Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Pairing Problems? Here are two wines to pair with dinner fare

(March 28, 2006) TWAIN HARTE  Tired of choosing wines that just don’t make it with a favorite dish? Has a wine choice overwhelmed your dinner and your guests with a medicinal alcohol odor? Much is said about successful – and unsuccessful – food and wine pairings, so, to promote happier wine and food unions, I browsed through the local grocery stores to find a couple of wines to pair with two wonderful recipes I’ve tried and enjoyed.

From the white wine shelf I chose Edna Valley Vineyard 2004 Paragon Vineyard Chardonnay. I paired it with sautéed lobster in a puff pastry with a whiskey cream; it’s a mouthwatering combination that combines classic French cuisine with a bright, fruity and full-bodied California chardonnay.

For the red wine pairing I selected Estancia 2004 Monterey Pinot Noir and served it with a roasted pork loin filled with sage, provolone and walnuts, and encrusted with black pepper and lavender flowers. The rich pepper, lavender and sage aromas combine nicely with the fruit, spice and acidity of this pinot noir.

Edna Valley Vineyard Chardonnay sells for $12.99. It’s a beautiful green-gold wine with scents of stone fruits, citrus, a touch of spice, and vanilla. The flavors of tropical fruits and nuts are accented with vanilla and smoky notes. It’s a full-bodied wine with a long, lively, crisp mineral-like finish.

Estancia 2004 Monterey Pinot Noir goes for $14.99. It’s a classic style light-bodied Pinot Noir modestly priced and delicious, displaying ruby garnet colors with aromas of roasted herbs, dried flowers and black cherry fruit. A sweet oak spice accompanies the plentiful quantities of cherry and plum flavors. This wine possesses a silky texture and a polished-tannin finish of good length and balance.

Lobster in Puff Pastry with Whiskey Cream

Meat of 2 lobster tails

3 Tbsp butter

2 Medium Shallots

2 Pepperidge Farms puff pastry shells

6oz Half & Half

2oz Bourbon whiskey

Prepare puff pastry shells according to directions on box. Set aside.


In medium sauté pan melt 1tbsp butter.

Add finely chopped shallots and sauté until translucent.

Add coarsely chopped lobster meat and sauté until half-cooked Remove lobster from pan and set aside; return pan to heat and add whiskey.

Using extreme caution ignite whiskey in pan with match or gas burner and burn until it self-extinguishes. Add cream to pan immediately, stirring to prevent sticking.

Bring to slow boil and reduce by half

Add lobster and finish cooking until just done all the way through

Remove from heat; add remainder of butter and stir in well.

Arrange the puff pastry shell, with top sliced off, on plate. Fill the shell with lobster meat, add a little sauce, replace top and drizzle sauce around base of pastry shell.

Roasted Pork Loin Filled with Sage, Provolone and Walnuts

1 pork tenderloin or 1-½ lb pork loin

1 cup Estancia Pinot Noir

¼ cup olive oil

½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts

4 fresh sage leaves

½ cup grated provolone

½ cup dried lavender flowers

Coarse ground pepper

Butterfly the tenderloin or pork loin so it’s thin and flat, then pound tenderloin to tenderize. Layer sage, walnuts and provolone on the tenderloin, then roll it up and tie with string. Roll tenderloin in cracked pepper and lavender flowers until completely encrusted.

Heat olive oil in pan until hot, then sear tenderloin until brown; pour in red wine, cover pan, and bake in pre-heated 350-degree oven for about 1 hour. Remove tenderloin when done, and reduce remaining liquid until it thickens to a sauce consistency. Pour sauce on plate and place sliced pork in layers on the sauce.

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Robert Martin

Independent Wine Reviewer

Food and Wine Coast to Coast


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