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As we close out 2010 we would like to wish you and your families a wonderful holiday season. We have included some wine tips and favorite recipes with this newsletter as well as a look forward into 2011. We look forward to seeing you at one of our events soon!
Seattle Chapter of Women for Winesense
As we find ourselves in the midst of the holidays, which once again seem to be at least two weeks sooner than we were really ready, our minds turn to fond memories of childhood. Whether it was decorating sugar cookies or eating way too much of grandma's fudge, sweets have always held a special place in holiday traditions.
Sweet wines, like grandma's fudge, also have a special place in holiday celebrations....or at least they should. Coming from a Midwestern family where beer is often the beverage of choice, my husband was pleasantly amused when his mother-in-law served a Muscat Canelli with breakfast during one of his first visits to our California vineyards for the holidays. He knew at that point he had married into the right family!
If you're one of those people that consider sweet wines to be a drink for newbies that are just starting to hone their palate, you may actually be missing out on some delightful pairing opportunities this holiday season. From the slightly sweet to medium sweet Rieslings, to the Eisweins made from frozen grapes in Canada and Austria, sweet wines have much more to offer your culinary theater than just the last act. And because there are a variety of options on the sweet wine continuum, play with a few of them and have some fun. You'll find that the acidity in many of these wines will balance out the sweetness, thereby allowing you to pair them with foods that are salty, creamy in nature or even spicy. Try a Gewurztraminerwith a spicy pumpkin soup. Or a Sauternes with foie gras. Maybe even consider raising some eyebrows by serving a chilled Muscat Canelli for Sunday morning brunch!
And while the white wines dominate the sweet offerings, don't forget about the luscious sweet red wine best known as Port. One of my favorite after dinner winter rituals is to flip on the gas fireplace and pour myself a little "sipper" glass of Petite Sirah Port. Not only does it feel like a decadent treat, but I'm quite sure that it is lower in calories than a bowl of Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream.
So this winter, while the sugar plum fairies are dancing and the partridge is nesting in the pear tree, pour yourself a glass and take a moment to enjoy the sweet things in life.
|Hand pressing of Petite Sirah Port at BARRA of Mendocino|
A Seattle resident and WWS Seattle Chapter member, Shelley works for her family's California-based vineyard and winery, BARRA of Mendocino. BARRA of Mendocino grows over 200 acres of organic grapes and produces 5 different wine brands including BARRA of Mendocino, Girasole Vineyards, 59th Harvest, Sweet Thang & Bella Dolce Port. www.barraofmendocino.com.
|Annual Tasting Event - Cabernet Sauvignon |
Our annual tasting event is all about discovery. For this year's Varietal Tasting, on October 13th, we explored Cabernet Sauvignon, the grape many feel makes the world's best wines.
David LeClaire, of Wine Events & Promotions, has been our guide for this event since we began our Varietal Tasting in 2005. A certified sommelier, David holds corporate and private customized tastings, charity events, seminars and trade programs. He did a wonderful job telling us about the king of grapes and what it takes to make a good Cabernet Sauvignon wine. The focus for this year's event was on
Washington and California, where the best of the New World Cabernet Sauvignons are found.
|David LeClaire at one of the wine tables|
From a collection of 63 different Cabs a few favorites emerged.Washington top picks included Dunham Cellars 2006 XII, Three Rivers Winery 2006 Champoux Vineyard, and Fall Line Winery 2006. Standouts from California were J. Davies 2007 Diamond Mountain, Grey Wolf Cellars 2007 "Alpha", Salvestrin 2006 Estate, Pride Wines 2007, Elizabeth Spencer 2006 Crossroads Cuvee, Rodney Strong Vineyards 2006 Rockaway,and Hartwell Estate 2007 Miste Hill.
Salty's On Alki provided us with a wonderful view of downtown Seattle and a dinner perfectly matched to Cabernet Sauvignon. They have hosted this program for us from the beginning, and we thank them for always welcoming us and going the extra mile!
|Celebrate The Season!|
I love to entertain with food and wine during the Christmas season. This celebration continues through New Year's and Valentine's day bringing laughter and gaiety to the cold winter months. During this time my dinner parties will be served with an array of bubblies-- Champagne or sparkling wine.
