MONTHLY DIGEST: Winter Warmer Wines #2
Updated: Nov 5, 2019
With Dry January well and truly over, I hope you've been enjoying some delicious wines this month. This time last year I'd just moved to New York City and started the WSET Level 3 Advanced Wine Course. So, this month, as an ode to my time in the USA, I've included 3 "Winter Warmers" from Washington State, New York State and California.
WINTER WARMERS USA
Here are my USA Winter Warmer recommendations to ease you through to Spring!
2015 Wines of Substance, Columbia Valley, Washington, USA | Morrisons £12.00 | Affordable and easy drinking Cabernet Sauvignon. I discovered this excellently priced wine during my first week after moving to NYC so I was delighted to see that Morrisons are stocking it! This wine is rich and fruit-forward with notes of blackberry and dark cherry, some subtle herbal notes and tobacco nuances with a long and unctuous finish.
2015 Paumanok Domaine Moraine, Long Island, New York, USA | Laithwaites £19.99 | I visited this winery in June 2018. It's situated a couple of hours away from Manhattan at the end of Long Island, New York State. This winery is known as one of the top producers in Long Island. This wine is an interpretation of a Bordeaux blend: it is full-bodied with notes of blackcurrant, subtle spices and cedar. An elegant and sumptuous crowd-pleaser!
2011 Joseph Swan, Trenton Estate Syrah, Russian River Valley, California, USA | Berry Bros. & Rudd £34.99 | This is a full-bodied but very appetising and easy-drinking Syrah from Russian River Valley, California. It has notes of ripe red currant, baked purple plums and nuances of fresh tobacco leaves, graphite and a savoury pepperiness. This wine will pair beautifully with lamb or duck dishes, or with Italian pasta dishes.
BRANDY-INFUSED PAN FRIED DUCK
This month, I've got a delicious recipe for a spiced, brandy-infused pan fried duck. I recommend pairing this duck dish with fruity New World red wines like those listed in my Winter Warmer recommendations, or lighter/spiced red wines such as a Pinot Noir or Grenache.
For 2 people * 2 duck breasts
* 35ml of brandy
* Juice of 2 small blood oranges
* Thumb sized piece of finely chopped ginger
* 1 tbsp of brown sugar
Step 1: For the marinade, put all of the ingredients (apart from the duck breasts) in a bowl and stir together. Place the duck breasts skin-side up on top of the marinade and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Step 2: Take the duck out of the fridge and out of the marinade, place the marinade on the side, and pat the excess moisture on the skin with kitchen towel and score the skin with a sharp knife. Step 3: Pan fry the duck on a medium heat skin-side down for 5 minutes until lightly crisped. Turn the duck with tongs and continue to cook for 5-7 minutes for medium-rare. Take the duck out of the pan and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Step 4: Whilst resting, pour the marinade into the pan of duck fats on a medium heat until it begins to simmer and starts to reduce. Step 5: Slice the duck breasts as pictured and pour the warm reduced marinade over the duck.
I dropped into Cave á Vin on a Saturday afternoon earlier this month, which is the bar/wine shop of The 10 Cases, Covent Garden. Cave á Vin is a cozy, bistrot-style wine bar that only buys 10 cases of each wine to keep its wine offering ever-changing and exciting for its customers. It offers around 25 wines by the glass. I tucked into a glass of a 2003 Grenache Blanc, a plate of charcuterie and some almonds. It's buzzing, warm and has a relaxed atmosphere with charming staff who really love wine. Check it out. Wines by the glass from £5.30 | 16 Endell St, London WC2H 9BD.
GADGET: OVERSIZED SPHERICAL ICE MOULDS!
Oversized Spherical Ice Moulds. When I am taking a break from the vino, I am partial to a gin and tonic or an Old Fashioned cocktail (whisky-based). I've seen large ice spheres in bars before, so I couldn't resist buying these moulds when I came across them in Borough Kitchen. The moulds worked perfectly (approximately 4 hours in the freezer) and I even went a bit wild and included some slices of blood orange in my spheres! The ice spheres melt slowly so don't dilute your drink and they also look very cool. Ice Spheres Set of 2 | Borough Kitchen £10.50