Meet Britt, one of our resident foodies:
From a small farm town in So Cal to the big city of Los Angeles, Britt is living the life (on a budget but it's fabulous). You can catch her shopping her life away at Buffalo Exchange or Instagramming the latest trendy cafe in town. Not to mention a sucker for a killer Chai Tea Latte!
Meet Julie, our Vineal Vixen:
Julie Gauvin, accredited Junior Wine Expert and current serving Spokeswoman and Retail Director of Vine Winery, will be here to lend her expertise regarding all things wine. But most importantly, she’ll keep it interesting, light and fun for your drinking pleasure. Stay tuned as she helps you figure out what you like, where to find it, and what to pair it with. This newfound knowledge will give you that extra edge at the dinner table with friends, family or even on that hot date you have tonight. Check back every Wednesday to see what's new!
Meet Kasey, our LA Food Blogger:
This East Coast girl has recently traded in her New England Clam Chowda for California Rolls! Kasey has been whipping up delectable dishes in her kitchen since she was 10 years old. Combining ingredients and trying new concoctions became her favorite hobby. Kasey is a fabulous food blogger representing Kasey's Kitchen, her self-proclaimed food blog! Kasey attends a ton of fun food events around town and she is sharing her fun, healthy recipes with us every week!
Last week I got out of the kitchen and my girl Julie, [a.k.a Vineal Vixen] and I had the chance to attend the 2nd Annual Local Food & Wine Challenge put on by the Ventura County Wine Trail. 12 wineries and 12 restaurants were matched up and asked to create the perfect pairing of a delicious dish and sinful sip!
The teams were judged on the following criteria:
Rather than tempt and tease you with a list of all the deliciousness that you missed, Julie and I have listed our favorites from the night and of course, the winners!
Team 2- Malibu Family Wines & Jolly Oyster
Dish: Smoked Pacific Oysters soaked in Brandy, Soy, Garlic brine and smoked with Apple Wood
Wine: Saddle Rock North Coast Brut Sparkling Wine
Kasey: Jolly Oyster offered two versions of their smoke Oyster, a whole smoked oyster with Greek tzatziki nestled in a fresh endive leaf and a smoked oyster pate on a salted cracker. The whole oyster was the standout for me of the two. The bubbles of the sparkling blend paired well with the crisp endive leaf and cool, fresh bite of the tzatziki.
Julie: With 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir this sparkling was made in the traditional French method of Champagne. There were notes of green apples, pears and citrus as well as a hint of toasted brioche on the finish which enhanced the brandy soy sriracha base of the Jolly Oyster's smoked oysters dish. An excellent combination for an afternoon snack by the beach!
Team 9- Herzog Wine Cellars & Tierra Sur
Dish: Green Peppercorn & Garlic Veal Sausage with Pear Compote & Grilled Fennel Salad
Wine: Meritage, 2010 Blend of Cab & Cab Franc, California
Kasey: The veal sausage was flavorful on its own but packed an even more powerful bite with the pear compote. I always favor savory and sweet pairings and this did the trick. Herzog through everyone for a loop by adding in two desserts to their table which as Julie agrees, paired just as well with the sweets as it did with the sausage.
Julie: Versatility is an understatement with this Meritage as it proved to be incredibly food friendly, fruit forward and smooth on the finish. This is a perfect go to wine for almost any pairing to to be enjoyed on its own.
Team 11- Alma Sol Winery & La Dolce Vita
Dish: Ricotta Spinach and Portobello mushroom stuffed shells with a marsala cream sauce
Wine: Cab Sauv 2010 Paso Robles
Kasey: It’s no secret I’m a “pasta-holic” and this jumbo shell stuffed with ricotta, spinach, and Portobello mushrooms surely caught my eye.The sweet finish of the marsala wine and light touch of cream that enrobed the shells is what sealed the deal for me. This was my personal favorite.
Julie: This big and bold Cabernet Sauvignon nicely balanced such a heavy pasta dish with its luscious mouthfeel and complex aromas of dark fruit. While the supple tannins and notes of vanilla spice and blackberry intensified the sweetness of the Portobello mushroom.
Team 12- Sunland Vintage Cellars & Café Zack
Dish: Veal Osso Bucco
Wine: Barbera 2010, California
Kasey: Veal Osso Bucco is true Italian comfort food. Café Zack made theirs in the modern way, with tomatoes. It provided a hearty “stew” taste which helped pair with the acidity of the Barbera. I appreciated that they served the veal marrow in the dish, something you don’t see when served for the masses.
Julie: With hints of black cherries, plums, currants and overall good acidity this domestic Barbera was a natural pair for such a strong Italian dish. It's difficult to find such an outstanding domestic grown Barbera, so here's your match.
Team 10- Bella Victorian Vineyard & Bistro
Dish: Rustic Wild Boar Stew with Pancetta, Root Vegetables & Winter Mushrooms
Wine: Elena Syrah 2008, California
Kasey: The Wild Boar Stew was perfect for this time of year and Bella was smart to serve an exotic ingredient in a familiar way. The root vegetables in the stew provided a good base but I think I missed out on the Boar in my bite. Had I not had the Osso Bucco from Team 12, this would have been higher on my radar.
Julie: The 08 Elena Syrah was filled with notes of blackberry, black cherry, and sweet tobacco that paired nicely with the Rustic Wild Boar Stew. The spicy finish on the wine was well rounded by the salty pancetta which brought out a slightly earthy tone in the wine that also complimented the root vegetables and winter mushrooms.
Team 1- Cantara Cellars & Twenty 88
Dish: Crisp & Spicy Short Ribs with Dark Cherry Ginger Glaze, Peppers & Onions
Wine: Intrepid 2009, Red Wine Lodi
Kasey: The rich cherry flavors in the sauce of the short rib was a real stand-out for me however the meat itself was very tough and dried out. I can see how the sweet cherry in the glaze complimented the fruit notes in the Intrepid. Given the praised response it received from everyone else, I think it’s safe to say we just got a bad bite.
Julie: This beautiful wine had hints of boysenberry, ripe blackberries, sweet tobacco and vanilla for a complex and long lasting finish that perfectly complimented the dark cherry ginger glaze found on Twenty 88's the spicy short ribs.