a cool place so they are served at the right temperature. 

WineGuyMike™ raises his glass in a toast to you grillin’ and chillin’ this weekend.  Grill on wine warriors!

"from my grill to yours"

"from my grill to yours"

Wines that will rock your dinner from New Dehli on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©


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This week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Facebook Fan Kim Anderson asks what wine should I pair the real deal authentic Indian food with? In particular, Chicken Masala and Makani Murgh dishes.  Kim not being an expert in the area of Indian food I really had to do my homework this week.  What a great question and I have your answers.  The only question left to answer here is will you be inviting me for dinner?

Chicken Masala

Chicken Masala

Okay now we know what the most important questions of the day are, so what are the answers?  WineGuyMike™ really prefers to keep things as simple as possible and in doing so let’s consider a few things before I recommend which wine types are best suited for your particular Indian dinner wine selections.

When one considers wine and food I like to think of balance.  Balancing wine and food is a good place to start when determining what wine works best with what food.  Here are a few other things to think about when choosing a wine too:

• What wine type do you generally prefer?

• Food texture, is it heavy or light?

• How is the food prepared, is it Grilled, Baked, or Sautéed.

• What about a Sauce, Gravy, Crème, or Tomato based.

In considering balance and in this case I’m referring to weight and texture of the main food entrée and the weight and texture of the wine I would like to choose to serve with my dinner.  How am I going to cook these wonderful Indian dishes, Chicken Masala and Makani Murgh.  Are these dishes also going to be using a sauce or gravy?  There a couple of more things to think about before we go wine shopping too.

Makhani Murgh

Makhani Murgh

Just as foods have a texture and firmness wines also have a quality of texture.  Remember we are looking for balance and a synergy between wine and the foods they are paired with.  A full bodied wine bold on texture should not be paired with delicate dishes nor should they be paired with a food dish that is big on flavor.  Okay so we can rule out big full bodied wines for this dinner party.  Big wine and big flavor just don’t work well together, we are looking for harmony.  Mild food dishes do well when paired with medium to light body wines.  Kim In considering today’s menu I’m looking at the main protein, in this case chicken.  I need to consider the sauces and the spices.  The other thing I will be considering while I’m selecting wines for this marvelous dinner party is the season, it’s Summer and it’s hot and I’m eating dishes that are spicy.   

One of the most important things to understand about wine and food pairing is this; acid brings out flavors in food and helps to leave a lingering flavor on your palette.  Once you think through the food it really helps to serve as a process of elimination.  Here is what we know about your dinner selections Kim; Chicken is our main protein, we are dealing with many powerful spices, and we have heavy/creamy sauces.  Last but not least it is Summer time so I know that I want something refreshing that is light to medium in body and texture on the wine side.  I also have decided I want to recommend wines that have nice acid and fruit balance and I have a few wine types that I find earthy.  When I think of earthy I think about mineral, vegetal, and herbaceous that present themselves a bit more neutral but still have enough acid to work with your meal selections Kim.  Today I will be suggesting wines with a bit of acidity and will be light to medium bodied.  Now we can talk about our wine type choices, or at least what types of wines match our criteria for the meal we are serving.

The wine types that I recommend will vary from light to medium body:

Light Bodied Wine selections

1. Chenin Blanc

2. Rose´

3. Pinot Grigio/Gris

4. Riesling

Medium Bodied Wine selections

1. Fume´ Blanc

2. Sauvignon Blanc

3. Sancerre

These are the wine types or varietals I believe will be best suited for your Summer time dinner party Kim.  I would recommend having one white and one red wine from the light bodied category, one wine from the medium bodied category, and one full bodied Chardonnay that is not oaked to complement your dinner.

I hope that you find these suggestions helpful in putting together your dinner party wine list Kim.  Thinking about this ahead of time will lead to a much better wine shopping experience, not to mention the time you will save time not staring at too many wine bottles on a shelf.  After a few minutes all the bottles begin to look the same.  Having a wine focused dinner party can make it a lot of fun and remember this list of slightly acidic wines are suggested because they will intensify all the wonderful flavors of your Chicken Masala and Makani Murgh dinner selections.  It will also be fun to share with your family and friends all about the wines you have carefully selected with the dinner to pour for them, they will surely feel as special as they are.  There is nothing better than a great meal and a nice bottle of wine when we are sharing with people we love.

One last recommendation would be to stop in at my official sponsor Ciao Mambo, they have a great wine list with wines by the glass.  You can experience some of these wine types before you serve them at your dinner party. 

The WineGuyMike™ wine list:

1. Chenin Blanc/Chardonnay blend from Southwest France – Tariquet

Chenin Blanc/Chardonnay

Chenin Blanc/Chardonnay

This Tariquet  wine marries the finesse of Chenin Blanc (75%) with the elegance and structure of Chardonnay (25%). This complex wine displays delicious floral notes, as well as exotic fruit and vanilla.  A beautiful inexpensive wine to pair with today’s dishes.

