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So why is the 2012 Ladera Cabernet—made from almost entirely from Howell Mountain fruit, from an incredible vintage—sitting pretty at $34.99? I honestly can't tell you. Maybe it's because no one knows how good the Ladera holdings in Howell Mountain are. Or maybe it's the pride that winemaker Jade Barrett takes in making a serious wine for a reasonable price. Or maybe it's because Ladera is an overlooked gem in a sea of Napa alternatives. For whatever the reason, I'm not going to complain. We tasted the 2012 vintage at our staff training yesterday and I was just floored by the quality of this wine. Dark, fleshy fruit cloaked in fine tannins, bits of earth, and in total balance, with enough gusto to go the long haul in your cellar. It's a whole lotta wine for $34.99, and it's made primarily from Howell Mountain grapes, harvested during a great vintage. 

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« Thanksgiving Wine & Cheese Pairings with the Cheese Handler | Main | Talking Turkey: An Ex-Pat Thanksgiving »
Friday
Nov192010

Talking Turkey: Gougères from Bethel Heights 

Image courtesy of Karen Low at Citrus and Candy.

Editor's Note: Everybody celebrates Thanksgiving just a little bit differently, which is why we've been hitting up some of our winemaking friends for some of their Thanksgiving recipes and wine pairings, which we'll be featuring over the next week. This time we reached out to Mimi Dudley Casteel, the second generation at Bethel Heights Vineyard in Oregon's Eola-Amity Hills. Mimi, along with her father Ted Casteel, tends the vines that have made this winery's offerings among some of the best over the past 30+ years. Her gougères are the perfect Thanksgiving appetizer--easy to make, sophisticated and a mouthwatering match for the 2008 Bethel Heights "Estate" Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (or both).

From Mimi:

All I can say about these is they go with Pinot or Chardonnay, and I can never, ever, ever get enough of them.  And if I can make them, anyone can.  This we adapted from the Silver Palate cookbook, my go-to cookbook. These are like heroin, so I put them out there with caution.       

Gougères    

Ingredients

1 cup milk

1 stick sweet butter

1 t salt

1 cup sifted unbleached, all-purpose flour

5 eggs

1 ½ c grated gruyere (Swiss or Parmesan or some combination works, but gruyere is my favorite) plus additional for topping puffs (optional)

Directions

  1. Combine milk, butter, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and add the flour all at once.  Whisk vigorously for a few moments, then return the pan to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the batter has thickened and is pulling away from the sides and bottom of the pan – 5 minutes or less.
  2. Again remove the pan fro the heat and stir in 4 eggs, one at a time, making sure the first egg is completely incorporated before adding the next.  Then stir in the cheese or cheeses.
  3. Preheat oven to 375°.  Lightly butter a baking sheet.
  4. Drop the batter by tablespoons onto baking sheet, spacing the puffs about an inch apart.
  5. Beat remaining egg in a small bown.  Brush the tops of the puffs with the beaten last egg.  Sprinkle with extra cheese if you wish.
  6. Set baking sheet on center rack of the oven, reduce heat to 350°, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until your puffs are puffed and nicely browned.  Serve immediately.  Makes 20 puffs that will be gone in an instant.  Be prepared to make multiple batches, depending on your company.

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