Passport 2019 Wrap-up

Menu PageWHEW! and WHEW again!   We made it through another Passport!  This year we had so much fun developing recipes that focused on earth-friendly, non-meat recipes.  So many people, including myself, are guilty of thinking that the best pairing with wine is meat.  It’s my go-to thought.  But there are many fabulous recipes that pair beautifully with wine, and this year, we featured 3.  As always, we had many requests for the recipes, and we promised to provide them!  Bon Appetit!

Sweet Potato Fries, Dipped two ways!
Vegan Ginger/Soy Aioli
1 cup veganaise
1.5-2 Tbsp minced ginger
1-1.5 Tbsp Soy or Tamari sauce
Squirt of Lime Juice

WinemakerWe paired this Aioli with the 2018 Riesling, Hillside Collection.  This pairing was exciting partly because we didn’t expect it (and found it only by tasting!). Of course the slight saltiness of the sweet potato fries made the peach and apple characters of the wine pop, but truly the excitement came from the combination of the ginger and the lime juice. Both these ingredients have a special and somewhat unique companionship with Riesling (as Riesling can handle the intensity), but they also brought out some more of the subtle aspects of the Riesling too, showcasing its complexity. Now I’m thinking appetizers of sliced vegetables, this aioli, and the ’18 Hillside Riesling!

FriesCumin, Lime and Cilantro Aioli –
½ cup Sour Cream
¼ Cup Mayonaise
2 tsp lime juice
2 tsp chopped cilantro
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp salt

We paired this one with the 2015 Zinfandel, Hillside Collection.  This was the actual pairing we were shooting for from the beginning. Sweet potatoes (whether in fried form, raviolis, or grilled) are a wonderful pairing with Zinfandel. But the addition of this aioli just took it another notch upwards. I think it is the cumin and garlic that brought out the spiciness of the Zin while the richness of the variety tamed the aioli. Then the sweetness of the potatoes married spectacularly with the berry fruit of the Zinfandel. It’s a pretty amazing pairing, and one well worth searching out!

WinemakerBlack Bean, Quinoa and Sweet Potato Tacos – Modified from a recipe on Good Morning America

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
15.5 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
15.25 oz can corn, drained
1 cup cooked quinoa
18 small corn torillas, warmed

Avocado, chopped or sliced
Lime Wedges
Feta cheese, Crumbled

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2.  Toss diced sweet potatoes with 1 tables olive oil, honey and cumin. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast in the oven for 35 minutes or until tender.  Set aside.
3.  Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to a large skillet, set over medium-low heat.  Add the garlic and onion and saute.  Add the black beans, corn, cooked quinoa and sweet potatoes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4.  Spoon about 1/3 cup of filling into each tortilla.  Top with chopped avocado, a squeeze of lime and feta cheese.
5.  We also added a drizzle of Cilantro Blender Sauce – Combine 1 bunch of cilantro,2 garlic cloves, 4 green onions, 1 jalapeno, barely seeded, Juice of two limes, ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 Tbsp drained capers, ½ tsp salt and pepper into a blender, and then drizzle over tacos.

We paired these tacos with the 2017 Grenache, Hillside Collection. This is my favorite pairing and also the one that took the longest to come up with. With full- disclosure in mind, we actually also put a fine bead of Siracha aioli on the tortilla as well. As a stand-alone dish, this taco has the best balance I’ve ever tasted. All the flavors just come together naturally. Where the Hillside Grenache comes in is in framing the whole thing. The spice is toned down with the richness of the wine while cumin melds with white pepper aspects of the Grenache. Finally, the red-berry fruitiness of the wine works beautifully with the sweetness of the sweet potatoes and the earthiness of the black beans. This is definitely going into our family’s cookbook for cooking at home!

CheeseFinally – we were very excited to offer two cheese pairings this passport!  The common thought is that a brie cheese is extremely easy to pair with wine, while in fact they are some of the hardest to pair.  When Mary and I sit down to pair cheese and wine, there usually is not any brie even on the table.  But this year, we found two amazing

Tour de Marze Brie – Cows Milk from France and the 2018 Gewurztraminer

This pairing worked beautifully in that the very mild brie cheese picked up on the soft floral characters of the Gewurztraminer.

Brebirousse D’ Argental – Sheep’s Milk from France and the 2016 Malbec

This pairing focused on the earthy characters of the sheep’s milk cheese and the earth characters of the Malbec.  The cheese and the wine blended together to make a sensational pairing.


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