Wine & Dine with Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling
The perfect food and wine pairing can make an ordinary meal exceptional. So many wines are meant to be enjoyed with food and unarguably the most versatile wine for food pairing is Riesling. Sweet and refreshing, Rieslings can complement seafood, spicy Asian and Indian food, desserts and cheeses. Some the of the best Rieslings in the world come from Washington State, and the best Rieslings in Washington State come from Chateau Ste. Michelle.
Living in Woodinville wine country, home to nearly 90 different wineries, I’ve been able to sample some exceptional wines at some unique wineries, but by far my favorite tasting room is at Chateau Ste. Michelle. Their wines not only include many award winners (Col Solare and Eroica are two of my favorites), but also delicious affordable dinner wines you can find at the grocery store. All three of the Chateau Ste. Michelle Rieslings that I recently sampled were under $10 each.
The enviable task I was assigned was to find some a great food pairings for each of these 2011 Rieslings:
· Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Dry Riesling – goes well with seafood, but is also a match for your favorite small plates, such as charcuterie, endive stuffed with lemon goat cheese, or a chilled summer soup full of cilantro.
· Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Columbia Valley Riesling – is the perfect wine to try with almost any food. Sample with a rich raspberry baked brie appetizer or even tangy barbeque.
· Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Harvest Select Sweet Riesling – is a delicious way to tone down the heat in the spiciest of meals. Recommend pairings with this wine include a zesty chicken masala or Thai curry.
For the Dry Riesling, I found a recipe at Foodandwine.com that I knew my whole family would enjoy: Ham and Gruyere French Toast Sandwiches. We love having breakfast items for dinner, and I thought this would be a fun way for my husband and I to sample this Riesling.
1 cup water
1/4 cup maple syrup
One 3-inch cinnamon stick
2/3 cup milk
2 large eggs, beaten
Eight 1/2-inch-thick hand-cut slices from a loaf of white bread
6 ounces sliced Gruyère cheese
1/2 pound thickly sliced smoked ham
1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Granny Smith apples—peeled, cored and thinly sliced
In a medium saucepan, combine the apples, water, maple syrup and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apples to a bowl and let cool to room temperature.
In a shallow bowl, whisk the milk and eggs. Spread 4 slices of the bread with mustard. Top with half of the cheese, the ham and then the remaining cheese.
In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over low heat. Dip the bottoms of the 4 topped bread slices in the beaten egg until just saturated and transfer to the skillet. Dip the remaining slices of bread on 1 side only and place them, soaked side up, on the sandwiches. Cover the skillet and cook over moderately low heat until the bread is browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Turn the sandwiches, adding more butter to the skillet if necessary. Cover and cook until the second side is browned and the cheese is melted, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer the sandwiches to a cutting board and let stand for 5 minutes. Cut in half and serve with the maple apples.
I made a couple modifications to cater to my family: The apples can be added to the sandwich, which is how we preferred to enjoy and I also omitted the Dijon mustard for my daughters’ sandwiches.
Before trying this recipe, I figured that the tartness in the dry Riesling would work well with the gruyere (I had to pair one of these wines with some good cheese). After trying this recipe, my husband and I both agreed that the saltiness in the ham really made the wine stand out.
Our next pairing was barbeque chicken with Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Columbia Valley Riesling, also known as the “any day Riesling”. Given its nickname, I wanted to enjoy this wine with a great meal that I’d cook any day. This recipe from allrecipes.com couldn’t be any easier:
Prep Time:10 Min
Cook Time: 4 Hrs
Ready In: 4 Hrs 10 Min
6 frozen skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 (12 ounce) bottle barbeque sauce
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Place chicken in a slow cooker. In a bowl, mix the barbecue sauce, Italian salad dressing, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over the chicken.
Cover, and cook 3 to 4 hours on High or 6 to 8 hours on Low.
When paired with the sweet and spicy barbecue sauce, the fruitiness of the wine (peach with a hint of lime) really stood out. I could certainly get accustomed to having the Columbia Valley Riesling with just about any barbeque dish!
Our final bottle, Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Harvest Select Sweet Riesling, was recently enjoyed over the Fourth of July holiday to accompany some spicy chicken kebabs.
Red Curry Chicken Kebabs with Minty Yogurt Sauce
Total Time: 30 MIN plus 2 HRS marinating
Servings: 8 to 10
2 1/2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch cubes
3/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
In a large bowl, mix the curry paste with the oil and 2 teaspoons of salt. Add the chicken cubes and toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature for up to 2 hours or cover and refrigerate overnight.
Light a grill. In a medium bowl, whisk the yogurt with the mayonnaise, honey, lime juice and mint and season with salt.
Thread the chicken onto 10 skewers, leaving 1/4 inch between the cubes. Grill over moderately high heat, turning frequently, until lightly charred and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Serve the kebabs with the minty yogurt sauce on the side.
Usually when I enjoy something spicy I always make sure I have a glass of milk nearby to help cut the heat. However, with this recipe, the creamy, cool yogurt sauce and the rich sweetness of the Late Harvest Riesling help mellow out some of the curry’s heat. I recommend chilling this wine well to make it even more refreshing with any spicy dish.
If my recipes aren’t really your taste, you can find dozens of other ideas at http://mypairings.ste-michelle.com/ and pair up your favorite foods and Chateau Ste. Michelle wines.
CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE KNOWS RIESLING
Chateau Ste. Michelle winery was among the first to plant Riesling in Washington state more than 40 years ago, and continues to champion the grape to this day; helping to usher in its recent rise in popularity. Wine connoisseurs around the world are currently enjoying a “Riesling Renaissance” with Chateau Ste. Michelle producing the #1 selling Riesling in America. Riesling is more than just sweet – the varietal offers styles for every meal, with a natural balance of acidity and sugar, lightness of alcohol, and fruit-forward flavors.
For more information about Chateau Ste. Michelle, visit http://www.ste-michelle.com/.
Disclosure – Three bottles of Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling were provided to me for the writing of this review; however, opinions expressed are my own.
Emily is also very active in the local MOMS CLUB. She raises chickens and has 2 shihtzus. Her daughter Caitlyn attends Montessori school and she hates housecleaning, loves wine and enjoys dining out. She would love to find a cure for the depression and anxiety she has dealt with on and off over the past 10 years, just like me. She is an amazing mom and friend.