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Wine and Food Pairing

Happy Taco Tuesday!

Happy Taco Tuesday! Today we’ve got a quick and easy taco dinner board recipe and wine pairing for you to share with your friends and family.

wine and tacos

What you’ll need:

  • Soft/Crunchy tortilla’s (we love Old El Paso’s Stand N Stuff tortillas for easy building and serving!)

  • Onions

  • Meat of choice

  • Taco seasoning

  • Cheese

  • Lettuce

  • Tomatoes

  • Salsa

  • Sour cream

  • Guacamole

  • Cilantro

  • Limes

  • Jalapeño peppers

  • Tortilla chips

Serving board, preferably one that is round with raised sides. This one is beautiful, durable and budget friendly!

taco tuesday

How you’ll do it:

Start with your serving board – lay down some parchment paper and place a bowl with shredded lettuce and tomatoes in the center.

Place smaller bowls around the center bowl and fill them with salsa, guac, jalapeño’s and sour cream. Make sure to leave room for your tortilla shells around the outside.

Take your taco meat of choice and cook with a medium onion and add your favorite seasoning. Fill the taco shells with meat and cheese and bake for 5 minutes.

Place your tacos around the outside of the board around the bowls placed in the center.

Place tortilla chips to fill in any empty spaces (and have an extra bowl to the side with more chips, because who only has a few?)

Last but certainly not least – serving some wine with your taco board. This will depend on the kind of meat you used for your tacos, so we came prepared with pairings for a few different kinds!

If you’re doing fish tacos: citrusy whites tend to be best, but depending on the taco, you might be able to try a red. If you prefer wines with a touch more body and fruit, try some Sauvignon Blanc. It tends to have a mix of citrus and tropical flavors and a zippy herbal quality that’s tasty with cilantro. If you’re going for a grilled fish, like salmon, the red cherry fruit in lighter styles of California Pinot Noir works well. A hint if spicy oak can pair nicely with the char.

If you’re doing pork tacos: try Zinfandel or a new work Pinot Noir. Spicy, seasoned pork screams for a fruit forward red to accompany the meat’s robust flavors, yet one with enough acidity to cut through the taco’s richness. The acidity of a new world Pinot Noir will give the pairing a lighter, more on-it’s-feet feel, where as Zinfandel’s signature spice and juicy mouthfeel create a lush, succulent pairing for the pork.

If you’re doing steak tacos: Malbec! Malbec’s rich, fruit-forward palate and robust tannins pair gorgeously with the fat and spice of grilled steak.

If you’re doing ground beef tacos: Grab a bottle of Grenache for this one. The blend’s spicy, dark fruit flavors and medium tannins are a perfect match for seasoned ground beef.

Interested in making your own wine? Give us a call at 877-812-1137 to discuss how to make your very own wine at home!

Valentine’s Day Candy & Wine Pairings

Cupid is just around the corner, and we’ve got the perfect candy and wine pairings for you and your valentine to try this Valentine’s Day! (Or, for you to try the day after Valentine’s Day when all the candy is 50% off.)

Candy Hearts and Sauvignon Blanc – A light, crisp Wooden Valley California Sauvignon Blanc won’t over-power this lightly flavored, semi-sweet candy.

Chocolate Covered Marshmallows and Tawny Port – Tawny Port from Portugal is perfect with these heart shaped goodies, because a wine with too high of an acidity will curdle the chocolate which has milk in it and this port is low in acid.

Ferrero Rocher & Chardonnay – A bottle of Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay would be the perfect pairing to this classic gifting chocolate. The hazelnut qualities of this Chardonnay will shine a spotlight on the nut, while the creamy quality of the wine will stand up to the chocolate.

Lindt White Chocolate Lindor Truffles and Rosé – A bottle of Empathy’s Rosé would go great with these creamy little balls of heaven. The creaminess of the white chocolate allows the wine’s fruity notes of watermelon and strawberries to pop.

Want to try this with your own Wine? Musto Wine Grape Company is here to help! We are New England’s largest supplier for home winemaking products and services. We can get you set up with all of your juice, grape and equipment needs and have you on track to making your own perfect pairing for next fall! Visit juicegrape.com or give us a call at (877) 812 – 1137 to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you!

