Good Wine. Good Friends. Good Life.
It’s the holiday season. Let the revelry commence!
In this, the final issue of 2014, we thought a respite from the cares of business might be fun. What better way than to showcase our wonderful friends at the Good Life Wine Collective, who have generously offered a peek into their amazing wines and exclusive wine clubs – plus a few recommendations about what menus might complement these great wines (recipes included).
And if you had a hunch there was more to this story, you were right. Co-owned by Vance Thompson, MD, a renowned ophthalmologist, the Good Life Wine Collective donates 20% of the cost of each 20/20 club shipment to SightLife – the only non-profit global health organization focused exclusively on eliminating corneal blindness in the U.S and around the world.*
We applaud their commitment and amazing generosity, and we appreciate their offerings of small-lot, handcrafted wines, which together, deliver both joy and hope.
Best wishes for joy, hope and a most wonderful holiday season from all of us Ceatus!
* Should you decide to purchase any of these wines, be sure to mention Ceatus, as 10% of every purchase – and 20% of each purchase made by those who purchase a 20/20 Club membership – goes to SightLife. Ceatus clients also get a discount on shipping on orders of 12 bottles or more. Please call 888.537.7879 to place your order or visit www.goodlifewinecollective.com.
1. Crab Bisque with 2013 Jessup Cellars Carneros Chardonnay
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Home
When pairing a creamy, decadent dish like bisque with wine, it is important to consider the body and texture of the dish and of the wine. In this case, the full, rich body of the 2013 Jessup Cellars Carneros Chardonnay has the substance to stand up to the bisque, making both taste delicious without overwhelming the palate. Remember that temperature matters too! Serve your Chardonnay at cellar temp (55˚F – 60˚F), which is slightly warmer than you may be used to, and you will experience more of the wine’s nuance and texture.
- 1-2lb Dungeness crab (cooked and meat removed)
- ½ Tbs sunflower oil
- 2 large shallots minced
- 3 cups fish stock
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
- 1/3 cup Marsala or Madeira wine
- Fresh tarragon and flat-leaf parsley torn into small pieces
In a large cast iron soup pan, melt the butter with the oil. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent. Add the stock and cream and season with salt and pepper – bring to a simmer.
Once the liquid begins to reduce, lower the heat and stir in the crabmeat. Stir for five minutes and then add the wine, stir again for five minutes. Add more salt and pepper to taste, serve and garnish with fresh herbs.
2. Tea-Smoked Duck with 2009 Jessup Cellars “Juel”
Merlot – the primary component of Jessup Cellars’ flagship blend, Juel – may contain the molecular compound beta-ionone, which has the fragrance of violets and is compatible with black tea. The ‘tea-smoked’ component of this dish thus creates a molecular bridge from the food to the wine. This relatively simple recipe produces an impressive result and sophisticated pairing with the elegant Juel.
- 2 1lb duck breasts with skin on
- 2 Tbs medium dry sherry
- 1 Tbs soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
- 1 Tbs Sichuan peppercorns
- 3 tsp kosher salt
- 1/3 cup black tea leaves
- 1/3 cup white, brown or wild rice
- 3 Tbs dark brown sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick broken into pieces
- 1 tsp canola oil
Use a sharp knife to cut a crosshatch pattern in the skin of the duck; pat the skin dry.
Combine rice wine, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and pour over duck breasts in a small container, skin side up. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Remove from the marinade and pat dry.
Toast peppercorns with salt in a dry, small, heavy skillet over moderately low heat until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Coarsely grind mixture and rub onto the duck. Let stand for one hour.
Line the bottom of your wok and the inside of the lid with a double layer of heavy duty foil, leaving a 3-inch overhang along the edges.
Stir together tea leaves, rice, brown sugar and cinnamon; spread on the bottom of the wok.
Invert rack and set in wok.
Heat a heavy skillet over moderately high heat, add canola oil. Add duck breasts, skin side down; sear until the skin is deep golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer the duck breasts, skin side up, to the center of the rack in the wok.
Heat wok, uncovered, over high heat until steady smoke appears. Reduce heat and cover, crimping the edges of tin foil to seal tightly.
Smoke for 8 minutes. Remove the wok from the heat and let stand covered for 10 minutes. Let duck stand on the cutting board for an additional 10 minutes.
Cut the breasts across the grain into thin slices.
3. Chimichurri Sauce and The 2010 Jessup Cellars Table for Four
Adapted from www.williams-sonoma.com
The rich body and lush tannins of the 2010 Jessup Cellars Table for Four seem to call out for perfectly cooked red meat, but did you know that how you cook the beef and whether you are selecting grain- or grass-fed beef matters to the ultimate success of the pairing? The act of grilling grass-fed beef produces several aromatic compounds – compounds which can then be paired with aromatic spices like those in this chimichurri sauce. All of this flavor demands a similarly bold Cabernet Sauvignon that has experienced oak aging; enter the Table for Four.
