Monday, October 29, 2012

Gold Medal Wine Club's early bird sale

Many of you have had their stuff and liked it...and are always bummed when I tell you it's the last bottle, so here's your chance to sign up (if you do, don't forget to tell them I referred you!)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Anchovy Butter, Moroccan Carrots & Cab Franc

A couple weeks my wine club had a Cabernet Franc Vertical pairing dinner – with the 2004-2006 Adobe Road Cabernet Franc. As a wine club member I was able to get some library selections and we were able to get 2 of each bottle so it was a good sized dinner party. While we’ve had some other verticals, this was our first Cabernet Franc one! The wines were delicious-although one of the 2004s was past its prime, so if you have it, drink it! There was no clear favorite; it seemed to be was tied between the 2004 and 2005, although the 2006 was also lovely.
For dinner we had filets seasoned with garlic and tarragon, served with anchovy butter on the side (recipe follows), along with some Moroccan carrots (recipe follows), loaded baked potato casserole, and I think one other side. (my apologies if I forgot your contribution!) Anyway, this was my first time making – or even tasting – anchovy butter. It was relatively easy to make, but I’ll be honest, I was a little nervous because it smelled very anchovy-ish during the preparation stage, however I couldn’t even taste the anchovy once it was melted on the steak and even took another pat. All but one person loved it, and it paired well with the cab franc, so it’s something I’ll keep in the rotation (although not too often!). The carrots were actually amazing with the cabernet franc – and I don’t even like cooked carrots that much! For a "normal dinner" pairing I would recommend using cumin, coriander, and tarragon into as many dishes as possible. We looked at a cumin lamb recipie but opted against it because we wanted to focus on the nuances between the vintages, which was a good call, although it would’ve been an amazing pairing and is something I'll try next time I have a Cab Franc.
Here’s a couple of recipes from the event
Anchovy butter (makes about 20 ½ inch pats)
  • 6 anchovies packed in oil
  • 1 ½ stick of butter, room temp
  • 1 tbs chopped tarragon
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
Mash or food process ingredients together and then pour on a plastic wrap sheet. Roll into a log and refrigerate for an hour or more. Slice into pats and top steaks. (we chose to serve it on the side and allow guests to top their steaks themselves.) 
Moroccan Carrots 
  • 4 medium carrots (3/4 pound), thinly sliced on a mandoline
  •  1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Large pinch of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Salt

1. In a medium saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the carrots for 1 minute. Drain.
2. In a large skillet, combine the carrots with the orange juice, water, coriander, cumin and cinnamon and simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 10 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the sugar and the butter. Season the carrots with salt and serve. Credit:

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Join me for #blindtober

If you’ve followed my blog before, you know I love blind tastings, so much that every October Mr. Lush and I taste everything we can “blind”. (for those of you who are nor familiar with the term, tasting wine “blind” means you have to guess what’s in the glass-usually the varietal, although experts can guess even more!) We accomplish this at home by switching off who pours the bottle; last night I selected a bottle, poured Mr. Lush a glass, and he correctly guessed it was a Chardonnay from California.

By no stretch are we experts-we both get more wrong than we do right, and we don’t try to guess the vintage or even specific AVA (although occasionally we might…but usually fail!). Naturally if its from our own collection we do better, because we can narrow it down. But we spend all year drinking and learning about wine, so it’s a good time to really focus in and apply what we’ve learned. Sometimes we throw each other easy ones, sometimes we mix it up and throw each other a curve ball, but we have fun with it.

I initially called this experience the Blind Ambition Tour (yes, that is a Madonna reference) but this year I’m going to tweet about my experiences with the hashtag #blindtober. My twitter name is stlwinelush and so I invite you to join me this October – taste wine blind and tweet about your experiences. Going to someone's house? Have them pour you a glass before showing you what it was. Head into a bar and tell the bartender to pick something out for you. Or, for even more of a challenge, head into a bar like Flemings, where they have 100 wines by the glass and ask them to make you a flight-so you’ll have 3 wines to guess. If you fail epically, don’t fret-we’re there with you. Get out of your comfort zone and give it a shot.

I’ll keep an eye out for the #blindtober tweet, cheers!