Instead of the tried and true, let’s try something new!

These were the sentiments that Jim and I had last weekend as we went out for an afternoon of wine tasting. We wanted to try some wineries in the area that we had yet to visit.  We eventually arrived as Los Positas Vineyards, which had been recommended to us, and were excited to see what they had to offer. The grounds and tasting room are beautiful, as they just built their new location. Upon arrival, we could tell that this location would be great for a wedding or a picnic, so that is exactly what we ended up doing… the picnic that is! Before settling in on their gorgeous patio to enjoy lunch, which is surrounded by rows and rows of vineyards, we decided to go into the tasting room.

We were immediately greeted by a warm, friendly, and knowledgeable staff; one of whom we recognized because he used to pour at one of our other favorite wineries, which further added to friendly vibe. For just a $5 tasting fee, which is returned if a bottle of wine was purchased, we were offered a tasting flight that featured 6 wines: the 2007 Chardonnay, 2008 Chardonnay, 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007 Petite Sirah, and 2008 Barbera.

The two I enjoyed most were the 2008 Barbera and the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, which I have paired with recipes below. Both wines are made with grapes that come from the Livermore Valley. The Barbara was fruity and yet spicy at the same time, and had a beautiful red berry color. The Cabernet, with its gentle tannins, was immediately satisfying, yet it was still bold as a Cabernet should be; this is typically the type of Cab I enjoy most. What is great, especially since the grounds are so lovely, is that you can buy a glass or bottle of your favorite wine to enjoy there. Jim and I ended up buying a bottle of the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, and enjoyed a small glass with our lunch . We later brought the rest of the bottle home to pair with dinner.

As Jim and I got into the car to move on to our next winery, we did so very impressed by what we found. The small-lot, estate grown wines at Las Positas Vineyards are worth taking notice of  and we look forward to going back soon!

2008 Las Positas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Pairing

Pan Seared Fillet Mignon with Rosemary-Balsamic Butter

Garlic and Goat Cheese Potato Gratin

Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan

Pan Seared Fillet Mignon with Rosemary-Balsamic Butter

For the Butter:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup of good quality balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

½ teaspoon salt

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Put the balsamic vinegar and peppercorns into a small pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until the vinegar reduces to about 1/8 cup. About 10 minutes. Take off heat and cool.
  2. Once vinegar has cooled, combine it with the butter and remaining ingredients, mashing with fork in a small bowl.
  3. Butter can be made in advance. If it is made ahead of time, store in the refrigerator, but bring to room temperature before use.

**Note: the amount of vinegar is hard to judge while boiling, so when trying to see if it is cooked down enough, remove from heat so that the bubbles die down.

** Unused butter freezes well. Thaw before use, and re-mix if needed.

For the Steaks

4 Fillet Mignon Steaks, cut about 2 inches thick

2-4 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

  1. Remove steaks from refrigerator about 15 minutes before cooking to bring close to room temperature. Season with salt and pepper
  2.  In a stainless steel pan, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Once pan is hot, place steaks in the pan. Do not move them or you won’t get a good sear. Cook for about 5-7 minutes. Turn steaks (if you have a good sear this should be done easily and they shouldn’t stick). Cook another 5 minutes or so until they are medium rare, about 130° to 135°.
  3. Allow steaks to rest for 5 minutes. Top with a teaspoon or so of butter and serve.

Garlic and Goat Cheese Potato Gratin

1 cup milk, 1%

1 cup heavy cream

5 ounces goat cheese (my favorite is Laura’s)

1 – 2 large clove(s) garlic, pressed through garlic press, depending on taste (I used 1)

1 ½ teaspoons salt

¾ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

3 pounds yellow potatoes, peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Heavily butter a 9X13 Pyrex type dish.
  2. Combine all ingredients, except for potatoes in a bowl, crumbling goat cheese. Whisk to combine.
  3. Layer 1/3 of potatoes, in shingle pattern, in bottom of dish. Add 1/3 of cheese mixture.  Following the same process create 2 more layers.
  4. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, gently tossing potatoes about half way through so that they don’t get too brown on top.  Remove from oven when most liquid is absorbed and potatoes are soft when pierced with fork. Allow to set -up for 10 minutes before serving.

Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan

1 pound green and purple asparagus

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan

  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Wash and trim asparagus spears, snapping off ends where they bend and break easily.
  3. Place on a baking sheet and coat with olive oil and salt. Do not put on pepper yet as it will burn with oven’s high heat.
  4. Roast for 5-7 minutes. Toss. Roast for another 5-7 minutes, depending on how thick the asparagus was. Remove from oven when it is crisp-tender and easily pierced with fork.
  5. Add fresh ground pepper, and freshly grated Parmesan to top of asparagus and serve.
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About Teresa

Full time mom, educator, and foodie! Part-time blogger! Follow me for yummy recipes made with love from wholesome real foods!
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