Saturday, August 1, 2020

Pairing Bibi Graetz Casamatta Toscana Rosato with Drunken Cold Chicken Wing and Pork Knuckle, and Sautéed Julienne Leek #ItalianFWT

Pairing Bibi Graetz Casamatta Toscana Rosato with Drunken Cold Chicken Wing and Pork Knuckle, and Sautéed Julienne Leek

Having a stronger preference over red wines and typically shying away from the sun, sitting at the patio and enjoying chilled wines is not my usual summer pastime.  However, the summer of 2020, in so many ways, is very different from the past…staying in the house, no family travel plans, no summer street fairs, no wine tasting events. To extend my living space to outdoor, we have upgraded our patio with elevated garden boxes for some annuals and new patio furniture. All out of a sudden, checking out how my flowers are doing becomes a daily ritual and, slowly but surely, having our wines and meals outdoor is what I look forward to every evening.  Lauren from The Swirling Dervish invited the #ItalianFWT bloggers to discover the pink wines from Italy’s indigenous grapes. That helps me expand my summer patio wine list. Let’s sip some Bibi Graetz Casamatta Toscana Rosato and devour the chilled drunken chicken wings and pork knuckle plus some sautéed julienned leek.

                          Bibi Graetz Casamatta Toscana Rosato 2018 SRP$12.99:
cherry plum (GMO for sure), fuller-bodied, a good balance of acidity at the end; Dry Port?

What is Rosato?

Rosatos are pink wines coming from all over Italy. They are made with a wide variety of Italian indigenous grapes. The choice of grapes and winemaking methods, either direct pressing of red grapes or “saignée method” (bleeding off must from tanks to avoid too dark of the color from skin contact) presents a diverse and fun world of Rosato – different regions, shades of pink or light red, weight or body, aromas, tastes and price ranges.

Soft citrusy finish that kind of zips all the fruitiness of this wine
and leaves you with a refreshing and clean mouthfeel at the very end!

This Rosato doesn’t taste like Rose!

BibiGraetz Winery was found in 2000 when Bibi Graetz turns his passion of wines from drinking it to making it. Growing up in a family of artists, it’s not hard to find the artistic strokes on the wine labels. Not only I like the label of this Bibi Graetz Casamatta Toscana Rosato 2018, I’m also so excited to taste my very first Rosato which happens to be awarded a 91 rating from James Suckling.

This Sangiovese-based Rosato is strawberry and cherry on the nose. My first sip of it really sent some shockwaves…what is this? A dry Port? I immediately asked my husband, who is a Port lover, to “verify” the taste. It also tastes like a lighter Port to him too. But what makes this Rosato so interesting is the soft citrusy finish that kind of zips all the fruitiness of this wine and leaves you with a refreshing and clean mouthfeel at the very end!

Making drunken chicken wings and pork knuckles takes some time but it is so worth it!
Drunken Chicken Wing and Pork Knuckle with Sautéed Julienned Leek

With this fuller-bodied and solid Sangiovese-based pink wine, I decided to make some drunken chicken wings and pork knuckles that are served cold. I boiled the wings and knuckles for about ten minutes and washed off the fatty floatie stuff from the meat under the running water. I then fully cooked the wings and knuckles an Instant Pot (stovetop is perfectly fine too). One thing to keep in mind is not to stew the meat so it becomes too mushy and the skins of the wings and knuckles need to be intact. In a separate pot, I was making a brining liquid by boiling two cups chicken broth, ¼ cup rice vinegar, some Sichuan peppercorn, anise, scallion, ginger, salt, and pepper. After the broth was cooled off in a large bowl, I added ½ cup of clear Chinese cooking wine to the broth and submerged the wings and knuckles in the broth. Leave the meat in the fridge for at least 4 hours. 

Yes, it's a meaty pork knuckle. The pork skin is not fatty at all as the rice vinegar in the brining liquid takes care of it.

