May 07, 2018 12:05PM
● By Maria Terry
Maria Terry, a Certified Sommelier and Wine Educator in the San Francisco Bay Area. www.LaSommelierre.com
“Stone fruit” is an important descriptor for many white wines. Classically, Riesling, Viognier, and Semillon are all white wines that exhibit classic stone fruit aromas and flavors. Stone fruits are basically tree fruits that have a center stone inside: peach, apricot, and nectarine, to name a few. These wines are usually intensely aromatic and have a pretty floral quality.
This menu takes advantage of late spring and summer fruits that are just coming into season. The appetizer uses fresh nectarines in a bruschetta with floral basil, creamy ricotta, and sweet honey. As its partner, try a Viognier. It is one of the great white grapes from the Rhone Valley in France. It is quite floral with stone fruit and melon aromas. Grown successfully in many areas of the world, it often undergoes malo-lactic fermentation and is fermented or aged in a bit of oak. This results in a wine that is luscious and rich. It is the perfect accompaniment to the complementary flavors in the bruschetta.
Staying in the Rhone Valley, seek out a Northern Rhone Red wine for your main course. Northern Rhones are primarily made from Syrah grapes but are often co-fermented with a small amount of Viognier grapes. This addition gives the wine an intriguing peach top note in the aroma. The primary flavors of the wine are plum and cherry with undercurrents of tobacco and herbs. Pair regionally with this beef stew called Daube de Boeuf Provençale. It has a bounty of fresh spring flavors like fresh herbs, onions, garlic, and even a touch of orange peel. Tangy, sweet tomatoes and salty olives round out its complexity. This pairing will transport you to the French countryside like nothing else.
Finish your meal with more Viognier wine, but look for a late harvest version to serve with this super sweet Peach Pie. We are fortunate that many local producers make a late harvest wine from the bountiful crop of Viognier that is grown in California. If you can’t find one, just about any other white dessert wine will do in a pinch.
So, go on. Pair Up!
Maria Terry is a Certified Sommelier and Wine Educator in the San Francisco Bay Area. www.LaSommelierre.com
Nectarine Bruschetta with Basil, Ricotta, and Honey
3 nectarines, peeled and diced small
1/2 cup pomegranate arils
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoon chopped mint
1 cup ricotta
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil
2 tablespoons apricot jam mixed with 2 tablespoons water (heated in the microwave for 30 seconds and then brought to room temp.)
Sliced baguette bread
In a large bowl, combine the nectarines, pomegranate arils, rice wine vinegar, honey, mint, and pinch of salt. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, mix together the ricotta, basil, and apricot jam.
Assemble by spreading a generous smear of ricotta on the bread, top with nectarine and pomegranate mixture, and drizzle with honey all over.
Yield: 6 servings
Daube de Boeuf Provençale
2 lbs. stewing beef, cubed
750ml bottle red wine
2 onions, cut into large pieces
1-2 carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces
2-3 garlic, crushed
Orange peel with no pith from one orange
2 sprigs parsley
2 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary
1 or 2 bay leaves
½ cup flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ lb. salt pork, cubed
2 cups tomatoes, crushed or chopped
¾ cup black Nicoise olives, pitted
Salt and pepper
Tie the orange peel, parsley, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves together with a string to make an herb bouquet. Place the beef, wine, onions, carrots, garlic, and herb bouquet in a large, non-reactive bowl. Refrigerate at least overnight or for up to two days.
Preheat oven to 300°F. Remove the beef from the marinade and set the marinade aside. Pat the beef dry and toss with the flour to coat, shaking off any excess. Set the beef aside.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high flame. Add the salt pork and sauté until the pork renders its fat and starts to brown. Remove the browned salt pork pieces and stir into the marinade. Working in batches, brown the beef on all sides, removing to a plate as you brown each batch.
Remove the pot from the heat. Strain the vegetables from the marinade. Layer half the vegetables in the bottom of the pot. Layer the beef over the vegetables. Put the herb bouquet on top of the beef and top with a final layer of the remaining vegetables. Pour the marinade liquid into the pot.
Bring to a boil on top of the stove and season with salt and pepper. Cover tightly with a lid and place in the oven. Cook slowly for anywhere from 3 to 5 hours, stirring once or twice.
Skim any excess fat from the top. Stir in the tomatoes and olives and return to the oven to cook another 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve with boiled potatoes. Garnish with fresh parsley.
Yield: 4-6 servings
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
8 tablespoons chilled all-vegetable shortening
5 tablespoons ice water
6 cups fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons lemon juice
½ - 1 cup sugar
3-4 tablespoons Minute Tapioca
2 tablespoons butter
When making a pie, work quickly and keep everything cold. Keep ingredients or components not in use in the refrigerator.
To make the pie crust:
Mix flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor with steel blade. Turn on processor and drop butter and shortening, alternating, into the processor shoot. Pulse until mixture resembles fine cornmeal. Turn on again and add ice water through the shoot. The mixture will quickly come together into a ball. Roll out the top and bottom pastry from the dough.
To make the pie:
Heat oven to 400℉. Toss the fruit with the other filling ingredients except for the butter and let sit for 15 minutes.
Place bottom pastry into 8-9” pie dish. Add fruit and dot with butter. Place top pastry and crimp edges.
Set pie on a baking sheet, place oven, turn oven down to 350℉ and bake for one hour. Check after 35 minutes and rotate as needed. Remove when juices are bubbling and pie is evenly browned. Let pie cool before serving.
Yield: 6-8 servings