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Does Wine Exist for Food?

From the winery kitchen mind of Margy Buchanan, she shares a few cherished recipes:


I enjoy contemplating the pairing of Tyee Wine Cellars Estate wines with food. Preparing dinner and selecting complementary wines has been a favorite pastime ever since we planted our first Pinot Noir in 1974.

My close friend, frequent galley chef co-heart and much-loved food columnist Jan Roberts-Dominguez says, "Anybody who’s experienced even one perfect pairing between food and wine knows how intertwined these two components are. But it’s the wine that has the greater challenge because wine exists for food." She is the expert, but often times for me, food exists for wine, particularly if my palate is in a seasonal mood for a particular varietal! The question becomes which wine will coax me into the kitchen to set my mind on creative mode? If I make that dinner with that wine, I will savor it and so will everyone else at the table.


When I think of Tyee Estate Pinot Noir or its Barrel Select sister, I like to select fresh, especially local ingredients. Pinot Noir is the seductress of understatement, so I minimize using heavy spices. Hearty... YES. Heavy... not so much. Pinot Noir pairs perfectly with wild salmon, game, and dark meats such as elk, duck, lamb, a luscious marbled steak, or even turkey. Pinot Noir brings elegance to roasted root vegetables and pasta dishes sauced with garden tomatoes, wild mushrooms, and olive oil.


Tyee Estate Chardonnay is unoaked and reflects the well-worn statement that Chardonnay is the world’s greatest dry white wine. Its delightful refreshing crispness is at its best with simple preparations of pork, poultry, and fresh fish; especially halibut, ling cod, or rockfish, and most mildly spiced foods. Plow into your spice drawer and play with a touch of rosemary, oregano, sage, thyme, dill, marjoram, or tarragon, then add a pinch or two of fresh orange or lemon zest.


Tyee Estate Pinot Gris has delicious crisp, fresh, and fruity elements that pair wonderfully with any freshly caught fish, poached or straight from the grill. We also enjoy it with roasted chicken, pork, and game hen. Try it with havarti dill, feta, or manchego cheeses. Asian cuisine and garden veggie, stir fry match perfectly as well.


Tyee Estate Gewürztraminer is the ultimate food wine for adventurous chefs and group

gatherings. It simply begs a person to have fun and create. Gewürztraminer's fruity ambrosia fares well with spices such as ginger, soy sauce, curries, or even cumin. It is a smash hit with caramelized onions, or shellfish such as razor clams, spot prawns, and crab. It pairs with most Pacific rim dishes. The versatility of our Gewürztraminer makes it the perfect match for any Thanksgiving Day feast when favorite traditional recipes abound.


Enjoy your food with wine or wine with food adventure. I’ve mentioned a few of my successes, but you’ll come up with lots more along the way. Meanwhile, Merrilee continues to craft fine wines for all of us to savor because our family believes sharing Tyee Estate wines with you is perhaps the most sublime expression of the land here on our Century Farm.


Happy Holidays,

Margy Buchanan

Co-Founder Tyee Cellars

Jan's Chanterelle And Cheese Strata Recipe

Wild chanterelles - part of the Pacific Northwest autumn bounty - are an elegant addition to any Thanksgiving feast. Locally, they can be found in several markets. They're never cheap of course, but the flavor is so delicious and intense that they're worth the price. This recipe can be assembled several hours ahead or the night before, and then baked just prior to serving.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • ½ cup chopped yellow onion

  • ½ cup chopped leeks (white and pale green portion)

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • ½ pound chanterelles, sliced into ¼-inch thick strips

  • 4 cups cubed day-old bread (a hearty French bread is preferable)

  • 2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese

  • 3 large eggs

  • 2½ cups milk

  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard

  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 teaspoon salt.

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion, leeks, garlic, and mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms are very tender, about 5 minutes. Layer half of the bread cubes in a baking dish measuring approximately 9x11¾ inches that has been lightly oiled. Arrange half of the vegetable mixture on top of the bread cubes, then half of the cheese. Add the remaining bread and vegetable mixture in the same order. Whisk together the eggs, milk, mustard, thyme, salt, and pepper. Pour this mixture over the ingredients in the dish. Top with remaining 1 cup of cheese. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. About 1¼ hours before serving, bake the casserole (uncovered) in a preheated 350-degree oven until golden, bubbly, and puffy, about 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for about 10 minutes to compose.

Tyee Wine Cellars Butternut-Hazelnut Soup Recipe

  • 1 medium Butternut Squash, seeded and cut into large dice.

Toss with 2 Tbs olive oil. Bake at 350 degrees until tender and slightly caramelized. (Peel afterward for ease.) Heat 1 Tbs unsalted butter in a large stockpot on Medium-High, then add:

  • 2 large diced onions. Saute to tender and golden brown.

  • 1 clove garlic

  • cooked squash cubes

  • 1 cup cooking Marsala

Cook on high until the liquid is reduced by about half, then add:

  • 8 cups chicken stock

Bring to a boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Puree solids (does not need to be smooth, just pureed for texture) and return to pot, then add:

  • 4 oz. Roasted Hazelnuts (1 1/2 cups whole nuts roasted at 325 degrees for 20 mins. Rub skins away from nuts) ground in a processor into hazelnut butter. It is pretty smooth.

  • 2 Tsp. Worcestershire Sauce

  • ½ Tsp Cayenne

  • 2 Tsp. Fresh Thyme

  • 2 Tsp. Oregano

  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

To serve: garnish top with about ¼ tsp. Chopped roasted nuts. Makes about 3 ½ Quarts Note: This soup has been served at Tyee Wine Cellars Annual Crab and Vintage Wine Debut Winemaker Dinners.

Tyee Wine Cellars Dilled Havarti Spread Recipe*

This spread has no fancy frills, but it is positively addictive. It pairs well with all Tyee Estate Wines!

  • 1 cup (about 3 oz by weight) Havarti Dill Cheese. Note: if unavailable use Havarti and add more dill to taste.

  • ¼ cup minced scallions or sweet onion

  • 2 Tbs. Chopped Fresh Dill (or 1 Tbs. Dried)

  • 1/3 cup Mayonnaise

In a bowl, mix together the above ingredients. Enjoy on a sandwich, especially leftover Thanksgiving turkey, or spread on crackers or baguette rounds. Also good with fresh veggies as a dip. The spread will keep well sealed in the refrigerator for several days if you can keep out of it!

Yields 1 cup, so of course I always double it. *Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics


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