Take a “relationship moment” with The Hess Collection Wines. Busy seasons of life can really take their toll on relationships. We get so caught up in the busy-ness of everyday living, especially during the holiday season…
**Wine provided by The Hess Collection. All recipes and opinions my own.**
…and often our personal relationships are the first thing to suffer. We put them on the back burner while we struggle to just make it through the day, the week, the month. If you are a parent of young (and medium aged) children, you know this is so true for any time of year.
I challenge you to set aside an evening for you – with your partner, close friends, or extended family members. If you love to cook, plan a special pairing menu. If you don’t love to cook, I’m giving you permission to find dishes that pair well with your wine and order in, but I will say the dishes below are very simple yet delicious.
This “break away” isn’t about stressing you out more, but rather, finding space to breathe. For me, that means getting into the kitchen to create a delicious menu. Today I’m sharing my in-home date night menu with you. Our The Hess Collections Pairing Dinner was under 3 hours long from prep start to final bite of dessert.
I started prep as I was getting the kids dinner so I could multitask with the “mundane” and still have time to do everything I wanted for our special evening. We took a moment to reconnect as a couple in this busy season, but you can take this same menu and double or triple for a larger pairing dinner. Gather friends and celebrate life.
Course 1: Starter
The Appetizer: Prosciutto Wrapped Peaches
Keeping the appetizer simple yet unique with rich flavors allows you to focus on preparing the components for the rest of the meal and still wow your dinner guest(s). I wrapped peach halves in prosciutto and put them under the broiler. They charred a bit on the edges, which added a lovely contrast in flavor. The sweet and salty combination played very well with the Sauvignon Blanc. I pulled the idea for this from The Hess Collection tasting notes.
A wonderful growing season set the stage for ripe fruit with decidedly pronounced flavors and aromas. Grassy tones on the nose, with plenty of citrus and tropical fruit flavors alongside a crisp, bright freshness are accented by wonderful acidity and a full, rich mouth-feel. New World in style with a nod to New Zealand and fermented in stainless steel, we love to drink this wine year round.*
Course 2: Salad
The Salad: Flank Steak Salad with Caramelized Onions and Cheddar
I prepared simple lettuce salads ahead of time and topped them with cheddar and slightly caramelized onions. While the appetizer was broiling, I pan fried the steak, letting it rest while we enjoyed our appetizer. Once our appetizer was finished, I thinly sliced the steak, topped the salads, added a drizzle of Brianna’s Italian Vinaigrette Dressing, and served. The flavors of this salad are rich and flavorful so you don’t want to go overboard with your dressing. Simple flavorful ingredients win and showcase the wine beautifully.
“There’s a touch of sweetness from the ripe, dark fruit, accented by a decidedly big impression of bing cherries and ripe plums. The tannins are purposefully softer and easy drinking, making it a wine that gets invited outside to the barbecue in the summer and inside to accompany pot roast, meatloaf or chicken Marsala in the fall. The wine is built for easy drinking pleasure right now.” – Dave Guffy, Director of Winemaking*
Course 3: Entrée
The Entrée: Brie and Mushroom Stuffed Chicken over Sautéed Brussels Sprouts and Pureed Sunchokes
Love at first bite, simple yet gourmet, this was my favorite dish of the evening, although I can still taste those beautiful sweet and salty peaches. I know. It looks a bit complicated, but I promise you, it isn’t. Creamy brie and nutty tasting mushrooms pair well with the stronger flavors of brussels sprouts, smooth sunchokes, and crisp chardonnay. My husband said this dish was even better as leftovers.
We’re on to something with our Hess Select Chardonnay. It’s a new take on the most popular wine around, tasting good on its own, paired with appetizers, a variety of meals prepared at home or out for date night. Crisp and clean with bright wonderfully balanced acidity, the signature lemon-lime and a touch of apple flavors of Monterey shine through. ” – Dave Guffy, Director of Winemaking*
Course 4: Dessert
The Dessert: Dark Chocolate Mini Cakes with Homemade Whipped Cream
Dark chocolate and fine red wine. Red wine can be a tricky thing for me but this pairing was magic. This molten lava cake recipe is by far my favorite easy dessert. I bake mine just a bit longer when I want a rich decadent chocolate cupcake. Add a little homemade whipped cream and a glass of red wine for the perfect finish to your wine pairing dinner.
Our Hess Select Cabernet features grapes from some of the best vineyards in Napa and Lake county. The wine showcases a ruby color with aromas red raspberry and dark cherry. Flavors of red raspberry, black cherry follow with spicy notes of currants, anise, cloves, cedar and a touch of vanilla. This soft, round, medium-bodied wine tastes like Cabernet should. Our Cabernet is perfect with an informal BBQ straight through to Saturday night.” -Dave Guffy, Winemaker*
*All quotes sourced from The Hess Collection Website.