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Warm Steak and Mushroom Salad

Warm Steak and Mushroom Salad

The weather has been hot. When the temperature rises, I like to make salads without compromising the heartiness of a regular meal. This week’s pairing I have to admit was a bit of an experiment,

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Fig Stuffed Pork Tenderloin Paired with Zinfandel

Fig Stuffed Pork Tenderloin Paired with Zinfandel

I admit it, I like Zin. Especially Zin’fandel’s with rich fruit flavor with lots of spice finish. Im sorry, but you can’t claim to be a Californian, love wine and not like Zinfandel. It’ s just not possible. Do you realize we put Zinfandel on the international wine map? Although the origin of Zinfandel grapes is debatable, we have truly been gifted with wineries across California serving the most lush and complex Zinfandels. Two of my favorite regions for Zinfandel are

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Chicken Piccata Wine Pairing

Chicken Piccata paired with Tablas Creek Wine

Does a dish inspire a wine selection or does the wine inspire the dish? In this case, on my visit to Tablas Creek Vineyard in Paso Robles, the wine definitely inspired the dish and the chef. Grown and bottled on the estate, the 2009 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel blanc inspired my chicken piccata cooking frenzy this evening. With notes of lemon, honey, spice, and a slight mineral finish, it was the perfect compliment to this traditonal italian dish.

Tablas Creek Winery specializes in Rhone Varietals. The Espirit is a white blend consisting of Roussane, Grenache Blanc, and Picpoul blanc grapes grown in the Rhone Valley of France.  Don’t panic if you have never heard of any of these varietals. This dish could easily pair with any white wine, especially Chardonnay which flavors usually compliment, creamy buttery flavored dishes.

Here are two easy rules to follow when pairing wine and food, which I always use:

1. Compliment the dish with similar flavors in the wine. In this case, the key ingredients in the chicken piccata were lemon, capers, and butter.

2. Go opposite. For example, pairing a rich spicy pork dish with a softer, smoky red wine like Pinot Noir. Or a spicy dish with a slightly sweet wine.

3. There are no set rules to pairings. Try what works for your tastes, but  I suggest trying a few traditonal pairings before you get too adventurous, especially when having dinner guests over.

What’s cooking

Chicken Piccata

4 chicken breasts rinsed and patted dry. Cut crosswise. Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper. Dredge lightly through flour. In a frying pan, add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter and 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Cook chicken 3 minutes on each side and remove to plate.  Add 1/3 cuplemon juice, 1/4  cup capers (rinsed and drained) and 1/2 cup chicken broth. Bring to boil.  Return chicken to pan. Cook 5 minutes or until fully cooked. Remove to plate and pour remaining sauce over chicken. Garnish with parsley.

Wine Suggestions

Tablas Creek Vineyard 2009 Espirit De Beaucastel Blanc. $40. Divine.

Budget Version

2009 La Crema Chardonnay $14.99.  Bevmo and most grocery stores.


Copyright 2014 Laura Ercoli - Wild Wine Woman. Design by Anvil Image Photography

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