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Grilled T- Bone with Lemon and Parsley and Barbera D’asti

During the summer months I cook almost every meal outside. When I have time I Barbecue but many nights it is easy to fire up the grill for dinner. Salmon, Chicken, pork all work well, and there is something spectacular about grilled vegetables. Asparagus is so simple and quick I grill them up almost every chance I get. And then there is steak.

Around the globe, for as long as we have been around we have cooked over an open fire. If there is one thing quintessential dish that seems the grill was invented for is steak. There are many variations of the dish as there are languages on the planet. In Italy it is customary to serve a grilled steak simply with just salt and pepper and maybe a squeeze of lemon, alla Fiorentina. The simplicity of the dish is characteristically Italian so use the best ingredients for the greatest results

Here is my simple version that cooks quickly and makes quite an impression.

Grilled T-Bone with Lemon and Parsley
Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 ea 1 lb (1 ½” – 2” thick) T-Bone
¼ Cup Olive Oil, plus more for serving
Sea Salt
Black Pepper, freshly ground
Rosemary sprigs

*** For Serving

Lemon wedges
2 Cups Arugula
Roasted Potatoes
2 lb Asparagus

1. In a bowl large enough for steak place rosemary and steak and drizzle with olive oil. Let the steak rest outside the refrigerator for at least an hour before cooking.
2. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling over high heat (450 -500).
3. Using tongs, lay steak over the hottest part of the fire, cook 2 – 5- 7 minutes. Turn the steak and sprinkle with salt. Cook on the second side until browned, 2 – 3 minutes more.
4. Remove the steaks to a carving board and let rest for at least 5 minutes before carving.
5. Cut the steaks away from the bone and carve into 1/2-inch slices. Arrange the meat on warmed plates season with salt and pepper.
6. Garnish with lemon wedges and arugula
7. Have more sea salt and pepper available at the table
8. Serve with Roasted Potatoes and grilled asparagus

Now in Florence they would have drink a nice Chianti or Brunello. But I like go even lighter in the summer, and a perfect summer red is Barbera. Barbera has ancient origins, the first documented mention of the grape is in 1798, in a letter by Count Giuseppe Nuvolone-Pergamo of Scandaluzzo, deputy director of the Società Agraria di Torino (Agrarian Society of Turin). Barbera-based wines were well regarded even then, for their rustic yet generous character.

Barbera wines are esteemed for their deep color, low tannins and high levels of acidity. When young they offer fresh flavors of cherries, blueberries and raspberries. Relatively rich, bold and flavorful, the most powerful examples might just be compared to Barolo or Barbaresco. Barbera is a great summertime wine. Serve it slightly chilled and it makes a great afternoon supper wine, especially on a hot day.

One of our favorite producers is Renatto Ratti. Founded in 1965 about Renato himself and now his nephew Massimo runs the operation. The original winery was built in an old abbey located halfway up the hill in the valley of Barolo. Here buttressed by steep slopes lined by orderly vineyards, lies a precious jewel from the 15th century: the Abbey of Annunziata. From the 100 acres of vineyards, the Renato Ratti winery produces Barolo, Nebbiolo d’Alba, Barbera d’Alba, Dolcetto d’Alba.

Scarpetta Wine Pig Roast Event, Saturday, June 3rd!

Many of you have been asking about the La Caja China roaster, stacked with an assortment of Friulian delights, on our entry way carpet. We’ve brought in a pig roasting box emblazoned with Scarpetta Wines  and we can’t wait to share the excitement with you!

Scarpetta Wines was started by Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Patterson. Bobby is a Master Sommelier and James Beard Award Winner. Lachlan is an award winning chef. Together, they own Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Co. which was nominated this year for Outstanding Restaurant in America. Accolades aside, these guys know what they are doing and they’re doing it right. They bring the countryside of Friuli to every glass and plate they present.

With an obsession with Friuli, Bobby and Lachlan have been blazing their way through the states. And, we have some of their Scarpetta Wines in our store to celebrate!

Join as we serve Porchetta Panini along with Scarpetta Wines at our Scarpetta Pig Roast event on Saturday, June 3rd, 2-PM. We hope to see you there!

Grazie!

Weekend Wine Pairing ~ Vintager Chardonnay + Crab Tostadas with Sriracha Guacamole

Okay,  I start to really miss California when it snows in the passes in May, and the rain never ceases. Yes, I am a California native, albeit I have lived in Seattle for over 32 years, so that has to count for something, right? Oh, I do have certain California kid peccadillos. Like when my northern brethren claim indisputable expertise on Mexican food, or when I find myself defending a fondness for Zinfandel or a certain style of California Chardonnay.