Super Bowl Party Food Guide

Super Bowl Party Guide

superbowl

It’s that time of year again. The sound of grown people screaming at the TV. Watching grown men chasing each other over a ball, you can probably guess its super bowl season again. So we’ve put together a guide for some super bowl foods and what to pair with them to win the party on game day.

Pregame Wine

We all like to get together and pre-game for the big game! It’s nice to have a smooth and easy sipper to enjoy with friends while getting ready for the big event. One of our traditions is to watch the Puppy Bowl, as an adorable warm up to the big game. What goes better with good friends and adorable puppies than a sweet refreshing glass of Moscato? Rosabianca Moscato has delicious honeysuckle, orange, and pear notes and that make it a refreshing and delicious glass of wine.

7 layer dip

This ultimate combination of Mexican flavors including refried beans, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, tomatoes, green onions, and black olives is a classic dip that’s easy to make. The best part is it can be made ahead of time, stored in the refrigerator, and served cold or at room temperature (LINK to 7 layer dip)

Rose Vineyards’ Symphony wine is the perfect wine to pair with this dip. This white wine is from one of CT’s newest wineries! This new, coming varietal has refreshing pineapple, citrus and tropical fruit notes that will quench the spices within the 7 layer dip. All of the great, tongue-tickling fruit flavors within the Symphony wine will pair well with the many flavors of the dip.

French Onion Beef Sliders

This is basically a bit of a fancy slider – delicious and easy to make, this is sure to take the party to the next level. (LINK to French onion beef sliders)

Some folks reach for a big IPA to drink with burgers – and that’s awesome. However, we think that beers with some toasty malts, caramel sweetness, and a dry, clean finish can work wonderfully with these sliders without being too heavy. Try Ommegang’s “My Watch has Ended” Brown Ale or Armada’s “Sorcerer’s Temple” Dunkel Lager.

If you want wine with this one, Try Chamard Winery’s 2015 Syrah – This full bodied Syrah has a rich fruity nose, with firm tannins that will pair well with the rich French onion beef sliders. The savory notes of anise and black pepper will pair perfectly with the intensely savory and rich French Onion style sliders.

Philly cheese steak queso dip

This dip is a party staple; you can’t have a party without it. It’s a unique twist to the dip category, and all the Philly cheese steak lovers will thank you for it. (LINK to the philly cheesesteak queso dip)

For beer, we like a crisper, cleaner, hopped-up, somewhat bitter IPA to cut through the delicious cheesy, fatty goodness of this dip. Try Connecticut Valley Brewing Company’s “Cross Country” IPA or Kent Fall’s Brewing Company’s “Line Aversion” IPA.

For wine, try R. Dee Winery’s Slainte – what’s more quintessential game day food than a Philly cheesteak? Pair this bold Petite Syrah with luscious blackberry and tobacco notes with the cheesy, decadent cheesteak dip. The firm tannins will cut through the rich cheese and refresh your palette to keep you coming back for more.

Bourbon Bacon BBQ Chicken Skewers

There has to be some sort of BBQ chicken at your super bowl party, or it’s really not a super bowl party. Instead of going the traditional route of chicken wings, try these instead. Your guest will really enjoy the mess free convenience of these BBQ chicken skewers. (LINK to the bourbon bacon bbq chicken skewers)

We think you can go in 2 directions with a beer pairing with this one. Something crisp but also a bit smoky can complement the BBQ tastes of this dish like schwarzbiers, rachbiers, etc. You can also go with a smooth, slightly creamy, more delicate IPA that won’t overpower the great flavors of this dish. Try Fox Farm Brewery’s “The Camp” Smoked Lager or New Park Brewery’s “Cloudscape” IPA.

For wine, try Hawk Ridge Winery’s Mad Hawk Spanish style blend – Bold, bright fruit and smooth tannins make this Spanish style wine a delicious accompaniment to BBQ! The fruitiness of the wine will compliment the sweet flavors in the BBQ and the smoother tannins will not over power the chicken. A very fun new wine to try.

Post Game Celebration

When your team brings home the big win, you need to celebrate! Paradise Hill’s Celebration sparkling wine is the perfect accompaniment to any touchdown dance you can come up with. Nothing says victory and rejoice, like a sparkling wine. Try one of CT’s best to celebrate the big Super Bowl win!

