S.A.S.S. Pairs GRV Wines with Their Summer Solstice Feast!

Posted on: July 7th, 2011 by admin No Comments

Remember our “S.A.S.S.”  friends from Barrel Tasting? Click here for a refresher on the Smart Attractive Spirit Sippers and their monthly wine and food pairing tradition. When they visited us from Parker, CO back in May they took home a couple of mixed cases of our wines. What follows is an account of their Summer Solstice celebration — complete with recipes — straight from the S.A.S.S. members themselves! They chose our 2009 Chardonnay, 2008 Meritage White, 2009 Viognier, and 2004 Meritage Red for the event. Enjoy the recipes and pairing ideas, it sure sounds like they did! Cheers to good friends, food, and wine!

* * *

It was an unbelievable summer solstice evening, June 21, 2011.  The S.A.S.S. ladies gathered in the lovely garden of Lynda Dirkse to enjoy a grand Grande River wine tasting and meal pairing.
The night began with the 2009 Chardonnay paired with Laura Palmer’s beautiful appetizer tray of her home grown English breakfast radishes and baby carrots, radish pesto, and Asiago and Manteche cheeses.  The English breakfast radishes were served the traditional European way; swirl a radish in butter and lightly sprinkle salt over the top.  We needed more Chardonnay!  It was a perfect wine to sip in the flower scented garden and watch the sun set.
Next we ventured upstairs to the dinning room. The table was set with individual bouquets, antique Dirkse family china, and we each received a crystal glass cleaner as a gift.  Second course was a delightful salad of mixed greens, pistachios and avocado with a blackberry vinaigrette, garnished with Corsican Violets, paired with the 2009 Meritage White. Both the salad and the wine had a wide range of intense flavors and sweet fragrance.
The main course was Beef Tenderloin with Shiitake Mushroom and Gorgonzola with Cabernet Sauvignon Sauce, paired with the 2009 Meritage Red.  This was the main event.  Dave, Lynda’s husband grilled the Tenderloin perfectly and the Cabernet sauce enhanced the rich character in the Meritage Red.  This course was accompanied with Powderhorn Potatoes and Broccolini; needless to say we started to bulge at our seams…. but one more course!
We knew the 2009 Viognier would be perfect with dessert, so we actually paired the dessert to go with the wine, it was a Peach and Blackberry Clafouti. The perfect end to a perfect beginning, to summer.


June 2011 SASS Recipes:

Radish Pesto

Two bunches radishes, radishes removed, wash and chop tops
½ Cup toasted hazel nuts
½ Cup Basil, chopped
½ Cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ – ½ Cup olive oil
Place only the radish tops in blender, add hazel nuts, basil, Parmesan cheese and garlic, blend on low and slowly pour in oil until all is blended to the consistency of a thick paste.  Julienne two radish for garnish and serve remaining radishes to dip into pesto, serve with a variety of crackers.


Mixed Green Salad with Blackberry Vinaigrette

2 Tbs canola oil
2 Tbs minced shallots
1 ½ tsp minced garlic
2 pints blackberries
¾ cup golden balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs dark balsamic vinegar
2 tsp honey
2 Tbs fresh lemon balm, chopped (may substitute fresh mint)
1 tsp fresh winter savory, chopped (may substitute fresh tarragon)
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
¾ cup walnut oil
10 – 12 cup mixed greens
¾ cup pistachios meats, roughly chopped
6 oz goat cheese
2 avocados, thinly sliced
Corsican violets (pansies, other violets or other edible flowers) for garnish

In a large skillet, heat canola oil over medium high heat.  Add shallots, saute 1 minute, add garlic, saute one more minute.  Add blackberries, putting aside about 1/3 of them for garnish.  Cook and stir for two to three minutes.  Deglaze pan with vinegars and cook another two to three minutes.  Remove from heat and place in blender.  Add honey, lemon balm and winter savory, process until smooth, add salt and pepper.  With the machine running, add the walnut oil through feed tube and process until smooth.  Strain through a fine wire mesh into a bowl and refrigerate to completely cool, at least one hour.

To make salad, toss greens and pistachios in a large bowl with vinaigrette.  Divide into bowls, place avocado slices on top, sprinkle with goat cheese and garnish with reserved blackberries and violets.


Beef Tenderloin with Shiitake Mushroom and Gorgonzola with a Cabernet Sauvignon Sauce

 2 8-oz, or 10 oz. tenderloins, trimmed
1/4 lb. Shiitake mushrooms – stems removed then sliced thin and sauteed in butter until golden brown
2 Tbs. shallots,minced
1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
2 Tbs. blackberry jam, seedless
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
3 Tbs. Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
3 Tbs. cold butter


Grill or broil steaks – best about medium rare. In small saucepan, add shallots and wine, cook until 2-3 Tbs. remain.  Add the jam and the balsamic vinegar; continue cooking until about 4 Tbs. remains.  Quickly add cooked mushrooms and whisk in 3 Tbs. butter and Gorgonzola.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon sauce over steaks – served with steamed broccoli (I used brocollini) and potatoes au gratin or Powderhorn Potatoes.

Powderhorn Potatoes

 10 medium potatoes
1/2 cup butter, melted
8 ounces  Cheddar cheese, shredded (I used sharp/recipe calls for mild)
2 Tbs. chives or chopped green onion tops (I used chives)
2 cups sour cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bake potatoes in jackets until slightly firm (400 degrees for 40-50 minutes).  Cool overnight; peel and grate. Mix together butter, cheese, onion, sour cream, salt and pepper and stir into potatoes.  Pour mixture into lightly greased 2-1/2 quart casserole and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until lightly browned.



Steam broccolini lightly, add butter, salt and pepper.


Peach and Blackberry Clafouti

1 tsp butter
1 C blackberries
2 C fresh peaches
½ C all-purpose flour
2/3 C sugar
1 ¼ C milk
3 eggs
½ tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

Pour the peach and blackberries into a buttered 2-quart baking dish.  Whisk the remaining ingredients into a bowl to form a light, thin batter.  Pour over the fruit and place in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for 45 minutes, or until browned and puffed around the edges and the center is set.  Allow to cool to warm or room temperature before serving. Serve plain or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Nestled at the base of western Colorado's Bookcliffs mountain range near the Colorado River in Palisade is Grande River Vineyards, Colorado's Premium Wine Growing Estate™. Grande River Vineyards produces world-class, award-winning wines in traditional styles.

Open seven days a week
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Excluding Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's day