Take for example a new Chard we just found.

The Californian Vintager Chardonnay Knights Valley 2012 $14.99

This is an elegant barrel aged chard produced from hand harvested grapes in the legendary Knight Valley AVA, home to winemakers like Peter Michael. Coastal fog and conifer trees create a special cool climate that gives the resulting win a balance of fruit and fresh acidity. Full bodied, yet balanced with well integrated oak and a long seductive finish. Honey crisp apple, blood orange and just a touch of vanilla give this wine all that classic Northern California Chardonnay appeal.

Only 748 cases of this wine were produced by winemaker Sam Jennings, The Vintager Chardonnay is true small production wine.

Yes, and there are certain dishes that pair perfectly with that certain style of Cali Chard – Smoked Chicken Salad, grilled Salmon, Lobster. This wine would be perfect just sitting on a sunny deck with some friends, but this also would be awesome with my Crab tostadas! Recipe below

Join us and taste this extraordinary Chardonnay, Saturday May 20th, at Esquin 2 pm to 5 pm!

xo Lenny

Crab Tostadas with Sriracha Guacamole

1 (16 ounce) package tostadas ( or fresh made)

16 ounces Dungeness crab

1 lime, juiced

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper

***** Garnish

2 tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 red pepper, finely diced

1 jalapeno, finely diced

1⁄2 medium onion, finely chopped

¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped

*****Guacamole

3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled

1 lime, juiced

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon Sriracha

1/2 medium onion, diced

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoon sour cream

  1. You can fry your own tortilla but store bought are just fine
  2. In a large bowl, pull crab apart and check for any shell pieces. Combine lime juice and olive oil and dress crab with dressing and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. In another bowl combine diced tomatoes, diced peppers, onions and cilantro.
  4. In bowl of food processor combine all ingredients and pulse until well comined.
  5. Spread 1 tablespoon Guacamole on tostada top with 1 ounce of crab meat and garnish with pepper mixture

Crab Tostadas with Sriracha Guacamole Printable Recipe

Weekend Wine Pairing – Asparagi di Bassano Con Salsa dl Uove Sode + Teutonic Wine Company

It is asparagus time!

If you look around your local Farmers Market or grocery store you will see tables laden with first crop local asparagus. Washington is famous for its asparagus. The same soils that allow wine grapes to thrive also happen to be perfect for growing asparagus (and onions, too). This weekend, May 6th, is the annual Asparagus Festival in Pasco where consumers will be able to sample everything from grilled asparagus to asparagus ice cream. That’s right, asparagus ice cream!

Today, I present nothing quite so adventurous, but a simple elegant dish that you can serve at a dinner party or (hopefully one day- weather permitting) an outdoor BBQ – Full recipe for Asparagi di Bassano Con Salsa di Uove Sode

Now, most wine drinkers have heard that asparagus can be difficult to pair. Asparagus assertive flavor can clash with most wines, the reason is that asparagus contain chemical mercaptans which makes wine taste bitter and metallic. One solution is to add Fat: butter, olive oil, bacon. The fat will help tame the aggressive nature of the vegetable. 

I suggest choosing wines with higher acidity, wines that mirror the green notes of the vegetables. Sauvignon Blanc, Verdicchio, Gruner Veltliner, Gavi are all good answers. But, a great high acid Pinot Gris or Grigio is just about perfect.

2015 Teutonic Pinot Gris Crow Vineyard Willamette Valley 

We love the fruit that comes from the 35 year-old vines at Crow Valley Vineyard. This Pinot Gris is crisp and refreshing with fine mineral flavors that the vines absorb from the deep established roots. Golden pale in color, red apple, lime and lemon zest on the nose.

A perfect foil for the surly asparagus.

Teutonic Wine Company started in 2002 when Barnaby was the wine buyer at Papa Haydn Restaurant in Portland’s southeast location. It was his passion for cool climate wines that lead him to plant Oregon’s first coastal vineyard west of the coastal range. His fascination has garnered he and his wines a cult like following from Seattle to New York.

