Pairings in Paso: (Confessional) Ranchero Cellars Chrome and Squash Blossoms
My confession: I feel like I do a pretty good job of maintaining a non-bias mindset when it comes to local wine. I offer only positive and constructive reinforcement for all Paso wine – wineries large and small – however, Ranchero Cellars’, Chrome, is unequivocally, my favorite Paso Robles white wine.
Whew! A weight has been lifted. Why does this particular bottle of Paso juice command so much of my respect? It’s not simply because the owner/winemaker Amy Jean Butler is a kick-butt, hard working, independent, beautiful woman, or that I really like the label – it’s all in the wine, baby! Chrome consistently has been mostly Grenache Blanc with either Roussanne or Viognier making up the remainder of the blend. It’s a simple, typical composition (that Amy has always executed well) that has it all, and the current vintage offers a slight honeysuckle and pear nose, crisp acidity, elegant minerality, plush viscosity, and charming texture.
Corroborating in Chrome’s legacy, my good friends Hoot ‘n’ Annie blogged a couple years back on this same to-die-for Rhône blend that also happens to pair unprejudicially and shines with almost anything you can put onto a plate! However, I have paired this, my favorite white, with the season and with my favorite seasonal vegetable, the squash blossom. I called my friends at 3 Kids Farm and placed a special order for a bushel of these golden lovelies. I also picked up some fresh heirloom tomatoes from farmer’s market along with some goat cheese from Happy Acres Farm and voila! I wish I had more room for photos on this one because my seven year-old-son was the one who stuffed these delicate flowers, and with enough finesse to make any seasoned foodie envious of technique!
Stuffed Squash Blossoms w/ Roasted Tomatoes
4 oz goat cheese
Fresh herbs, minced (basil, thyme, parsley, chives whatever you have on hand)
1 cup Tempura batter (follow directions on box)
2 teaspoons Cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons salt
Vegetable oil for frying
4 cloves Garlic
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Place tomatoes & garlic in glass baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil, salt & any remaining herbs. Roast at 375 until blistered, about 1hour. Remove from oven & mash with a fork.
Blend together goat cheese & fresh herbs, salt to taste. Gently pipe the goat cheese into each blossoms, about two teaspoons, twist tops to close. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Prepare Tempura batter, add salt & cayenne pepper.
Heat 1 inch oil in heavy skillet. Hold the squash blossoms by the stem& dip into the batter, carefully place the blossom in the oil& fry until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes. Drain on paper towel & sprinkle with salt.
Place the delightful blossoms onto the roasted tomato sauce & enjoy!
Jennifer Knoll is a lifelong resident of Paso Robles. Growing up in the wine
business and being surrounded by farmers she developed her serious fetish for
wine and food. She is also the Assitant Tasting Room Manager at Tablas Creek Vineyard.