Thursday, December 17, 2009

My First Wine Blog

Losing My Wine Blogging Virginity

There is always a bit of nervousness when doing anything for the first time and I am sure there will be a good measure of "do they like it", "I am doing it right" for a few posts but hopefully everyone that reads along will appreciate the effort and the intention to please. The blogs will likely be a combination of both food and drink. While my vinous pursuits are my vocation, we can afterall survive - albeit in a more boring manner or is that simply sobriety - without drink. The same can't be said of food. I've been inspired by some local Halifax food bloggers such as Chef Renee Lavallee (, Kristen Pickett ( and Heather Chase ( to get jazzed up about food and wine again. Heather and I have team up on her site. She does the food and I do the wine - its a lot of fun.

I have a feeling this renewed enthusiasm will spill into my day job - at least the editing part of the equation. The realities of the modern magazine world is that I spend as much time selling advertising as I do writing articles.

I've been doing some odd outside writing jobs this fall (definitely not the pay) - mostly for the creative outlet of it all. Here are a couple abbreviated versions that I've done for Snap Magazine. The first is about celebrating the season with local flavour while the other is my recipe for squash and pear risotto.

Celebrating Local Flavour, In a Snap

I'm sure I am doomed for an afterlife in one of Dante's rings of hell as my addictions in life are coffee, wine and local food.

I'll discuss my coffee addictions in a later piece but for now let's talk about incorporating local flavour ino your holiday celebrations. For the record, I consider Canadian local if not in a geographic sense but in a supporting our own kind of way. Here are my top 5 seasonal and local food and wine pairings.

L'Acadie Vineyards Brut with Shandolph Oysters
Thirty Bench Riesling with thinly sliced baked ham
Le Clos Jordanne Villages Pinot Noir with Nova Scotia turkey
Blomidon Estate Reserve Chardonnay with boiled lobster served with drawn butter
Benjamin Bridge Borealis Icewine with Tarte Tatin (Nova Scotia apples of course)

Roast Winter Squash and Pear Risotto
Paired with Marques de Murrieta Yqay Capellania White Rioja or Marques de Casa Concha Chardonnay

5 cups 1 cm cubed butternut squash pieces
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 pear, diced
1 cup Arborio rice
4 cups chicken stock
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup white wine
3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1/2 cup grated Parmiggiano Reggiano
1/4 teaspoon all-spice
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Place cubed squash in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
2.Place squash in oven preheated to 400F. Roast for 35 minutes.
3. Remove squash from oven and set aside.
4.Place chicken stock in a pot and place over medium-low heat.
5.Place a second pot over medium-low heat and add remaining olive oil. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add garlic and saute until fragrant (approximately 30 seconds).
6. Add arborio rice and saute ensuring grains are evenly covered in olive oil.
7. Increase the heat to medium and add white wine. When rice fully absorbs the wine add a ladle of warm stock. When the rice has fully absorbed the stock, repeat the process a ladle at a time until the stock is gone.
8. Add the Parmiggiano, diced, pear, squash and sage. Stir until well incorporated.
9. Season with pepper and a touch of salt (remember the cheese is salty so it will act as a seasoning agent).
10. Serve with a White Rioja or oaked Chardonnay.

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