When you think of wine tasting, I am going to guess that you don’t typically think of line up like this. Think of your comparative literature class from college, toss in some bacon, and you have St. Supery’s Bacon and Bordeaux tasting experience summed up. Having tasted the wines at this Napa Valley stalwart several times, I knew that at the very least, I was going to enjoy my tasting experience, but this special tasting brings it to a new level. Conducted upstairs, in the newly remodeled private tasting lounge, these special tastings are a world apart from the hustle and bustle of the normal rush in the tasting room. For our tasting, we paired each of the Bordeaux style wines with a bacon-licious dish, each specifically made by the winery chef to play off of the wines. 2012 Napa Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon paired with a Quesedilla with smoked mozzarella and…bacon with green salsa verde. Both the Rutherford estate fruit as well as my favorite Dollarhide go in to this blend which has fresh loganberry, pink peppercorn, ripe plums and ginger notes. The quesedilla brought out dark spices and blue fruit, as well a ground black pepper. Next, the 2010 Napa Vallely Estate Elu, which is 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 4% Petite Verdot, 2% Malbec, and 1% Bacon (well, really 1% Cabernet Franc. This is St. Supery’s signature red wine, and has a beautiful Bergemot nose with savory herbal qualities. Dark cherries, dried lavender, and blackberries in cassis syrup were paired with a classic BLT. Next, the 2010 Rutherford Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, which is 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot and a touch of Cab Franc and Petite Verdot, all from Rutherford. This unctuous red wine was full of coffee and chocolate, with cracked black pepper. Paired with a Toma Grilled Cheese with applewood Smoked Bacon, the earthy and herbal notes really sang out. Finally, the 2010 Dollarhide Elevation is 93% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Malbec. Dense and deep blackberry notes emerge from this “accidental” blend. While it is always a blend, it’s typically over 90% Cab to soften the punch. The Malbec adds in a dense blue fruit, with young & lively notes of dark chocolate and espresso. As this was our dessert course, it was paired with the “Happy Childhood” – An almond butter & estate fig jam sandwich, with cassis candied bacon. Yum!While this special tasting experience isn’t always on the menu, be sure to call ahead and make reservations for any of St. Supery’s special tastings. Experiences start at only $35 per person (group of 4 minimum) and are an event to remember. I can’t wait to go back and experience another version of this event as the estate garden grows through the seasons! A special thank you to St. Supery and Scott Tracy, Guest Experience Manager for a truly spectacular tasting experience. The wine and bacon were provided by St. Supery, but all of the sound effects and accolades are purely mine!
I am a huge fan of the simple dinner. Being a single girl, I like to come home, kick my feet up and open something tasty to drink. Dinner is a necessary evil, so I look for the simple solution. Such was the case one day a while ago, when I looked in the fridge and noticed that I had pretty much nothing left but a few leftover cheeses and of course, bacon. Assuredly, I had in my trusty cabinet, several boxes of pasta, so off I went to make MacDaddy & Cheese for supper. I have to say, this was, without a doubt, one of my best bacon works to date. This is a grown up’s Kraft Dinner, and it’s very simple. First, prepare the pasta to your liking. I suggest slightly al dente, because you will be cooking it with the cheese mixture. While the pasta is cooking, make the bacon. I personally use the microwave because it’s fast and easy, and I’m mixing the bacno anywya. If i were eating the bacon alone, I might bake or fry it up. Drain on a towel and set aside. Drain the pasta when done, and add back to the pot. With the head on medium low, add about 1/4 cup milk. In to that, I added about 3/2 cup chunked sharp cheddar, 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese, and some other odds and ends of the cheesy variety. Really, you can add whatever kind of cheese that you have in the fridge, because this is a dish best made when you have a bit of everything. The only requirement is that add the blue cheese. This is what makes this dish sing. Gently cook the pasta until the cheese is melted and the milk is absorbed and it is creamy. Then, crumble the bacon and add to the pot. With this, I served a dark and smoky Cabernet Sauvignon. I would try to find one that isnt’ a fruit bomb, because the dark rich tobacco and leather of an old world Cabernet will go better with the blue cheese mixture. The result of this minimal effort8 is a truly amazing grown up dinner that you can make in a flash on a night in! Happy bacon-ing! Google
