Posts Categorized: Recipes

Perfect Pairings

At Union Wine Company we love to support and collaborate with other fellow artisans in our community.

Our favorite cheesemonger, Steve Jones of Cheese Bar and Chizu, has been honing his skills for 15 years and just released his very first book: CHEESE BEER WINE CIDER: A Field Guide to 75 Perfect Pairings. Co-written by Steve Jones and Adam Lindsley (and photographed by your humble narrator, David L. Reamer) you can order a copy of CHEESE BEER WINE CIDER at Powells Online or keep an eye out for copies at your local bookstore or wine shop.

It is, as the title says, a guide to pairing specific cheese with their appropriate ‘adult beverage’ counterparts. We thought this would be a great opportunity to have Steve formally taste three of our Underwood wines—Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Rosé—and choose a cheese that he thinks would go well with each. If you are going to be doing some entertaining in the next few weeks, or if you just want to have an indulgent late spring picnic, this will help you to know the best cheese to accompany your favorite cans. So, without further ado…

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UNDERWOOD PINOT NOIR paired with SUMMER COMTÉ.

Comté is a cow’s milk cheese from France’s Massif du Jura region. It has a very earthy taste (think mushrooms cooked in brown butter) but also has a slight sweetness which pairs quite well with our Underwood Pinot Noir. There are various styles of Comté, but this one gets its name from the season it is produced, when the cows are dining on the lush and verdant summer grasses.

Underwood Cheese Pairings

UNDERWOOD ROSÉ paired with 1605 MANCHEGO

This very popular aged Spanish sheep’s milk cheese comes from the windmill-dotted La Mancha plateau immortalized in Don Quixote. (The producing farm, 1605, actually takes its’ name from the year the book was first published!) Much like the terroir of its origin, Manchego is dry, pale and very sheepy. As it ages, the cheese’s nuttiness and buttery qualities increase, making it absolutely delicious, and a perfect pairing to our Rosé.

Underwood Cheese Pairings

UNDERWOOD PINOT GRIS paired with JACQUIN BUCHERON.

Bucheron is from what is called the Bloomy-Rind Family. A French goat’s milk cheese, it has its origins in the Loire Valley which is accepted as the home of chèvre. The Jacquin Family has been making cheese in the Loire Valley for four generations. Bucheron, from the French word for “log”, has two distinct parts: a gooey section that has started to break down just below the rind, and, a more traditional, dryer, white chèvre filling the center. The contrast between the salty cream of the buttery ring and the lemony, goaty center make for a complex flavor, as well as a great pairing for our Pinot Gris.

Underwood Cheese Pairings

Big thanks again to Steve Jones for taking the time to share his knowledge and palette for this little culinary experience. A good time was had by all!

Underwood and Cheese Bar

Photography and Text by David L. Reamer. (@dlreamer)

Chefs at Home Series: BUNK’S Nick Wood

Chefs at Home Series: BUNK’S Nick Wood

Since such a large part of the Pacific Northwest culture revolves around food, we decided to start up a series here on Field Notes that features local chefs who love to drink and cook with Underwood wines. For this post, we reached out to one of the founders of the Portland institution Bunk Sandwiches, Nick Wood.

Nick was raised in Cincinnati, but really cut his teeth in New Orleans, cooking for several fine dining restaurants, including Brennans and Martinique Bistro, before relocating to Portland. Because of this, on his days off, Nick loves to return to the cuisine he feels most comfortable with, Creole. When we asked Nick to come up with a recipe using the Underwood Pinot Noir, he immediately suggested Marchand de Vin, a Creole take on a classic French sauce, literally meaning “Wine Merchant”. We had never even heard of this sauce but apparently it is a mainstay of all the best  restaurants around New Orleans.

It’s a pretty simple recipe and one that is guaranteed to knock the socks off anyone lucky enough to indulge. Make sure to enjoy with some crusty French bread and plenty of Underwood Pinot Noir!

Marchand de Vin Sauce

Marchand de Vin Sauce
(the best sauce you’ve never heard of)

** Serves 4 people **

Ingredients:

3 garlic cloves
3 shallots
4 green onions (tops reserved)
8 large cremini mushrooms
1/2 lb tasso or smoked ham
1 can Underwood Pinot Noir
1 QT beef stock
unsalted butter
salt & pepper
Tabasco
Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 lb steak, such as bavette or tri-tip

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Dice first 5 ingredients, setting green onion tops aside for garnish.

