Red, White, & Blues

June 30th, 2009 by Jeff

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Wines featured in today’s show:

Recommended food pairings from The Som:

Zinfandel was brought to this country either by early Italian setters or early Croatian settlers.  There is much discussion on where the Zinfandel grape originated.  Speculation is that in came from Italy where the grape is known as Primitivo,  or possibly Croatia where they call it Crljenak Kastelanski.  It does not really matter because the only place where it blows people away is California.  Please see our previous episode on Zinfandel for more info on this great American grape.

I feel like we are beginning to repeat ourselves, but as you may have gleaned from episode  #32, steak works very well with Zin.  Thanksgiving dinner is a wonderful Zin pairing as well, as the meal has lots of flavor components, and a big, juicy, slightly spicy Zinfandel helps everything pop a bit.  It’s the cranberry sauce in a glass.

When wine was trying to re-establish itself after prohibition, the wine-makers and vineyard owners used the great wines of France as a model, and you don’t get any greater than the white wines of Burgundy where the Chardonnay grape is both king and queen.  Fortunately, Chardonnay seems to do quite nicely in the near flawless climate of the Napa Valley.  Add a good measure of new oak barrel to them and bingo…you have your now famous California Chardonnay.  Full bodied, loaded with tropical fruits (like pineapple and banana), and the oak barrel adds a vanilla and coconut tint.  The old school versions of these are not very food friendly as they are so rich they are almost a meal by themselves.   As consumers began to tire of that style, vineyards only used oak to add nuance, and they began picking the grapes slightly before they became over-ripe in order to retain acidity.  Heck, nowadays many see no oak at all, leaving a crisper, juicier version great for summer dining.  These more reserved Chards are very food friendly and can be used for almost anything:  grilled fish, roasted chicken, lobster, crab, or grilled cheese sandwiches.  One key tip I have discoverd: Chardonnay works great with anything having to do with corn or mustard.  Try it and be blown away!

Screaming Blue Meanie Recipe:

  • 3 shots any distilled vodka
  • 2 shot DeKuyper’s Island Punch Pucker (I went a little light in the show and only did 1)
  • 2 shots lemon sour

Mix well with  ice in a martini shaker and serve in a chilled glass.   You can change the measurements above to fit your taste (e.g. add more Pucker to make sweeter).   For the 4th of July, you can serve it with a slice of star fruit, or  a cherry to add a little red to the blue.  Watch out…these go down easy.  Recommend you don’t drive if you drink more than 1 an hour.

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