Fast Times with Rosé and a toaster oven
Before I used my toaster oven to cook something to show you guys how easy and delicious it is, there was wine. Not just wine, SPARKLING wine! I love a good sparkler, especially one that I can get at my local grocery store. It’s important to have these wines in your lineup- something that you know is good, and can pinch hit when you are headed to a party and forgot your gift for the hostess. Or host. Whatever.
J Winery is just outside of Healdsburg in Sonoma County, and sources most of their grapes from the Russian River valley. They make sparkling and still wines- but we had our hearts set on bubbles, so bubbles we had. Lexie, our lovely host, set us up with a flight of six sparkling wines and lucky for you- I took notes:
J Cuvée 20- This is J’s gateway bubbles. Available in your local grocery store, reasonably priced and all in all, a great white pounder. It smelled like whole wheat toast and ocean air, and tasted like tart apples. Not too dry, not too sweet. After going through all six wines, I revisited the Cuvée 20 and found it to be in my top three overall.
But Rosé Russian River Valley- Ahhh the pink wine. So hot right now. I love the color on this wine, almost a salmony coral pink. And fortunately, it tastes as good as it looks. It smells like really good sourdough bread, and has a lingering berry finish. Its pretty enough for a special occasion, but at the right price point for a Friday night. This one and the rest that follow are estate and wine club only- so get yourself out to the Russian River valley and get some!
Demi-Sec Sonoma County- This is the sweetest of the line up, which in sparkling wine terms is the same thing as the most dry. See below...
Lexie had to bring us out a visual tool to help understand why it’s completely opposite of everything you’ve been told about wine. This wine is the closest thing they make to Prosecco- which is something that I usually steer clear of due to the sugar content and ensuing headache- but I have to say that this was really delicious. It tasted like a warm croissant with strawberry jam….yum.
Blanc de Noir Russian River Valley 2014- 100% Pinot Noir, and some age gave this sparkler nice acidity and balance. If I was a betting woman, I would bet that in another four years this wine would be even better.
Vintage Brut Russian River 2011- Ohh I liked this one. Sometimes it isn’t the flavors that sway me, but the way a wine can transport you to another place. The subtle nose, round body and nutty finish took me back to the Roederer Estate in Anderson Valley- sitting on their patio in the sun overlooking the valley and sipping on their vintage brut L’Ermitage. Such fond memories highlight special moments and remind us of the promise of more to come.
Cuvée XB Russian River- We finished with the XB which means “extra brut”, which is at the opposite end of the scale from sweet. This wine was just that, very light and elegant.
Can you tell which ones were keepers for me? Well, I had to have a bottle of the Brut Rosé because I am a sucker for something pretty in pink. I also got a bottle of the Vintage Brut Russian River 2011. I plan on aging it another three years, and opening it on my husband and I’s fifth wedding anniversary. Cute, right?
My food pairing for this episode would go with any of these wines, but goes especially well with the Brut Rosé. I have an overabundance of figs on our fig tree, and to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of figs. I think it’s a textural thing? Not sure.
But I LOVE making these as appetizers, and they, in addition to a bottle of Brut Rosé, would be v v v chic to bring as a host/ess gift this holiday season.
Honey Lavender Bacon Wrapped Figs
10 slices of bacon* (if bacon slices aren’t very wide, get double the amount)
Rimmed baking pan
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Slice figs in half lengthwise.
3. Slice bacon in half lengthwise, turning each strip into two strips.
4. Wrap bacon around fig using toothpick to secure loose end.
5. Cover baking pan in aluminum foil, place bacon wrapped figs on pan.
6. Bake for 30 minutes or until bacon is browned and crispy.
*Any kind of bacon will do, but if you can get your hands on some honey lavender bacon from Sonoma County Meat Company, then do so. It will change your life.
Variations: feel free to get fancy and stuff figs with goat cheese prior to wrapping in bacon!