When you bite into the bouncy skin of the wings and pork knuckles, you know that all the work is totally worth it. The brining process turns the heavy meat into tasty cool summer eats that are substantial but not fatty, appetizing, umami, lightly sour and gingery…overall, a good match to the honest and impressive Bibi Graetz Casamatta Toscana Rosato.

If you don't like leek potato soup, maybe try to sautee leeks. I am quite happy with this leek dish.

With the vegetable side, I julienned a whole leek and sautéed it with Laoganma Spicy Chili Crisp until the leek was tender and slightly under-cooked so that it still had that crunch to it. 

Julienned leek sautees very fast and can be served cold. The leeks retains the vibrant green color after its cooked too.

The Laoganma sauce is an all-purpose condiment for spicy food lover. It is red pepper-based with oil that is infused with the spiciness. The crunchy peanuts and tinny dry tofu cubes in the sauce also add a lot of fun to your sautéed food too. This sautéed leek is spicy, oniony and literally healthy. Who can imagine one can eat a whole leek and drink Rosato – yes, I can… at my new patio.

Got this leek from a nearby farmer's market. It costs me $2.5 for three whole leeks.
A better alternative to onion, in my opinion. 

Let's check out which Rosato our #ItalianFWT friends is drinking:

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Moldovan Wines and Korean Sushi - Kimbap #WinePW

Moldovan Wines and Korean Sushi -

Being a history buff and journalism major, I was fascinated about the 20th century history of Eastern Europe. When I was 19 years old, I decided to travel with a friend to several Soviet Union ruling Eastern European countries like Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia for more than two months during the freshman year summer break. Back then, as a traveler on a shoestring budget, my focus was not on wines but rather on guarding my backpack from theft during the occasional overnight stays (a.k.a sleeping) in the train stations. Shortly after this eye-opening trip, I visited Moscow, St. Petersburg and Vladivostok multiple times to see how the communist party controlled the press! Jeff Burrows from Food Wine Click has this cool connection with VINOvations and Wine of Moldova USA and arranged samples for the #WinePW bloggers. For me, tasting Moldovan wines gives me a reason to revisit the map of the former USSR and to be nostalgic about my exciting young adulthood.   

Staying with a hosting family in Krakow, Poland

Terroir of Moldovan Wines

The Republic of Moldova is a country located in Eastern Europe, bordered by Ukraine to the east and Romania to the west. Its geographic location embraces a moderate continental climate with short and occasionally very cold winters and long summers. Moldova’s landscapes vary considerably from endless steppes of the east, to forested hillsides of the central zone, and on to the vast Bugeac Plain in the south. The diverse landscape allows Moldova to offer a wide portfolio of wines, ranging from cool-climate wines, ice wines from noble rot, to wines from early ripen grapes.

Gogu Blanc de Merlot 2018/ Rosu de Purcari 2015/
310 Altitudine Cabernat Sauvignon - Feteasca Neagra 2017

5 Wine Facts of Moldova

  • The Republic of Moldova has the highest density in vineyards in the world – new vineyards are added to the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI/Appellation) year after year.
  • Still and effervescent white wines (55%) dominate the wine production in Moldova, followed by red (35%), rose (8%), and licorous white, rose and red (2%).
  • Moldova cultivates Western European, Black Sea Basin and indigenous grape varieties - 70% of which are white varieties (e.g., Rkatsiteli, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Aligoté), which are located predominantly in the Codru region, and 30% are red varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Saperavi) that are typically grown in the southern regions.
  • USA is the 10th most important export market for Moldovan wines.
  • Moldova is internationally famous for its vast underground cellars at Cricova and at Mileștii Mici - the latter holds the Guinness World Record for the largest wine collection in the world.

Moldovan Wines PGIs: Valul lui Traian (southwest), Stefan Voda (southeast), Codru (central) and
Divin (distilled wines) / Photo Credit: Wine of Moldova

Protected Geographical Indications (PGI – Appellation) of Moldova

The four Protected Geographical Indications in Moldova are Valul lui Traian (southwest), Stefan Voda (southeast), Codru (central) and Divin (which is for spirits distilled from wine through double distillation and aged for at least 3 years in contact with oak produced anywhere in Moldova).

