Savour Wine and Cheese “Become a Wine Expert” ~ Week 5

Thank you Kathleen, Joey, and Toby for providing me the opportunity to take “Become a Wine Expert” series of classes to bring Kathleen’s wonderful expertise to our GMG readers. I loved every minute of the class and especially enjoyed meeting Kathleen and my fellow classmates!

Savour Wine and Cheese Class ©Kim Smith 2013

Our last class was wonderful fun, with a lovely dinner of sweetly crisp and delicious Pear and Arugula Salad along with a hearty and tasty Brunswick Stew, paired with an array of red and white wines. See recipes below, which Kathleen has so graciously provided for our GMG readers. 

Savour Wine and Cheese John Lamirande ©Kim Smith 2013For starters, John Lamarinde made popcorn, infused with a touch of truffle oil!

Pear Arugala Sald ©Kim Smith 2013Pear Arugula Salad

The theme of class five is food and wine pairings and preferences. Kathleen served a fabulous selection of reds and whites to pair with our meal. For thousand of years food and wine have gone hand in hand although the strict rules of yesteryear, in that white wine is the only acceptable choice for fish and red wine for red meats, are adhered to no longer.

Kathleen encourages experimenting and stresses that wine and food pairings are a matter of personal preference. There are however several concepts worth noting that will make choosing a wine to accompany your meal simpler. The basic idea is to pair wines with foods that are either alike, in other words mirror the other’s flavors; the opposite is also a helpful guideline, which is to contrast the flavors.

Brunswick Stew ©Kim Smith 20132Brunswick Stew

Michelle Ukraine ©Kim Smith 2013Michelle Ukraine

For our food pairing class, Kathleen presented a selection of wines, both red and white, and sparkling, for us to experiment to discover our individual preference for each course. The following is the list of wines served for our class–all grand and delicious and much enjoyed by everyone!

Ferrari Brut (100% Chardonnay), Trento, Italy – $24.99

Hirsch Heiligenstein Vineyard, Kammern, Kamptal Gruner Veltliner, Austria, $29.99

Le Grand Bouqueteau Chinon (Cabernet Franc), Loire Valley, France – $14.99

Panizzi Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Italy – $15.99

Arnad Montjovet La Kiuva (Nebbiolo, Pinot Noir) – $18.99

Mas de Libian Côtes-du-Rhône, France – $19.99

L’Ecuyer de Couronneau Bordeaux (Merlot), France – $13.99

Cossart-Gordon 15-year-aged Bual Madeira, Portugal – $43.99

Cossart-Gordon Madeira ©Kim Smith 2013 copy

I know where I’ll be shopping for Christmas gifts this season, for both cheese and wine, as well as that special hostess gift.

Kathleen typically teaches “Become a Wine Expert” series of classes annually in October, but there has been a great deal of interest expressed in taking the class sooner. If enough people are interested, she will teach the class again as early as this coming winter or spring.  Go to Savour’s website for details about the “Become a Wine Expert” series of classes.

Kathleen Erickson ©Kim Smith 2013

“Become a Wine Expert” Series Taught by Kathleen Morgan

Become a Wine Expert: White Wine

Savour Wine and Cheese “Become a Wine Expert” ~ Class 4

Brunswick Stew

1 3 – 4 lb. fryer chicken, cut up

1/3 c. flour

1 T. olive oil

2 or 3 medium onions, chopped

2 bell peppers (red, yellow, or orange), chopped (or Pablano Peppers)

5 c. water or chicken stock (you may need more)

2 28 oz. cans of chopped tomato (or Muir organic fire-roasted diced tomatoes)

1 6 oz. can tomato paste

2 c. edamame soy beans (already shelled) (or you can use lima beans, but they are starchier)

2 c. whole kernel corn (a 10 oz. bag or corn cut from 4 ears)

1 t. salt (to taste – usually needs more)

1/2 t. black pepper

½ t. white pepper

1/2 t. cayenne pepper (Typically, Brunswick Stew has as much a 1 T., but I use 1/2 teaspoon)

1/2 t. hot sauce (You can pass this with the stew for those who like it hotter)

2 t. Worcestershire sauce

1 c. red wine

Continue Reading Recipe Here

Continue reading “Savour Wine and Cheese “Become a Wine Expert” ~ Week 5″

Become a Wine Expert: White Wine

Savour Wine & Cheese ©Kim Smith 2013See last week’s GMG post for the first installment ofBecome a Wine Expert.”