- 1 ½ cups firmly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 8 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 Tbs fresh oregano leaves
- ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Coarse sea salt or kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes **optional
- 3 Tbs white wine vinegar (you can also experiment with using lemon juice instead of vinegar)
Finely chop parsley, garlic and oregano (or throw it all in a food processor). Combine the parsley mixture with the olive oil in a small mixing bowl. Add salt, black pepper and red pepper to taste. Just before serving add the vinegar. The mixture may be refrigerated for a couple of hours but be sure to bring it back to room temp before serving.
Choose your favorite cut of meat (we love flank and hangar steak for our chimichurri) and throw it on the grill with a simple salt and pepper rub, and cook to your preferred temperature. Drizzle the chimichurri over your meat, chicken, grilled asparagus, roasted potatoes or really anything else you can think of! This may just be our favorite summer condiment!
4. Chanterelle Toast and The 2012 Humanitas Rio Vista Vineyard Pinot Noir
Adapted from Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse Vegetables
The 2012 Humanitas Rio Vista Vineyard Pinot Noir displays a rustic yet bold character. Earth, leather and fresh dark berries are the hallmarks of Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir. Our favorite pairing for this Pinot Noir happens to also be the simplest to understand – the chanterelle mushrooms in this dish lend earthy and rich flavors that mirror those in the wine. Make this your featured hors d’oeuvres at your next holiday party.
- 1lb chanterelles
- 3 shallots
- 1 clove garlic
- 1tbsp butter
- Salt & pepper
- ¼ cup crème fraîche
- Slices of fresh sourdough bread
Finely chop shallots, garlic and 2 tbs of parsley. Add cleaned chanterelles to heated butter in a sauté pan. Add the shallots and garlic until just melted but not burned. Add the crème fraîche and reduce heat to a simmer, allow to reduce.
Top grilled bread with mushrooms and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve warm.
5. Szechwan Dumplings and The 2011 Humanitas Willy’s Vineyard Zinfandel
The 2011 Humanitas Willy’s Vineyard Zinfandel is the perfect match for the spice in these unctuous Szechwan dumplings. Like young whiskies aged in-barrel and softened by the vanilla flavors of American oak, an American oak-aged wine like Zinfandel may temper the capsaicin in the food. It is also key to serve the wine at cellar temperature (55˚F-60˚F) and the dish lukewarm so as not to enhance the heat of the spice.
For the filling:
- 1 small, boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1/3 lb raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 1 egg white
- 2 green onions, minced
- ¼ cup water chestnuts, minced
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 thin slices fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
- ½ teaspoon hot chili oil*
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- ½ tablespoon soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon water
- 1 package wonton wrappers
For the sauce:
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- 2 green onions, chopped fine
- 2 thin slices fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons water
- 4 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons hot chili oil*
- 4 teaspoons white vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
Chop the raw chicken and shrimp until finely minced, then mix together with egg white. Stir in the green onion, water chestnuts, cornstarch, ginger, hot chili oil, salt, sugar, soy sauce, and water.
Place about ½ to ¾ tablespoon filling in the center of each wonton wrapper. Moisten edges of wrapper with water. Fold into a triangle, bring edges together, and pinch to seal, forming a crescent-shaped dumpling. Place dumplings on a cookie sheet dusted with cornstarch. Can be held for one hour in the refrigerator, or frozen at this point. (Frozen dumplings can be added directly to boiling water. No need to thaw.)
To make the sauce, combine all ingredients in a saucepan and heat until warm.
Bring a large amount of water to a boil. Drop in dumplings one at a time. Cook until dumplings rise to surface and float for 30 seconds. Drain well in colander. Toss with the sauce. Serve immediately.
Makes approximately 40 dumplings
*If you can’t find chili oil, it’s easy to make your own – heat 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper in a saucepan with about ¼ cup oil, simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes, strain to remove the seeds and flakes.
6. Braised Italian sausages with prosciutto and the 2011 Humanitas Reid Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s pork recipes
Rosemary shares the same volatile compounds also found in eucalyptus. The 2011 Humanitas Reid Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon contains a faint scent of eucalyptus which makes dishes containing rosemary a natural companion molecularly speaking. When it comes down to it, rich pork sausages and Cabernet Sauvignon just sound delicious together. Are we right?
- 1 cup lentils
- Bouquet garni
- 2 fresh heirloom tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 Tbs red wine vinegar
- Olive oil (we recommend Talcott olive oil from the Napa Valley)
- 2-2.5 lbs Italian sausages (the kind that comes rolled up like a wheel)
- Fresh rosemary
- 10 slices prosciutto
Cover rinsed lentils with water in a casserole, add bouquet garni. Add squashed tomatoes and garlic cloves, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer 30min – 1hr until lentils are soft but not mushy. Remove the bouquet garni and tomatoes and drain the cooking liquid. Dress with red wine vinegar and 5-6 Tbs olive oil. Smash the garlic cloves and return them to the casserole. Season with salt and pepper.
Rub sausages with olive oil and grill over medium heat. After 15 minutes and once the sausages are nearly done, place them on a cool part of the grill, top with rosemary sprigs and drizzle with olive oil. Crisp the prosciutto on the grill.
Spoon lentils into a large dish and top with sausages and crispy prosciutto.