Shirley’s White Chocolate Chip Cookies with Moscato d’Asti pairing

Shirley’s White Chocolate Chip Cookies with Moscato d’Asti pairing

White chocolate is delicate and goes well with tangy fruit, so the perfect pairing would be Moscato d’Asti. Moscato d’Asti’s fruity sweetness and the white chocolate’s buttery smoothness pair well due to the bubbles and acidity of the wine cutting through the richness of the chocolate. Drink Moscato d’Asti chilled for optimum experience.

Shirley’s White Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Ingredients:

  • White chocolate chips
  • Bread flour (bread flour yields a chewier cookie. Use all purpose flour if you’d like a firmer cookie)
  • Eggs
  • Brown sugar
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Vanilla extract
  • Baking soda

Instructions:

  • Use a bowl for dry ingredients, mixing the flour, salt, sugar, baking soda and white chocolate chips and set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, mix melted butter, eggs and vanilla until fully combined.
  • Combine wet and dry ingredients together and stir until batter is formed.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cover your cookie sheet with parchment paper and place drops of dough using a scoop, tablespoon or teaspoon – depending on the desired size of your cookies.
  • Bake at 350 for approximately 10-12 minutes, adding or subtracting 2 minutes for smaller and larger cookies.
  • Let cool for 5 or so minutes before removing from cookie sheet and placing on plate or cooling rack.
  • Once cooled, eat and enjoy with your chilled Moscato d’Asti!

 

Want to make your own Moscato d’Asti? Musto Wine Grape Company is New England’s largest supplier for home winemaking products and services. We’ll get you set up with all of your juice, grape and equipment needs and have you on track to making your own perfect pairing. Visit juicegrape.com or give us a call at (877) 812 – 1137 to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you!

Happy Halloween from the Crush Crew!

Happy Halloween from the Crush Crew!

We put together some awesome wine pairings to go with all the Halloween candy you’ll be getting- Uh, I mean your kids will be getting tonight!

We hope everyone has a safe and spooky Halloween.

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Peanut butter cups 

  • Ruby port. The sweet, rich flavors of ruby port will meld great with the chocolate and peanut butter combination. 

Twizzlers

  • Pinot Noir. Since Twizzlers are one of the less intense flavored Halloween candies you’ll encounter, reach for a more delicately flavored. Bright cherry, raspberry, and earthy flavors will be a delicious compliment to Twizzlers.

 Snickers

  • With so many flavors and textures in Snickers, you’ll need a wine that can stand up to it – a high alcohol Syrah that already has aromas of chocolate, tobacco, spice, and stewed fruit is the go-to here.  

 Starburst

  • Beaujolais Nouveau with its high acidity and low tannins, notes of bubblegum, strawberry, and banana, will pair great with the flavors of Starburst.

 Skittles

  • Riesling. High acidity and sweetness will match perfectly with these sweet, fruity chewy candies. 

Butterfingers

  • Chardonnay. A luscious buttery Chardonnay will meet the rich and layered flavors of Butterfingers.

 

Musto Crush Crew’s Sweet Autumn Butternut Squash Soup

During harvest we need some tasty fuel to keep us going. This sweet autumn butternut squash soup is nourishing and fulfilling, sure to satisfy the whole family. As the temperatures drop, we wanted to share this recipe to help keep you warm!

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups of diced butternut squash
  • 1 unpeeled, diced apple
  • 1 unpeeled, diced pear
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic gloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, ½” diced
  • ½ teaspoon of curry powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • Salt & black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts (toasted), 2 tablespoons roasted pumpkin seeds, chives and plain greek yogurt as optional toppings.

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Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the onion. Stir frequently until tender (for about 5 minutes) then stir in the garlic and continue to stir for another minute.
  • Add the squash, apple, pear, curry powder, cinnamon and ginger. Stir.
  • Stir in the broth, increase heat to high. Cover and bring to a boil.
  • Once boiling, reduce heat and maintain at a low boil, covered for 30 minutes.
  • Let cool for about 15 minutes and transfer to a blender (if you do not have an immersion blender). Puree until very smooth. Transfer back into the pot, reheat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with optional toppings.

Pair with  a bottle of Gewurztraminer. This semi-sweet aromatic wine has notes of cinnamon, ginger and honey that compliment the silky and spicy characteristic of this soup.