In this week’s “Become a Wine Expert,” Kathleen introduced us to the world of fine white wines. They are her favorites and she believes strongly that white wines will only gain in popularity, for both women and men, as people become increasingly more interested in fresh fish, vegetables, poultry, and pork. She showed us how to taste using the front, mid, and back of the palette, and by trying this technique you really do discover more about the complexities of the wine. It is also fun to do!

Savour Wine and Cheese -2©Kim Smith 2013.

Our first sample of the evening was Rainer Wess Wachauer Grüner Veltliner from Wachau, Austria ($18.99). We looked at the color of the wine by tilting the glass over a piece of white paper. A wine can show a range of hues from clear, sparkling bright white to golden yellow, and also cloudiness if the wine is unfiltered. It is logical that grapes grown in cooler climates are lower in sugar and higher in acidity because the growing season is shorter; the Grüner Veltliner from Wachau is no exception. Its color is clear and bright and Kathleen recommends pairing it with all kinds of veggies, including asparagus, which is not that easy to pair. With its name derived from Veltlin (Valtellina) in northern Italy, the Grüner Veltliner grape is believed to date back to Roman times

Savour Wine and Cheese ©Kim Smith 2013

Savour Wine and Cheese -3 ©Kim Smith 2013I found our next sample, La Monasesca Verdicchio di Matelica from Marches, Italy ($22.99), wonderfully enjoyable. Kathleen paired it with their very tasty Salame Gentile and she recommends it for a wide range of foods including nuts, cheese, antipasto, artichokes, and fish. She feels it is the very best wine to serve with lobster and showed us the beautiful Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Riserva, bottled in a special type of bottle called the Empress. The Verdicchio grape is another ancient variety from Italy and is grown primarily in the Marches region of the central part of the country.

Savour Wine and Cheese -5 ©Kim Smith 2013. jpg

Our third tasting of the evening, Roaring Meg Pinot Gris from Mt. Difficulty Central Otago, New Zealand ($19.99), was also a favorite of the evening. I loved its effervescent, almost sparkling quality, and there is an apt term to describe wines that have this dancing quality; the actual term is “jazzy”! Kathleen cautions against inexpensive wines labeled Pinot Grigio, which are generally Franken one note wines made for the American market. Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are both made from Vitis vinifera; the gray-blue color of the grape lends its name to the grape (gris, meaning gray in French).

Savour Wine and Cheese -4 ©Kim Smith 2013.Judith, Megan, Tracey, and Don

The L’Oliveto Chardonnay from the Russian River, California ($19.99) was interesting and provided Kathleen an opportunity to talk about white Burgundies, which are also made from the Chardonnay grape. The Chardonnay grape is itself very neutral, with the many flavors associated with it derived from such influences as terrior and oak barrels. The Chardonnay grape is vinified in many different styles, from Chablis to Champagne, and is the second most widely planted grape worldwide.

Savour Wine and Cheese -6 ©Kim Smith 2013. jpgKathleen demonstrates the Rabbit, which is a handy gadget if you are having difficulty removing the cork.

The Clos Habert Chenin Blanc from Montlouis-sur-Loire, France ($26.99) was tasted next, and is Kathleen’s unabashed favorite; it is the wine she always keeps on hand. She paired it with Ewephoria smoked sheep’s milk cheese and the combination was fabulous. The Chenin Blanc grape is known for its ability to age well and has been cultivated in France for nearly 1300 years; official French documents mention Chenin Blanc as early as 845. Because they are organic, not filtered, and with no additives, Kathleen is a huge fan of wines from the Loire Valley and believes they are the best and purest in the world. Chenin Blancs are easily paired with a range of entrees including grilled chicken and roast pork.

Our last wine of the evening was Weingut Karl Jostock Piesporter Treppchen Riesling Spatlese from Mosel, Germany, which Kathleen paired with some out of this world bleu cheese, Cambozola Black Label Reserve. The Riesling grape originated in the Rhine region of Germany and it is used to make dry, sweet, and sparkling wines. Rieslings become more complex as they age, often taking on a golden honey color. Tracey, a fellow student, described the Piesporter Treppchen Riesling as having a honeysuckle quality, and I couldn’t have agreed more! There are many levels of sweetness in describing Rieslings; Spatlese is in the mid-range of sweetness, and as the grapes linger longer on the vine, their sweetness increases and becomes more concentrated.

“Become a Wine Expert” Series Taught by Kathleen Morgan

The “Become a Wine Expert” series of classes are held on five consecutive evenings, from 7:00 to 9:00, at Savour Wine and Cheese, located at 76 Prospect Street. Kathleen also  provides each student with a terrific reference notebook full of maps from every wine producing country and region, articles, recommended books and links, descriptions of wine varietals, an interesting wine aroma wheel for describing wines, and much more.