Heirloom tomato & grilled corn salsa, and the wine that loves it

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to go camping with a group of wonderful people.    I wanted to make a good impression, so I brought some homemade salsa (OK, and lots of wine).   It was a hit, and so I have decided to post my recipe.   Take advantage of the amazing summer corn and tomatoes right now… because unfortunately summer won’t last forever.   Sad, sad…   now I need a glass of wine.

Heirloom tomato & grilled corn salsa

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3 large heirloom tomatoes, diced
2 ears of sweet white corn
1 poblano pepper
1 cup red onion, diced
3/4 cup diced cilantro
1 lime – juiced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons paprika
1 tablespoon smoked sea salt

Preheat grill. Shuck corn completely, rub with olive oil and paprika. Grill corn until browned and slightly charred in spots – about 20 minutes, turning every 4 minutes. Grill poblano pepper until skin blisters, about 10 minutes. Once corn has cooled to room temperature, cut kernels off cob. Once poblano pepper has cooled to room temperature, peel off the skin and dice. Mix corn kernels, poblano pepper, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lime and sea salt. Strain salsa in fine mesh strainer before putting into jars/containers. Serve with tortilla chips, or grilled fish.

Now for the wine!

I thought this salsa paired really well with Round Pond’s 2013 Rosato di Nebbiolo.   It is a delicious, light, crisp rose.   A friend of mine (Ashley , I’m looking at you) will not drink rose but actually purchased a bottle of this wine when we went to the winery.   Style – dry.   Color – very light pinkish/orange.   Flavors – ripe strawberries, apple, grapefruit and melon.   Perfect bite on the finish.    This is an awesome wine to pair with salads… and salsa!

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$24/bottle (Yes it is over $20.   Yes, it is worth every penny)


Grand Slam!

Zoodle Pad Thai, and the wine that loves it

My parents got me some kitchen utensils as a birthday gift, including a vegetable spiralizer aka zoodle maker!   http://www.crateandbarrel.com/spirelli-spiral-slicer/s187764

I consume enough carbohydrates in the form of wine, and I do love pasta but try to avoid excessive carbs in the form of food.   I also really enjoy veggies, especially while so many are in season in the summer.   Pad Thai is my ultimate weakness, so I decided to try to make zoodle “Pad Thai”.   Recipe and wine pairing below:

Pad Thai Sauce

1 tablespoons tamarind paste, mixed with 1/2 cup of warm water (which makes tamarind juice)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup palm sugar

Mix together all sauce ingredients in saucepan, cook over low heat for 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Zoodle Pad Thai

2 carrots
4 small zucchini
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
2 eggs
1 small red chili, seeded and diced – optional (or you can use 1 tablespoon red curry paste)
1 cup sliced green onion – just the green part
4 cups bean sprouts
2 cups crushed peanuts
Pad Thai Sauce
1 lime

Using a spiralizer, twist carrots and zucchini into “zoodles”

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In a wok or large frying pan, saute garlic and shallots in vegetable oil on medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until garlic/shallots start to brown. Raise heat to high, add eggs, scramble until eggs start to brown. Add red chili or red curry (add more if you like it spicy!), zoodles, green onion, bean sprouts, peanuts and 1 cup of pad thai sauce. Cook for 2-3 minutes.   Serve with lime wedges.

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One of my favorite white wines to pair with Asian cuisine is a dry or slightly off-dry gewurztraminer.   Hook and Ladder makes an insanely delicious one…   notes of lychee, stonefruit, and meyer lemon.  The ripe and juicy fruit makes it a nice pairing with spicy dishes.

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$18/bottle at Whole Foods – or stop by the winery in Santa Rosa!


Grand Slam!

2012 OZV Old Zin Vines Zinfandel Lodi

Remember Gushers, those fruit snacks that had the ooey goey super fruity center?    Well, if I had a craving for Gushers I would open this Zinfandel instead.   Lots of California Zinfandels are fruit forward, but this one approaches Aussie Shiraz territory.   Massive ripe raspberry, strawberry flesh and a woody chocolate finish.   Now, I did just compare this wine with Aussie Shiraz but please note that this is MUCH softer.   Not much structure/backbone….   There is literally no bite or spice on the back end, just a dollop of juicy fruit fused with creamy chocolately oak.   I would pair this wine with buffalo wings smothered in blue cheese.

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Single for me.   Triple for those of you who love ripe, juicy zins.


