Vegetarian and Vegan Food and Wine Pairings!

I have gotten a tremendous amount of great feedback on my Pinot Noir and veggie burger food pairing article.  Because of this, I have decided to add at least one vegetarian or vegan suggestion to pair with each wine I review.  I hope this helps because I know it can sometimes be a challenge.  Have great weekend and I look forward to sharing some new wines with you next week!

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Tropical and Refreshing- Dashwood 2011 Sauvignon Blanc

I love spring evenings.  I get home from work, the sun is still shining, and it is warm outside.  When I got home yesterday all I could think about was cooking something light for dinner and enjoying a refreshing glass of white wine.  I opened a bottle of Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc and was met with a glass full of tropical and refreshing flavors.

About the Wine- From the Winery

Dashwood 2011 Sauvignon Blanc is 100% Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region of New Zealand.  This sustainably made wine has 12.5% alcohol and retails for $14.99 (you can find it for around $10).  For more information visit www.pasternakwine.com.

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc pours a pale greenish-yellow in the glass.  The nose has bright aromas of citrus, honeysuckle, and herbs.  The palate is crisp and refreshing.  Tastes of tropical fruit, grapefruit, and lemon are followed with a lively finish of white pepper and tart citrus.  A really nice Sauvignon Blanc.  Grab a few bottles and enjoy the warm weather!

Food Pairing Suggestions- Pair this wine with Mahi Mahi, tofu teriyaki, or grilled chicken.

My Wine Rating- B+

*Media Sample

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Spicy and Sustainable- Goldwater 2010 Pinot Noir

I just wrapped up reading a book highlighting the Marlborough wine growing region of New Zealand so I was excited to see a bottle of Marlborough Pinot Noir arrive.  The region is relatively young but the wine coming from the region is increasingly noteworthy.  Marlborough is particularly known for their Sauvignon Blanc but Pinot Noir from the region is starting to garner some attention.  I was excited to dive into a bottle to get a glimpse into where New Zealand Pinot Noir is heading.

About the Wine- From the Winery

Goldwater 2010 Pinot Noir is 100% Pinot Noir from the Wairau Valley in Marlborough.  This sustainably produced wine has 14% alcohol and retails for $25.99.  For more information and to find where to purchase this wine, visit www.pasternekwine.com.

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

Goldwater’s sustainably grown Pinot Noir pours a bright ruby in the glass.  The nose has aromas of cherries, raspberries, earthy spices, and dark chocolate.  This wine is full of flavor…there are notes of cherries and anise enveloped in cocoa.  The finish is lengthy with a heavy hit of lingering anise.  Spicy, sustainable, and worth checking out!

My Wine Rating- B+

Food Pairing Suggestions- Pair this Pinot with braised wild boar, grilled duck, or veggie burgers with grilled mushrooms and onions.

*Media Sample

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Abacela and the 2012 California Wine Festival

Last weekend, I had the chance to pour with Abacela at the California Wine Festival at Doheny State Beach.  Abacela is a family run winery in Southern Oregon and they are renowned for their Tempranillo.  They were the first winery to plant Tempranillo in Oregon and their wines have consistently rivaled (and often beat out) Tempranillo from Spain.  Over the course of the weekend, I had a chance to try almost all of Abacela’s current and library releases and can honestly say that I enjoyed each wine.

Mr. Wine and Good Food and I getting ready for the crowds at the California Wine Festival

Here is a round-up of my notes on a few of their wines:

Abacela 2009 Tempranillo

This is Abacela’s entry-level Tempranillo but there is nothing basic about it.  Bright cherries, plum, oak, and mineral notes with lively acidity and a little bit of spice.  A wonderful Tempranillo and it is priced perfectly! ($21, 13.9%)

Abacela 2011 Albariño

A wonderfully refreshing wine with tastes of pears, tart citrus, and green apples.  Mineral notes woven throughout the wine and followed with a citrus packed finish.  Perfect summer wine! ($18, 12.9%)

Abacela 2005 Paramour

Where do I begin with this Tempranillo other than by saying it is outstanding!  Rich, old world style that would contend with some of the best Tempranillo from Spain.  Layers of dark cherries, fig, plum, caramel, and a myriad of other flavors.  It has aged gracefully and still has a few years left in a cellar if you have the self-control not to uncork it now! ($90, 14.2%)

To purchase these wines, visit www.abacela.com

*Media Samples

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Weekend Wine and Food Pairing- Veggie Burgers and Pinot Noir

I am not a vegetarian but I will often go meatless for a few days.  I love a good veggie burger in place of my steak or salmon.  One of my favorite veggie burgers is a hearty mixture of quinoa, mushrooms, onions, spinach, and a myriad of other earthy ingredients.  Even though I often sacrifice meat for dinner, I rarely go a night without wine.  An earthy Pinot Noir is my favorite wine pairing because of how it complements the flavors in the burger.  Pinot is a great combination with a lot of vegetarian dishes because the flavors of the wine generally don’t overpower the delicate vegetables.

