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Tag Archives: wine pairing



Friday Night Whites: Best Chardonnay Small Plates for Summer

on July 28, 2015

For Nickel & Nickel Winemaker Darice Spinelli, Chardonnay is her hot weather go-to, “although with Chardonnay, I often find I’ve enjoyed my wine before a plate of food hits the table.”

On summer Friday nights, Darice loves to invite friends to join her around the fire pit for wine and super-simple small plates. “Anything too long or complicated isn’t going to happen.” Time is a precious commodity for Darice. Her days in the vineyard often start before sunrise (and end after office hours). She’s also Mom to two energetic boys, which means that arriving home, getting dinner on the table for the kids, then prepping an elaborate meal for her guests, well, “there simply aren’t enough hours in a day. Especially because I actually want to be present and enjoy the company of my family and my friends.”

To ensure she spends more time fireside than she does in the kitchen, Chef Trevor Eliason offers his suggestions for easy 30-minute (or less) appetizers that pair beautifully with Nickel & Nickel’s Single Vineyard Chardonnays from the Russian River and Napa Valleys.

Easy 30-Minute Appetizers

Burrata and Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta + Nickel & Nickel Stiling Vineyard ChardonnayWhether you daydream about classic Brandywines, geek out over tangy Northern Lights or prize the hearty Cherokee purple as the perfect slicing tomato, tomato season is hitting its stride, making it the ideal time to indulge your heirloom obsessions. We love to toss just-picked varieties with olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper. We let the flavors marry for half an hour before spooning fragrant, “sweating” heaps of them over creamy burrata on toasted baguette. Top with fresh basil.

Prosciutto-wrapped Marinated Galia Melon + Nickel & Nickel Medina Vineyard Chardonnay. Exactly what should you use as a marinade? There are a variety of options, however, Chef Trevor favors simplicity, with nice olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. “Just a hint of fennel pollen really elevates it, but isn’t required,” he says.

Smoked Salmon Rillettes + Nickel & Nickel Truchard Vineyard Chardonnay. Technically, this takes longer than 30 minutes, but the fragrant smoky-fish and butter flavors of really good salmon rillettes are the ultimate Friday night showstopper, especially when paired alongside whites on the creamier, more textured side. The good news, one of our favorite versions, here, can be prepared up to three days in advance.

Drink some wine. Talk with friends. Throw some fresh summer corn on the grill, which, BTW, always tastes great with all three of our Nickel & Nickel Chardonnays. Discover more recipes that pair beautifully with our Single-Vineyard Whites, and make this your #BestChardonnay summer ever.

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Recipe: Basil-Coconut Soup with Roasted Lobster Skewer and Crispy Kale

on March 16, 2015

The March Single Vineyard Club shipments will be making their way to your doorsteps this week! This month’s shipment brochure features a flavor-rich Basil-Coconut Soup recipe crafted to pair with your bottle of 2013 Nickel & Nickel Stiling Vineyard Chardonnay. The vibrant acidity of this stunning Russian River Valley Chardonnay is the perfect accompaniment to this decadent soup.

To view this recipe on our website and download, click here.

Basil-Coconut Soup with Roasted Lobster Skewer and Crispy Kale

Ingredients
(Serves 4)

Basil-Coconut Soup
3 cups leeks (white part only), diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 garlic clove, chopped
4 cups lobster or chicken broth
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 cans coconut milk
½ cup basil leaves, loosely packed (reserve portion for basil chiffonade)
1 teaspoon salt
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lemon

Lobster Skewers
4 skewers, 8-10 inches long
2 1 ½-pound lobsters
Japanese seven spice (shichimi togorashi), to taste
Fresh lime juice, to taste
Salt, to taste

Crispy Kale
1 bunch kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt, to taste

Method

Basil-Coconut Soup
In a large sauce pot on medium-low heat, cook the leeks in olive oil and season with salt and pepper, stirring occasionally. After seven minutes, add garlic and cook for another three minutes. Pour in the lobster or chicken broth and the potatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook the potatoes until they are fork-tender. Add the coconut milk and return to a simmer. Working in two batches, transfer the mixture to the blender and purée for about 30 seconds, gradually adding the basil leaves and a teaspoon of salt. Do not run the blender too long, as it will make the soup gluey. Once all the soup has been puréed, add the lime and lemon juices. Place back into the soup pot and keep warm on low heat.

Lobster Skewers
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Start by shelling the lobster tails and cut them in half lengthwise. Be sure to remove any brown remnants and reserve the knuckle and claw meat. Cut each side in three square-shaped pieces.
Start your skewer with two pieces of knuckle meat, three pieces of tail meat and finish with one claw at the end. Season the skewered lobster to taste with the Japanese spice mix and salt. Oil the grill, and then grill the lobster skewers for two minutes on each side. Finish with fresh lime juice and a pinch of salt. Keep warm.