Rosu de Purcari 2015: 
Wild Dark Berries, Complex, Ripe, Rich, and Intense

Rosu de Purcari 2015 (SRP$39.99)

Purcari Chateau, located in Stefan Voda - near the Dniester River and Black Sea, is one of the most celebrated wineries and well-known wine brands in Eastern Europe. Found in 1827, its exceptional wines help Purcari win more than 200 awards at the most prestigious international wine competitions. Also the winery’s famous underground cellars were built in 1827, becoming the must-see for visitors visiting Stefan Voda.

Rosu de Purcari 2015: Cabernet Sauvignon 50%, Merlot 40%, Malbec 10%

Purcari Chateau's Rosu de Purcari 2015 is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon 50%, Merlot 40%, Malbec 10%. This wine is a dream of red wine lovers. Its complexity and deepness is over-the-top, coupling with a surprise touch of sweetness, smoothness and a long lasting finish.

310 Altitudine Cabernat Sauvignon - Feteasca Neagra:
Bright acidity, black cherry, lightly oaked, well-structured and medicinal 

310 Altitudine Cabernat Sauvignon - Feteasca Neagra 2017 (SRP$17.99)

Fautor Winery is the most awarded Moldovan winery in 2016 to 2018. Its strong suit is to have a portfolio of rare varieties that are considered as exclusive wines globally. Fautor Winery and its vineyards are located in the Tigheci microzone, which is known for producing Moldova’s high-quality whites and reds, in the Valul lui Traian region.

Gogu Blanc de Merlot: 
Textured, Saline, Stone-fruit, Weighty for White, Medium-bodied

Gogu Blanc de Merlot 2018 (SRP$19.99)

Gogu Wineary's story began in 2004, when the founder and winemaker of the winery, Ilie Gogu, has decided to experiment with home winemaking after graduating from the Technical University of Moldova as a wine technologist. Gogu Winery locates in the Stefan Voda region, where vast majority of winemakers from this PGI put a stronger emphasis on red grape varieties. Ilie Gogu however has decided to emphasize white varieties when planting his vineyards and has balanced a decent diversity of red varieties such as the Western European Cabernet Sauvignon,  Merlot and Malbec, the legendary Georgian Saperavi, and local Feteasca Neagra.

Korean Sushi - Kimbap (roasted beef rolls, fish sausage rolls and roasted chicken rolls)

Korean Sushi – Kimbap

Korean sushi “kimbap” is very similar to Japanese sushi in terms of using cooked seasoned sushi rice and toasted nori seaweed as the base. The major differences are the ingredients you put inside the sushi. While the Japanese sushi favors raw fish like salmon, tuna, yellow tail and mackerel and raw vegetable like cucumber and avocado, Korean sushi uses cooked meats like beef, chicken or pork bulgogi and blanched/preserved vegetable like cooked carrot, spinach and kimchi. In my opinion, the Korean sushi is more fun and you can be creative and improvise to put in so many different types of meats and vegetables to create your rolls. It’s less expensive to make and more fool-proof for success as a party food as you don’t need to use raw fish.

Get sushi rice from the grocery store as long grain rice will not have the texture that’s soft and sticky enough for making kimbap. Once the rice is cooked and cool off, add salt and sesame oil to the rice for taste. The nori seaweed sheet can be found in an Asian grocery store. 

To pair with the Gogu Blanc de Merlot, I have made fish sausage kimbap. The fish sausage is a must-try snack for people who even don’t like fish as it only has a very mild fish taste to it. The texture of the fish sausage resembles SPAM. It is a processed food but really works well with the cucumber, egg and cooked pepper in the kimbap. This Gogu Blanc de Merlot is one of my favorite whites I tasted so far in this summer. It’s medium-bodied and a tad saline, paring well with the umami seaweed and the savory fish sausage. The citrus and tropical fruity notes of the wine come out even more when having this lighter kimbap.