The Crow Vineyard Pinot Gris is made with minimal intervention, natural spontaneous fermentation; fermented in neutral oak (no steel) and bottled with lower alcohol.

xo

Lenny

Taste this wine and other Teutonic wines Saturday 2 pm to 5 pm

The Dark Side of Tequila presented by Hornitos Black Barrel

The Dark Side of Tequila presented by Hornitos Black Barrel 

May 3rd, 6-8PM The Sky Lounge 

Come learn about the art & process of crafting tequila, with an in-depth look at various aging techniques using everything from new oak, ex-bourbon, and former Cognac barrels. Local rep Derek Wieting will lead guests through a guided flight tasting and dinner. Followed by Mitchell Johnson of M Bar with a presentation on how to create simple tequila cocktails at home.

Dinner will feature tacos & sides from El Camino. All guests will take home a gift bag and we will be raffling off a brand new Hornitos Golf Bag!

$15 tasting fee, which can be used towards your purchase,

space is limited RSVP by calling 206.682.7374

Weekend Wine Paring ~ Cedar Plank Salmon with Tarragon Mustard Glaze + Chehalem Wines

Spring seems reluctant. I see the fits and starts, the bud break and blossoms, the first Rosés’ and the first of the seasons’ harvests. This is the time of year that I get the most antsy with anticipation. I just can’t wait to get outside and grill! Growing up in California we would grill year round.  Here, I have to seize the day, and catch the sun when she briefly smiles on me.

Grilled Salmon is just about one of the best dishes to prepare when entertaining guests, especially out of towners. The best part is how little time you actually have to spend in front of the grill. Less cooking equals more partying. Again, plan ahead and have your ingredients ready to grill when your guest arrive.

There are a many great ways to grill. One of the time-honored traditions, in these parts, is Cedar plank salmon. One of the greatest things about a Cedar Plank Salmon is that it works just as well in the oven as it does on the grill, so no matter how fickle mother nature may be you can still have a nice dinner.

Call me a traditionalist, but there are few better wines to serve with Cedar Plank Salmon than a good Oregon Pinot Noir, especially from Chehalem Winery. 

Chehalem Three Vineyard Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2013 $32.99  

This Three Vineyard Pinot Noir has beautiful ripe black cherry and brambly cassis on the nose, with fresh wet earth and a tea leaf component. White pepper, dusty cocoa, tobacco, sweet loam, and raspberry accentuate the nose, providing a fresh, full, complex package. The palate is lithe and playful, with especially round, pliable acid, and an overarching flavor of rich cranberry sauce and rose hips. The finish is lengthy, yet elegant, with beautiful balance – a perfect partner for salmon.

“Light and sleek, open-textured and appealing, with delicate plum and guava flavors, riding on a glassy frame into a vivid finish.” 91 POINTS, Wine Spectator

Or, if you prefer, few places grow Chardonnay as well as they do in the Willamette Valley.

Chehalem “Inox” Willamette Valley Chardonnay 2014 $19.99 

The fruit shines brightly in this all-stainless cuveé. Ripe golden apples are at the core, with hints of peach and papaya. It’s a lovely, forward, ready to drink style that brings extra concentration and detail that is all too rare in unoaked Chardonnays.  91 Points, Wine Enthusiast

xox, Lenny

Taste these wines, plus other BBQ favorites on April 29th  from 2pm to 5pm

Grab a bottle to take home, and create your own:

Cedar Plank Salmon with Tarragon Mustard Glaze

Weekend Wine Pairing : Oven Roasted Lamb Rack Salad with Couscous, Fennel, Mint, and Tomatoes

Rosé Time!

It is definitely beginning to look more like spring; in the wine business that means the arrival of the Rosé! I can think of no better foil for the winter doldrums than to tease one of the scarce sunny days on the deck with brunch or late lunch. Whether Easter, or any Sunday, there are fewer things as civilized as taking a meal al fresco with a nice bottle of Rose!

The Rosé Revolution is now hegemony!  Never in my life have I tasted and seen so many Rosé. Beyond the great Bandol and Tavel, we see Rosé coming from every great wine region in the world. Not only is it just about the best thing for an afternoon quaff, Rosé also lends itself to a wide variety of foods. The touch of anthocyanin, that gives Rosé its color, also gives the wine more body which allows it to pair with heartier fare!

Looking for something to pair with your Easter Ham? Look no further. Roast Turkey, Standing Pork Crown Roast, Cedar Plank Salmon, Tuna Salad – you name it, Rose will fit the bill. Almost just to prove my point, I would like to present a perfect party dish that is made for Rosé – Oven Roasted Lamb Rack Salad with Couscous, Fennel, Mint, and Tomatoes.

