White wine, in all its forms, traditionally work best with delicate to light fare, just as red wines, in all forms, traditionally work best with heavier, richer foods. This isn’t always the case, but it’s convenient to use as a starting point. One thing to keep in mind: In this wacky world of food and wine pairing, opposites do not attract. The combination is either going to give your meal the “pop” that’ll make you levitate in euphoria, or it’ll offer the aftermath of a failed one-night stand. Remember, we’re looking for like and like—a lasting relationship, a marriage of flavors that will endure and continue to perform with every bite/sip.
Say you have a hankering for pecan encrusted Escolar (a wonderfully ethical substitute for Sea Bass) over a bed of spicy pea shoots. Now, you need to Castle Rock wine to pair with the fruits of your labor. You don’t want an overpowering wine to clobber the delicacy of a fish like Escolar. Many people would gravitate toward our Central Coast Chardonnay. Not a terrible idea by any means, however its best not to choose our Central Coast Chardonnay, as delicious as it is. Why? The Chardonnay has a voluptuous body style and ripe, luscious tropical fruit with some oaky notes, all of which lead to an overall fuller mouth feel. I would suggest a more decadent and buttery dish to go with our Central Coast Chardonnay, like crab cakes, lobster, or butter basted Monkfish.
Arguably the better choice would be our Monterey County Riesling. It’s off dry, (just a touch of sweetness) complemented by balanced acidy. It’s a floral and fruit-forward style that would pair brilliantly with the sweetness of the pecans while at the same time tempering the spice of the pea shoots.
Castle Rock, Central Coast Chardonnay: Farro risotto with freshly shelled English Peas and roasted butternut squash.
Do not be intimidated by this nutty Italian grain. Try it instead of the traditional rice risotto and feel less heavy and bloated. It’ll save you a trip to local pharmacy and allow you more room for wine.
Chop a butternut squash into large chunks. Coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss in four/five cloves of whole garlic and roast all together until tender to the core. Blanch the shelled English peas to retain color and texture. Set aside until farro risotto is done.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the farro and cook for 1 minute, stirring to coat with oil. Turn up the heat and add the wine, stirring until it is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium/low and add the broth, 1 cup at a time, and cook, stirring until absorbed.
Once the farro risotto is ready, add a pat of butter and a ¼ cup grated Parmigiano. Gently stir in the squash and peas. Garnish with nasturtium blossoms
Castle Rock, Paso Robles Cabernet: Cognac, green peppercorn, cream sauce over Filet Mignon.
In a saucepan, take one minced shallot and cook with a glug of olive oil until soft. Add one small airplane sized bottle of Cognac, ½ cup heavy whipping cream, ¼ cup beef stock, and a handful of green peppercorns to saucepan. Reduce until mixture is suitably concentrated. Salt and Pepper to taste. Grill or broil your filets. When cooked to your individual specifications plate and generously ladle sauce over the meat. Garnish with a drizzle of white truffle oil. Put on your bib, pop open the Castle Rock Paso Robles Cab and dig in!
Castle Rock, Mendocino Pinot Noir: Italian basil sausage lentil soup with roasted garlic, pureed Dino kale, and sun-dried tomatoes or orange and herb marinated Pork tenderloin on a cedar plank. Pinot Noir is naturally food friendly and versatile. Keep the basic rules in mind, take risks and have fun.
Castle Rock, Monterey County Riesling: Marinate fresh Halibut in a bowl full of sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, cilantro, half a clove of garlic, grated ginger, a dollop of sriracha, a couple squeezes of honey, and lastly, the juice of one or two limes. Reserve marinade. Poach fish in the oven and serve over soba noodles, using the reserve marinade as the uniting sauce.
As an appetizer, try something as simple as Prosciutto wrapped melon, or a quick Tuesday night eggplant and green bean spicy stir-fry. Also, keep in mind that Indian and Chinese cuisines pair well with Riesling as a general rule.
Drink, Eat and Enjoy!
The Castle Rock Team