Gogu Blanc de Merlot, a weighty white that is versatile and dynamic and
just what one needs for summer dining 

For the 310 Altitudine Cabernat Sauvignon - Feteasca Neagra 2017, I paired it with the shredded roasted chicken kimbap. I would say any cold-cut chicken or turkey slices you have handy will also serve the purpose. The 310 is a medium-bodied red that is complex but causal enough to pair with lean protein. I have no doubt that I can finish the bottle without the need of any food. But the chicken kimbap in fact is a good match as this wholesome chicken rice bites will help you drink even more.

310 Altitudine Cabernat Sauvignon - Feteasca Neagra: a cool label, a blend with an indigenous Moldovan grape, a dream for red wine lovers 

The roasted beef kimbap is my favorite out of all three kimbaps as it’s hearty and a meal by itself. I added some creamy horseradish sauce to the beef as well to make it extra flavorful. The Rosu de Purcari blew my socks off by itself with its tannic yet elegant characters but was also a no brainer pair to the beef kimbap.

Foods and wines are the best way to learn a culture

Visiting Moldova to taste their wines is definitely on my bucket list now as these wines are truly impressive. What’s more important to me is to reconnect my adventurous younger self…but this time it’s through the lens of wines.

Note: wines are samples. Opinions are my own.

Check out other #WinePW bloggers’ Moldovan wines stories:

  • Andrea at The Quirky Cork shares “Cooking Out with Moldovan Wine” 
  • Liz at What’s in that Bottle shares “Moldova Mashup: Wines of Moldova & Foods of the World“ 
  • Terri at Our Good Life shares “Special Celebration and Moldova Wines” 
  • Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm shares “Smoked Pot Roast with a Negru de Purcari from Moldova”
  • David at Cooking Chat shares “Ground Beef Chili with Red Wine from Moldova” 
  • Deanna at Asian Test Kitchen shares “Pairing Moldovan Wine with Burmese Cuisine” 
  • Linda at My Full Wine Glass shares “Finally, a grill! Just in time for Moldovan wine pairing” 
  • Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares “Maidens from Moldova + Summer Suppers” 
  • Jennifer at Vino Travels Italy shares “A Look into the Wines of Moldova” 
  • Jane at Always Ravenous shares “Savory Cheese Crostata Paired with Moldovan Wines” 
  • Michelle at Rockin Red Blog shares “Discovering Wines of Moldova.” 
  • Cindy at Grape Experiences shares “Have You Tasted Wines from Moldova? Try These!” 
  • Rupal at Syrah Queen shares “Uncorking Moldova – Three Wines To Try Now” 
  • Martin at Enofylz Wine Blog shares “Getting To Know the Wines of Moldova” 
  • Nicole at Somms Table shares “Tasty Moldovan Food & Wine Explorations” 
  • Gwendolyn at Wine Predator shares “Moldova: Bubbles, Red Blend, and …Pizza? Yes!” 
  • Pinny at Chinese Food and Wine Pairings shares “Moldovan Wines and Korean Sushi – Kimbap” 
  • Susannah of Aavinare is sharing "Moldova - An Ancient Country with Beautiful Wines to Discover.” 
  • Jill of L'OCCASION shares "A First Taste of Molodova Wines".
  • Jeff at Food Wine Click! shares “Cabin Pairings for Moldovan Wines”

Saturday, June 13, 2020

New York Finger Lakes Wines – Lonesome Stony Rose and Fox Run Rieslings Paired with Quick-Prepped Seafood #WinePW

Wines from New York Finger Lakes are no stranger to wine lovers in the US and globally due to their world-class quality and the diverse wine portfolio the region has to offer. While Rieslings are the Finger Lakes’ signature variety, other varieties such as Cabernet Franc, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Lemberger have been added to the mix. Thanks to Linda Whipple from My Full Wineglass, some #WinePW bloggers are very lucky to receive samples from the wineries in Finger Lakes. In this super exciting wine delivery, I received Fox Run’s Silvan off-dry Riesling and Semi-dry Riesling and Stony Lonesome’s Cab Franc Rose. The best way to enjoy these awesome wines, in my opinion, is to pour myself a full glass while eating some quick-prepped seafood and watching the sunset at the beach.

