“Irish” Cuisine Paired with Winning Wines and Festive Films Let’s talk Ireland and wine. Ireland and wine? The phrase does not roll trippingly off the tongue. Yet after years of being a beer nation, Ireland is birthing more and more inhabitants inexplicably enamored with wine. Total wine sales more than quadrupled between 1990 and 2007. What’s going on?
BEST OFF-THE-BEATEN-PATH NAPA TASTING ROOMS After having visited numerous renowned wineries, many of us are looking for the hidden gems within the Napa Valley. Good wines are certainly valued, but the entire experience a winery provides leaves guests wanting to return and telling their friends and family to visit. Each winery listed in this article has some special draw, whether it’s art, architecture, ambiance, gardens or compelling history.
NAPA’S NEW WHOLE FOODS STORE WITH ARTISAN CHEESES AND AMPLE WINE SELECTION – THE TALK OF THE TOWN! I heard it from my hairdresser – everyone’s buzzing about Napa’s new Whole Foods store. I visited just after my appointment, and the place was swarming with people, having just opened on January 16th. I made my way from section to section, mouth wide open, as I marveled over the stunning meat and fish cases, welcoming wine tasting station and astonishing lineup of ready-to-eat deli soups, including Bouillabaisse and Cioppino!
THREE PRICE POINTS SUITED FOR ANY POCKETBOOK
AND THE ACCOUTREMENTS: CAVIAR, CIGARS AND CHOCOLATES You have now entered the holiday zone. My condolences to you bah-humbugs out there, but look on the bright side! You can turn your attention to “hmm, what will I drink?” Maybe think about wines you don’t allow yourself most of the year. Indulge yourself. Now that you’ve gone that far in your thinking, why not taste a little caviar, light up a cigar and pop a truffle? Whether you’re throwing a party, attending a soirée or hosting your family’s get-together on the key days, following are guidelines for making selections of these luxury libations on varying budgets. SPARKLING WINES Within the sparkling group, try to provide different sweetness levels for differing palates: at least one brut or ultra brut, one sec (sweet) or demi sec (very sweet). Consider a bubbly rosé, as well. Suggestions from different price ranges: Schramsberg Sparkling Wine , $30-$100/bottle. Serve in the style to which presidents and royalty have become accustomed when you offer the Schramsberg line to your guests.
USE A PROGRESSIVE WINE LIST TO PLEASE THE PALATES OF PARTY MEMBERS Sommeliers and chefs thrive on matching food and wine at their wineries and restaurants, but individual wine enthusiasts can take the same pleasure when entertaining. Providing pairings at parties can be great fun!
CULINARY PROFESSIONALS OFFER SAVVY SOLUTIONS TO WINE-FOOD PAIRING PUZZLES Ever sit around munching on a snack and think to yourself, “Boy, it would be great to be drinking a nice glass of wine with this,” but you haven’t the darnedest idea what would go with it? Or you’re eating a nice steak , and the wine you’re drinking tastes terrific with it, but when you take a bite of the side dish and another sip of wine, something in you goes BOING because something isn’t quite right?
CHEFS AND OTHER WINE PROFESSIONALS REVEAL THEIR FAVORITE PAIRINGS Locating wineries that offer wine and food pairings, especially in their tasting rooms, is not easy. But when you light on such an establishment, you are in for a treat. My first such discovery was when I was casually wine tasting with a friend a few years ago and stumbled on J Winery.
Use a progressive wine list to please the palates of party members. Each season, I intend to share my favorite party foods and several wine options to serve with a few of the courses, using what is called a progressive wine list.
How many knights do you know who have raced vintage cars and taught at the California Culinary Academy? Or visual display artists equally versed in the secret Malaysian Nonya and French cuisines? These diverse sets of skills and experiences can be found in Roy Salazar and Julie Tan, each of whom has worked professionally with Martin Yan of Yan Can Cook .