Chefs at Home Series: BUNK’S Nick Wood

Chefs at Home Series: BUNK’S Nick Wood

Season steak well with salt and pepper. Heat a wide, heavy bottomed pot, add 2 Tbs of olive oil and sear steak on each side. Place steak on a sheet pan and finish in the oven, 5-10 minutes depending on size. Set aside to rest.

Chefs at Home Series: BUNK’S Nick Wood

Place beef stock in a small pot and reduce by half, keep warm.

Heat up the large pot again, (leaving any steak bits in the bottom), add 2 Tbs of butter and 2 Tbs of oil to the pot and sauté top five ingredients on medium heat for 7 minutes, stirring frequently so as not to burn. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Chefs at Home Series: BUNK’S Nick Wood

Without lowering heat, slowly add the can of Underwood Pinot Noir and bring to a simmer, continuing to stir for 5 minutes.

Chefs at Home Series: BUNK’S Nick Wood

Add warmed beef stock gradually with a ladle and let liquid reduce by half, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Turn off heat and add 2 Tbs of butter and a generous splash of  Tabasco and Worcestershire to taste.

Chefs at Home Series: BUNK’S Nick Wood

Slice your steak, arrange on a serving platter, and cover generously with sauce. Garnish with green onion and Enjoy!

Chefs at Home Series: BUNK’S Nick Wood

And special thanks to Nick for spending his day off hanging out and sharing his culinary prowess.

Chefs at Home Series: BUNK’S Nick Wood

Text and Photos by David L. Reamer (@dlreamer)

Union Wine Co. Life Skills: How to Shuck an Oyster

Let’s be honest. There is almost nothing that accompanies a crisp glass of Underwood Bubbles better that some ice cold, freshly shucked oysters. And being situated in the Pacific Northwest, we have year round access to some of the best oysters in the world! It’s always a treat to order oysters at a restaurant, but they make an elegant and unexpected appetizer when entertaining at home. Many people don’t consider this an option because they have never been taught the proper (and amazingly simple) technique to shuck at home.

Well, have no fear. Union Wine Co. is here to teach you the step by step of how to expertly open and clean our favorite bivalve like a seasoned pro.

All you will need is a shucker and a thick kitchen towel. For beginners we recommend the more blunt point versions with hilt guards (pictured in the center.) Once you have mastered these, you can move up to the thinner, sharper pointed shuckers. Also, we recommend starting with Netarts Oysters. They are local, delicious, very user friendly and always available at the Woodstock Fish Market where, incidentally, you can also find your favorite bottles of Union Wine.

Union Co. Life Skills: How to Shuck an Oyster

STEP ONE:

Procure a thick kitchen towel, fold longways 3 times and then roll up one side as pictured below. This will keep the oyster secure and prevent any slippage.

Union Co. Life Skills: How to Shuck an Oyster

STEP TWO:

Turn the oyster belly up. Secure the flat, rounded part of the oyster under the edge of the towel, hold firmly and gently find the small hole or “hinge” at the back of the oyster. The key word here is Gently…. (and we can’t stress this enough- opening oysters is not an act of strength or force but of gentle control…) So, very gently insert the tip of your shucker into the hinge. You may need to feel around until you get the hang of it, but trust us, it’s there.

Union Co. Life Skills: How to Shuck an Oyster
Union Co. Life Skills: How to Shuck an Oyster

STEP THREE:

Once you have the point securely in the hinge, just twist the shucker slightly back and forth until the top shell releases. As you peel back the top shell, use the shucker to separate the oyster from the muscle attaching it to the shell. Remove the top shell and set aside.

Union Co. Life Skills: How to Shuck an Oyster
Union Co. Life Skills: How to Shuck an Oyster

STEP FOUR:

Without spilling the “liquor” (the delicious briny liquid inside the oyster) gently slide the shucker underneath the oyster to separate it from the muscle attaching it to the bottom of the shell. Wipe away any grit that may be on the edge of the shell. At this point, place the oyster on a bed of rock salt or crushed ice, and repeat the steps until all oysters are shucked and ready to be enjoyed.

Union Co. Life Skills: How to Shuck an Oyster
Union Co. Life Skills: How to Shuck an Oyster

Grab a can or bottle of Underwood Bubbles and Bon Appétit!