Crispy Kale
Preheat your oven to 425ºF. Clean the kale and discard the tough stem. Cut into large triangular pieces, and place in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and two pinches of salt. Mix well to evenly coat, then lay the leaves in a single layer on a baking pan. Bake for four to seven minutes (depending on your oven), until the leaves appear crisp, but not browned. Set aside and let cool.

Presentation
Portion the soup into four bowls. Drop in any remaining lobster in the center of the soup, then place the skewered lobster across the bowl. Tuck four pieces of crispy kale into the soup, stem-side down, then garnish with a small amount of basil chiffonade.

Have you tried any of our Nickel & Nickel recipes? We’d love to hear how it turned out. Drop us a line on our Facebook, Twitter (@nickelandnickel), Instagram (@nickelandnickelwinery) or good ol’ fashioned email.

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Pairing Tips: Cheese & Charcuterie

on February 11, 2015

cheese2

Thanks to all who attended our Nickel & Nickel Winter Open House last weekend! The fantastic crowd definitely kept things lively under overcast skies. The Napa Valley was drenched this past week with much needed rain, but the water-laden clouds spared us for the day and we entertained a full house. While Nickel & Nickel staff graciously poured our single-vineyard wines in our Fermentation Barns, Chef Trevor Eliason replenished the tables in the lounge area with cheese and charcuterie to keep palates interesting.

Cheese

Chef Trevor has provided us with suggestions for compiling your own spreads for a lovely cheese, charcuterie and wine experience at home. Keep in mind – everyone’s tastes are different, and the fun is in discovering how the food interacts with the wine on your palate.

Cheese

Age Matters: Go for aged cheeses with wonderfully concentrated flavors. At Open House, we served the Beemster Gouda, aged 18 months and 24 months.

Waxed vs. Washed: We typically recommend a waxed-rind cheese for wine pairing purposes – washed-rind cheese tends to be too ripe.

Salt Content: Look for something not too salty, so as to not interfere with the flavors of the wine. A good, balanced cheese we like to serve at events is Highway-1.

Cow, Sheep, Goat?: Local cow and sheep cheese is safe bet when attempting to pair with wine; goat cheese is not always wine-friendly. However, there are exceptions to the rule – we do offer Cypress Grove Midnight Moon Chèvre with Nickel & Nickel wines.

Charcuterie

Texture: We select thinly sliced meats instead of sausages, terrines and rillettes – think Proscuitto or Bresaola. This form of charcuterie offers a nice melt-in-your-mouth texture that is fantastic with wine.

Salty or Spicy?: Salty, fatty charcuterie goes great with our Nickel & Nickel Cabernets. Hot and spicy meats are not the best complement to our wines, but if you’re looking for something with a little bite, try a Mortadella with peppercorns.

Befriend the Butcher: It’s always great to support your local businesses. If you’re looking for charcuterie, chat with your butcher and ask if you can taste a selection of meats before you purchase. Try a combination of three different meats, like beef, pork and duck, and see what jumps out at you.

Happy pairing!

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Martin Stelling Vineyard Cabernet and a Recipe to Pair

on December 11, 2013

Just in time for the colder months, Executive Chef Trevor Eliason offers this hearty grilled beef tenderloin recipe. Paired with our 2010 Nickel & Nickel Martin Stelling Vineyard Cabernet, this dish is sure to warm you head to toe. P.S.–Don’t have Martin Stelling Vineyard Cab in your cellar? Why not try pairing with another Nickel & Nickel Cabernet?

For other recipes to pair with Nickel & Nickel wines, visit our recipe page.

Download the recipe here.

 

Grilled Beef Tenderloin, Cheddar Cauliflower Purée,
Baby Carrots, Savoy Spinach and Cabernet Sauce

Ingredients

Cauliflower Purée:
1 head cheddar cauliflower,
also known as orange cauliflower

1 1/2 quarts whole milk

2 shallots

2 fresh garlic cloves, smashed

1 teaspoon salt

4 tabelspoons horseradish, prepared

1 cup Fiscalini cheddar,
or any aged cheddar, grated 


Cabernet Sauce:

1/2 cup shallots, diced

Olive oil

2 cups red wine

2 fresh garlic cloves

1 bay leaf

4 sprigs thyme

5 peppercorns, whole

1 pint veal stock reduction 

Grilled Beef Tenderloin:
1 1/4 pounds beef tenderloin,
prime or choice grade

Olive oil

Kosher salt, to taste

Fresh cracked pepper, to taste

Herb butter, optional 


Baby Carrots & Savoy Spinach:

