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Wine and Food Pairing

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

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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

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  • 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!