Union Co. Life Skills: How to Shuck an Oyster

Special thanks to shucker extraordinaire Quincy Sanders, whom you can find most days shucking dozens of Oysters at Canard and his lovely girlfriend Avery Stark, who is one of the many talented front of the house folks at the brand new Portland hot spot, Bullard.

Photography and Text by David L. Reamer

Employee recipe: Pinot Poached Pears

Here at Union Wine Co., we put great emphasis on the individuality of all our employees and try hard to encourage and support their personal interests and goals. Recently, one of the newest members of our sales team, Patrizio Zarate-Zambrano, admitted to being an avid and accomplished home cook.

Patrizio’s original passion was for acting (he even had a role in a Spanish Soap Opera!) but over the years found himself attracted to travel and other pursuits. He has lived all over Europe but was raised in Madrid in a home constantly bustling with friends and relatives. Every holiday, his mother would fill the kitchen with food to entertain their many guests, and one of her staple desserts was red wine poached pears. She would make them every year and it quickly became a highly requested tradition by everyone who visited.

Patrizio has evolved his mother’s recipe to include the Underwood Pinot Noir, because he says the combination of tannins and fruit forward flavor work perfectly to complement the aromatic spices as well as the sweetness the pears.

PINOT POACHED PEARS

Pinot Poached Pears

 

4 Bosc pears. Not overly ripe or too soft.

1 bottle of Underwood Pinot Noir

2 cloves

1 star anise

2 cinnamon stick

2 long strips of orange peel

½ cup of sugar

4 or 5 cardamom pods (optional)

 

Combine all ingredients (except the pears) in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for ten minutes.  While simmering, peel the pears, cut in half and hollow out seeds with a melon baller or paring knife.

peel the pears cut in half and hollow out seeds

 

Place the pears into the poaching liquid, reduce heat to low, simmering for about 20 minutes. Try and turn the pears every 5 minutes so that they cook and color evenly.

Pears will be ready when cooked through but still firm.

, simmering for about 20 minutes

Let the pears cool at room temperature and then refrigerate for three hours. During refrigeration time, turn the pears often to ensure an even coating.

Place the pears on serving plates. Put the poaching liquid back on the stove, bring to a boil, and reduce it to a syrupy consistency. Let the liquid cool and strain while gently drizzling the pears. For an even better result, serve with vanilla ice cream, vanilla/whipped mascarpone cheese or cool whip.

PINOT POACHED PEARS

 

Patrizio Zarate-Zambrano brings with him a deep passion for wine and an extensive knowledge of the industry that spans the globe. With family from both Spain and Italy, he has lived all across Europe. Now residing in Cincinnati, although the scenery may have changed, his home is always filled with delicious food and great wine. When he’s not cooking or playing racquetball, he’s out walking with his two beloved rescue dogs.

PATRIZIO ZARATE-ZAMBRANO

Photography by David L. Reamer

Underwood Pinot Cranberry Sauce

pinot sauce

Here in Portland, colored leaves are taking over every street, evening walks are starting to require a puffy, and after almost two months, harvest is almost complete.

You know what that means? Pinot Noir season is officially here!

(Editor’s Note: even though we drink Pinot Noir year-round, our Oregon staple just feels right during the colder months).

So when you’re pouring that glass for yourself tonight, consider saving some for this delicious cranberry sauce. It is easy enough for a weeknight hors d’oeuvre, yet delicious enough to serve alongside at Thanksgiving dinner. Warning: may cause double dipping.

Underwood Pinot Cranberry Sauce

12 oz fresh or frozen Cranberries
¾ Cup Underwood Pinot Noir
¾ Cup Brown Sugar
½ Cinnamon Stick (1 – 1½ inches)
1 tsp grated Ginger
Zest of one Orange
1/8 tsp ground Nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground Allspice
1/4 tsp of kosher salt

Combine cranberries, Underwood Pinot Noir, and sugar into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add remaining ingredients, stirring occasionally until cranberries begin to pop. After about 5 minutes, reduce heat to low and break up berries with a wooden spoon. The consistency should become a thick jam-like sauce. Stir a couple more times, remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes. Serve immediately or place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. Can be served cold or reheated.

Tip from our crew:  When we made this sauce for a winery happy hour, we paired it with Chèvre atop crackers and it was as gone in seconds.

adding wine

Photography by Emily Triggs