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Let's raise a toast to Chardonnay, America's best-loved white wine, on Chardonnay Day. Cheers!

Let’s raise a toast to Chardonnay, America’s best-loved white wine, on Chardonnay Day. Cheers!

Welcome back, my friends – and Happy Chardonnay Day 2018!

Have you ever wondered why some Chardonnays are crisp, fruity, and “clean tasting,” while others are richer, “rounder,” and more mouth-filling, with complex flavors that go far beyond the fruit bowl?

Welcome to the world of wine “styles.” [click to continue…]

You can enjoy a lovely glass of Napa Cabernet even more, with this "Napa Burgers" recipe that's designed for it!

You can enjoy a lovely glass of Napa Cabernet even more, with this Napa Burgers recipe that’s designed for it!

Welcome back, my friends!

I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s “Napa Burgers” recipe, which I created to go with Cabernet Sauvignon.

I promised then that I would explain the “why” behind the pairing.

Want to follow along?

Just *Click Here* to download your free, *foolproof* guide – “Rosina’s 5 Non-Rules for Pairing Wine with Food” – to see how simple it is.

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THE PAIRING:

As always, I called on “Rosina’s 5 Non-Rules,” plus lots of Cabernet-friendly flavors, to help me work out my cooking method and topping ingredients for my “Napa Burgers.”

And if you want to riff on some of my ideas to personalize the recipe and the pairing to *your* own tastes, go for it!

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Cook your burgers (in a hot pan or on a BBQ) until well browned (but rare to medium-rare inside). I love cooking lamb or bison this way.

Cook your burgers (in a hot pan or on a BBQ) until well browned (but rare to medium-rare inside). I love cooking lamb or bison this way. Next step: Cheese!

Did you notice that I specified “well browned” for both the onions and the burgers?

And I suggested bison, lamb or game, which have stronger flavors than beef, as the basic protein?

Well, I had the “Equal Strength non-rule” in mind – the first one I take into account when I set up a food-and-wine combo.

Very simply: With a big wine like Cabernet, you need really punchy flavors on the plate. You can easily build extra richness and depth into the “Napa Burgers” just by browning them enough to add a nice, toasty crust.

With this simple trick, the “Equal Strength” of the wine and food makes them equal partners, with neither one overpowering the other.

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A little balsamic vinegar goes into the pan with the olives, pepper, rosemary and pomegranate juice. Each ingredient creates a "flavor bridge" with a similar component in the Cabernet.

A little balsamic vinegar goes into the pan, with the olives, pepper, rosemary and pomegranate juice, to make the topping. Each ingredient creates a “flavor bridge” with a similar component in the Cabernet.

That’s a great starting point. But when you can fine-tune your pairings, they work even better.

So, to bring in the “Similarity non-rule,” I added a few ingredients to my topping that would echo similar flavors found in Cabernet – creating a “flavor bridge” between the food on the plate and the wine in the glass.

Many Cabernets are described as having “green,” “herbaceous” or “vegetative” characteristics. This is fairly typical (because of natural compounds called pyrazines in the grapes, but let’s skip chem class today! 😉 ) – and it’s not considered a wine “flaw” or “fault” unless it gets out of hand.)

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With this medley of olives from my local market's "olive bar," I added lots of complexity to the burger topping, while picking up on Cabernet's olive-like aromatics.

With this medley of olives from my local market’s “olive bar,” I added lots of complexity to the burger topping, while picking up on Cabernet’s olive-like aromatics. (Just remove any pits and chop coarsely.)

Some very common “veggie” aromatics in Cabernet include olives (especially green olives, but I used several types to add complexity) and bell peppers (I used red ones, roasting them to soften their pungency and also tie in with the wine’s slight toasted-barrel smokiness).

And the rosemary (a milder-tasting, less-resinous variety that I grow, called “Majorca”), adds to the overall “herbal” impression in your mouth.

Balsamic vinegar, with its dark, caramelized flavors, and the red fruit of pomegranate juice, also provided “Similarity” pairings. In addition, the natural acidity of both, via the “Contrast non-rule,” balanced out the richness of the meat and cheese.

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Three very highly regarded Napa Cabernet Sauvignons.

Three highly regarded Napa Cabernet Sauvignons

Adding sharp cheddar not only punches up the flavor of the “Napa Burgers” (the “Equal Strength non-rule”), but it also shows the “Contrast non-rule,” thanks to its protein and fat, which help the burger grab on to some of the wine’s harsh tannin.

(Cabernet Sauvignon, especially when young, can be unpleasantly tannic.)

I hope you’ll try my “Napa Burgers” recipe during National Hamburger Month (or anytime). And I hope you like it! (That, of course, would be the “Personal Preference non-rule”!

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I’ll be back soon, my friends, with more “Drink Wine With Dinner®” recipes, pairings, and Wine Country happenings to share with you.

Until then,
Cheers and happy tasting –
Rosina

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PS – Want to make the foods you love taste even better? Click Here for your free download of “Rosina’s 5 Non-Rules for Wine and Food Pairing”!

Want a foolproof way to pick a tasty bottle of wine – no matter what’s for dinner?

My “edutaining” eBook, Food and Wine Pairing – The Easy Way! has the answers.

Download your copy for only $3.99 – less than a latte!

And be sure to tell your friends!




 
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Cheers,
Rosina

 

Here's a simple burger meal for Cabernet. I put together the topping specifically to go with Cabernet Sauvignon. Read on for the recipe, the how-to pix, and the wine pairing!

Here’s a simple burger meal for Cabernet. I put together the olive-roast pepper-rosemary topping specifically to go with Cabernet Sauvignon. (Recipe and how-to pix today. Wine pairing tomorrow!)

Hi, my friends – and welcome back!

Did you make it to any of last week’s Wine Festivals?

If so, I’m sure you got to taste not only some wonderful wines, but also some on-point food-and-wine combos too.

At these events, the wineries and food purveyors create great pairings that can actually enhance both the food and the wine. [click to continue…]

Charlie Wagner, owner of Mer Soleil, pours current and “library” vintages at the Santa Lucia Highlands Gala. The tasting takes place May 19th in the winery’s barrel room.

Welcome back, my friends! Hope you got to enjoy all your favorites on “Eat What You Want” Day. I sure enjoyed my sushi!

As I mentioned in my May preview post, Spring is prime time for wineries – and even entire wine districts – to open their doors (and plenty of bottles!) in grand galas up and down the state.

This coming weekend, in fact, brings three well-established festivals – in Paso Robles, in the Santa Lucia Highlands, and in Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley. [click to continue…]

On my wonderful daughter Siri’s most recent visit, we started our Sushi To Dai For dinner with Negi Hama (yellowtail tuna and green onion) and Alaska (king salmon and avocado) sushi rolls. Yum!

Welcome back, my friends! Hope you enjoyed our Cinco de Mayo adventure, and all those buenas cervezas mexicanas.

Today we’re ziplining across the Pacific, from Mexico to Japan, to indulge in one of my long-time favorite culinary treats – sushi.

Believe it or not, when I first started writing about food and wine, sushi wasn’t even on the radar. [click to continue…]