|Fresh basil, the base of good pesto.|
What do you like best about winemakers' dinners? What's your most memorable moment from a dinner with the winemakers? What recommendations do you have for the winemakers to make it an unforgettable evening?
|Hawaii Kai Palm Island Premium all natural|
sea salt,sprinkled on the pasta before serving,
provides a burst of flavor to the Penne Pesto
that enhances the fruit characteristics of
Blue-Merle's Mourvedre wine.
Is it possible for a wine made from grapes to have a strawberry nose? We asked New York's Scent Sommelier Kelly Jones to review the wine in April 2014 and this is what she wrote. "Yes I had strawberry. But it was a white strawberry. These rare berries yield a tartness that is at once creamy and smooth, with juicy flavor that spills across the tongue in luscious delight. There is a slight accord of the green leaf from the white strawberry fields, and a hint even of the precious seeds as they burst with inspiration from your vineyard. The essence of white strawberry is Blue Merle Mourvedre. The stuff of magic!"
And why pair it with penne pesto? The strong garlic, fragrant basil and salt frame the fruit of the Mourvedre. It is a lovely combination, especially with the pesto enhanced with the Hawaii Kai Palm Island Premium all-natural sea salt, which provides a burst of flavor and electrolytes that accent the fruit of the wine.
We held a dress rehearsal of the winemakers' dinner last Sunday, and sampled each other's dishes and wines. It was fabulous, as judged by the slow productivity Monday morning. I can think of no better way to spend a Sunday evening than with fellow winemakers, their favorite dishes and their favorite wines.
(Editor's Note: The Hidden Valley Enoteca closed in February 2014 but you can still purchase the Mourvedre wine direct from Blue-Merle Winery. Here's the recipe for the pesto pasta.)
Blue-Merle Winery Pesto Penne Recipe
Ingredients to serve six (very hungry winemakers):
8 oz fresh basil leaves
6 cloves garlic (or more to taste)
6 Table spoons olive oil (or a little more to taste)
6 teaspoons Parmesan cheese (or Romano to taste)
3 oz pine nuts (other nuts, such as almonds or walnuts may be added to taste)
2 lbs. penne pasta
Hawaii Kai all-natural red sea salt (add to taste just before serving).
1 bottle Blue-Merle Winery 2009 Mourvedre
Boil water for pasta. As water heats, in a CuisineArt, food processor or blender mince the garlic. Next, add olive oil, pine nuts then blend. (You may add other nuts to the mix such as almonds, macadamias, or walnuts to vary the flavor to taste.) Next, add the basil leaves (washed and dried) to the mix and blend. Finally, add Parmesan cheese to taste and blend.
Cook pasta and strain. Add the pesto mix to the pasta and stir. Just before serving, sprinkle the Hawaii Kai Palm Island Premium nautral sea salt to taste to set the stage for contrasting flavors of the wine's "fruit" vs. the savory, salty pesto (Note: add the salt carefully -- do not over salt.)
Open the bottle of Blue-Merle wine and pour a glass. Inhale the aromas. Do you notice the strawberry? What fruit do you detect? Next, swirl the glass and smell again. Take a sip -- do you notice the strong fruit flavor? Next, have a healthy bite of the pesto pasta. Do you notice the garlic, the crunch of the salt? Then, take another sip of the wine. How has the wine changed with the food? How does the pairing taste to you? The winemaker (and Bluey the Aussie wine dog) love the combination.