What's New in July

Grilling with Chéreau Carré

I’ll admit it; we’ve got txakoli on the brain. Especially this time of year, it’s hard to step away from the crisp and refreshing goodness of that little Basque wine. When we talk about pairing wine to any summertime dish, the first thing to come to mind is always txakolina.

“What should I drink with the barbeque I’m having tonight?”

“Well, txakoli of course!” is always the answer. But does it have to be?

On a recent muggy evening I found myself stepping from the back porch into the cool air conditioning of my kitchen to grab the pair of bison burgers destined for grill. My wife turns from her skillet, straining over the sizzle of her homemade sweet potato chips, to say, “Do you want to open a bottle of wine with dinner?”

“Sure,” I respond as I head toward the wine cooler, “you want pink or white txakoli?”

“Do we have to have txakoli? We had some the other night - what else is in there?”

I open the cooler and peak inside.“Well here’s something we haven’t had in a while,” I think as I reach for the black-capsuled bottle below the txakoli. Holding up the bottle so that she can see the label, I ask, “How ‘bout this?”

“Ooh, muscadet!” she exclaims to the bottle of 2008 Château de la Chesnaie.

That night we enjoyed a simple, home-cooked meal with a bottle of simple white wine, a perfect summertime dinner. It was a refreshing summer meal on so many levels. The lean, flavorful and richly textured bison mingled with the sweet onions and fresh tomatoes from the local farmer’s market. The crisp sweet potato chips added a savory crunch to the experience, and everything was washed down by the cool and crisp muscadet. One sip and I forgot about the burning coals of the grill and the oppressive humidity of summer nights in North Carolina. Another sip and the rich minerality enhanced the lingering taste of the last bite from my burger. The lightly salted crunch of the chips mirrored the crisp salinity of the wine. It was an unexpected perfect storm of flavor that led to a wonderful dinner experience.

I learned my lesson that night. While txakoli may be a great summertime wine, it isn’t the only one. Next time I’ll grab some Muscadet from Chéreau Carré instead; maybe a bottle of the 2004 Comte Leloup de Chasseloir to add some refinement to some dry-rubbed ribs and grilled zucchini; I think the smokiness of the ribs would go far as a complement to the fuller-bodied richness of the Comte Leloup while its ripe salinity could cut through the spice of the fatty ribs. Well, I’ll find out soon enough…


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2009 Cocktail Contest: Sherry

Our 2009 Cocktail Contest is underway. We want your original Sherry Cocktail recipes, please email them to us. The winner will receive a hand painted porron from this year's guest artist: Mike Jakob of the Elliot Street Deli & Pub in Atlanta, Georgia.

Here are the most recent recipe submissions.

Jerez Especial
by Randy of Citizen Cake in San Francisco, CA

2 oz Pierre Ferrand Cognac
1 oz El Maestro Sierra Pedro Ximénez Viejisimo
1/2 oz Hiram Walker Orange Curacao
dash of "The Bitter Truth" Celery Bitters
splash of Tonic Water
Orange Peel (garnish)
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Strain into rocks glass with ice, add a splash of tonic water and granish.

Sherry Cocktail
by Susannah S.

El Maestro Sierra Amontillado
Sugar Cube
Fill a Champagne flute 1/5 of the way with El Maestro Sierra Amontillado and top with Champagne. Garnish with a sugar cube.