Although winery tasting rooms have started to open again, the coronavirus has not backed down. As a result, closures are imminent at the end of July for those that do not have outdoor seating. So, for us, that means replenishing our wine supplies to enjoy with a pantry dinner on the patio. Our latest guilty pleasure is pairing nachos with sparkling wine for dinner.
How do you feel about nachos for dinner? I say nachos are the new pasta – the covid comfort food of the season if you will. Although to make myself feel less guilty about serving them I said, “Honey, I made sheet pan tacos for dinner!” Then I opened some bubbles. Because it was Monday.
Sure, beer aka cerveza is a classic pairing with Mexican inspired food. Why? It has bubbles. In other words, it’s a refreshing counterpoint to the spice in the food. Just like sparkling wine!
It wouldn’t be summer without a dinner featuring heirloom tomato salad on a bed of creamy yogurt. Of course, it is best served while dining outside along with a bottle of wine! Read more for this quick and easy recipe and wine pairing.
The cookbook, Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi as well as his many books that followed have provided much inspiration in my kitchen. Often, yogurt plays a role in the recipes. Here that ingredient shows up as a creamy, flavorful bed upon which the season’s tomatoes rest.
Tomato Salad on a Bed of Creamy Yogurt
Start with the yogurt mixture and combine:
1 cup plain yogurt – I favor whole milk cream top style
1 tablespoon mint, chopped
1 tablespoon dill, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1-2 tomatoes, sliced or quartered
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
A pinch of salt
Spread the yogurt mixture on a plate or shallow bowl. Top with the tomatoes and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Served with bread alongside, it feeds two of us as a light meal. Or, it can make a satisfying lunch for one.
If, like me, you’re still trying to minimize trips to the grocery store and rely on what’s in the pantry, feel free to make substitutions. Use whatever yogurt you stock in the fridge. No mint or dill? That’s okay, parsley works fine, too. Or add some ground cumin. If you don’t have sherry vinegar, use lemon juice. Want a more substantial salad? Add chickpeas and diced cucumber. You get the idea!
There are a number of wine options that pair well with such patio fare. Generally, I turn to juicy white wines that have a savory characteristic to complement this dish. For that reason, Grenache Blanc and Grüner Veltliner are at the top of my list. Additionally, Picpoul is a lip smacking favorite. Or, if you want to stick with something a little more classic, seek out Sauvignon Blanc.
Below are some of my favorite Washington State producers of these exciting varieties. All of them are small, boutique operations where family plays a role. Plus, they’re making fantastic, lively, food friendly wines. Shipping specials are also regularly offered these days (ground shipping was included with my recent order from Cairdeas AND the wine arrived the next day), so check out what’s available!
Although it is my regular practice to spread the word about notable wines and wineries, I don’t normally write about clients. However, these are far from normal times. Not to mention, I have been a fan of Avennia since the release of their inaugural vintage in 2012. Working with them for nearly two years in order to help wine lovers connect with the brand has just been icing on the cake. I consider myself extremely fortunate to assist such a celebrated winery and a team of generous and talented people. Through our partnership it’s become clear that there’s a lot to admire about the winery in addition to first-rate winemaking. Here’s an insider’s update on what’s happening at leading Washington winery Avennia lately, along with an exploration of some of their wines I’ve recently opened and the foods paired with them.
Founded by Marty Taucher and Chris Peterson, Avennia is based in Woodinville, Washington about 20 miles outside of Seattle. The two met while working harvest at DeLille Cellars in 2009. When Chris reviewed Marty’s business plan for a winery, an innocent inquiry as to who was going to make the wine led to a partnership. By the 2010 harvest, the two were working Avennia’s first crush. Since then, Avennia has amassed top accolades and earned some of the highest scores in Washington State for their world class wines. Marty manages the business side of the winery while Chris oversees the cellar.
At the first signs of the pandemic, my company was impacted significantly. As business plummeted, so did my spirit. I remember speaking with Marty on the phone right when everything started going in a tailspin. Thankfully, the first thing he did was offer reassurance, “Don’t worry, Nancy, we’ll get through this.”
Some things never change. Spring eventually comes, a rebirth takes place in gardens and vineyards, and the latest rosés are released for consumption. Last year my beverage of choice for sipping on the deck in the days of sunshine and warmth was the beautiful Devison Vintners Rosé. My latest order of the wine from Walla Walla winery Devison Vintners recently arrived on our Seattle doorstep. Clearly, spring is here!
A new vintage of blushing wine is a reminder that there are still exciting things happening. For Peter and Kelsey Devison, it means the launch of their brand, Devison Vintners, along with highly anticipated newly released wines. Coincidentally, the couple also have a baby on the way! So, let’s hold onto a sense of optimism, talk about the winemaking, and dive into a couple of their fantastic new bottles with eager anticipation.
From atop an Italian hillside down to the Adriatic Sea grows a grape called Pecorino. Can you visualize rows of vineyards dancing in the sun among a backdrop of craggy mountains? A little daydreaming is sure to do us good right now. So, let’s talk about Pecorino wine.
First, let’s be clear. Yes, I’m talking about Pecorino wine, not Pecorino cheese. Not that there’s anything wrong with the robust Italian cheese! It’s flavorful, salty, and part of my adulthood rather than childhood. Thus, Pecorino cheese does share some similarities to the Pecorino grape variety. The wine, however, is a little less prevalent here in the United States. Continue reading “Let’s Talk About Pecorino Wine”