I am fortunate to have a small, tight-knit circle of girlfriends. Our friendship has grown over the past 15 years, starting as co-workers and continuing even after everyone has gone their separate ways to new jobs. They’re the kind of friends that get your inside jokes, but we can also go a few weeks without talking and pick up just where we left off.
Good, good friends.
We try to organize “girls nights” a few times a year, and because we are all so busy with kids, work and life – we have to plan ahead and get the evening on the calendar far in advance. In fact, I’m already planning our get together for later in the summer. I am putting together a wine tasting party specifically for 2014 Sonoma-Cutrer Sauvignon Blanc. Now, we love our wine – wine is usually the centerpiece of our evenings – we typically bring a bottle of wine and an appetizer, and we always have a great time.
This time around, I’ll be hosting by providing a menu of appetizers to complement our wine, and we’ll all taste and enjoy this crisp summer beverage. I am a big fan of Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay, but this is my first go-round with the Sauvignon Blanc.
My first impression of the wine was that it was very light, crisp with just a hint of tropical fruit and with a hint of grapefruit and lime. It was soft, not bitter or acidic, and very smooth. Immediately a menu came to mind – and my party planning was in full swing.
If you’re planning a wine tasting, make sure you taste the wine first! Your palate will tell you what to serve with your wine – and it doesn’t matter what you find on the internet. Serve what you like, and you really can’t go wrong.
I’m starting with a chicken shashlik. These skewers of char-grilled chicken are marinated in tomato, garlic and cilantro, and are a perfect contrast to the clean, crisp wine. Plus, they’re served on skewers and are the perfect appetizer and finger food.
And, because my tomatoes will be lovely when the party finally gets here, I’m also planning on a garden tomato tart. The acidity of the tomatoes and creamy, saltiness of the mozzarella cheese will pair perfectly with the citrus undertones of the sauvignon blanc.
Finally, we’ll round out the appetizers with a spinach and Gruyere quiche. Quiche is a perfect party appetizer, because it can be served warm or at room temperature. The Gruyere cheese is just rich enough to marry the flavors in the wine – and bring out the mandarin and passion fruit undertones.
We’ll round out the table with a nice bread, some cheese and olives, and an assortment of crackers. Wine tastings are a great way to introduce your guests to your favorite wines, try something new, and have some fun doing it!
I’m excited to introduce Sonoma-Cutrer wines to my friends, and upon reading about all of the different types of wine they offer on their website, I discovered that they offer a really enticing membership opportunity at Club Cutrer. Between the exclusive wine shipments, membership pricing, access to limited editions and member events, I’m ready to sign up!
If you’d like to learn more about Sonoma-Cutrer, you can follow them at @sonomacutrer on Instragam and @SonomaCutrer on Twitter – use #SonomaCutrer. They also offer tours and tastings at their winery in Windsor, CA – and I’m about ready to hop on a plane. It’s a really beautiful place!
Make sure you check back in for my follow up post – I’ll have some fun pictures of the food, the wine and our evening. Can’t wait to share it with you all! In the meantime, check out the recipes I’m planning below. Enjoy!
- 2 large plum tomatoes, coarsely grated on a box grater
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup pure olive oil
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- 4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch pieces
- Vegetable oil, for brushing
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- In a large bowl, combine the grated tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and cilantro.
- Add the chicken and coat thoroughly with the marinade.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Light a grill.
- Thread the chicken onto 8 metal skewers, leaving a small space between each piece.
- Brush the chicken with vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Grill over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until lightly charred and just cooked through, about 15 minutes.
- 8 oz sliced mozzarella
- 2 large, very rip tomatoes, cored and cut into thin slices
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 medium garlic clove
- 1 and ¼ cups all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
- 4-5 Tablespoons ice water
- Place the basil and garlic in the work bowl of a food processor.
- Process, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until finely chopped.
- Add flour and salt; pulse to combine.
- Add butter. Pulse about 10 times, or until the mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs.
- Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing several times after each addition.
- After 4 tablespoons water have been added, process the dough for several seconds to see if the mixture forms a ball. If not, add remaining water.
- Process until dough forms into a ball.
- Remove dough from processor.
- Flatten the dough into a 5-inch disk.
- Wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (The dough can be placed in a zipper-lock plastic bag and refrigerated for several days or frozen for 1 month. If frozen, defrost the dough in the refrigerator.)
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle.
- Lay the dough over the tart pan, and press it into a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
- Trim the edges of the dough.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Line the bottom of the tart shell with mozzarella.
- Arrange the tomatoes over the cheese in a ring around the edge of the tart and a second ring in the center.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Drizzle with olive oil.
- Bake until the crust is golden brown and the cheese has started to brown in spots, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a rack for at least 5 minutes before slicing.(The tart may be covered and kept at room temperature for 6 hours.)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, diced
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
- 4 extra large eggs
- ¾ cup half-and-half
- 8 ounces Gruyère, grated
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 store-bought frozen pie crust (or make your own!)
- Heat oven to 375° F.
- In a large skillet, over medium-low heat, heat the oil.
- Add the onions, ½ teaspoon of the salt, and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper.
- Cover and cook until the onions are softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the spinach and cook, covered, for 2 minutes more.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs and half-and-half.
- Stir in the Gruyère, nutmeg, the remaining salt and pepper, and the onion mixture.
- Place the pie crust on a foil-lined baking sheet.
- Scrape the egg mixture into the pie crust; it will be very full.
- Bake until the filling is set and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
- Let rest for 5 minutes.
- Cut into wedges and serve.
Want more from Sonoma-Cutrer?
Check out their website, here:Sauvignon Blanc
Find them on Twitter: @SonomaCutrer
Read more about their winery and tours, here: Winery Tour
Keep up with them on Facebook: Sonoma-Cutrer Facebook
And, on Instagram: Sonoma-Cutrer Instagram