New York Finger Lakes Wine Region

The Finger Lakes wine region in New York is the home of 140 wineries. It is located south to Rochester and Syracuse, encompassing over 9,000 square miles and including the 11 Finger Lakes, part of Lake Ontario and a section of the Erie Canal.

New York Finger Lakes (Photo Credit: Finger Lakes Wines Alliance)

There are three AVAs designated in this region - Finger Lakes AVA, Cayuga Lake AVA and Seneca Lake AVA, which were established since 1982. The four main lakes of the Finger Lakes AVA include Canandiauga Lake, Keuka Lake, Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake.  Each lake showcases its own unique viticulture characteristics and resulting unique flavor profiles. 

Photo Credit: Finger Lakes Wine Alliance

The Finger Lakes were carved out by successive waves of glaciers for hundreds and thousands of years. These large and deep freshwater lakes and the soil deposits surrounding them are the Mother Nature’s gifts to modern winemaking, forming the foundation of cool-climate wines in this region. The soil types include grain size distribution and protolith composition, with the presence of clay and limestone in the subsurface. Grain size and texture mainly affect drainage, a critical parameter of vineyard performance.

The average temperature of much of central New York is too low for wine production. Most of the vineyards in the Finger Lakes AVA are located close to the lakes, particularly the deeper ones such as Seneca Lake, benefiting from their moderating effect on temperature and precipitation, known informally as the "lake effect." The effect brings warmer minimum temperatures in the Winter and cooler maximum temperature in the Summer.

Silvan Riesling: subtle oak on nose and palate, off-dry, lime peel, wet slate, almond, yeasty and creamy
Semi-dry Riesling: tropical fruit on the nose and palate, zesty, moderate-sweet

Fox Run Vineyards – Drink Wine, Be Happy

Fox Run Vineyards started its first grapes planting in 1984. Ten years later, Scott Osborn and his first business partner, Andy Hale purchased the winery from the Wildricks. In 2012, Scott and Ruth Osborn teamed up with Ruth’s sister and brother-in-law (Kathleen and Albert Zafonte) to make Fox Run Vineyards exclusively family owned. Now with 50 acres of east-facing vineyards on glacial soils, the winery produces a remarkable range of limited-production estate wines. As a certified lake friendly farm since 2002, the vineyard practices have no negative impact on the water quality of Seneca Lake. They minimize herbicide use and add nutrients back into our soils through regenerative farming techniques.

The 2018 Silvan Riesling (SRP$25) spent time in small oak barrels during fermentation. Malolactic fermentation was avoided and no lees stirring was deployed, resulting in a complex aroma and creamy mouthfeel in this Riesling.

The 2017 Semi-Dry Riesling (SRP$14) was fermented in stainless steel tank at moderate temperatures, using three different yeast strains. The wines were chilled just before reaching dryness to leave a small dose of sugar for sweetness.

3 Brothers Wineries - BOLD. BRAZEN. BRILLIANT.

3 Brothers Wineries was founded by Dave and Luanne Mansfield in 2006. Since then, the estate has expanded business into microbrewery and café, drawing over 150,000 visitors per year. Innovation and providing great customer experiences – “We’ve got something for everyone” become part of 3 Brothers’ strategies. In 2019 they have released 375 ml canned wine spritzers to tap on the trends of alcoholic canned drinks market.

Cab Franc Rose: dry, floral on the nose and palate, honey, lime, medium-mouthfeel, long finish

The 2019 Stony Lonesome Cab Franc Rose (SRP$18) was overnight-soaked prior to pressing, allowing for the vibrant red color to infuse from the skins while not catching too much textural phenolics to extract and heavy tannins.

Quick-Prepped Seafood – 15 Minutes Work

Indulging in these beautiful wines at the beach, I really don’t want to slave myself cooking-wise. A brief trip to the nearby Asian grocery store gave me quick and fool-proof pairing ideas. The quick-prepped menu is crawfish quick-boiled in Cajun seasoning, sautéed fresh mussel with a drizzle off-dry Riesling, and shrimp wonton noodles.