 

Oven Roasted Lamb Rack Salad with Couscous Fennel Mint and Tomatoes recipe + ingredient list

The other thing I love about Rosé? Even the priciest Rosés are still relatively affordable in the vast scheme of things. One of my favorite things to do, for a party, is fill a galvanized tub with a bunch of Rosé + ice and let people have at it! Rest assured there are great inexpensive Rosé, and you can find a lot of them here at Esquin Wine & Spirits.

Here are a couple favorites:

OLIVARES JUMILLA ROSADO 2016 $6.99

Floral and red fruit aromas mingle on the nose, with a refreshing and balanced palate. This Spanish Rosé pairs beautifully with grilled vegetables, fish, pasta, or on its own.  70% Garnacha 30% Monastrell

LAURIBERT ‘LA CUVEE DE LISA’ ROSE 2016 $8.99

We are pleased to welcome the new 2016 Les Lauribert La Cuvee de Lisa! A gorgeous Rosé with tart, refreshing acidity that is balanced with notes of barely ripe strawberries. It’s springtime in a bottle!

MILBRANDT ROSE 2016 $11.99

Intense nose of mineral, strawberry, melon, and herbs. The palate is lean and fresh with plenty more red berries, and a saline finish.

Join us Saturday, April 15th, from 2-5PM at our tasting barrel to try the 8th World of the World – Rosé!

Weekend Wine Pairing Paella Valencia + Cistum Granacha

When someone says Spanish Cuisine the first dish that comes to nearly everyone’s mind is Paella. And yes, you can find Paella in virtually every city, village and taberna. Historically, Spain was divided into small kingdoms; each one with its own language, culture and cuisine. Today, Spain is divided into 17 Autonomous Communities, each one with its own unique cuisine.

Valencia, in Eastern Spain, is the undisputed home of paella. It is one of the largest natural ports in the Mediterranean and has been one of the most important rice-producing areas in Spain since rice was introduced by the Moors over 1200 years ago. Paella has ancient roots, but its modern form originated in the mid-19th century near the Albufera lagoon on the east coast of Spain adjacent to the city of Valencia.  Although many people regard Paella as the national dish of Spain, Valencian’s regard paella as more than just a dish – it is also one of their most identifying symbols.

There are as many different Paella recipes as there are Spanish Mothers and Chefs. Paella de Marisco (seafood), Paella de Verduras (Vegetarian), Paella Mixta (freestyle) and Paella Valencia are the most common dishes. Paella Valencia traditional will be served with short grain rice, green beans, snails, chicken or rabbit, chorizo and of course Saffron and Pimenton de la Vera.  Below is my Paella Recipe, and like I said, every Paella recipe is different. Mine is unusual in that I cook the delicate fish separately from the rice, because I want the fish to be as fresh and light as possible.

Lenny’s Paella Valencia Mixta printable recipe

Pairing with Paella is easy – a lighter white like Albarino or Verdejo or a softer red like Rioja or many of the great Garnacha (Grenache) Spain has to offer. Today, I am pleased to show a new one we just discovered – a beautiful and affordable red made from 120 year old vine Garnacha from Navarra.

2009 Rafael Reverte Cistum Garnacha Navarro $14.99

“The 2009 Cistum was sourced from 120-year-old ungrafted pre-phylloxera vines aged for 6 months in new French oak. Cedar, pencil lead, Asian spices, incense, and black cherry liqueur aromas are some of the elements leading to a voluminous, focused, layered wine with enough structure to evolve for 2-3 years. This remarkable example of old-vine Garnacha will be at its best from 2014 to 2024.”

92 Points – The Wine Advocate

In the twelfth century, the Cistercian monks of the Monastery of Fitero planted their first vines of Grenache and began the preparation of a unique and exceptional wine. Rafael Reverte has recovered Pie Franco vineyard planted in 1899, before the step of Phylloxera, to produce a wine of legend within reach of very few: “Cistum”.

Taste this wine Saturday from 2 pm to 5 pm

Taste Lenny’s Paella Wednesday April 5th 6 pm with Special Guest Victor Palencia of Palencia Winery!

Spring Classes at Esquin

Italy In-Depth 3 Class Series

Italy! The Land of the Vine, according to the ancient Greeks; nowhere else is wine so closely intertwined with daily life in every village throughout the Italian peninsula – not even France. Nowhere else is there such a enormous array of excellent native varietals.

