A sherry-laced ice cream to fall head over heels for.
Pedro Jimenez, so glad to finally make your acquaintance. Just where have you been all my life?
It was only recently that I got to know this fabled white Spanish grape that’s typically dried in the sun to make a dark, syrupy dessert sherry wine.
A friend had gifted me a bottle of Bodega Dios Baco Pedro Jimenez and I was waiting for just the right moment to open it. When I did, I was greeted with a heavy-bodied inky wine fragrant with the scent of raisins and dates. The taste was figgy, almost sticky toffee-like, with a bit of aged balsamico on the finish.
It would be great alongside cheese, salumi and almonds. Or used in a sauce to finish duck or quail.
But what caught my eye was a recipe for “Pedro Jimenez Ice Cream with Orange Zest” in the new “The Basque Cookbook: A Love Letter in Recipes From the Kitchen of Txikito” (Ten Speed Press) by Chefs Alexandra Raij and Eder Montero with food writer Rebecca Flint Marx of San Francisco Magazine.
Dry-aged beef to go with a wine made with semi-dried grapes.
With a charred juicy steak, my drink of choice is usually Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon.
So when the folks at Masi Agricola asked me to try a sample of one of their Amarones with a prime steak instead, I was game to see what that pairing would be like.
It’s an unusual type of wine in that it’s made from semi-dried grapes. An age-old tradition in Italy’s northeast Veneto region, it involves laying out the grapes on drying lofts for up to four months to concentrate their sugars before pressing.
Masi Agricola is the leading producer of Amarone. Its Masi Agricola Costasera Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG 2011 ($62.99) is a blend of Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes. Of the three varietals, the Corvino is the only one to develop botrytis or noble rot, the prized fungus that causes the grapes to lose nearly all their water content, thus concentrating their flavors to the max.
An adult root beer float at Relish Gastro Lounge.
The hushed atmosphere and the white tablecloths have been jettisoned. And a whole new concept and personality have taken hold.
Sent Sovi in downtown Saratoga was Chef David Kinch’s stepping stone to even greater accolades as he went on to establish the Michelin three-starred Manresa in Los Gatos.
Chef Josiah Slone purchased the restaurant from Kinch, and for nearly 13 years kept the fine-dining ambiance, but with his own spin on it.
Now he and wife Khin Khin Slone have overturned that format, and launched a much more casual restaurant in its place.
Relish Gastro Lounge debuted in February with its reclaimed wood tables, color-changing lights, and soundtrack of rock and jazz. I had a chance to check it out a couple weeks ago when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant.
The tap system.
The wine preservation system.
You’ll find 20 wines by the glass (preserved with the same argon gas system Sent Sovi used), along with 24 beers on tap. The menu, headed up by Chef Timothy Uttaro, former Sent Sovi sous chef, is made for sharing.
Golden with a tinge of green, Vino Verde is made to be enjoyed young.
I’ve been intrigued by Vinho Verde since taking an illuminating wine class a couple years ago at the International Culinary Center in Campbell.
Among the discussions we got into was the best wine to accompany sushi.
I’d had my share of sake, Sauvignon Blanc and Chablis with my nigiri. But when our instructor, Master Sommelier Jesse Becker, mentioned he loved Vinho Verde with sushi, that was a new one on me.
The Portuguese wine is not a particular varietal per se. Instead, the name refers to “green wine,” meaning a young one, meant to be enjoyed readily, rather than tucked away in a cellar for years.
Cabernet Sauvignon in barbecue sauce — what’s not to like?
What’s better than sipping a nice wine while enjoying a summer backyard barbecue?
Adding some of that wine to the actual barbecue sauce, that’s what.
And that’s exactly what Woodbridge Wines by Robert Mondavi has done.
It’s added a good glug of its Cabernet Sauvignon to create a limited-edition Daddy Sam’s & Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce. Texas-based Daddy Sam’s has been making barbecue sauces for generations.
You know it’s a good sign when the Cabernet Sauvignon is the first item listed under the ingredients list. The pourable sauce is at once smoky, tangy, sweet, savory and just a little bit spicy, thanks to molasses, tomato puree, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic, cayenne, and jalapeno.