Thursday, September 9, 2010

W is for Wine on Wednesday

So its been about a week and a half since I returned from California with my five bottles of wine from Sonoma vineyards. I think I've shown pretty good self control by not opening any of them yet. I decided that tonight would be the night to do a little tasting with my mom and brother. I also purchased a wine aerator when I got back from California, since the vineyards I visited both used them when pouring red wine. Instead of letting your wine breath for 30-40 minutes, it instantly "breathes" when you pour it through this contraption. The aerator also promises that you'll notice a better bouquet, enhanced flavors, and a smoother finish. 

I bought a Vinturi red wine aerator since I drink a lot more red than white, but they offer both types. I picked it up at Bed Bath and Beyond, but you can also purchase online, and I'm sure a lot of other places carry it as well.

Here's the contraption:

I opened a bottle of the Athena wine from Viansa Winery and Vineyards. I liked the description on the bottle:
Athena is an apt symbol for Viansa and this Viansa wine. She is the Goddess of many of our virtues. The mythology of antiquity portrays her as a fierce defender of her native land and honors her for her wisdom, reason, and purity. 

To taste the difference, I poured a small glass of the wine straight from the bottle, and then a small glass through the aerator. I had my mom and brother first take a sip of the straight wine, then aerated, and then back to the straight. My mom said the aerated wine was cleaner tasting, and the aromas were more powerful. So then Jim did the honors and poured us all full sized glasses.

For dinner we had a simple summer salad and some cornbread. My mom's homemade cornbread could rival anyones, which is why there are seldom any leftovers.

I still had a lot of basil leftover from my trip to the farm the day before, so after dinner we made some pesto. In addition to being the greatest cornbread cook, my mom has also perfected the art of making pesto. 


  • 3 cups fresh basil, washed and pat dry, lightly packed
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, fresh grated
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
Pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese
Jim hard at work grating the Parmesan

Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor. Slowly pour the oil in while pulsing the processor.

Pulse until right not just turn on to blend, otherwise you'll end up with pesto baby food!

And the finished product:

Pesto is a great addition to many meals. It can be added to pasta and pizza, bread with tomatoes and mozzarella, its even a great addition to mashed potatoes!

Fresh pesto will keep for over a week in the fridge or can be frozen and saved for months! We'll sometimes make big batches in the summer and freeze them so we can enjoy it in the winter.

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