Category Archives: sauvignon blanc

Grilled Figs Paired with a Sauternes

grilled figs paired with a Sauternes

Passing through the produce aisle at Whole Foods, on the way to pick up a store made dessert, the fresh figs on sale caught my eye. Yes, during the middle of a busy week, I was trying to keep our 20th anniversary dinner pretty simple. But my mind quickly got racing to pairing ideas…a dessert featuring grilled figs paired with a Sauternes sounded worthy of a special occasion, I thought. (we already had a special bottle lined up for our main course…stay tuned for a post about that soon!)

2007 Chateau de Malle Sauternes pairs nicely with grilled figsSo I grabbed the figs and came up with a simple yet tasty recipe, recapped below. Then I headed to the wine shop to grab a bottle we’ve enjoyed before, the 2007 Chateau de Malle Sauternes. 

Ingredients

6 fresh figs, stems trimmed and sliced in half lengthwise
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup honey plus 1 extra tbsp honey
pinch of cinnamon
dash of dried sage
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, toasted lightly (optional)

Preheat a grill to medium high. Combine the olive oil, 1 tablespoon of the balsamic and the sugar in a bowl. Gently toss the figs in this mixture, and set  aside while the grill heats up.

Combine the mascarpone with 1 tablespoon of honey in a bowl and set aside.

Heat the remaining 1/2 cup of honey in a small pan on medium heat, and stir in the cinnamon and sage. Once the honey has liquefied a bit, turn the heat to low keep warm while the figs are grilled.

grilling figs to pair with a Sauternes

Grill the figs. If you have a grill pan, use that to avoid losing any figs to the grill. Set the figs skin side down the grill pan, or carefully set them directly onto the grill. Grill about 4 minutes on the skin side, then carefully turn over to sear the other side by grill for about 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove the figs to a plate.

Serve the dessert by adding a tablespoon or two of the mascarpone to each plate. Then place several figs on top of each plate of mascarpone. Finish the dish by drizzling the heated honey over the figs and cheese, and sprinkle the pumpkin seeds on top if you are using them.

grilled figs with honey and mascarpone

Enjoy with a Sauternes! Sure, a lot of things go well with a Sauternes. But this grilled fig with honey and mascarpone with a Sauternes is definitely a great pairing! The 2007 Chateau de Malle Sauternes has notes of honey and hazelnut, and a super-long, luscious finish. It could be a nice dessert on its own, but pairing the Sauternes with this sweet and savory dessert is a great combination.

If you’re not familiar with Sauternes yet, I encourage you to get acquainted! This wine from Bordeaux is made from a blend of made from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle grapes that have been affected by Botrytis cinerea, known as “noble rot”. There is surely a lot of interesting info on the web about it, but the Wikipedia entry is a good starting point.

Sauvignon Blanc Paired with Pesto

A Taft Street Sauvignon Blanc paired with pesto

A classic: Sauvignon Blanc paired with pesto.

What makes it a classic? Here’s how the 2012 Taft Street Sauvignon Blanc worked with the pesto I made for the August Wine Pairing Weekend.

I get grassiness and grapefruit on the nose of the wine. I take a sip, and get peach, cherry blossoms, and mineral undertones. I eat a couple bites of the linguine, getting the garlic bite and saltiness in the pesto along with the freshness of the basil and acidity from the tomatoes. A lot happening on the palate. More wine. The crispness of the Sauvignon Blanc refreshes, cleansing the palate to be ready for another burst of flavor from the pesto. The makings of a classic pairing!

Ready to try this classic pairing for yourself? Typically on this site I link over to where you can find recipe details. But my pesto recipe is so simple (yet so good) that I’ll go ahead and re-share it right here:

Taft Street Sauvignon Blanc paired with pesto for #winePW 3Cooking Chat’s Basil Pesto Ingredients
2 cups fresh basil leaves, rinsed and tightly packed
4 cloves garlic
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp pine nuts

The Method: Have a food processor at the ready. Rinse the basil and pluck the good leaves from the plant, add to a measuring cup. I use up all the basil I’ve gotten. If I wind up with more than two cups basil, I scale the recipe accordingly and have more pesto on hand. If you have extra basil and a school age child on hand, enlist them in the process of calculating the recipe proportions, keep those math skills sharp over the summer! Put the basil into the food processor, and give it a quick whir to begin chopping the basil and make room for the other ingredients.

Next, add the garlic, and hit that food processor button again to get the cloves chopped up with the basil.

Add the remaining in ingredients, and then puree to get everything well combined. Open the food processor, scrape the sides to get bits of garlic and basil that haven’t been incorporated, then give the processor a final whir. Presto, you have tasty pesto! If you’re going to be eating within the next hour or so, just leave the pesto out. If you’re making in advance, refrigerate, but take out an hour before serving to bring the pesto to room temperature. Serve over hot pasta.

Wine Pairing: Well, we already covered Sauvignon Blanc being a classic to pair with pesto.  Want to go in a different direction? I’ve also had luck pairing Prosecco with pesto, and Picpoul with pesto is also very good, if you want to try a lesser known wine with your pesto.

a classic pairing: Sauvignon Blanc with basil pesto

A Sauvignon Blanc for Pasta with Chicken and Goat Cheese

pasta with goat cheese and chicken, pairs well with Sauvignon Blanc

This wine pairing started with a bottle of 2011 Castoro Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, which the folks from SIP Certified had sent for me to come up with a food pairing. I came up with this Pasta with Chicken and Goat Cheese, based on sauv blanc’s affinity for both chicken and goat cheese. The dish also features lemon, capers, and basil, flavors to consider with the wine pairing. I noted I didn’t have a Sauvignon Blanc pairing on the site yet, so I grabbed this one from the Cooking Chat archives!

I got a bit of hibiscus on the nose of the wine, and a fresh and lively taste. I detected kiwi, lemon and a touch of pepper. This picked up the lemon, herbs and onion in the dish nicely. I’d say we got this pairing done right, if I do say so myself! According to the Castoro website, this is their first year producing Sauv Blanc, and I’d say the did quite well.   There’s a bit of Gewurztraminer blended in, which gave I’d say gave it just a touch of spice. A good value at around $15. Castoro Cellars currently has the 2013 vintage of their Sauvignon Blanc out; I’d imagine that would work well, as would other crisp sauv blancs you like.

Full disclosure: I received a complimentary bottle of the wine from SIP to sample. The opinions and recipes here are entirely my own!

Castoro Cellars Sauvignon Blanc. #wine