When someone asks me for a recommendation for my favorite delicious but inexpensive wine, I always have to preface my answer with “this is My Three Favorite Inexpensive Wines at This Very Moment…
So, as promised to my readers of The Friday Four, here are the wine notes and food pairings from last weeks Du More Improv wine tasting. It’s always hard to pick only 3 wines, but I have been doing a lot of tastings and research around South America lately, and of course I am just wild about Australian Rieslings, cause they are some of the most delicious “food” wines out there!
1. Heath Wines “Southern Sisters” Clare Valley, Reserve Riesling 2004 – Cost Plus about $15
APPEARANCE Light Yellow
AROMA Classic “Petrol” Nose – Mineral, Citrus
TASTE Dry, Crisp with good acidity. Complex for the price. Lemon/Citrus/Minerals.
FINISH Medium to Long
2. Montes Sauvignon Blanc 2008 – About $15 at Costco
APPEARANCE Straw Colored
AROMA Light, with Lemon, grapefruit and tropical flavors
TASTE Zingy Grapefruit, Pineapple. Medium Acidity.
FINISH Medium dry finish
3. Maipe Malbac 2008 – About $8 at Costco
APPEARANCE Dark Purple almost Opaque
AROMA Black berries, black cherries, herbal or floral
TASTE Fruit forward, hints of spice, blackberries, dark plums, medium acidity, smooth tannin
FINISH Dry but Jammy – Medium Finish
Heath Wines “Southern Sisters” Clare Valley, Reserve Riesling 2004
Cumin Crusted Lamb Chops
1 TB Cumin
½ Tsp Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
1 Tsp Kosher or Sea Salt
8 Lamb Chops
1 TB Olive Oil
Mix cumin with salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Baste both sides of each chop with a little oil, then sprinkle on the spice mixture. Set aside for 30 minutes.
Non-stick spray a heavy skillet or grill pan, and place it over medium high heat. Cook chops for three to four minutes on each side for medium rare.
You can also prepare the chops outdoor grill. Ensure your grill grates are clean, and the grill preheated for at least 5 minutes on high. Cook the chops over medium low heat.
Creamy Cheese Polenta
4 Cups Water
Kosher or Sea Salt to taste
1 Cup Medium-grain Polenta (or Cornmeal, or Grits)
2 TB Unsalted Butter
1 Cup Shredded Pecorino Romano
1 8 oz Pkg Low Fat Cream Cheese
Heat water lightly seasoned with salt to a boil over high heat, about 5 minutes. Quickly whisk in the polenta until fully incorporated.
Lower the heat to a low simmer, add the butter and allow the polenta to cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
Finish by stirring in the cream cheese and salt to taste.
You can prepare the polenta in advance: cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat in the microwave, about 3 minutes on high, just before serving. Stir vigorously after reheating.
Montes Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Shrimp in Avocado Vinaigrette
1 LB Large Shrimp. Peeled and Deveined
1 Large Haas Avocado, peeled and pitted
2 ½ TB Fresh Lemon Juice
4 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tsp Grated Onion
¼ Tsp Crushed Red Pepper
Kosher or Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to Taste
Grape Tomatoes, Quartered
Step One Cook the Shrimp in heavily salted boiling water until just pink. Drain and rinse with cold water immediately.
Step Two Prepare the dressing by placing the ingredients in a food processor and blending until smooth. Season to taste with Salt and Pepper
Step Three Serve the Shrimp on a bed of shredded romaine. Scatter the grape tomatoes around and drizzle with the Avocado Vinaigrette.
FAST FOOD FACTS
It’s pretty obvious why the grape tomato earned it’s name. But did you know that you can’t grow more tomatoes from the seeds? (You’d have to order special seeds.) That’s because it is a hybrid – bred specially for it’s thick skin and flavor, which is noticeably sweeter than a Roma or cherry tomato. Some bars in Asia offer customers bowls of grape tomatoes instead of peanuts!
Maipe Malbac 2008
2 1/2 LBs Fingerling Potatoes
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced or Grated
2 TB Chopped Fresh Cilantro
3 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Tsp Kosher or Salt
½ Tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 Tsp Thyme
Preheat the oven to 400F. Scrub potatoes well and cut into halves or quarters. (Your goal is to have 1” pieces). Toss with the garlic, cilantro, olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme. Arrange in one layer on a parchment or aluminum foil lined sheet pan. Cook, turning occasionally, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until browned and tender
2 Lbs Sirloin cut into 2” chunks
1 Recipe Churrasco-style Dry Rub
Grilled Bread to Serve
Place the steak in a zippy bag and add ¼ – ½ cup of the dry rub. Close the bag and massage to coat the meat. Leave in the frig 1 hour up to overnight. Grill or broil until desired doneness. Serve with on Grilled Bread with Chimichurri Sauce.
Churrasco-style Dry Rub
2 Tsp Kosher or Sea Salt
2 Tsp Black Pepper
2 TB Garlic Powder
2 TB Smoked Paprika
2 Tsp Ground Cumin
4 TB Dark Brown Sugar
Mix all spices together in a small bowl. Add brown sugar and mix thoroughly.
1 Cup Parsley, (Packed)
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/3 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
½ Cup Cilantro, (Packed)
2 Cloves Garlic, Peeled
¾ Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
½ Tsp Cumin
½ Tsp Salt
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend well. Let set for at least 2 hours before serving.