Mmm bacon! Sweet delicious tasty meat. We all no, there is no love lost between the bacon and I – because it’s all been found! This week’s recipe is brought to you by the following confluence of events: Trader Joe’s – my favorite budget friendly gourmet grocery store; lack of sleep – inspiring me to find something quick to eat; leftover wine – which went perfectly with this creation. First, I should tell you, that I had the following in my freezer: Frozen Puff Pastry dough caramelized onions cheese of various natures B – A – C – O – N To begin, thaw the puff pastry according to the directions on the box. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, or whatever the box says. While the pastry is thawing, cook 3-4 slices of bacon until crispy. Drain and set aside. When the pastry is pliable, cut 4 – 3 inch square pieces out of it. In the first square, place 2-3 Tablespoons of caramelized onion, making sure it is in the center of the square. Add some sharp cheddar cheese. I find a thick slick about the same shape as the pastry works best. Using a bit of water around the edge of the square, glue down the 2nd pastry square and set this baby aside. For the 2nd one, place a slice of Comte or Gruyere, a bit of cheddar, and whatever else you have laying about in the center of the square. Crumble the bacon on top and glue the last pastry square on top. Bake until puffy and golden brown, about 7 minutes. I served these with the Cameron Hughes Lot 49 Prioriat D.O.Q., which is a smokey deep blue Spanish blend of 48% Grenache, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 12% Syrah, 10% Carignane. The match of this wine with the classically English Cheese & Onion Pastie (albeit in puff pastry this time) was delicious. The pairing didn’t work quite as well with the bacon version, but that’s ok. Because I had bacon! Next week, MacDaddy & Cheese with Zin! Comfort food at it’s best. Google
Last Saturday, I had my wine friends Marshall & Brittnay of WineQ, Liza of The Brix Chicks, Ward of WineLog and some other friends over to celebrate Open That Bottle Night. Since I had agreed to host the event at my place, I was on the hook for providing vittles. What else would I do, then make something with bacon! Of course, we had the requisite cheese, bread and crackers, but I felt the need to go a little food slutty and make a scrumptious yet oh-so-easy pizza bread to eat with our Twitter Taste Live wines. This Caramelized Onion, Brie, and Bacon pizza worked particularly well with the two red wines of the evening, Insoglio del Cinghiale, and Perriers Vallee Du Rhone. The sweetness of the caramelized onions, and the smokey sweetness of the bacon, paired with the creamy rich brie that was slightly melted, rounded out the slightly rough edges of these European gems and made the circle complete. To make this delight, you will need; 4 medium onions, any kind 1 package ready made pizza dough (not frozen, fresh – it should make 1-12 inch pizza) 8 slices GOOD applewood smoked bacon brie shredded mozzarella optional: Fig Jam The night before, you will need to caramelize the onions. To do this, simply slice them in to a pan with some hot olive oil. Fry them until you get a nice browning, and then turn the heat to low. Make sure to add plenty of salt, and let them simmer for about an hour. You will know they are done when they look golden and have a caramelized texture, and smell sweet. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. The day you are gong to eat this pizza, roll the dough out to make 2 6-8″ pizza rounds. Cook the bacon until done. It doesn’t need to be too crispy, since you will bake it. Spared the rounds with a thin layer of fig jam if you have it. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella. Add onions. A little, a lot. It’s up to you! Slice brie and add 3 or 4 1/8″ thick slices to the pizza. Crumble the cooked bacon over the top. Pop the whole concoction in to the oven, and cook for 8-10 minutes, until cheese is melted. Enjoy with a nice red wine! Try a grenache blend. Google