Beginning Sunday April 2nd, Sommelier Arnie Millan will be offering an in-depth look at Italian wine with three classes, each organized by region:

1. April 2nd – The South (Campagnia, Sicily, Puglia, Calabria, Sardinia, Basilicata)  1-4:30PM in the Sky Lounge $69

2. April 23rd – The Center (Tuscany, Umbria, Lazio, The Marches, Emilia-Romagna, Liguria, Molise, Abruzzi) 1- 4:30PM in the Sky Lounge $69

3. April 30th – The North (Piedmont, Valle d’Aosta, Lombardy, Veneto, Alto Aldige/Trentino, Friuli-Giulia-Venezie) 1-4:30PM in the Sky Lounge $69

Join us for the complete series $195, tickets available here>>

Each region, its history and wines, will be discussed in depth. Classes will include tasting regional wines. We will taste 8 wines per class from the Italy’s greatest appellations. Free parking is available in Esquin’s lot on the South end of our building. The Seattle Times recently named Arnie “The finest Wine Mind in Seattle.”

FOOD + WINE CLASSES with Lenny Rede

April 9th – Bourbon and Barbecue! 2-4PM in the Sky LoungeTwo great tastes that taste great together. We will explore a variety of styles of barbecue and an equal number of bourbons, including a few local favorites! Do’s and don’ts on how to make your next BBQ the best party ever. $49 Call 206.682.7374 to register. Advance registration is necessary. Gift Certificates are available.

May 14th – Champagne & Caviar! 2-4PM in the Sky Lounge
Explore the range and elegance of Champagne and some classic pairings – including Caviar, Lobster, Fried Chicken, and Popcorn. We will discuss the production styles, rules, and history of the King of wines. With Special Guest! $49
Call 206.682.7374 to register. Advance registration is necessary. Gift Certificates are available.

Rainy Day Baby Back Ribs with Whiskey Barbecue Sauce

This time of year with the little breaks of sunshine, I start craving barbecue but the weather doesn’t always comply. Today, I’d like to present an easy way to prepare ribs in your oven. Many of the recipes that are for making inside usually rely on liquid smoke which can be so strong it tastes artificial. In this recipe I use whiskey and smoked pepper to impart a little bit of smoke to the ribs.
Bourbon is burnt oak and alcohol. Not only does it make for good barbecue it also is a perfect pairing with Barbecue. Now if you don’t like your whiskey neat or on the rocks there a few simple recipes that are great for party’s. A Whiskey Ginger is 2 to 3 parts good quality ginger ale (Bundaberg, Reeds) and 1 part bourbon. Classics like The Mint Julip or Bombadier also make for a great party. A simple punch is equal parts – bourbon, sweet vermouth, sparkling apple cider and orange juice. Garnished with sliced orange and plenty of ice and you have a refreshing beverage that lends itself to barbecue and good times.
We here in Seattle and Pacific NW are blessed with a bounty of great wines, craft beer and of course coffee. In the last few years we have seen the same passion turned towards distilling. Prior to 2008, there were no craft distilleries in Washington State. Today, with 110 distilled spirit plant licenses, we have more distilleries than any other state in the union. Seattle alone boasts 17, there are 27 in King County, which is more than any other county in the USA. Distilleries like Westland, Copperworks, Glass, 2 Bar are making waves not just here but around the world. Garnering acclaim awards and press the world over.
Woodinville Whiskey Company has received numerous awards including Best Distillery 2016 (Seattle Weekly, King 5 Best of Western Washington & 425 Magazine). Recently, Woodinville Straight Bourbon Whiskey was named 2016 Whiskey of the Year from the American Distilling Institute.
Woodinville Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 45% ABV $47.99
This truly small-batch bourbon starts with traditionally grown corn, rye and malted barley. The staple grains are cultivated exclusively on the Omlin Family farm in Quincy, Washington. The grains are mashed, distilled, and barreled in the Woodinville distillery. 100% handmade in Washington state and aged in a new, charred oak 53 gallon barrel. Sweet aromas of crème brûlée and spice, notes of caramel, dark chocolate, and vanilla with a sweet, lingering finish.
 ~Lenny
Rainy Day Baby Back Ribs with Whiskey Barbecue Sauce 
3 Pounds Baby Back Ribs
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup coca cola
½ cup bourbon whiskey***Rub
3 Tablespoons Ground Mustard
1 Tablespoon Granulated Garlic
1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
2 Tablespoons Smoked Paprika
2 Tablespoon Chile Powder
1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
***Whiskey BBQ Sauce
1 Each Onion, Diced
1 Clove Garlic, Minced
½ Cup Cider Vinegar
½ Cup Brown Sugar
½ Cup Whiskey
1 Cup Ketchup
1 Cup Dijon Mustard
2 whole chipotles in adobo
1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
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