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The Holiday Spirit is a Phantom: BOGLE PHANTOM 2015

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I’m not Jewish, but my husband is and, as is the case with holidays both secular and religious, it often falls upon the woman to create the traditions…which in my house means food.Potato-Latkes-300x257

So it has come to pass that I, the non-Jew, have become an expert at making latkes. I think that the crisp potato pancakes are the one thing that Hanukkah has over Christmas.

At our annual latke fry on Sunday, I grated both sweet and Yukon gold potatoes and served them with applesauce and sour cream, of course, but also with a hearty bowl of Portuguese kale soup and a romaine-free salad.

The soup is robust and smoky with chorizo and kielbasa, kidney beans, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, carrots and kale. But it cries out for a substantial red wine to elevate it from peasant food to festive holiday fare.

IMG_1318Bogle Phantom 2015 is just that wine.

 

Don’t be intimidated by the label that proclaims “mysterious and hauntingly seductive.” This is a very approachable blend  (44% Petite Sirah, 44% Zinfandel, 10% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon) that pairs well with comforting winter dishes like beef stew, pork loin and…my kale soup.

The girls and I opened it before dinner, let it breathe a bit and sampled it while pondering the New York Times crossword puzzle. Then we set the kitchen table and poured some for everyone.

It’s smooth but bodacious, yet it doesn’t overwhelm the tongue with tannins. This will become the winter house wine here on Bartlett Avenue.  Even my daughter (a millennial!) who tends to gravitate toward pinot noirs gave this wine high marks. It’s loaded with subtle flavors and it drinks like a high priced bottle. Good thing we had two.

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P.S. I made “Craft Beer Menorahs” for the “kids” and picked up some really interesting local brews to wish them all “Hoppy Holidays!”

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Turkey Day Wine Guide

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Thanksgiving is around the corner (we can’t believe it either)!!! Don’t procrastinate this year… get ahead of the game and shop our delicious wines that pair perfectly with appetizers, turkey,  and dessert.  We’re making it easy for you with our Turkey Day Wine Guide!

Aperitifs:

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Riva Rosé is a delicious sparkling rosé from the Mediterranean. The wine displays delicate yet persistent bubbles. The nose exudes aromas of small red fruits such as strawberry and raspberry. The palate offers refreshing notes of grapefruit and spice. Perfect for aperitifs and to possibly drown out the noise of your relatives… haha, just kidding!

The Main Meal:

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Pinot Noir Wines are a perfect pairing for turkey!  Here are two that we love –

  • Elouan Pinot Noir Dark: Shimmering ruby red. Deep notes of plum, red cherries and blackcurrant jam with subtle touches of toasty vanilla and spice. Rich, ripe fruit flavors of plum, cherry, mixed berry jam, and blackberry. Smooth tannins round out the mouthfeel.

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Along with a good red, we also love a good white wine to pair with turkey. Here are two delicious white wines from Trimbach.

  • Trimbach Reisling: The nose shows restrained citrus and a slightly lifted, very slightly aromatic touch of conifer. The palate is taut and slender, presenting sober, clean citrus flavors. This stands upright and has a wonderful backbone of freshness.
  • Trimbach Gewurztraminer: A very shy nose just releases the most teasing hint of peach. The palate is utterly restrained: peach flavors are dry and brightened by lemon and have a wonderful lightness of touch. The finish is dry, clean and long.

Dessert/After-dinner Drink:

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You can’t forget about the post-feast wine!  A great dessert wine is in order

Haut Charmes Sauternes 2015: Haut Charmes is a very special Sauternes bottling, made from the younger vines of the region’s most legendary château. While we aren’t allowed to actually reveal the source, it’s safe to say its location in the Ciron Valley exposes the Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon fruit to conditions perfect for the development of botrytis. Charming, elegant and an exceptional value for what’s in the bottle.

Not in love with these wines?! Head on in and let us help you choose the perfect wine. Our educated staff is always happy to help!

Thanks,

The Mystic Wine Shoppe Team

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Black Ops

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Wine writers call wines like Black Ops by Hugh Hamilton a “rare red blend.” I would call it an “extremely rare red blend.” It is just luscious – deep, inky color paired with unmistakable notes of wild blueberries, dark blackberries, juicy red cherries and a slightly elusive savory/wild herb / ripe fruit note that soaks into every taste bud and makes your shoulders relax.

This wine is made of the unusual blend of Shiraz, Saperavi and Nero d’Avola. Shiraz, a mainstay of McLaren Vale, is the iconic grape of meaty, mighty and most especially tasty Australian wines. It is the same grape that is used in Rhône wines, notably Hermitage, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and Cornas, which is the only French wine made with 100% Syrah. The primary distinction between Shiraz and Syrah is stylistic. Most Australian Shiraz tends to have a riper, fruitier, more concentrated set of flavors, whereas the cooler climate Syrahs of the Rhône Valley in Southern France, then to be a bit more savory, a bit more structured and a bit more peppery. The trend these days in Australia is that Shiraz is planted in cooler microclimates and is producing a more restrained type of wine, closer in character to the Syrahs of France, while the French are dealing with warmer, longer summers and are producing much more alcoholic, powerful wines than in the past. But despite this climatic convergence, they are still very distinct.