For this week’s Bacon Fridays post, I am honoring the Zinfandel Festival but pairing Jalapeno Bacon Cheddar Popovers with a California Zin. Zinfandel has been named America’s Heritage Grape, and for 4 days every January, the Zin world comes together in celebration. The Bacon Freak graciously provided me of samples of the Jalepeno bacon, and i incorporated this into one of my favorite side dishes, the Popover. Ok fine. So i usually eat the whole pan. Shush! To make this tasty treats, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick spray LIBERALLY! Try to use a light pan if you can, because dark ones burn easily. While the oven is preheating, cook the Bacon Freak Coastal Caliente Jalepeno Bacon until crisp. I do this in the microwave, between 2 paper towels, on full power for 1 minute for each full slice. You want to be able to crumble it easily. In a bowl, whisk together: 2/3 cup milk 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons flour 2 teaspoons olive oil 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 ground pepper Whisk in 2 eggs, which you have beaten in a bowl. Spoon 1 Tablespoon of the batter in to each muffin cup. Sprinkle each with 1 tsp sharp cheddar cheese, 1/2 tsp grated parmesean cheese, and 1/4 slice crumbled bacon. When you have done all 12 muffin cups, spoon the rest of the batter on top of ecah cup to cover. bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees. Continue to cook until golden brown, about another 15 minutes. Remove from the baking tin and cool on a rack. These popovers are best slightly warm! To pair, I suggest a spicy zinfandel. I tasted this with a lovely specimen from Paso Robles, which is known for black pepper and sweet spices. I also tried this with a Sierra Foothills Zinfandel, which also has some lovely baking spice flavor characteristics that match well off of the kick of the popovers. Happy tasting and please follow @baconcandy on twitter! Google
It’s no secret that I love bacon. Bacon on pizza, bacon by itself, bacon bacon bacon. To this end, I am starting a weekly wine & bacon pairing feature, which was inspired by two recent events. First, Wine Blogging Wednesday #53 had us pair wines with breakfast foods. The BBLT paired with The Spaniard was heavenly. Second, I was put in touch with The Bacon Freak, who declares that bacon is meat candy. Since i happy to agree with this statement, we discussed my featuring his delicious dry cured & season rubbed bacons with some wine selections. Sign me up! First up, I made an easy weeknight supper of Apple Cider Brown Sugar Chicken, which is wrapped in Cinnamon Apple Bacon. To prepare this dish, take two boneless skinless chicken breasts. Rinse them off, and pat dry. Add the breasts to a glass baking dish. This is important because you don’t want the next ingredient reacting with the metal. Pour 1/2 cup Apple Cider vinegar over the chicken. The vinegar keeps the chicken moist, and gives it a lovely apple flavor. Now, take 4 strips of Baby Bubba’s Butcher Block Bacon – Apple Cinnamon, and lay 2 over each breast. you might need to tuck the ends under, so they stay on the chicken while baking. I chose the Apple Cinnamon bacon because it enhanceds the apple flavor of the chicken dish, and the Cinnamon is a natural companion for the brown sugar in the sauce. Spread 3 Tablespoons of brown sugar over the chicken and bacon. The brown sugar will melt in to the vinegar, and create an amazing sauce. The bacon and vinegar will keep the chicken moist. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, depending on the size of your pieces. Just check after that time to make sure the chicken is done and the bacon is cooked. I serve this dish with a refreshing spinach salad, with a tangy dressing. Now for the wine pairing! Because the chicken is a sweet dish, I needed to find a wine that would play off the sugar and apple flavors. I chose a Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir, because they tend to be big wines. This area also produces a bold fruit flavor in the Pinot Noirs, which pairs nicely with the apple and Cinnamon flavors in the Chicken. The fruit forwardness can be perceived as sweetness, which works in this case because when you pair a sweet with a sweet, they cancel each other out and you can realy taste the flavors in the food and the wine. I forgot to take a picture before I ate it so next time, I’ll try to get that to you! I hope you enjoy this dish and I look forward to hearing your experiments! Next week: Jalepeno Bacon Cheese Popovers with Zinfandel, in celebration of ZAP! The Zinfandel Festival Google