1 dozen baby carrots,
assorted colors if available

1 cup sherry vinegar

2 tablespoons shallots, diced

Olive oil

2 bunches savoy spinach

1 teaspoon sherry vinegar

Salt, to taste

 

Method

Purée Preparation:
Remove the green leaves from the cheddar cauliflower and chop roughly into medium-sized pieces. You can use most of the stem. Place into a stainless steel pot and cover with whole milk. Add two sliced shallots, two smashed garlic cloves and a teaspoon of salt. Simmer on low heat for about an hour or until the cauliflower has just become very tender and some of the milk has reduced. Set aside. When the cauliflower is tender, strain the liquid and purée in a Cuisinart food processor. Add in the salt and prepared horseradish.

Cabernet Sauce Preparation:
Sweat the half-cup of diced shallots in olive oil until tender. Add the two cups of red wine, two whole garlic cloves, a bay leaf, thyme sprigs and peppercorns. Reduce the mixture by one-third and add the veal reduction stock. You can buy quality veal or beef stock from the freezer section at a specialty grocery store. You can also make your own stock; it will take a full day. Reduce wine and stock by half and strain through a fine mesh strainer. Place into a smaller saucepan and reduce until sauce consistency yields about a half-cup. Set aside.

Begin baby carrot prep by blanching the carrots in salted boiling water. Cook until tender. You may also steam or glaze if familiar with these methods.

Tenderloin Preparation:
I use our gas grill to sear the tenderloin for about five minutes. I then finish it in a slow oven to ensure consistent temperature. If you have wood, or a charcoal grill, it will add nice savory flavor to the tenderloin. I recommend whole tenderloin, as opposed to pre-portioned meat. Season the tenderloin with olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh cracked pepper. Preheat the oven to 300° F. Sear beef on grill then place on a roasting rack. Top with herb butter, if desired. Place in the oven for 10-20 minutes or until thermometer reads between 120-130° F for medium-rare. Let the meat rest at least five minutes.

Baby Carrots & Spinach Preparation:
Start a sauté pan on medium heat and sweat two tablespoons of diced shallots in olive oil until tender. Add your washed spinach and season with a pinch of salt. Finish with a teaspoon of sherry vinegar.

Drizzle the baby carrots with olive oil and add a pinch of salt. Reheat on a baking dish in a 350° F oven for five minutes.

Place cauliflower purée in a small pot and heat gently, stirring often. When warm, add grated cheddar cheese. Whisk to thoroughly incorporate the cheese.

To serve:
Lay warm plates out on counter and place a scoop of cauliflower purée in the center of the plate. To avoid excess liquid, use tongs to place the sautéed spinach on the plate. Alternatively, you can drain the spinach beforehand. Slice four equal portions of the beef tenderloin and place on top of the spinach. Garnish with three carrots and drizzle a tablespoon or so of the Cabernet sauce around each plate. Bon Appétit. Enjoy with a glass of Nickel & Nickel Martin Stelling Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.

Serves 4

Download the recipe here.

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Cedar Plank-Roasted Manchego Cheese—and 2010 Nickel & Nickel CC Ranch Cabernet

on August 29, 2013

This easy recipe from Executive Chef Trevor Eliason makes a great hors d’oeuvres course. Pair with our Single-Vineyard Cabernet (we opened C.C. Ranch, but feel free to try with our other Napa Cabernets!) for a delicious start to dinner.

 

Cedar Plank-Roasted Manchego Cheese, 
Brandied Cherries, Charred Onion Jam and Crostini 

Download Recipe

Ingredients

1 yellow onion

1/2 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/8 cup toasted almonds,
roughly chopped

1/8 cup brandied cherries, halved

Balsamic vinegar

5 ounces aged Manchego cheese

1 cedar plank, 6″ x 4″,
soaked in water overnight

12 crostini

 

Method

This recipe has two simple parts: the cherry, onion and almond compote and the roasted cheese.

Compote Preparation:
Slice the onion into thick slices, brush with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill both sides of the onion on high heat until dark grill marks appear. Dice the onion once it has cooled and fold in the almonds and brandied cherries. Season with salt and pepper and a splash of balsamic vinegar.

Cheese Preparation:
Remove the rind and place the cheese on the soaked cedar plank. Place the plank in a 300°F oven for about 4 minutes. You want the cheese to be warm all the way through without melting too much. It should appear soft and shiny, but still hold its shape.

Serve the compote and crostini alongside the warm cheese. Enjoy with a glass of  Nickel & Nickel C.C. Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon.

Serves 4

Download Recipe

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