Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sparkling Wine, Lobster, & Carmeggedon

We live in Los Angeles, the City of Angels. It is the second most populous city in the US and a world center for business. It is home to celebrities, top notch universities, Hollywood and a few wineries, too. And this weekend they have shut down the 405 freeway which runs right through Los Angeles. Although the nickname Carmeggedon was given in anticipation of how horribly impactful this would be to every citizen in South California, it turns out to be over rated. So far, the freeways are moving and people are getting where they want to go. We prepared for the worst (or the best depending on how you look at it) and are now reconsidering our plans to just stay home all weekend. However, we did pick up some lobster and sparkling wine to ensure if things got bad, we could still dine like kings and queens.

Lobster is one of those foods that is oh so good and oh so expensive in restaurants. It is a scary thing to pick one out at the store and decide to take it home and cook it yourself for the first time. But turns out, like Carmeggedon, it’s a little over rated (the scariness of it all!) It can be boiled, sautéed or barbequed just as easy as shrimp. Depending on the preparation and what you serve it with, there can be a few different pairing options that will work. If you spice it up a bit, you may want to pair it with something on the sweeter side like a Riesling or Gewurztraminer. A buttery Chardonnay would go great with a boiled lobster. But because it is summer, we decided to barbeque again.

We pulled out a Brut (dry) sparkling wine that was recently recommended to me called Domaine de Leon. Brut is not the driest of all sparkling wines but contains less than 12 grams of sugar per liter. It is a new world wine “from the foothills of the Andes” out of Mendoza, Argentina. It blends two varietals: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay which are the two classic varietals used in sparkling wines. The bubbles are small and they continued as we enjoyed the glass. The wine’s crispness and hint of green apple pairs well with the lobster meat’s sweet flavor. It appeals to all senses and this combination is one your friends won’t soon forget.  So if you can get up the nerve, this combination is one I recommend if trying to impress someone or you just want to have a fancy night in.  Enjoy! 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hot day, Riesling & BBQ Shrimp

It is hot across the Southern US today from Orlando, Florida to Phoenix, Arizona, from Austin, Texas to Las Vegas, Nevada.  At the end of a long day of work, what better to sit back, put up your feet with a fan blowing a cool breeze and sipping on a nice glass of wine?  That’s right, I said wine!  There is a wine for every occasion and on a hot day, why not try a crisp, sweet Riesling to refresh you? 

If you are unfamiliar with brands, I can assure you that most mid level restaurants will feature Chateau Ste. Michelle by the bottle and glass.  It is a great example of a Riesling with a nice hint of peach.  This winery is located in Washington; a bottle from the store runs about $10 all the way up to $35 for their late harvest – even sweeter! 

If you are in the mood to be a little more adventurous, why not head over to the BevMo 5cent sale and pick up a couple different types to try.  Pac Rim and Cresta Blanca are two California Rieslings featured in the sale and seem to have some great reviews.  If you try them, please let me know what you think!

Lastly, if you are on a budget, pick up a bottle of Liebfraumilch at Trader Joe’s for less than $5.  It uses at least 70% Riesling, Silvaner or Müller-Thurgau grapes and is delicious!  We used this for my bridal shower 6 years ago in August and have been enjoying it with friends ever since!

Spicy foods pair great with sweet wines.  If you want to try one of the Rieslings mentioned above, I recommend throwing some shrimp on the BBQ!  Use a slightly spicy BBQ sauce and serve with some rice.  Presto you have an excellent meal.  Wine serves as an aperitif and dessert.  Enjoy!