Champagne is typically paired with appetizers before the meal, but I love to serve a sparkling wine throughout the evening. The different styles from bone dry to sweet and the vibrant acidity make it a perfect dinner partner. My choice this year is Lamarca Prosecco from Italy, Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose from France, and Dolcevita Moscato D' Asti from Italy.
The menu consisting of small plates will include items from the deli as well as appetizers from my kitchen. The deli items were Champagne pate, Genoa Salami and Barber's English Farm-house Cheddar, and for dessert a fruit and nut crostini with St Andre Triple-Creme and fresh strawberries.
Here are a few favorite recipes from my kitchen:
Cucumber Rounds Topped with Wasabi Cream Sauce and Shrimp
Slice the cucumbers 1/4" thick. Combine wasabi paste and sour cream to taste. Put a dollop of the cream sauce on top of the cucumber and top with salad shrimp and serve.
Savory Mushroom Tarts
4 ounces shiitake mushrooms
8 ounces crimini mushrooms
3 tablespoons butter, plus 6 tablespoons chilled butter cut into chunks
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg, beaten to blend
Clean mushrooms, trim and discard shiitake stems, and coarsely chop both kinds of mushrooms. In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons olive oil and add mushrooms, stirring over medium-high heat until liquid evaporates and mushrooms are browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Add to bowl. Cool slightly, then finely chop mushrooms.
In the same pan, over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add onion and stir often until beginning to brown, add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in vinegar and stir until liquid evaporates, 1 to 2 minutes. Add to mushrooms and stir in parsley and; season to taste with salt and pepper.
Combine flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process to mix and add 6 tablespoons chilled butter and process until coarse crumbs form. Pour in 1/4 cup cold water and process just until dough comes together. Squeeze a little in your hand; if it doesn't hold together, adjust dough with flour or water and pulse to mix. Pat dough into a ball, then flatten slightly into a disk, wrap in plastic, and chill until cold, 15 to 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a well-floured surface, with a floured rolling pin, roll dough into an oval 1/4 inch thick. With a 2-inch cookie cutter, cut out tarts and brush bottom half with beaten egg. Spoon tablespoons of the mushroom
mixture into one hand, squeeze tightly and mound on washed side of dough. Add top of pastry and crimp to seal. Brush with more egg wash and transfer to parchment lined baking sheet. Gather remaining dough, roll again, fill and cut out more tarts.
Bake until beginning to brown, about 20 minutes. Serve warm. Makes 16 tartlets.
Oven-Roasted Potato Galette with Lox and Chives
4 russet potatoes, peeled and sliced paper thin with a mandoline
2 -3 tablespoons butter, melted
citrus or sea salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup sour cream
8 slices lox
snipped fresh chives for garnish
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Butter a 10-inch pie plate
Distribute the potatoes in the bottom of your pie plate in a spiral fashion, 2 layers deep. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, brush with melted butter, and repeat process until you have used all of your potatoes. Cover the top layer with melted butter so it browns.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes. When done, the potatoes will shrink away from the sides and be fork tender.
Cool and cut into 8 wedges. Top each wedge with sour cream, and a slice of lox and sprinkle generously with chives. Serves 8.
Celebrate the Season!
