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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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Tuesday
Nov232010

Talking Turkey: Wild Mushroom Puff Pastry from Woodenhead 

Editor's Note: We're going to wrap our week of Thanksgiving wine pairings and winery recipes with a savory wild mushroom puff pastry recipe from Nikolai Stez and Zina Bower at Woodenhead Vintners. Longtime favorites of the K&L staff, Woodenhead makes earthy, balanced Pinots (as well as delicious Zins and a saline, crisp French Colombard that would go great with oyster stuffing) that play harmony in this Thanksgiving duet.  

Wild Mushroom Puff Pastry

Ingredients

4 large cups black chanterelle mushrooms (or hedgehogs, golden chanterelles or other wild mushrooms) coarsely chopped

2 large cups Swiss chard leaves coarsely chopped (no stalks, please)

4 shallots thinly sliced (divided)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup dry red wine

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1 cup grated St. Jorge Cheese from Matos Cheese Factory (or cheese of your choice)

Salt & pepper to taste

1 lb. puff pastry dough

Directions

Preheat oven to 425°F.

In large skillet, sauté 2 thinly sliced shallots in olive oil until translucent.

Add coarsely chopped Swiss chard leaves.

Add red wine vinegar, salt & pepper to taste.

When wilted, remove from skillet and place contents into bowl and set aside.

In same skillet, sauté remaining 2 sliced shallots in butter until shallots are translucent.

Add the black chanterelle mushrooms to the skillet and continue sautéing.

Add dry red wine and salt & pepper to taste. Cook until mushrooms are soft.

Remove from heat, add mushrooms to Swiss chard mixture and mix to combine.

Toast fresh pine nuts in skillet. Once toasted, remove from skillet and add to mushroom and Swiss chard mixture.

Add freshly ground nutmeg to the filling. Mix all together. Let cool.

Roll out 1 lb. puff pastry dough to 12" by 12 " shape and place on baking sheet.

Using only half of the rolled out dough and leaving 1" around the edges (as you will be folding the dough over to cover the filling), layer half the cheese, the chard and mushroom filling, and the remaining cheese.

Brush the edges of the dough with water and fold the dough over the filling and fold the bottom edges over the top edges to completely seal the pastry.

Brush the top of the pastry dough with a water wash and cut slits on top of the pastry in several places for steam to escape.

Bake at 425°F for 25- 30 minutes.

Once ready, it will be a nice golden brown, remove from oven. Let cool slightly and serve.

Be flexible with the ingredients, be creative, you’ll have fun altering the cheese, the mushrooms, the spices and the greens. Sit back, relax and enjoy with our Woodenhead Russian River Valley Pinot Noir or even our Zinfandels. Cheers!

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