The Winter Olympics are still on and Canada is doing so well. It makes me feel like cooking! And cooking is something I have been doing…. and in my house, when you cook – you pair it with wine.
I have posted a recipe for Caprese Chicken before, but this is my own twist to the recipe. So, I am calling this one my own… and it tastes as good as it looks.
Darlene’s Caprese Chicken:
- Butterfly Chicken Breast (baked)
- Olive Oil (buy a quality one)
- Balsamic Vinegar (you can even use a flavored one)
- Baby plum tomatoes – the small and sweet ones
- Mozzarella Cheese
- Fresh Ground pepper
- Freeze dried onion flakes
- Salt is optional, I don’t tend to cook with it
- Fresh basil and parsley
Cook your chicken breast. In a small frying pan combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, onion flakes, garlic, mozzarella cheese, the baby plum tomatoes and salt and pepper. Sautee for a couple of minutes and pour on top of the chicken and garnish with the basil and parsley.
Guaranteed to wow family and friends. Now for the wine!
Here’s a match made in Valentine’s Day heaven. Kim Crawford Pinot Noir out of New Zealand. From the cooler regions of New Zealand, this Pinot Noir is flavorful and food friendly. Earthy tones with fruity black cherries and raspberries this wine would compliment, and not compete with all the flavors in the Caprese chicken. I decided to have a little fun with my original Caprese chicken recipe, and this is the wine I matched with it.
Drinking white with this dish? You can’t go wrong with most of the Chardonnay’s out of California. This one is from Dreaming Tree, getting a lot of good reviews about its Chardonnay, and the winery as a whole, co-owned by musician Dave Matthews. Beautiful citrus notes, apples and some spice, this is another great wine that won’t compete with the flavors of the dish, but will go hand in hand. I have a friend at work, Cassandra who loves the Dreaming Tree Red Crush. This would go with the Caprese Chicken as well. The Red Crush contains some of my favorite grapes in the whole world, 55% Merlot, which gives it those gorgeous smoky berry plum flavors, and rounded out with Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Syrah. Fruity, smooth but with great structure from the Syrah, this wine can stand up to just about any dish. For those that have never hear of Petite Sirah, it’s a different grape variety from Syrah, which is also known as Shiraz. Petite Sirah orginiated in France, as a clone with Syrah as the Daddy plant and Peloursin as the Momma plant. Petite Sirah is late to ripen, so it didn’t do well in France. It thrives well in California, where you will see many wine makers include it in a blend to add a deeper color, more distinct tannins and a velvety texture.
Well, the 2014 Winter Olympics have just started in Sochi Russia, and it got me to thinking of Gold Medal Winning wines. There are many different wine competitions throughout the world, including the International Wine Challenge based in Britain, the International Wine Competition based in Brussels, and what is believed to be the oldest and longest running wine competition ‘The International Wine and Spirit Competition’. It started in 1969 and is considered to be one of the most prestigious wine competitions in the world.
But in 2013 the Syrah VQA from the Okanogan Valley vineyard won the Gold Medal. The panel of judges had this to say “The nose is like opening a tin of maturing ginger cake. Sploshed with baked plum, blueberry coulis and a grind of pepper. The mouth entry is a confident start, plenty of fruit and firm supportive tannin structure. The acid and the spice notes chase each other through the palate. This is a big mouthful, lots of personality and verve. It balances itself beautifully. Very good cellaring potential.”
Last week I had a family emergency and had to fly home in a hurry. Thankfully everything ended up Ok, but it got me thinking a lot about Family. And as I visited my wine store last night I was looking at the shelves at some of my favorite family vineyards
Here is a favorite of mine, as many of you know. The vineyard owned by Francis Ford Coppola and his family was a winery I visited a few years ago. They put out many great wines, including this Black Diamond Claret, based on a Bordeaux style blend is Cabernet Sauvignon based.
Australia has a group of wine makers called ‘Australia’s 1st Families of Wine”, an initiative created by 12 family owned Australian wineries spanning 16 different regions in Australia. Together they have over 1200 years of winemaking experience, and although I haven’t tried all of them, some of the ones we can get in Canada are delicious.
Yalumba for example, makes a spectacular Viognier. I love Viognier, and has become my favorite wine to accompany turkey. Yalumba was started in 1849 by Samual Britch and the word ‘Yalumba’ is aboriginal for ‘All the Land Around”. Not only do they make a great Viognier, they also grow a Tempranillo in Australia. I love Tempranillo, however, I haven’t tried this one yet.
Another one on the list which is familiar here in Canada is the De Bortoli Family name. Reasonably priced, easy to drink wines from Australia. The Shiraz pictured below is juicy and jammy with gorgeous flavors of raspberry and is under $13. Wow.
New Zealand has a spectacular Family vineyard, called Saint Clair Family Estate. The Wines are available here in Canada and the Pinot Noir is so good it will bring you to your knees. I have tried two of the wines from the Saint Clair Family Estate.
The Sauvignon Blanc was the first Saint Clair wine I tried, and I loved it. Light bodied and crisp with gorgeous flavors and aromas. This is a beautiful expression of a Sauvignon Blanc wine from New Zealand.
The Pinot Noir is so good, you will sit in your home with a glass, and just smell the wine for a while. OK, I did that. First of all, Pinot Noir is probably my favorite wine of all time. Like Paul Giamatti’s character in the movie Sideways, I am captivated by the flavors and aromas of this finicky heart-break grape. (Unlike Paul’s character in the movie, I happen to love Merlot.) I guess Pinot Noir is hard to grow, and that I can really appreciate what the vintner goes through. Hints of cherry and raspberry greet your nose, and you will detect it was aged in French oak. A beautiful mouth-feel with a toasted spicy tobacco note. Serve it with any white meat, your house guests will love you.
I would be remiss without mentioning a family owned Vineyard from Canada. And Peller Estates, which started in 1927 by Andrew Peller, is run today by his grandson John Peller. It’s been over 50 years since Andrew Peller’s first vintage, and I’m proud as hell that this vineyard is located here in Canada.