Sweet Basil's School of Cooking
|Seattle Chapter Holiday Event|
Our 2010 Holiday Event was held on November 17th with Winemaker Shannon Jones of Hestia Cellars at Kaspars Special Events & Catering. We celebrated the season in grand fashion in Kaspars Fireside Room, with a cozy fire as the backdrop to the artfully prepared hors d'oeuvers and dinner, perfectly paired to Hestia Cellars' wonderful wines. Since opening in 2008, Hestia Cellars has received accolades from local and national wine publications, and in tasting their wines it was clear why! Seattle Met Magazine named the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley one of the 100 best Washington wines, and Wine Enthusiast gave that same wine 92 points. The 2006 Syrah earned 90 points from Robert Parker, and 92 points from Wine Enthusiast. Paul Gregutt, Seattle Times wine writer, named Shannon Jones and Hestia Cellars a rising star in the new addition of his book Washington Wines & Wineries: The Essential Guide. Shannon and his wife, Angie, charmed us all with their down-to-earth enthusiasm for making wines to share with family and friends at the table. The winery is named after Hestia, the Greek virgin goddess of the hearth and home, and most honored of all goddesses. She presided over the cooking of bread and the preparation of the family meal. The couple built their winery next door to their home near Carnation, Washington, adding a tasting room in Woodinville's Warehouse Winery area all of us lucky locals can visit on Saturdays! It was fantastic evening, and a perfect end to 2010!
Hestia 2009 Dry Chenin Blanc
Caramelized Onion and Three Cheese Tart
Ahi Tuna Sashimi on Crispy Wonton with Seaweed Salad
Chicken, Corn and Cannellini Bean Empanada
Bosque Pear and Barvarian Smoked Ham
Beet, Bibb, Oregon Blue Cheese Salad with Fuji Apples and Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Wild Boar Goulash with Whole Wheat, Sunflower Seed Spaetzle and Roasted Winter Vegetables
Mediterranean Trio - Eggplant Parmesan, Brown Rice and Feta Cheese Dolmas, Couscous with Dried Fruits and Spicy Tomato Sauce
House Made Breads and Spreads
Hesita 2007 Meritage
Hestia 2008 Merlot
Hestia 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon
Hestia 2008 Malbec
Molten Chocolate Cake with Almond Brittle Chantilly
with Hestia 2007 Reserve (Cabernet-Syrah Blend)
Kaspars Special Events Catering
Meet Carol Frieberg, cookbook author and food & nutrition coach.
What influences brought you to a career in food and health?
I have always been interested in food-planning it, preparing it, sharing it, enjoying it. I have a degree in Home Economics which led to a food editor position with Betty Crocker. I also have a background in Corporate Fitness. Currently as a coach I teach others how to incorporate healthy eating and daily exercise to achieve balance and vitality in their lives.
Is there a person who inspired you in the beginning, or along the way?
While in college, I spent my summers working at a bed & breakfast in Door County, Wisconsin. The owner became a mentor of mine. She was an avid exerciser, ate a healthy diet and was an awesome cook. She had a knack for turning kitchen staples (and kitchen disasters) into gourmet meals. Cooking beside her, taught me fearlessness in the kitchen.
What sparked your interest in wine?
To me, wine is a natural extension of cooking. Similar to the way I'm always looking for new recipes to try, I'm on a quest for great new wines to try. It's also fun to share this with others.
What is it about wine that you really love?
I think it's the sensual pleasure. I love the first sip of wine--out of a beautiful thin-rimmed glass. I also enjoy reading the tasting notes of wines to help educate my palate.
When is your favorite time or place to enjoy wine?
I must admit I love to cook with glass of wine. It's like having a friend in the kitchen!
Have you had a "wow" moment with a particular wine or with a food and wine pairing?
I'm a Wisconsin gal, so I love my cheese. My favorite pairing is Cambozola cheese, French bread, some dried apricots, and a chilled grapefruity Sauvignon Blanc. Just thinking about that makes me happy!
Do you have any holiday traditions involving wine and food?
I like to make Champagne Risotto on Christmas Eve.
How did the idea for Swirl, Sip & Savor (Carol's new book) come about?
I came up with the concept while touring wineries in Napa several years ago. There seemed to be an emphasis on wine and food pairing at many of the restaurants. I love the idea of small plates because I like to sample lots of little things.
Do you have any book projects you are currently working on?
I am a weight loss coach and I enjoy helping my clients discover the abundant world of vegetables. The book I am working on right now right now will promote local farms and inspire people to cook veggies in simple healthful ways.
