Wine List Navigation Takeaways: Let’s Eat!

Avocado Salad Ingredients

The fixins for an Avocado & Black Bean Salad: All the right textural elements.

What would a lesson in Wine List Navigation be without a sweet surrender to the temptation of sipping on a little vino and snacking on some strategic homemade munchies? That’s just what I encouraged at my March 26th workshop, as the ladies in attendance watched the corks pop, the juice flow, and the food flourish….Quinoa the Greek, Spinach Pesto, Sauvignon Blanc and Malbec in 2 contrasting styles….just a few of the many perks of getting involved in anything WAC-related.

Spinach Pesto Pasta

Spinach Pesto in all its glory as a simple pasta sauce, ricotta optional.

Our wine and food pairing theme was what I like to call “perfect partners”. It not only demonstrated how old-world and new-world wines work differently with food, but how when a dish is altered by, say, the simple addition of fat, it takes on an increased affinity for both styles of wine on your palate. For my guests, an “ah-ha moment” was born when I asked them to taste my Black Olive Tapenade (BOT) alongside a Malbec, and then to repeat the process after a touch of sour cream was mixed into the BOT. Presto! The second pairing was a complete sentence, opening everyone’s mind to the dynamics of fat and the role it plays in enhancing flavor.

Quinoa The Greek is a protein-packed take on the classic Greek Salad.

If you couldn’t join us, there will be many next-times. The next being on May 14th when our mission is to recalibrate your palate for spring and summer sippers. To keep you eating and drinking well in the interim, enjoy the following recipes for 2 of the evening’s vegetarian snacks, and links to purchase 2 of the serious wines we sipped. Cheers, and bon appétit!    




 Vegetarian Steak

2 lbs Portobello or Cremini mushrooms

2 Cipollini onions

6 cloves roasted garlic

1 handful parsley

2 jarred roasted peppers

¼ cup olive oil

Drizzle onions and garlic with ¼ tsp olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap them in an aluminum foil ‘pouch’. Place in oven alongside mushrooms and roast at 350 degrees until ‘shrooms are tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Cool mixture slightly and put in a Cuisinart with parsley and peppers. Grind mixture and add olive oil until you achieve a coarse consistency.

Avocado & Black Bean ‘Salad’

2 ripe avocados, diced

½ can black beans, well rinsed

1 jalapeño, minced

1 small hot red pepper, minced

6 cloves roasted garlic, minced

1 drizzle of olive oil

Combine all of the ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Serve room temperature.

The Wines

Mohua Sauvignon Blanc ‘13

The plump and assertive side of Sauvignon shines through in this Marlborough, New Zealand example. Cut grass and gooseberry are evident in its vibrant aromatics.

Chateau Vincens l’Instant Cahors ‘10

The Southern French village of Cahors is the European home of varietal Malbec. With l’Instant, earth, herb, subtle dark fruit and lovely underbrush nuances are prevalent.

Click here to read Part 1 of Wine List Navigation Takeaways, and here for Part 2