To add to this distinction, Hugh Hamilton has lived up to his Black Sheep logo by introducing an extraordinary grape to Australia called Saperavi. It is an ancient grape variety from the Republic of Georgia. In my mind, it evokes romantic images of farmers thousands of years ago, plucking grapes by hand, stomping the grapes in celebratory fashion with their families, fermenting that must in clay amphorae and drinking it with joy at every hearty meal. It is a grape that deserves this image. It brings to this wine a sort of wild, gamey nature that the buttoned-down varieties of Western Europe lack. It is a teinturier grape, that rare grape whose flesh, not just the skin, has color. And it is known for its depth, acidity, and full body.

Another bold move was to blend in Nero d’Avola. Again, this is an ancient variety that has found its home in the southern parts of Sicily. Like its happy compatriots, it is a dark, full-bodied wine that exhibits bright cherry notes that when oak-aged, can become plummy and juicy.

Together, these three varieties make Black Ops a truly exceptional wine. It is fruity and fragrant while still being structured and powerful. The wine starts strong with aromas of black currants, plums and cherries and fills your mid-palate with wonderful roundness and the complexity of pepper, dark chocolate and a small hint of herbs that seems ingrained in Australian terroir. The mellow tannins are more textural than grippy, rolling over your tongue with very pleasing sensations. It finishes with a long, slow slide of lingering fruits and tobacco and perhaps a hint of smoke.

You’d be a fool to pass up this wine at $19.99 a bottle!!!!

Your wine expert, Seema

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Glazed Pork and Big Barrel Pinot Noir

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Bird Big Barrel Pinot Noir Tasting Notes:  There is not much one can say about this wine without gushing.  It is delicious. From the remarkable color to the nose full of delicately scented cherries and roses and baking spice and the taste of a very carefully and lovingly vinified Pinot Noir, it is to be savored. If handled improperly, Pinot Noir grapes will still yield a juicy wine, but it will lose all the uplifting aromatics.  Therefore, this wine is made in the eponymous big barrels to keep the oak from overpowering the essence of the grape.  The winemaker also uses an unusual “Vernou roll” technique that allows the wine to come into contact with the skins very gently and with limited exposure to oxygen, thereby preserving much of the flavor and intensity without extracting harsh tannins.

 

Pork or Veal Loin Glazed with Pomegranate and Oranges

  • One 3-pound roast of pork or veal, or two 1 1/2 pound tenderloins
  • Marinade
    • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
    • Grated zest of one orange
    • 2 tbsp soy sauce
    • 2 tbsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
    • 2 tbsp pomegranate syrup or pomegranate molasses
    • 2 tbsp hot mustard
    • 2 tsp freshly minced garlic
  • Basting sauce
    • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
    • 3 tbsp honey
    • 3 tbsp pomegranate syrup or pomegranate molasses
    • 2 tbsp soy sauce
    • 2 tbsp reserved marinade
  • To Make:
    • In a large bowl, combine the ingredients for the marinade. Reserve 2 tablespoons. Then marinade the roast in a dish, covered by plastic wrap or a lid. Marinade for at least 6 hours, overnight if possible.
    • Combine the ingredients for the basting sauce. Reserve 1/4 cup for spoon on at the very end.
    • Broil or grill the roast or tenderloins not too close to the heat source, turning the meat and basting with the sauce at least 4 times. Cook until a meat thermometer registers 140 degrees Fahrenheit, 20 to 30 minutes for a large loin, 5 to 7 minutes per side for tenderloins.
    • Or, in an oven, place in a roasting pan at 400 degrees.  Baste every 5 minutes, until meat thermometer reads 140 degrees, about 40 minutes.
    • Transfer meats to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice thinly. Simmer reserved basting sauce until slightly thickened. Spoon over meat to glaze.
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Shrimp & Grits with Kim Crawford Rosé

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This food and wine pairing are making our mouth water! This is the perfect recipe for your Mother’s Day celebrations and/or spring lunches.

roseKim Crawford Rosé Tasting Notes:  Rosé wines come in a range of colors and can be made from a variety of red grapes.  This particular one is a beautiful deep salmon color that immediately draws the eye.  Part of the reason it has such a rich, sunset shade is that it is made from a combination of Merlot and Malbec grapes, which is a bit unusual.  But the marriage of the two is quite successful.  The nose will immediately tell you it is from New Zealand – it has a grapefruit, almost grassy smell that reminds you of Sauvignon Blanc.  But once you taste it, all thoughts of a disguised white wine fall away.  It is crisp and dry but so fruity that you might think it has some sweetness to it.   You can savor the strawberry and melon flavors of summer while lingering over the mineral and green apple finish.  Serve very chilled next to classic Southern Shrimp and Grits!