2. Pinot Gris from Wine by Joe in The Willamette Valley of Oregon

2009 Pinot Gris

2009 Pinot Gris

Wine by Joe 2009 Pinot Gris;  you will experience sweet aromas of fresh cut pears, green apples and hints of vanilla and cream, this Pinot Gris will not disappoint you.  The light clean flavors in the mouth encompass citrus and green apple well-balanced by refreshing and flinty acidity for a perfect and lively finish with lingering hints of citrus rind.  You will be delighted with this classic Oregon Pinot Gris!

3. Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley, California – “75” from Tuck Beckstoffer.

"75" 2009 Sauvignon Blanc from Tuck Beckstoffer

"75" 2009 Sauvignon Blanc from Tuck Beckstoffer

This is perhaps my favorite domestic Sauvignon Blanc, it is comprised of 80% clone one Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Musque clone, this wine is has not been through a secondary fermentation and only sees stainless steel during fermentation and aging.  This wine is vibrant with ripe summer melon, honey suckle, crushed rock and lemon oil aromas followed by great texture, richness and acidity.  This wine showcases the tremendous quality of Sauvignon Blanc grown in the Lake County region California.

4. Riesling from Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl from the Columbia Valley of Washington State.

2008 Kung Fu Girl by Charles Smith

2008 Kung Fu Girl by Charles Smith

A long cool awesome vintage added heightened minerality to this wine which lends to a great pairing with these  today’s food dishes.  White stone fruit, you know, apricot, nectarine, peach also satsuma and lime leaves.   This is great Riesling from Evergreen Vineyard in The Ancient Lakes area of the Columbia Valley AVA.

5. Rose´ from Napa, Oregon, and France

Vin Gris 4Bears Winery and Sean Minor

Vin Gris 4Bears Winery and Sean Minor

This lovely Vin Gris from 4Bears Winery and Sean Minor is a bright and vibrant pink color with cherry, strawberry, cranberry and ripe watermelon aromas on the nose.  When the wine first hits your palate it displays cherry and strawberry flavors with well recognized flavors of Pinot Noir. Raspberry and cranberry fruit characters are balanced with spicy and crisp acidity that linger creating a refreshing and lengthy finish.

2010 Adelsheim Willamette Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir

2010 Adelsheim Willamette Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir

2010 Adelsheim Willamette Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir This delicious wine offers aromas of fresh strawberries, raspberries, peach, watermelon and a touch of baking spices.  The aromas follow through on a rich, well textured palate that offers great intensity and persistence to the finish. 

Chateau Bonnet Rose

Chateau Bonnet Rose

Château Bonnet Rosé 2010 On the nose the wine presents welcome aromas of white chocolate, ever so mild caramel, strawberry, and mellow cherry.  Yes this wine’s aroma is as alluring as it is visually in a glass. Once this beauty hit my palate it danced in my mouth, I don’t want to say it came to life because this wine brought life to my palate.  This Rosé is well balanced with fruit, acid, and the perfect percentage of alcohol.  It is understated with nuances of strawberry and cherry, also expressing very mild pomegranate.  You will experience a perfect crispness and a mellow tartness in this wine that has a lovely and refreshing mouthfeel.

These wines receive The WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval©

If you have any specific questions about wines please message me by commenting on the WineGuyMike blog at; http://www.wineguymike.wordpress.com, or on my Facebook fan page; WineGuyMike and I will answer any questions you may have.

Light Bodied Wines

Chenin Blanc is a very versatile grape.  It is very crisp, acidic, high in alcohol content, yet is smooth and full bodied.  This grape exhibits slight spiciness, hint of honey, and slight fruitiness and is dry.  This can be a very special wine, such as Vouvray, an excellent wine exhibiting many different styles.

Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris as it is commonly referred to is a very dry wine.  Some characteristics of this wine are a slightly fruity and mild spiciness.

Riesling is one of the prominent white wine grapes, a pure Riesling is complex yet delicate.  A Riesling will be light, medium dry, fruity, a mild citrus flavor, with a mellow floral aroma. 

Rose´ wines are like a chameleon, they are light and refreshing like a white wine, crisp and acidic like a white wine, BUT once on the palate have subtle nuances of the red wines we love too. Rose´ may have a very slight strawberry nuance and are made from bone dry to slightly sweet.

Medium Bodied Wines

At its best Sauvignon Blanc is a very crisp, light bodied and very dry.  They are also known as Fume´ Blancs, and are well balanced with citrus and grassy overtones.  Most of these wines are not fermented in oak, the high levels of acid balance well with the fruity characteristics of the wine.

Sancerre wines come from the Loire Valley region of France and are made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes.  There are two styles of Sancerre wines depending on their terrior.  Some come from marl terroir and the others come from limestone vineyards.  Marl (white soil) terrior Sancerre wines are fruity and well balanced while the Sancerre wines grown in limestone are full flavored but can be unstable.  Both style of wines have nuances of citrus (Grapefruit) and floral aromas.

