Welcome to the first edition of Popping Corks! This will be a monthly section featuring reviews on great affordable wines and dishes that are easy to make and share with your friends.

This is not going to be a stuffy, serious review – this is simply me sharing my thoughts about good wines with you. So stay tuned each month for more reviews, and more recipes. I want your feedback as well! Try the wine, test the recipe, and let me know what you think!

Wines reviewed: 

  • Red: Syrah – Falernia Vineyards, Chile paired with Rabe me Blind
  • White: Sauvignon Blanc – Spy Valley Vineyards, New Zealand paired with 3-Cheese Tri-Color Tortelloni with Basil Pesto

 My Friend of Wine Sarita Thomas and I had a great night of tasting wine and good food. We started with a bottle of J&P Mathew Reisling Kabinett, which kept us company while we created our tasting dishes. A wonderful opener to a great meal! It had a subtle sweetness and was smooth on the tongue.

 First up was the Sauvignon Blanc, paired with 3-Cheese Tri-Color Tortelloni with Basil Pesto.

 Recipe (courtesy http://simplyrecipes.com):

  • 1 package tortelloni (whatever flavor you prefer)
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano Cheese
  • ½ cup extra-virgin Olive oil
  • ⅓ cup chopped walnuts (pine nuts can be used as well)
  • 3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cook the tortelloni according to the package directions. Drain after cooking and set aside.  Combine the basil with the walnuts and pulse a few times in a food processor. Add the garlic, and pulse a few more times.  Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on.  Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.  Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Serve over tortelloni.

 This is the first time I have made pesto or tasted it.  I was pleasantly surprised by the flavors and how easy it was to make.

Sarita: The wine was crisp and bright on the tongue, very fruit forward, with citrus notes and a nice finish.  I thought the wine was a lovely contrast to the paired dish – the wine cut the fat of the cheeses in the tortelloni and in the pesto. The scents of green apple, grapefruit, and lemon are most prominent. This pair will make an excellent summer meal! I would recommend this wine to my friends to purchase.

Qiana: I found the wine fruit forward, great citrus notes in the wine. When paired with the Tortelloni and Pesto, I thought it brought forward the subtle grassy notes in the wine’s finish. The pesto was creamy and the walnut added a great earthy flavor to the pesto. Simply seasoned with salt and pepper, it was a great addition to my culinary library. I would definitely recommend this wine for a nice summer meal.

***

Next was the Syrah, paired with Rabe me Blind

Rabe me Blind is the brainchild of my Friend of Wine, who also loves to cook. It is an amazing appetizer for a party or a game day menu.

 Recipe:

  • 1 bunch Broccoli Rabe, chopped
  • 1 package Spicy Turkey Sausage
  • 1Red Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup asiago cheese, shredded
  • 4 tablespoons Olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 package crescent rolls
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

Cook sausage in large skillet with olive oil. Add red pepper and cilantro when the sausage is almost done and continue sautéing until red pepper is soft, about 3 minutes. Saute broccoli rabe in a separate pan with olive oil and garlic. Once the broccoli rabe is done, it should look like well-cooked collard greens. Add the broccoli rabe and asiago cheese to the skillet with the spicy turkey. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and begin to roll out the crescent rolls. Add a tablespoonful of the ingredients to the crescent roll and roll one end to the other as if you are making croissants. Brush melted butter over the top of crescent rolls. Bake for 10-12 minutes until crescent rolls are golden brown.

 Sarita: This was a big Syrah that balances beautifully with the bitterness of the broccoli rabe, the spice in the sausage and the flavors in the asiago cheese.  Fruity yet rustic, it has a deep, rich ruby color wand strong, bold, wide legs. It was very herbaceous on the nose. The earthy notes with hints of pepper left a long-lasting finish.

Qiana: I am not usually a fan of red wines, but this Syrah really surprised me. I wasn’t overpowered by the fullness of the wine, and the peppery notes on the finish complemented the paired dish well. It played well with the bitterness of the broccoli rabe and the cilantro in the dish brought forward the wine’s peppery notes. It was definitely a spice-forward wine. The Rabe me Blind was just delicious. The broccoli rabe, asiago cheese, and spicy turkey sausage played well together, and the crescent roll added a touch of sweetness. It was a fun dish to eat. I would recommend this wine if you are looking for a full wine to complement a hearty meal.

***

Overall, a great start to this section of Confessions About Food and Wine.  Great wine, great food, and a great friend. I’m already looking forward to next month’s tasting! The best way to sum up the review is a quote from my Friend of Wine, Sarita Thomas:

There are no real rules to wine pairing. It all depends on your palate and the food.

 For more information about the wines we tasted:

 Special thanks to my friends at The Curious Grape (www.curiousgrape.com) for all of their wonderful wine advice!

Happy Eating (and drinking)!

 The Fab Foodie

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