 

Shrimp and Grits – an all time Southern Classic

  • Grits:  
    • 2 cups water
    • 1 (14-ounce) can chicken broth
    • 3/4 cup half-and-half
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup regular grits
    • 3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
    • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
    • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • To Make: Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually whisk in grits. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until thickened. Add Cheddar cheese and next 4 ingredients. Keep warm.
  • Shrimp
    • 3 bacon slices
    • 1 pound medium-size shrimp, peeled and deveined
    • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
    • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/2 cup low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
    • Flat leaf parsley for garnish
  •  To Make: Cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon, and set aside.
    • Sprinkle shrimp with pepper and salt; dredge in flour.
    • Sauté mushrooms in hot drippings in skillet 5 minutes or until tender. Add green onions, and sauté 2 minutes. Add shrimp and garlic, and sauté 2 minutes or until shrimp are lightly brown. Stir in chicken broth, lemon juice, and hot sauce, and cook 2 more minutes, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet.
  • Serve shrimp mixture over hot cheese grits. Top with crumbled bacon and add a sprig of parley.

 

Top photo by: Meca

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Crab Salad & Sparkling Wine

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The warmer weather is slowly arriving and the Sophora NV Cuvee Sparkling Wine and crab salad (see below for recipe) combo is the perfect combo to welcome spring!
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Sophora NV Cuvee Sparkling Wine Tasting Notes: Don’t confuse NV – non-vintage – with lower quality.  Non-vintage just means that the wine in the bottle has been blended with a “reserve wine” during the second fermentation to create a house style.  This wine is scrumptious.  When the distributor came by with it for a tasting, I was blown away and asked to take it home that evening to share with my true love.  And even my beloved, who for the past 23 years has professed indifference to sparkling wines, loved it.  It is rich and full-bodied, being a combination of 52% Chardonnay and 48% Pinot Noir, with the best of both grapes.  Crisp acidity, fruit forward off-dry taste and a round, soft mouthfeel aided by the very fine bubbles.  Had I not known better, I might have guessed it was a champagne and twice the price.  This wine will pair perfectly with an endive and crab salad.

Crab Salad in Endive Leaves

  • 1/2 lb. crab meat, all cartilage removed
  • Dressing: 
    • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
    • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
    • 1/3 finely diced celery
    • Grated zest of 1 lemon plus 1 or 2 tbsp lemon juice
    • 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
    • 1 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
    • Salt, ground black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
  • 12 to 18 Belgian endive leaves
  • To Make:
    • In a large bowl, combine the mustard, mayonnaise, celery, lemon juice, chives and parsley. Add the crab meat and mix in gently. Season to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. When ready, scoop some crab salad into individual endive leaves and arrange on a platter.

Moroccan Lamb Chops & Taylor River Pinot Noir

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Having company over this weekend?  Want to try a new wine and recipe?  No matter what your situation may be the Wither Hills Taylor River Pinot Noir paired with Moroccan Lamb Chops is a go-to combo that we love! Give it a try.

 

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Wine Tasting Notes: In contrast to the light, almost elusive qualities of the Big Barrel Pinot Noir, this wine is more one for contemplation, for sitting in front of a warm fire while a storm rages outside.  For coming to important conclusions then looking into the glass and seeing what is good in life.  Its initial impression on the nose is of dark, wild berries with some earthy, spicy notes.  On the palate, it comes on with soft, round flavors of toasty baking spices, a basket full of red, juicy fruits and a lovely balance of acids, ripe tannins and satisfying finish.  It brings out the best in Moroccan Lamb Chops.

 

 

Moroccan Lamb Chops

Marinade:
1 onion grated
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne pepper or other hot pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
2 pounds lamb chops. Loin or rib chops are the most tender, but shoulder and sirloin are also good
Roasting vegetables:
1 red onion, cut in large pieces
2 bell peppers, any color, seeded and cut into large pieces
4 small tomatoes, seeded and halved
Olive oil for brushing veggies
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine ingredients for the marinade in a large bowl. Reserve 2 tbsp for basting.
Toss the chops with the marinade and allow to tenderize overnight.  When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a roasting pan, arrange the chops in the center and allow to cook for 20 minutes, basting occasionally.  After 20 minutes, remove the pan from the oven, add the oiled vegetables, turn down the temperature to 350 degrees and cook for another 20 minutes, again, basting both the meat and the vegetables regularly.  When the meat reaches 140 degrees, remove and allow to rest  for 5 minutes before serving.