7. Lamb Tagine with Prunes and The 2011 Handwritten ‘Three Words’
Adapted from Food & Wine’s Best Recipes of 2006
The exotic flavors in this dish will beautifully compliment the complexity of the 2011 Handwritten Three Words. Sometimes the best way to pair a wine with a food is to identify a few characteristic flavors and aromas in the wine, and then select a dish with the same or similar flavors and aromatics. In this case, the ‘Three Words’ is layered with sweet spice, rose-petal and dark plum. We love these flavors and aromas paired with the ginger, honey, saffron and cooked prunes in this sweet and savory dish.
- 2 tsp sesame seeds
- 3 Tbs sunflower oil
- 3 lbs boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into 2 ½ inch cubes
- 1 sweet onion, halved
- 1 bunch of cilantro
- 1 cinnamon stick broken in half
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
- Pinch of saffron threads
- 4 ½ cups water
- 3 cups pitted prunes, cut in half
- 1 Tbs raw honey
Decant a bottle of 2011 Handwritten Three Words. Toast sesame seeds in a dry pan until golden. In a large cast iron casserole combine oil, lamb, onion, cilantro tied in a bunch with kitchen twine, cinnamon, ginger, saffron, a healthy pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, and the water, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 ½ hours until the lamb is tender, skimming 4-5 times. Remove the onion, cilantro and cinnamon stick. Add the prunes and simmer for 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon transfer the lamb and prunes to a serving dish, cover to stay warm. Boil to reduce the cooking liquid, add the honey and continue to boil for five minutes. Pour the liquid over the lamb, sprinkle with sesame seeds, season with Kosher salt and pepper to taste and serve with a fresh French baguette and glass of ‘Three Words’.
8. Juniper & Maple Ribeye Steaks and The 2010 Handwritten Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford
Adapted from Cooking with Shelburne Farms
Not too much needs to be said about this juicy, flavorful steak paired with the elegance of the 2010 Handwritten Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford, other than, try it tonight! Our one geeky note: Beware of juniper’s ability to highlight iodine in food and wine – which brings us to selecting the right salt for the right time. May we be so bold as to insist that there is never a right time for iodized salt? Stick to kosher for cooking and flaked sea salt for finishing.
- 10 juniper berries, crushed or ground in a spice grinder
- 1 tbs gin
- 3 tbs pure maple syrup (Grade B preferred)
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 fresh rosemary sprig
- 1 ½ lb ribeye steaks
- 2 tbs unsalted butter
Whisk together juniper berries, gin, maple syrup, 1 tsp of salt and rosemary sprig. Place steaks in the marinade and refrigerate for one hour, turning after 30 minutes. Prepare the barbeque grill at medium high heat. Remove steaks from the marinade and pat dry. Season the steaks with the remaining salt. Grill for 4-5 minutes per side for a medium rare interior. Reduce the reserved marinade in a small saucepan, remove from the heat and swirl in the butter. Allow steaks to rest for at least ten minutes, then slice across the grain and drizzle with the sauce.
9. Wild Mushroom Risotto and The 2011 Handwritten Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap
Courtesy of Kit Gilbert, Director of Hospitality & Membership, Handwritten Wines
The 2011 Handwritten Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap, is a very special and nuanced wine that deserves a dish as decadent and packed with umami as this wild mushroom risotto. The three most important aspects of making a sound risotto: stir constantly, add the liquid slowly, and serve immediately. To make this a true pièce de la résistance, serve it topped with duck confit or roasted quail.
- 4 quarts of filtered water
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 large carrots
- 1 stalk of celery
- 1 large heirloom tomato (only if they’re in season)
- 1 large leek
- 4 large Cremini mushrooms
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- Bunch of rosemary and thyme tied together with kitchen twine
- Whole pink peppercorns & kosher salt
- Dry white wine (only cook with a wine that you would drink)
Combine the above ingredients and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Strain and reserve four cups of liquid, bring to a low simmer.
- 1 Tbs sunflower oil
- 2 Tbs fresh butter
- 2 shallots
- ¾ cup Arborio rice
- 1 lb mixed wild mushrooms – lobster, shiitake, trumpet…anything you like
- Heavy cream
- Freshly grated Parmesan and Asiago cheeses
In a skillet, heat 1 Tbs butter, add mushrooms and sauté until just brown. Set aside.
Heat sunflower oil and sauté shallots until transparent over low heat, turn heat to medium-high and add the Arborio rice. While stirring constantly, add ½ cup of the reserved stock. Only add the next ½ cup when the first has absorbed completely. Once all of the liquid has been added, remove from the heat and immediately stir in the mushrooms, cream, 1 Tbs butter, 1/3 cup of the combined grated cheeses, and season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Serve immediately with a bottle of 2011 Handwritten Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap.
Ask the experts
Q I like to include pictures in my blog posts. Is it a problem if I copy images from other spots on the Web and use them in my posts, if I just use them in one article?
A Copying and using images that you do not own or do not have a license for is playing with fire. If you get caught by Getty or the other image companies, typically the cost is upwards of $1,000 per unlicensed image. This is also a good reason to use a qualified company to maintain your website — one that has a policy and restrictions against the use of unlicensed images.