Wine. Did someone say wine? It must be happy hour! I have never written a post about wine except to say how much I love to drink it. Growing up when wine was quickly becoming a fashionable way to imbibe, I had a mother and father who quickly became wine connoisseurs. As good parents, they let us taste whatever it was they were opening that day. ( I quickly decided no more brown bag Boone's Farms or Mateus, would suffice for me.) Soon they found themselves buying more than they could open and now we are the proud owners of 11 cases of wine, many of which can not be bought anymore and all of which are needing to be drunk. Poor me! They were downsizing and realizing that even if they drank a bottle a week, they would never get through all they had accumulated. My mother did most of the buying and most of it is from France and California, though other regions of the world are represented too!
I guess that is one thing I love about wine. Wine takes me to places I can't get up and visit easily. It transports me to Italy or Napa or South Africa. I love wines from Chile and Australia and of course, France. But Boulder? Never did I think wine would transport me to Boulder, but I'm sure glad it did. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Boulder and attend a wine tasting at Settembre Cellars. Tracy and Blake greeted us with hospitality and food. And well, you know-wine!
They were joined by Savory Spice and Cured to entertain and educate us about the terroir of wine and also explain the wine making process that they use to create their extraordinary vintages. All of their grapes are grown in Colorado and currently they have 11 different wines to choose from. Check out their wine club if you wish to learn more. One can also visit their tasting room and see the oak barrels and talk the talk of wine. I'm not so good talking it, but I am very good at drinking it.
I loved their Chardonnay because it wasn't full of oak, though it is aged in new oak French barrels. They impart a gentle, soft quality to the wine but leave the wine very drinkable, without leaving your mouth too dry. I would never have believed that this wine is from Colorado grapes. Bottles are cellared for 11 months before release. Paired with a great endive and quinoa appetizer, it was the perfect way to begin our night of education.
We also tasted a Syrah and a dry Reisling. The Syrah was excellent with a spicy,earthy profile that would pair perfectly with my chicken scarpariello. (I do not know this for a fact, but I believe it to be so. Yes, it would be fun to test this!) This is coming from someone who normally is partial to Pinots and Cabernets. Take me away with this.
Tracy and Blake are so easy to talk with. They are both engineers and Italian food lovers. By balancing art, science and patience they try to create wines with elegance, balance and depth. No, I didn't make that up! That is their foundation for developing wines and after trying them, I would say they are succeeding well. Listening to Blake talk about the differences in two identical Cabernets, except for the fact that they were grown 3 miles apart, is fascinating. It was only the terroir that was different, and the fun was in experiencing both wines side by side. One could actually taste what he was talking about.
Paired with our wine, were great appetizers from Cured, a local Boulder cheese shop and charcuterie. Though I have never been in, Will promised me he'd send me the mushroom pate recipe that they served that night. I may just have to stop in and get it myself! It was so good. And if you do decide to visit and taste Settembre wines, Cured will pack you a picnic brown bag of great cheese and appetizers to go, that will balance well with your new favorite wine. You will want to sit and savor and talk with Blake and Tracy about their wines. These are two interesting, engrossing people and I have no doubt they could engage me for hours.
Last, but certainly not least, were the spices we tasted with the Syrah. Pairing several spices from the Savory Spice shop (one of my favorite places), showed us how different spices bring out different nuances of the wine. I particularly enjoyed the Baker's Brew spice that I used to make these shortbread cookies. (If you don't have access to a Savory Spice Shop near you, you can always order online.) These buttery, slightly sweet cookies, would make a simply perfect ending to a meal of Settembre wine, Cured cheese and charcuterie, and a bit of Savory spice. What epic synergy was created that night. I am so ready to create my own!
If you decide to visit Boulder, make sure to visit Settembre. You will have fun. You will drink great wine. And you won't believe those grapes are from Colorado!
Baker's Brew Shortbread
Time to Make: About 25 minutes active
Makes about 24 cookies
1/2 lb butter
3/4 c sugar
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 c cornstarch
1/4 t salt
1/2 t baker's brew coffee spice or a mixture of coffee, cocoa, sugar, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, cardamom, allspice, mace and ginger
1 c powdered sugar
1-2 T milk
1 pinch of baker's brew spice
Cream butter and sugar together for 30 seconds until it is light and fluffy. Add egg yolk. Mix flour, cornstarch, salt and spice together. Mix well into butter mixture. Gather dough into a 12" long roll. I attempted to shape mine like a triangle. Don't ask! I then wrapped this in plastic wrap and froze the dough for about 45 minutes. Cut into 24 slices. Bake at 275 for 30 minutes. Cool on rack. While cookies are in the freezer, prepare glaze by blending powdered sugar and milk together with a whisk. You don't want this too runny! When cookie are cool, glaze them. Sprinkle with a bit more spice. Enjoy!
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5 Incredibly Quick Appetizers
Red Onion, Blueberry and Pesto Tart
White Beans and Red Peppers
Two Bodacious Appetizers