3 Bite-Size Wine Pairing Recipes + Be the First to Try Virtual Vintner by La Crema

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How much do you know your wine? While I’m no wine expert, I’d like to say I am a wine “enthusiast”. I love learning the different notes and cultivating my taste buds with food + wine pairing. It’s a simple luxury that George and I really enjoy and love learning together.

I was recently introduced to La Crema. They pride themselves for over 30 years on growing their grapes in some of California’s finest cool-climates vineyards. We decided to try out two of their signature wines, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Both had great bodies and crispness.

This time, instead of pairing with our usual cheese and meats, George and I got out of our comfort zones and made 3 delightful bite-size recipes to pair. Let me know what you think?

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Mini Kimchi Deviled Eggs – topped with bacon bits (recipe from Tiny Food Party). The lightless of the quail eggs with a kick of spice goes perfectly well with Chardonnay Arroyo Seco 2012.

You need:
24 hard-boiled quail eggs (found in Asian markets), peeled and halved lengthwise
1/4 cup chopped kimchi (also found in Asian markets)
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (regular or light)
Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Separate yolks from whites; set hollowed whites aside. Place yolks in a mixing bowl and mash together; add kimchi, green onions, and mayonnaise, season with sale and pepper, and stir to combine.
2. Fill each white about 1 teaspoon of filling and top with a small sprinkle of candied bacon. Serve. Makes 48.

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Snack-Size Seafood Cocktail Cups (recipe also from Tiny Food Party). The sweetness of shrimps and scallops and the refreshing palate of cucumber also pairs well with Chardonnay Arroyo Seco 2012.

You need:
1/2 cup cocktail sauce
2 chipotle peppers in adobo, minced
3 tablespoons adobo sauce
1 lime, juiced
1/2 pound cooked tiger shrimp, peeled and chopped
1/2 pound cooked bay scallops, quartered
1/2 cup frozen sweet corn, thawed
1/2 medium red onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons thinly sliced chives
2 tablespoons minced cilantro

Cucumber cups
3 hothouse cucumbers, cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and pepper to taste

Garnish
Crumbled queso fresco or mild feta, to taste

1. For the seafood cocktail, whisk together cocktail sauce, chipotles, adobo, and lime juice in a small bowl. In a larger mixing bowl, combine shrimp, scallops, corn, onions, chives, and cilantro. Fold in sauce. Cover bowl and refrigerate.
2. For the cucumber cup, use a melon baller to gently scoop out half of the flesh from the inside of each piece of cucumber, creating a cup. Spoon 1 tablespoon of seafood cocktail into each cucumber cup. Top with a sprinkle of queso fresco or mild feta and serve immediately, or chill until ready to serve.

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Salmon Sliders with Tangy Avocado Sauce (recipe from Dine & Dish.) While the rule of thumb is to pair red wine with red meat, grilled salmon with a rich creamy sauce also pairs deliciously with Pinot Noir Arroyo Seco 2012.

Get full recipe here.

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Now, have you ever thought about making your own wine?

La Crema just launched a brand new Vitural Vintner program this week that allows their fans to experience the process of making wine. It’s a first-of-its kind experience where La Crema engages their fans in an interactive way that will result in a creation of a wine that is truly created by its community, all while educating their participants all about viticulture and winemaking techniques. It feels as if you’re getting an exclusive look behind the scenes of an artisan winery and learning directly from the winemaking team.

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The online process lets you vote on the different varietal, appellation, specific vineyard, barrel treatment, and even down to the wine name and label design! Popular vote will unfold in real time and determine how the wine is made. The final product is to be released in late Fall 2015.

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At the end of this program, the Virtual Vintner community will not only have gained winemaking expertise, but will have the first chance to purchase a wine to call their very own, to savor and share with friends and family. Now that’s a wine to be proud of! :)

Sounds interesting? Be the first to try here!

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I’m curious to see what kind of wine the Virtual Vintner program will produce. Lots of decisions to be made! Happy (virtual) winemaking, and hope you give these 3 recipes a try!

xo Jeanne

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This post is kindly sponsored by La Crema. All opinions shared here are my own. Thanks so much for supporting my sponsors and SST!