Crawfish tastes like a lobster and looks like a miniature one too. It’s super affordable, at the price of around $5 per pound. The prep instructions are like boiling lobsters. When the water is boiling, add some Cajun seasoning to it before dropping the crawfish in. Once the water is boiled again, the crawfish is cooked. This is by far my favorite way of cooking crawfish - spicy, salty, and finger-licking good. The presentation of crawfish is so picture perfect too!

Sautéing mussel is a fool-proof recipe. Start with a bit olive oil in the frying pan and cook the crushed garlic until golden brown. Add in the mussel until it opens up. Drizzle the Riesling that you have in your glass to get the sizzle. Here we go, I can’t think of anything else that’s as effortless and as good for the Rieslings you are drinking.

Shrimp wonton noodle gives you a bit carb for the dinner. I found the pre-made shrimp wonton noodle bowls in Costco very authentic and convenient. If you need to make your own, use any ramen noodle you have in your pantry. Prepare it according to the package instructions. For the shrimp wonton, you could buy the wonton wrappers  in the grocery store, wrap with de-shelled shrimps that are seasoned with a bit salt and sesame oil. Pre-made shrimp wontons are also widely available in the frozen aisle of the Asian grocery store.

When cooking is so effortless, you can relax, chill and sip these beautiful wines that are so good with the seafood.

Disclaimer: wines are samples. Opinions and ideas are my own.

To see what other wine bloggers are pairing their Finger Lakes wines, check out the following: 

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Enjoying Gilgal Cab Sauvignon – Merlot and Yarden Pinot Gris with Grilled Wagyu Steak, Alaska Sockeye Salmon and Poke Ahi Tuna Bowl #WinePW

It’s another exciting week of wines in May 2020 when the #WinePW bloggers received samples from Yarden Wines, a major importer of Israeli wines in the US. A big thank you to Jeff at Food Wine Click for his sample coordination with the Winery. I’m not a newbie to Yarden Wines. I paired their Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 and Galil Alon 2014 with a thick cut of grilled Wagyu beef steak in the winter. It was a no-turning-back moment which I surrender to these wines whenever I indulge in expensive steaks. The Yarden Pinot Gris 2018 and Golan Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot 2017 however are different – they are causal, modern, and your food-buddies that you can trust to deliver at any time with any meal plans!

Photo Credit:

Wines of Israel

Israel is located in the western Middle East at the very eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea, bordering Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. The wine-producing land is about 13,600 acres, which is small by size in comparison to other New World wine-producing countries. Israel however produces 40–45 million bottles of wine per year. Most Israeli wine is consumed within the country, as only around 20% is exported each year. There are approximately 300 wineries in Israel, ranging from small operations that produce a few hundred bottles of wine per year, to large wineries making more than five million bottles  of every variety and in every region.

Causal, modern, and your food-buddies!

The US has underpinned the development of the Israeli wine industry over the past few decades through its tremendous consumption demand. This driving force brings some very New World styles and techniques in wines to this old country. Israeli wines, kosher or not, still create some confusion nowadays especially if you overlay the religious and dietary restrictions. To be considered as truly kosher, various products including wines need to be prepared only by Jews as some modern Orthodox Jews believe. Mevushal wines, which are wines that have been flash pasteurized, are consumed by certain highly observant Orthodox Jews. For a wine to be termed as kosher wine, strict Judaism laws have to be followed and applied throughout the winemaking process. As a general rule of thumb, the laws governing the production of kosher wine are not all that different from those required for organic wine production anywhere in the world. For regular wine drinkers like myself, I simply see wines from Israel like these Yarden wine samples are great wines that have made big impact in the wine world and should be widely enjoyed.  

Gilgal Cab Sauvignon – Merlot paired with a thin-cut Wagyu Steak, Alaska Sockeye salmon filet and a side of asparagus grilled on a cask iron pan done indoor!