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Gewurztraminer Recipe + Instructions

  1. First choose if you want to make a sweet wine or a dry wine, as this will dictate a lot of your decisions when making your wine.
  2. Secondly, feel confident in your pronunciation of this delicious variety, as you’ll be telling all of your friends about the great wine you’ve made to be paired with the butternut squash soup. Let’s say it together. Guh-VERTZ-truh-meen-er. That’s right!
  3. Decide if you are going to make wine from fruit, juice, or concentrate. This time of year you’ll need to be making wine from juice or concentrate.
  4. Add pectic enzyme to your juice. This will help with settling and clarifying down the road to ensure a clear and beautiful finished wine.
  5. Pick the yeast of your choosing. Some great options for retaining the fruity, aromatic, perfume-like traits of Gewurztraminer include Alchemy I, Vin 13, QA23, and D47. Rehydrate your yeast using Go-Ferm for best results.
  6. Time to ferment your wine! If you’re using a kit, follow the directions they give you.
  7. If fermenting fresh juice, add Booster Blanc and Opti-White to increase mouth feel and mid-palate intensity.
  8. When you see the Brix drop by 2-3, add Fermaid O to your juice.
  9. Continue checking the Brix each day. When you see a 1/3 drop in the starting number, add Fermaid K to ensure the fermentation remains strong and the yeast have the energy they need.
  10. When alcoholic fermentation is over, rack off the gross lees. Add potassium metabisulfite. This is important, as this is a variety that stylistically does not benefit from malolactic fermentation.
  11. If you want to back sweeten, you can do so. Gewurztraminer can make fantastic dry, semi-sweet, and sweet wines, so you can’t go wrong with whatever you decide!
  12.  For more information about making wine from juice click HERE!

Want to make your own wine for your next pairing? Musto Wine Grape Company is New England’s largest supplier for home winemaking products and services. We’ll get you set up with all of your juice, grape and equipment needs and have you on track to making your own perfect pairing. Visit juicegrape.com or give us a call at (877) 812 – 1137 to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you!

Frank’s Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

chicken-alfredo-pasta-wine-make your own wine

GRILLED CHICKEN FETTUCCINE ALFREDO

For the chicken marinade

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar or fresh lemon juice
  • 2 table spoons fresh chopped herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, parsley)
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Vegetable oil for oiling the grill plate

For the fettuccine and Alfredo sauce

chicken-alfredo-pasta-wine-make your own wine

  • 8 ounces fettuccine pasta
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk, or half and half
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, for garnish

Instructions

To prepare the marinated chicken:

  • Mix all the marinade ingredients together (olive oil, vinegar, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper) in a gallon-size zipper-lock plastic bag. Add the chicken breasts and turn to coat. Refrigerate, turning a few times, for at least 3 hours up to 24 hours.

To grill the chicken (can be made ahead):

  • Preheat gas grill on high with the lid closed for 15 minutes or until very hot. Clean the grill grate with a brush. Using tongs and paper towels soaked in vegetable oil, wipe the grates with the oil to prevent sticking.
  • Turn the heat to medium and grill the chicken for about 6-8 minutes, then turn and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or until clear juices are visible and the chicken is cooked through.
  • Tent the chicken with foil and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Slice and keep warm while preparing the Alfredo sauce. The chicken can also be made ahead of time and refrigerated until needed. If refrigerated, bring the chicken to room temperature for 30-minutes before adding to the sauce. There is no need to rewarm as it will be added to the hot noodles and sauce in the end.

To prepare the sauce:

  • Heat a large pot of water on the stove to cook the fettuccine while preparing the Alfredo sauce
  • Pour 1 cup of milk, ½ cup of heavy cream and the butter in a medium sauce pan. Cook over medium heat until the mixture simmers. Reduce the heat to medium –low and simmer gently until the mixture is reduce to about ¾ cup, about 20 minutes. Off heat, stir in the remaining ½ cup of cream, salt and pepper.
  • Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until done (according to package instructions.) Reserve ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water then drain the pasta. Return the fettuccine back to the large pot and add 2 tablespoons of the reserved pasta water. Toss to coat and cover to keep warm.
  • Return the cream mixture to simmer over medium-high heat, and then reduce to low and add the parmesan cheese. Cook over low heat until the parmesan is melted, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of pasta water to the Alfredo sauce and pour over the cooked fettuccine. Toss the pasta and Alfredo sauce using tongs to mix. The sauce may seem a little thin but will thicken as it cools.
  • Divide the fettuccine between 4 warm bowls and top with ½ a sliced chicken breast on each serving. Serve immediately garnished with chopped parsley leaves, fresh ground pepper and more parmesan if desired.