What do you enjoy most about being a member of WWS?
Meeting so many creative and interesting women (who have enthusiastic appetites for food and wine!).
|Holiday Wine Traditions |
We asked national board and chapter board members how they make wine a part of their holiday celebrations.
From Karen Jess-Lindsely, WWS National President:
I like to support people I know in the wine industry and share their wines with others. So, right now I am sharing the Pinot Noirs from Vivier Wines. www.vivierwines.com This is their first release and the wines are elegant, and beautifully constructed. Best of all Dana Sexton Vivier is the Treasurer of the Napa Sonoma chapter! So, I get to share a fabulous wine and support a fellow WWS member.
From Jonna Ramey, WWS National Administrative Assistant:
After spending a wonderful weekend in the Finger Lake region of upstate New York with the WWS National Board retreat, I have become a convert to New York Rieslings. They cut through the richness of holiday meals and really complement food. And their lighter alcohol content makes them a great choice for holiday sipping while nibbling cheeses.
From Liz Mercer, WWS National Membership Development Director and Consumer Direct Sales Manager for E&J Gallo Winery:
I always have at least two bottles of a nice Prosecco (I LOVE La Marca for the price!) or domestic bubbly chilled and a package of prosciutto in the fridge. I wrap the prosciutto around one end of a long breadstick (think of a lollipop) and serve several in a flute. The other flutes get filled with bubbly. Trader Joe's carries a Stilton with cranberries during the holidays - perfect with a fruit forward Cab or red blend. I never show up empty handed during the holidays, so I stock up on several types of fancy crackers and keep a few wine friendly cheeses around for last minute hostess gifts with a bottle of wine. I usually buy a case from work - this year it is the 2008 Sonoma County Cab from Louis Martini, usually under $15 a bottle.
From Ginger Carney, Bend, OR Chapter, Natl. Group Liason:
Pinot Noir is my favorite varietal, since it is such a food-friendly wine. I have a few favorites for during the week (Byron from Santa Maria Valley/Santa Barbara, you can find it at Trader Joe's and supermarkets) and Anam Cara's Vineyard Selection Pinot (their entry level; you have to get it from the winery). Their other Pinots are wonderful special occasion wines - we had an Anam Cara Mark II Estate Pinot with Thanksgiving dinner. Anam Cara is in the Willamette Valley/Oregon.
For whites, I enjoy un-oaked Chardonnay, such as INOX from
Chehalem (Oregon). That's a wonderful sipper with appetizers before dinner--or while wrapping presents! I learned over the summer that I enjoy rosť made from stronger grapes: a rosť of Cab Franc is stellar!! (Ancient Cellars in the Rogue Valley of Oregon makes one).
|Upcoming 2011 Events |
What is in store for the
We are still getting the calendar set for 2011, and we will keep you updated with Save-The-Dates and our newsletter. The year will
include our annual traditions, such as the Varietal Tasting and A Summer Evening at Sweet Basil's School of Cooking. We are bringing back our wine country visits with a trip to Walla Walla April 15-17, 2011 (more info on that soon). Winemaker Hillary Sjolund will lead us on a Sensory Evaluation, and Kevin Cedergreen of Cedargreen Cellars will be pouring his wine for us. Also, we will be exploring a new way of gathering and sharing wine with a series of Meet-Ups on both sides of the Lake. A great year is being planned - please join us in learning more about wine in 2011!
As 2010 comes to a close, we want to say Thank You for coming to our events. Challenges like the economy, busy lives, and traffic woes make us appreciate it all the more when you join us to share an evening of wine with this group of great people!
Don't forget - if you are traveling to a location with a WWS chapter, you can attend any chapter's events at the member price. Women For WineSense AND the Seattle Chapter are on Facebook! Connect with wine lovers, both in our area and across the US. Not a member of WWS? Go to Reasons to join Women For WineSense or, to become a member, just click now and Join Us!
Happy Holidays! We look forward to seeing you in 2011!
Women for WineSense - Seattle Chapter
Women For WineSense