2012 The White Knight Pinot Grigio – Lodi

I had a light dinner tonight (Quinoa and vegetables.   Not spiked with bacon.   Did add pecorino romano cheese.)  so I wanted a white wine that was lightweight with nice acidity.   Pinot Grigio usually fits that description.   Pear, and granny smith apple on the nose, with lemon peel and grapefruit on the mouthfeel.   Definitely some nice minerality and balance.   This wine would be great with lighter dishes – grilled fish and salads.   And it was a great match with my veggie quinoa!

white knight




2011 Hey Mambo Sultry Red – California

Gotta love it when a label on a bottle describes a wine… Sultry!   Lets see if this wine lives up to its label.   The blend in this - Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zindandel, Merlot, Tannat (really?), Cab Franc, Alicante (really?!) and Tempranillo.   Wow.   Certainly smells ripe and rich.  Lots of spices and fruit are competing for my nose but getting mostly raspberry and burnt caramel.   On to the first sip…   tastes like berries laced with pepper and baking spices.   Very juicy mouthfeel and finish.   More competing flavors on the finish, but I think this finishes like a zin.   A bit jammy, and slightly spicy.  Definitely sultry and seductive…  a nice blend at a very good price!



$8.99/bottle at K&L Wine Merchants


2008 H&G Priorat Red Blend

Priorat is my favorite wine region in Spain, lots of nice Grenache-based blends from the area.   The H&G is a robust, spicy one with oodles of ripe black cherry and strawberry.   I also tasted a bit of vanilla bean and got some black pepper on the finish.   Slightly earthy, not a fruit bomb.   This would be a very nice food wine (perfect with manchengo cheese!) or great on its own as well.   Highly recommended…. if you can find it!

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$14/bottle at Whole Foods

Home Run

2012 Skouras Anassa – Greece

I am not very familiar with Greek wines, this may be the first one I’ve ever written about!  Which is probably why the primary grape in this blend- moschofilero – was also new to me.    Moschofilero is native to Greece and I can’t really compare it to any other white wine grapes.   There’s also Viognier blended in – 30%.   Very aromatic – lots of peach coming through on the nose and some lemon and floral notes as well.      Mouthfeel is yummy with lots of citrus and a bit of spice.   Great acidity on the finish, I was afraid this would be a bit too sweet because of the stong stonefruit on the nose but that was not the case.

The wine was delicious paired with shrimp tacos, it is a great seafood wine and nice with spicy dishes as well.   I’ll be looking out for moschofilero… would really like to try it on its own without the Viognier (though this blend was quite tasty!).

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On sale for $11.99/bottle at Whole Foods (regularly $15/bottle)



2011 Old School Rouge – France

As usual, most the bottles in my current collection are “save for a special occasion” bottles… this is becoming an issue so my friends and I have taken to inventing special occasions on a random Monday just so we can open our nice bottles.   But, I picked this one up to try.   The blend was not specified on the bottle, but it was really gamey, dark, and spicy on the nose.   The mouthfeel was full of white pepper with lots of black fruit and the finish…  bone dry.   Not quite what I expected!   The meaty nose was definitely intriguing, but it finished a bit bitter.   Kind of similar to taking a spoonful of cocoa powder.   Maybe it needs more time in the bottle, or the fruit just isn’t ripe enough for me.

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2012 Sequin Pinot Grigio

This may be one of the cutest bottles I’ve ever seen!   Love polka dots.   Summer may officially be over, but with the warm weather this week why not open a summer wine?  Sniff…   pear, sweet orange, green apple and sugar.   Seriously, this smells sweet!   Unexpected for a Pinot Grigio.   The mouthfeel is very bright and juicy.   Losta residual sugar on the finish.   This finishes like a moscato.

My friend Mandy (Grapedeals’ photographer!) noted that the wine paired well with raspberries so she put raspberries in the glass and loved the combination!  This is a fun, very light wine that would be popular with those who love wine spritzers.   Poolside, for pre-gaming in the limo or for baby showers (there’s a rose – pink polka dots!   and a Moscato with with blue polka dots!   and green for “we don’t know yet”).

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Spectator… you’re just having fun at the game!

2012 Ponzi Vineyards Pinot Gris Willamette Valley

Its approximately 100 degrees outside, time for a glass of chilled white wine!  Preferably with lots of tropical fruit and a clean finish.

I tried Ponzi Pinot Noir years ago, but had never tried their Pinot Gris.   It smells fresh and tropical, with pineapple and lime.   Some kiwi too!   Citrusy mouthfeel with a touch of sweetness (like… sugared Meyer lemon) on the finish.   Tasty.   Totally a day-drinking white wine.   A great substitute if you’re getting weary of Sauvignon Blanc (wait… is that possible?).    I paired it with grilled shrimp but this will also be good with an heirloom tomato salad.   Or guacamole.  Or coconut shrimp.   Anything summery.

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