Belle Glos Meiomi 2009 Pinot Noir (reviewed here http://wp.me/p1vdhr-io) is a perfect match with earthy veggie burgers.  The savory flavors of this wine really bring out the earthiness of the burgers.  I hope this pairing helps you if you are a vegan, vegetarian, or just looking for a good “Meatless Monday” idea.  With this combination, you will not miss the meat at all!

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A South African Bargain- Excelsior 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon

I love exploring wine from lesser known regions and often find that you can get a lot bang for your buck if you are willing to seek them out.  Last week I had the chance to try a Cabernet from South Africa and was pretty pleased with what I tasted…especially considering the bottle costs less than $10.

About the Wine- From the Winery

Excelsior 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 90% Cabernet, 8% Syrah, and 2 % Petite Verdot.  It has 14.5% alcohol and retails for around $8.

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

Excelsior pours a blackish purple in the glass.  The nose is intensely fragrant with notes of cherries, cedar, and plum.  This wine is packed full of flavor.  Bright tastes of cherries, tart plum, and currants invade your palate.  The finish is spicy with lingering notes of espresso.  This Cabernet will entertain your taste buds while taking it easy on your wallet!

My Wine Rating- B

Food Pairing Suggestions- Pair with stronger meats such as lamb, beef, or venison.

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Mini-Review- 2007 E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône

I love that one of my favorite wine shops has a super helpful employee who just recently moved to the US from France.  I constantly pick his brain regarding what French wines I should cellar and what wines are great bargains ready to drink now.  Recently, he recommended 2007 E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône as being a wine that really offered a lot of quality for the price.  The wine, a blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre, retails for around $12 and drinks like it cost 2 to 3 times as much.

The nose has rich aromas of blackberries and tobacco.  The palate is impressive in its depth and sophistication.  Smooth and silky with notes of dark berries, plum, coccoa, and pepper.  A really nice wine for the price!  Pick up a few bottles and you won’t feel guilty drinking it midweek or serving it to friends on the weekend.  Pair with lamb or beef. (B+)

 

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Rich and Balanced- Ottimino 2008 Rancho Bello Zinfandel

I know I just recently mentioned how much I love Ottimino’s Zinfandel, but if this winery is not on your radar, they really need to be (and you will be hearing about them a little bit more because I have one more incredibly good bottle to talk about!).  Only 280 cases of their 2008 Rancho Bello Zinfandel were produced and I was lucky enough to enjoy a bottle.

About the Wine- From the Winery

Ottimino 2008 Rancho Bello Zinfandel is 100% Zinfandel from the Russian River Valley.  It has 14.5% alcohol and retails for $30.  For more information visit www.ottimino.com

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

Rancho Bello pours a vibrant ruby color in the glass.  The nose has aromas of liquorice, black cherries, and spice.  This wine is smooth, refined, and immediately won over my taste buds with a melody of rich, dark and red fruit, anise, and caramel.  The richness of the wine carries over into the spicy finish.  Another great job by Ottimino…grab a bottle while they last and enjoy!

My Wine Rating- A-

Food Pairing Suggestions- This is a great Zinfandel to bring to a summer barbecue.  Perfect with grilled meats such as burgers, steaks, or lamb.

*Media Sample

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Weekend Wine and Food Pairing- Potato Latkes, Smoked Salmon, and Sparkling Wine

Since we have been in the midst of Passover, I thought I would talk about of my favorite festive pairing.  My Mom’s side of the family is Jewish so we often partake in traditional Jewish fare.  Latkes and smoked salmon are a must at any family gathering.  I love to fry my latkes and serve the smoked salmon with a little bit of dill creme fraiche.  We eat these amazing dishes for breakfast, lunch, or dinner but sparkling wine is the best pairing any time of day.

One sparkler I recommend is 2009 Saint-Hilaire Brut Blanquette De Limoux.  It retails for around $12 and is a steal for that price.  The nose has notes of baked bread and citrus. The palate is a wonderful combination of citrus, apples, and crisp minerality.  A really great pairing with latkes and smoked salmon that you can serve year round.  Mazel Tov!

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Summer in a Glass- 2011 Montes Cherub Rosé

Even though I live in Southern California, I haven’t enjoyed the beach much since last year.  So when I spent my first day glistening in the sun, I came home really wanting to sip a wine that was refreshing and light.  I reached for a bottle of 2011 Montes Cherub Rosé and got a little taste of summer in my glass.

About the Wine- From the Winery

2011 Montes Cherub is a Rosé of Syrah from the Colchagua Valley in Chile.  It has 13.5% alcohol and retails for around $15.  For more information visit www.monteswines.com

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

Montes Cherub pours a bright raspberry color in the glass.  The nose is fruity with aromas of strawberries, raspberries, and herbal undertones.  The palate is rich and lively.  Creamy when entering and then followed by tangy red fruit, floral notes, and vibrant acidity.  The finish is long and lively.  Give this young wine a few to open up and the flavors really develop.  A nice bottle to sip on a warm afternoon!

My Wine Rating- B

Food Pairing Suggestions- Pair this versatile rose with prosciutto and melon, grilled chicken, or sip as an aperitif.

*Media Sample

 

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