Yarden Wines

Yarden Wines is composed of Golan Heights Winery and Galil Mountain Winery, which exports Israeli wines to the US. Golan Heights Winery carries three distinct labels: Yarden, Gilgal (Gamla in Israel) and Mount Hermon. Golan Heights Winery is considered as Israel’s leader in quality, technological innovation, new variety development, and sustainability. The vineyards of Golan Heights are the only few wine-producing areas in Israel that enjoy the ideal conditions as in Bordeaux or Tuscany, for producing internationally renowned wines. They are blessed with the ideal grape growing conditions and terroirs, including diverse soils (limestone, basalt, alluvial, clay loam), and cool high-altitude elevation. After planting their first vineyards in the Golan in 1976, the Winery was established in 1983 by four kibbutzim (collective communities) and four moshavim (cooperative communities). In 1984, the Winery released its first wine - the 1983 Yarden Sauvignon Blanc - creating great excitement in Israel and abroad. Since then, Golan Heights Winery has played a significant role in developing and nurturing Israel’s current wine culture. The Winery also has altered the way Israeli wines are perceived worldwide and has firmly placed Israel on the world wine map. In 2012, Golan Heights Winery was named New World Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast.

The Galilee is a perfect accompaniment with the poke rice bowl which has fresh Ahi tuna cubes and home-made guacamole that lie atop a plate of warm and nutty brown rice

Yarden Pinot Gris 2018 (SRP: $22.99)

The Galilee features notes of Asian pear, crab apple, lime, grapefruit, peach and tropical fruit, coupling with floral characters and ending with mineral notes. This charming medium-bodied Pinot Gris showcases freshness and drinkability - perfectly on its own but even better when pairing it with a poke bowl of warm brown rice with fresh ahi tuna cubes tossed in soya sauce, lime juice and sesame oil and freshly made guacamole. The acidity of the wine echoes the limey taste of the tuna and guac. The weight of the wine is spot-on with the nutty rice and buttery mouthfeel of the guac.

View this post on Instagram

Yarden Galilee Pinot Gris 2018 features notes of Asian pear, crab apple, lime, grapefruit, peach and tropical fruit, coupling with floral characters and ending with mineral notes. This charming medium-bodied Pinot Gris showcases freshness and drinkability - perfectly on its own but even better when pairing it with a poke bowl of warm brown rice with fresh ahi tuna cubes tossed in soya sauce, lime juice and sesame oil and freshly made guacamole. The acidity of the wine echos the limey taste of the tuna and guac. The weight of the wine is spot-on with the nutty rice and buttery mouthfeel of the guac. What a great pair to welcome the summer🍲🌞 • • #chinesefoodandwinepairings • • • #yardenwines #galileewine #isarelwine #pinotgris #golanheightwinery #pokebowl #ahitunapoke #winelover #winelovers #winelovers🍷 #winelover🍷 #summerwhites #summerwhitewine #attheyardentable

A post shared by Pinny Tam (@pairchifoodwine) on

Golan Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot 2017 (SRP$17.99)

The Golan is a dynamite on the nose with pronounced chocolate, expresso coffee and soft oak. As you taste it, the wine is not overpowering, with unripen cherry, plum, chocolate, roasted coffee, and lighter notes of herbs in the background. It’s flavorful, medium-bodied and by no means heavy-lifting - perfect for a surf and turf dinner that I indulged with a thinly cut Wagyu steak, Alaskan Sockeye salmon fillet and a side of asparagus on a weeknight. 

The grassiness and gaminess of the American Wagyu beef (learn more about Wagyu here) brings me back to this steak over and over again. The wild-caught Alaskan Sockeye salmon fillet is the healthiest version of the US salmons you could get. If you can find Scottish salmons, go for it as its milder taste but buttery texture will definitely go well with this Cab Sauv – Merlot as well.

For other resources, please visit:

Disclaimer: The wines are sample. All opinions in this post are my own.

Check out other #WinePW bloggers' Yarden wines and food: