Andy Geanacopoulos publisher of Wine in Glasses has blogged about a Margarita made with Essensia. The recipe is found in Quady Cock-Tails, a drink book available from the winery with our wines as ingredients. We got it from the head bartenders at a popular Mexican restaurant, Barrio, in Seattle Washington after Barrio's Margarita was voted "Best Margarita in Seattle". It was originally published it in the December 2010 edition of our newsletter: Dessert Wine Digest. Several years of our newsletters can be found archived on the Quady Winery web site. Using Essensia, which is made from the Orange Muscat grape variety (in place of triple sec) instills a new level of sophistication to this classic cocktail. Although Petron tequila (shown in the photo) can be used, the recipe called for El Jimador.
From Barrio Restaurant, Seattle where Essensia is used in place of the typical Triple Sec or Orange Liqueur.
Winners were announced at the Vancouver Playhouse during their International Wine Festival "Celebrating Excellence" Luncheon.
This year's winner, Lisa Ip of the Four Seasons Hotel, was also a finalist last year. According to Tomiko Mayede, last year's winner, the judging might be as difficult as competing, maybe more.
Congratulations to all the competitors. Finalists this year included Michael Gelinas and Maria Darquier. Photos of the desserts follow:
And Lisa Ip's winning entry, Lever du Soleil:
Lisa says: "I think tropical fruit and citrus go well with the Essensia, I just try my best and do what I believe goes well with the wine."
The Dessert Wine Competition began in Madera in 1988, moving to its current home in Vancouver in 1990. Chef Roland Pfaff, of Alsace originally won that year representing Le Croccodile.
Wednesday people across the country will wake up with "Bake pumpkin pie" at the top of their pre-Thanksgiving to do list.
Each year people will ask themselves:
Let's start with the last question, first. Rowley Leigh writing for the Financial Times, in American Pie, calls Essensia an ideal match. The Orange Muscat is a natural for the rich savory and sweet Thanksgiving classic.
Oh and the answers to the other pumpkin pie questions?
The crust: from-scratch is easy, (here's an easy and reliable one) but if you're stretched for time even a store bought crust can be gussied up. Try crushing gingersnaps and toasted pecans and pressing them into the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pie dough before adding the filling.
Cracks on the surface? That's from over-baking. When a pumpkin pie is done it will be still be jiggly in the middle. The custard needs time to set, which it will do, while cooling.
Spicing is a question of personal taste. One way to ensure that pumpkin pie lovers and skeptics alike will enjoy the pie is to mix the filling ingredients some time ahead, giving them time to meld and mellow. Another way to help the overall balance of the pie and spice is to cook the spices and pumpkin together before combining with other ingredients.
And most important, as Rowley points out, if you want to make the pie from a pumpkin instead of canned pumpkin pulp, you must find a "pie pumpkin". An ordinary Halloween jackolantern will make a bland pumpkin pie.
And just be sure to pour Essensia along with the pie!
Vega Uncorked - developed as a partnership between the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority and Bon Appétit magazine - includes several top resorts and dozens of the world’s most recognized chefs. It is held over Mother’s Day weekend – in 2010, May 6-9 – with more than 30 events at six different resorts over the four-day weekend. This year, Cheryl Russell and Michael Blaylock, Quady Winery's winemaker, attended.
Quady Winery's Cheryl Russell shares her experience.
Recently, Quady winemaker, Michael Blaylock and I attended a spectacular wine and food event in Las Vegas called “Vegas Uncorked”, sponsored by Bon Appétit Magazine. I hadn’t been to Las Vegas for about a year and what a town it is.
The events were all food and wine related and we participated in 4 events. The first event was called “A Piece of Chocolate and a Glass of Wine”. This event was held in the beautiful Tuscan Kitchen room at the Bellagio. The event was moderated by Jason Smith, one of an elite small group of master sommeliers and Jean-Marie Auboine the executive pastry chef of the prestigious group of restaurants owned by the Bellagio Group. Jean-Marie prepared fourteen bon-bon, small chocolate squares that consisted of different flavorings and ingredients. The bon-bon was paired with 4 wines; champagne, port, muscat, and our Orange Muscat dessert wine Essensia. The idea of the event was to see how each wine paired with the different chocolates; which wines harmonized with them and which ones did not. Essensia pairs very well with chocolates so Mike and I were not surprised that Essensia was acknowledged the best accompaniment with more of the bon-bon than any other of the wines. As noted by Jason Smith, the orange character of the Essensia is a natural with chocolate. One of the chocolates even had dried foie gras powder in it which was a very creative and different way to prepare a bon-bon. Chef Jean-Marie’s incredible talent with chocolate as a savory delight wowed the group with this bon-bon creation.
During the event a beautiful girl named Sarah asked to join our table. To our surprise and enjoyment she happened to be the wife of Jean-Marie and part of the family that produced the Champagne offered with the bon-bon. She told us of Jean-Marie’s background, accomplishments and passionate chocolate obsession.
Latter that night we attended the Grand Tasting held around the Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis at Caesars Palace and we were lucky enough to get an extra ticket so that Sarah could accompany us to the event. Stay tuned for more on the Grand Tasting and the other events in my series on Vegas Uncorked.
~ Cheers, Cheryl
You can see the fun we had in the video below.
This Port-style wine, made very much as the Douro true Ports are, continues to win accolades. Prior awards include Gold Medals from the Dallas Morning News, Orange County Fair, San Francisco Chronicle and the San Diego National Wine Competition. And now, an Editor's Choice from Wine Enthusiast.
Our Port-style wine is called Starboard to indicate both its similarity to, its difference from, true Port. Get it? Port, Starboard, two sides of a boat. With all this talk of nautical terms one might be forgiven if inclined to say "My she's yar." (Hepburn quote from which movie? Anyone? Anyone?)*
But we digress...Wine Enthusiast called this Quady gem "One of the best California Port-style wines out there...tremendously rich and sweet in chocolate truffle and blackberry infused flavors, with near-perfect acidity and tannins for balance."
☆ Rating 94
Read more about our Starboard wines, including other medals and honors and our special vintages, here.
* Katherine Hepburn in Philadelphia Story, 1940. Yar is a nautical term meaning quick, agile, easy to handle.
Savory, Sustainable Rabbit (or Chicken) Perfect Spring Dish
Quady employee Cheryl Russell based this recipe on chef Rick Scott's original. In 1990 Scott, who was then Executive Chef at the San Francisco Park Hyatt Hotel, created the original as his entry in Quady's savory dish with Essensia pairing competition.
This rabbit dish pairs perfectly with Essensia which is made from Orange Muscat grapes. Essensia's dazzling apricot and orange flavors, and its orange blossom scent are carried through the caramel and apricots in the recipe. The richness of rabbit, smokiness of bacon and tang of Roquefort cheese are a perfect foil for Essensia.
Rabbit is enjoying a resurgence in popularity as people seek sustainable proteins. They can be fed easily, breed quickly and take far fewer resources when compared to other animals. (See Kim Severson, New York Times, Don't Tell the Kids.) Another recent post declares rabbit to be the next backyard chicken. See Backyard Bunnies are the New Urban Chickens.
Tastes like Chicken
Not really, but if you're unfamiliar with rabbit, unable to find it, or simply prefer to use chicken we've got you covered. Cheryl says, "Well I have to tell you, rabbit is hard to find in supermarkets. Yes, I know. A fuzzy, soft, adorable bunny? Luckily, I couldn’t find it." For those who don't want to use rabbit or cannot find it, this recipe has been adapted to chicken.
Cheryl chose Mary’s Free Range Chicken instead of rabbit. Mary's Free Range Chickens mature with plenty of open space on a ranch in the sunny San Joaquin Valley near Fresno, California. These chickens are raised in a humane manner in a stress-free environment that is four times the size of the average commercial ranch. Because of cleaner living quarters and open space the chicken is healthier and produces a better taste. Mary's Chickens are free of antiobiotics and raised without hormones.
Rabbit must be braised in three batches since each part of the rabbit parts cook at different rates. Cheryl likes the ease of using chicken. "Since I made this recipe with chicken it was much easier than with rabbit. The rabbit had to be cooked 3 different ways because different parts of the rabbit had to be cooked longer so it would be tender and shorter time for pink meat."Filo Bundles
This recipe incorporates Roquefort blue cheese in filo dough pouches as an accompaniment to the dish. Roquefort is often paired with fruits. Filo dough is paper-thin and can be a bit tricky, but it's also forgiving. Cheryl made these pouches in triangle, cigar, pouch, and bag shapes. "I think if I had it to do again I would use wonton wrappers or even make pasta dough for blue cheese raviolis. The whole idea behind the blue cheese is that it is salty and rich and the filo is the vessel to get it to the dish in an attractive way." Likely the texture of the filo adds an important element to the braised dish.
4 sheets of packaged filo dough
4 oz Roquefort blue cheese
1 stick unsalted butter
Follow instructions on the filo package for thawing. Heat or microwave the butter until melted. Separate 4 sheets of filo dough. Layer them, brushing butter between each sheet. Cut the stacked sheets into eight 5” squares. Mound approximately 1 Tbs of blue cheese into the center of each square and gather the edges pulling up to form pouches. Square and cigar shaped pouches are much easier. Butter the edges to help seal and brush butter over the entire pouch. Place on a non-stick baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and freeze. [for how long?] Place in a 350 degree over for 45 minutes or until golden. Serve warm with the main dish.
This may sound difficult but if you know how to sauté chicken, then it’s a snap.
Marinating Ingredients (for 1 Free Range Whole Chicken about 3-4 pounds cut into pieces or one whole rabbit, also cut into pieces)
1 Tbs each fresh minced herbs: Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary, Marjoram
1 Tbs Juniper Berry minced
½ white onion diced
1 large peeled carrot, diced
1 ½ cups of water
1 ½ cups dry white wine
Simmer the herbs, vegetables and liquid ingredients until the vegetables are soft, then cool.
Place the chicken in the cooled liquid and marinate overnight.
Remove the chicken and drain the liquid, keeping the vegetables.
4 pieces of smoked bacon sliced into ½” pieces
4 Tbs minced shallot
3 Tbs unsalted butter
2 Tbs reserved bacon drippings
½ cup Cognac or Brandy
10 oz can of low salt chicken broth
1 tsp each of the 4 fresh herbs listed above, minced
2 Tbs of sugar
1/3 cup Essensia
Heat in small sauce pan until reduced thick and syrupy about 15 minutes.
½ cup dried minced apricot
Cover the apricots with Essensia for 10 minutes to rehydrate.
1/4 cup minced arugula
Cheryl really likes this recipe. "The taste combination paired with Essensia and the dish was not too sweet." However, she wasn't a fan of the Roquefort parcels, feeling they overwhelmed the dish. "The pouches tasted better with the wine alone than with the chicken and pouch combination."
She blanched whole Swiss Chard leaves from Willey Farms in Madera, CA. in water and balsamic vinegar and placed them on the bottom of the platter before placing the chicken on the platter. "This gave the dish a nice balance, soaked up the juices and was delicious. Make sure to have a bite of chicken then a small taste of Essensia, the combination works! It’s fun to make a dish where the taste combinations with the wine you are serving synergize with the dish."
We're looking forward to hearing how Cheryl likes the dish with rabbit which she found through a wholesaler in Fresno. Look for rabbit in specialty butchers or order from supermarket meat departments.
A dessert buffet was the topic this morning for Tori Ritchie, chef and cookbook author on CBS Early show's Five Minute Chef (scroll down and click on the picture with Essensia). Tori had called us several times in the past few weeks to alert us that Essensia would be on her show as the featured dessert wine to go with an orange upside cake. On this morning's show, the bottle of Essensia was prominently shown and described properly as an Orange Muscat wine. She explained that it didn't contain oranges but has an orange flavor from the grape variety used. Only one little mistake: she said Essensia wasn't fortified. Actually it is fortified to a moderate (compared to Madeira and Port) 15% alcohol level.
The dessert was described on the Early Show website as "individual Orange Butter Cakes". According to their site, one should: "Serve these cakes with an orange Muscat wine. With the mellow flavor and delicate scent of apricots and a light almond aftertaste, orange Muscats complement many fruit desserts, including these individual cakes made from fresh orange segments. Ritche serves this with crème anglaise and a glass of Muscat."
We couldn't have said it better ourselves.
We showed our wines at the 2006 Chocolate show last month in New York where one of the more unusual features was a chocolate fashion show. We met Avril Pendergast-Fisher from Cocoa Vino an eco friendly and wine friendly chocolatier who is using Essensia in Wassailing Figs and Starboard Batch 88 in their Drunken Figs.
Chocolate dresses at the Fashion Show.