Notes

Alfredo sauce does not heat well in the microwave. If reheating Alfredo sauce on its own, allow for it to come to room temperature and then add hot pasta or vegetables to the sauce. That should warm it enough. If necessary, you can reheat in the microwave on low power. Do not overheat.

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Wines that pair well with Chicken Alfredo

What you eat impacts the flavor of the wine you are drinking with it, and some wines might even overpower the food you are eating. When pairing your wine with your food, it’s important to balance the flavors of each. Chicken Alfredo is a heavy, creamy and cheesy dish, so you’ll want a heavy, full bodied wine to match.

Pinot Grigio

Pinot grigio from Italy’s Friuli region tends to be acidic and crisp with a pronounced minerality, which pairs well with the creamy, buttery Alfredo sauce. Lanza Pinot Grigio from Suisun Valley California is light and refreshing, with notes of floral, fresh lemon and pear. Its great mouth feel makes it food friendly, and since pinot grigio has a decent amount of acid, it can stand up to the savory personality of the Alfredo sauce without it losing its refreshing flavor.

Barbera

There is no rule book that states you have to pair a white wine with your creamy chicken Alfredo. Red wine definitely has its place next to this dish, and an Italian Barbera is the perfect wine to step outside the box. Since parmesan cheese is prominent in the Alfredo sauce, it can be rather strong on the pallet and Barbera has the high acid content to compliment this savory, cheesy dish.

Chardonnay

As long as it hasn’t been aged in oak, Chardonnay will pair nicely with Chicken Alfredo. Creamy pasta dishes and oaked wine just do not mix. A chardonnay with more restraint is a much better choice. Most Chardonnays have a buttery characteristic which goes perfectly with the buttery flavor of the Alfredo sauce. A great choice would be an unoaked Chardonnay from the Burgundy region of France. For a tasty restrained Chardonnay, try some Mettler Ranch Chardonnay from Lodi or the Wooden Valley Winery Chardonnay from Suisun Valley.

Viognier

An appealing wine partner for chicken Alfredo is a dry Viognier. It tends to be bone dry and high in alcohol, which allows the wine to hold its own when paired with a strong Alfredo based dish. Violet, apricot and spice are a few characteristics of Viognier’s flavors that give it its full body feel. California produces a delicious Viognier, but some of the best comes from the Northern Rhone region of France.

 

Making your own wine to pair with your homemade

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

Musto Wine Grape Company, LLC is New England’s largest supplier of home winemaking products and services. Come visit us at 101 Reserve Road in Hartford, Connecticut to shop for all your wine grape, juice and equipment needs! Select your grapes from our fine variety, and we will help you every step of the way – from crush to bottle. Never made wine before? No problem! Sign up for our Winemaker’s Bootcamp, where you can learn all the ins and outs to winemaking. Call us at (860) 278 – 7703 or email us at sales@juicegrape.com to get started. We look forward to hearing from you!

Pairing your Homemade Wines for Thanksgiving

Pairing your homemade wines with your Thanksgiving meal can be tricky. Check out some of our wine and food pairing suggestions to help you show off your delicious wine! 

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Turkey:

Light Reds, Medium Reds, and Rich White Wines pair well with Chicken and other White Meats like Thanksgiving Turkey. Your Pinot Noir, Gamay, Grenache, Chardonnay, or GSM Blend would be a great compliment to the meal.

Beef:

Beef, Cured Meats, and Smoked Meats pair best with Medium or Full Bodied Reds. Try your Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Castel del Papa, or Italian Blend.

Fish:

Yes, red wine CAN be paired with fish! Try a Light Red or a Light Dry White such as your Gamay or Pinot Grigio.

Carbs:

Most Carbohydrates can pair with most wines. It really depends on the sauce. Try your Cabernet-Merlot Blend or Il Toscano to balance and enhance the flavors of a tomato sauce.

Vegetables:

A Light White or Med-Light Red will compliment most vegetables – whether they are roasted or dressed. Try your Viognier or Grenache.

We want to wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving. We hope it is a wonderful day filled with family, friends, and great homemade wine!

Cheers Winemakers!