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Posts Tagged ‘Savoie’

California dreamin: Yosemites majestic Half Dome

It’s a winter wonderland out here in the mountains of California! This picture that I recently snapped of Yosemite’s Half Dome is, as you can see, was covered in snow on a recent trip that I took to the mountains with my friends Keelyn, Kelly and Kirk.

The 3 Ks: Kelly -Kirk- Keelyn

What was on the agenda for that weekend? Snowshoeing, cooking, and appropriate wine pairings with one of my favorite styles of wine. I affectionately call them, those Bitey mountain wines!

Why bitey? Because wines in this category hail almost exclusively from cool climate and (yes) mountainous regions, that often provide them with a solid spine of bracing acidity and snap so to speak.

A portal to a winter whites and wines...

Generally lighter in body and alcohol than wines whose vines are grown at lower altitudes and in warmer climates, these brisk wines (especially the whites) are a refreshing way to wind down “après ski” or a full day running around and soaking up all that great mountain air.

Kee & Mumu @ Crane Flat (foreshadowing: mushroom hat)

Each of us was responsible for preparing one main dish a night, and to supply a (certainly) delicious and (hopefully) appropriate wine pairing to boot. Most of you who check in regulary already know Keelyn. She is a great friend and a fantastic cook.

Well, Keelyn were the first up to bat on day 1, and true to form, did not disappoint!

While Kirk,, Kelly and I sucked down this bottle of Sorelle Bronca Prosecco, (don’t worry, kee was in on it too) Keelyn prepared her delicious Pasta di Tonno alla Manu.  Bascially, a tomato sauce with tuna, capers, onion, anchovies and hot peppers served over pasta. ..should have snapped a picture, but we were so hungry that I totally lost focus..next time!

This sparkling wine made from the prosecco grape, hails from Valdobbiadene Italy’s Veneto, a hilly region just below the Italian Alps.

It’s vibrant, crisp, and of course fizzy, but without the richer, more evolved flavors of say champagne. Think instead of hazelnuts or brioche, white peach and fuji apple.  If, après ski, I was stranded on a snowing mountain and had to pick one wine, it would definitely be prosecco.

from the mountains and valleys of the Val dAosta

While Kee was busy in the kitchen, Kelly prepared a fantastic salumi and cheese plate for us to snack on.  Fra’Mani  salumi, assorted cheeses and (my favorite) potato chips worked great with our crisp bubbly.

What? No more prosecco? No problem, Kirk opened this delicious petite rouge, from the Val d’Aosta, located in the NW corner of Piedmonte Italy. It’s crunchy blackberry fruits and cracked pepper notes in particular worked great with our savory salumi and cheeses.

Incidently, both of these Italian wines are imported and available locally by Oliver McCrum.

On day 2, after an afternoon of snowshoeing (about 6miles!) it was my turn to prepare dinner.  Who got off the easiest on this culinary trip? Me!  In the French Alps, a classic dish to prepare après ski and with the local wines is none other than fondue.

So here is an action shot of Kee enjoying the fruits of my hard work in the kitchen.  Yep, my fondue was delicious and it did not last long!

Along with the classic boiled potatos, and bread accompaniments, I also blanched some broccoli spears for fondue dunking. Afterall, it’s good to eat your vegees.

This crisp, dry, low alchohol (around 11%) Savoie white from the Cellier des Cray is the prefect wine to pair with rich, cheesy fondue.  This particular rendition, which hails from the cru of Chignin and is made with an indigenous grape called Jacquère, did not disappoint.

Fast forward to evening 3, and it was time for Kirk’s tour in the kitchen. Actually, Kirk probably spent the least amount of time cooking because, being the careful planner that he is, decided to bring up a crock pot and maximize his time and efficiency.

I’m glad someone was thinking like this! Look what we got to enjoy! A hearty beef stew… a la Daniel Boone is what we christened it. Why? Kirk is in fact a descendant of Daniel Boone (he told me this before his 3rd glass of wine), and as this dish was created up here in the mountains, it seemed really fitting!

The Goth looking black label that you see in the background is a delicious red from none other than Bugey which is located in the Savoie region of France. Thanks to local importer Charles Neal, this vibrant, cool climate mountain red made from the local Mondeuse grape is the perfect match to this rich stew.

For more pictures of our Yosemite trip, please check out Les Photos on the blog sidebar.

In the next several weeks, we’ll be heading back up to Yosemite to forage for morels..  STAY TUNED!

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