Today’s Recipes

Chicken Tikka Masala is a favorite Hindi dish; this curry dish features roasted chicken chunks (tikka) served in a rich-tasting red or orange-colored sauce.  The sauce is usually creamy, lightly spiced and contains tomatoes.  Chicken Tikka Masala has been found to be one of the most popular dishes in British restaurants and it has been called a “a true British national dish.”

The origins of Chicken Tikka Masala are disputed.  An expert on street food declared that the dish originated in Punjab during the last 50 years while another view is that it originated in the first Indian restaurants in Soho, London, during the 1970s.

Chicken Tikka Masala is chunks of chicken marinated in spices and yogurt, that is then baked in a tandoor oven, served in a masala (“mixture of spices”) sauce.  There is no standard recipe for however tomato and coriander are common ingredients.  The sauce usually includes tomatoes, frequently as puree; cream and/or coconut cream; and various spices.  The sauce or chicken have a beautiful rich orange color as a result of spices and sauce components such as turmeric powder, paprika powder and tomato puree.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Recipe source; http://www.cooksillustrated.com/recipes/detail.asp?docid=8637

Why this recipe works:Our goal was to develop a simple chicken masala recipe with readily available ingredients. To get there, we rubbed the chicken with a mixture of salt, coriander, cumin, and cayenne, then dipped it in yogurt mixed with oil, garlic, and ginger. For a year-round tikka masala recipe, we chose the broiler rather than the grill and cooked the chicken in large pieces to prevent it from drying out. (less)

Serves 4 to 6

This dish is best when prepared with whole-milk yogurt, but low-fat yogurt can be substituted. For a spicier dish, do not remove the ribs and seeds from the chile. If you prefer, substitute 2 teaspoons ground coriander, 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper for the garam masala(combination of warm spices seasons the masala sauce). The sauce can be made ahead, refrigerated for up to 4 days in an airtight container, and gently reheated before adding the hot chicken. Serve with basmati rice.

Ingredients for Chicken Tikka

1/2teaspoon ground cumin

1/2teaspoon ground coriander

1/4teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon table salt

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts , trimmed of fat

1cup plain whole-milk yogurt (see note above)

2tablespoons vegetable oil

2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)

1 ablespoon grated fresh ginger Masala Sauce

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium onion , diced fine (about 1 1/4 cups)

2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1 fresh serrano chile , ribs and seeds removed, flesh minced (see note above)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon garam masala (see note above)

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

2 teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoon table salt

2/3 cup heavy cream

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves Instructions

1. FOR THE CHICKEN: Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger; set aside.

2. FOR THE SAUCE: Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.

3. While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.

4. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve.

Makhani Murgh

Recipe source; http://www.cooksillustrated.com/recipes/detail.asp?docid=5186

Butter chicken (or murgh makhani) is part of the Indian cuisine, popular in most countries throughout the world.  The origins of butter chicken can be traced back to Kundan Lal Gujral, a Hindu Punjabi, who ran a restaurant called Moti Mahal Delux in Delhi.  Butter chicken is usually served with naan, roti, parathas or steamed rice.  

Dressed chicken (with or without bones) is marinated overnight in a yogurt and spice mixture usually including garam masala, ginger, garlic paste, lemon or lime, pepper, coriander, cumin, turmeric and chili. The chicken is traditionally cooked in a tandoor, but can also be grilled, roasted or pan fried, depending on convenience or the chef’s preference.

Makhani, the sauce, is made by heating and mixing butter, tomato puree, and various spices, often including cumin, cloves, cinnamon, coriander, pepper, fenugreek and fresh cream. Cashew paste can also be added, and will make the gravy thicker. Of all the spices added to the dish it is dried fenugreek leaves (Hindi: kasuri methi) that makes the greatest contribution to the characteristic flavor of the dish.

Once the sauce is prepared, the prepared chicken is chopped and cooked until the gravy and chicken have blended.  The dish may be garnished with white butter, fresh cream, sliced green chillies and kasuri methi.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cubed

8 green cardamom pods

10 cloves, lightly pounded

10 whole black peppercorns

1 (1/2 inch) piece cinnamon stick

3 serrano peppers

2 teaspoons ginger paste

2 teaspoons garlic paste

1 (15 ounce) can crushed tomatoes

1 1/4 cups water

1 1/2 teaspoons paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons dried fenugreek leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon butter, softened

1/2 cup cream

Directions

1.Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat; cook and stir the chicken in the hot oil until completely browned, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

2.Wrap cardamom pods, cloves, peppercorns, and cinnamon stick in cheesecloth and secure with elastic or twist-tie.

3.Blend the serrano peppers, ginger paste, and garlic paste together in a blender until smooth; add the crushed tomatoes and blend again until integrated. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan; add the water, paprika, and the spice bundle to the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the volume of the liquid reduces to about half. Add the browned chicken to the liquid and stir. Cover the saucepan and simmer until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, about 15 minutes. Stir the salt and fenugreek seeds into the mixture and continue simmering another 5 minutes. Remove the bundle of spices and discard. Stir the butter and cream into the mixture; simmer until the butter is melted completely, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve hot.

'from my table to yours"

'from my table to yours"