Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wine-Down Wednesday- The Spirit Of Things!

This week on Wine-Down Wednesday I would like to introduce ‘Corky’, Wine Sleuth and resident PI for a new venture, Partners In Wine Club, New Jersey, and online of course! To get in the ‘Spirit’ of things I will talk about several things pertaining food and wine education; spirits; other libations that will be available on our new site, as well what went array in my kitchen just this very weekend!

Over the years running my catering company in Dallas, and then in the north east one of the many questions I get is “Do you have an ideas for cooking with wine”. Sometimes they ask what dish would go best with a wine they have, or vice versa. There are many wine blogs, and plenty of food blogs, but not many combine the two, and add in a spirit or beer into the mix. Partners In Wine Club felt this is a venture well worth the time.

Corky will be looking into a few things for you, and one of them is how he cannot stand going into a restaurant bar area and sitting on very uncomfortable chairs, and would rather them go check out Bar Stools before they just throw a small wooden stool up there. He wants to be comfortable while he is sipping and swirling away!

Now let’s talk about this dessert I made, ummm, well Corky helped too, he wants me to tell you! On a trip to the market for my Valentine meal supplies, I was thinking about making a goat cheese cake. While looking at different ingredients and wandering down the sugar isle a woman was asking the store clerk for Karo Syrup. I had just seen it and told her it was down my way and she thanked me. I had pecans in my hand and she asked if I was making a pecan pie. I said no, but I was thinking of making another type of pie. We began to chat and it turns out she got me all in the mood for a pecan pie, so my original pie idea went hay wire.

I wish I could say I had been kidnapped by a ship full of pirates, because it has rum raisins in it too. Goat Cheese Rum Raisin Pecan Pie, yes, I have gone and lost my every lovin’ cheffy mind haven’t I? No, it was one of the tastiest inventions yet. Hubby said it needed more goo (okay filling), but I thought it was caramelized nutty and savory goodness. Maybe it did need a little more cheese, but the torte pan already over flowed onto my sheet pan, and the remnants of overflowing goo turned into candy. Hard to clean, yes it was; it also fell when I took it out of the oven. Next time- deeper pie pan, and more filling.

Hubby and I sat down with a slice and had a glass of port. Rum and Port? Well the port balanced out the tangy'ness of the goat cheese and rum raisins. Port goes very well with blue cheese, and goat cheese; it also is a nice compliment to most nuts. The port I use for cooking savory dishes is an inexpensive bottle of Six Grapes Port, one of mine and Corky's favorite cooking buddies!

Six Grapes is one of Graham’s original Port marques. It is a big-hearted wine, sourced from the same vineyards (essentially Quinta dos Malvedos and Quinta das Lages) that contribute to Graham’s famed Vintage Ports in ‘declared’ years. As such, it closely resembles Graham’s Vintage Port style: full-bodied, with rich opulent black fruit on the palate and fragrant brambly aromas. We think of it as the ‘everyday Port for the Vintage Port drinker.’ Six Grapes is bottled relatively young (between 3 and 4 years) in order to retain the freshness and vigour comparable to a young Vintage Port.

The distinctive depiction of grape bunches on the bottle is taken from the identification symbols long used in the Graham’s lodge to identify the wines destined to make up the Six Grapes blend.

Dark red color, with a seductive rich perfume of ripe plums and cherries, and on the palate the flavors are complex, with a good structure and a long lingering finish. Earth and plum flavors give way to ripe fruity flavors. Rated- Sweet & has won many medals (Information- Graham's)

I always notice when it is served at wine tastings; it is one of the first dessert wines to go, and I am the first in line! This is one of my favorite fortified wines*.

PS I forgot to mention in Monday's piece about how the economy has affected Lobster fishing prices, and this ingredients is at its all time low in the market, so you do not need to wait until a special occasion to eat lobster, as I did in my ‘I’m In Love Again’ post on Monday! Help sustain their major source of income...

Fortified wine is wine to which a distilled beverage (usually brandy) has been added. When added to wine before the fermentation process is complete, the alcohol in the distilled beverage kills the yeast and leaves residual sugar behind. The end result is a wine that is both sweeter and stronger, normally containing about 20% alcohol by volume (ABV). The original reason for fortifying wine was to preserve it, since ethanol is a natural antiseptic. Even though other preservation methods exist, fortification continues to be used because the fortification process can add distinct flavors to the finished project.[citation needed]

*Fortified wine is distinguished from spirits made from wine in that spirits are produced by means of distillation, while fortified wine is simply wine that has had a spirit added to it. Many different styles of fortified wine have been developed, including port, sherry, madeira, marsala, and vermouth.