’Tis the Season

Umpqua Valley wines pair with seasonal bounty for a fresh, Festive Feast

By Nancy Rodriguez

The colors in the nearby Umpqua Valley vineyards may have faded and the days turned colder, but a trip to my local farmers market brings color and warmth back to life with an abundance of ingredients. Rows of root vegetables display their muted earthtones next to vibrant shades of purple eggplant along with pomegranates, from rose to ruby.  Showcase your favorite seasonal produce with local wine to create a truly fresh and festive meal.


Balsamic-Honey Glazed Figs with Gorgonzola and Hazelnut Pizzetta

Serves 6
12 Black Mission figs, halved
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
8 ounces Gorgonzola
8 ounces shelled hazelnuts, toasted, finely chopped
12 ounces pizza dough, formed into six individual rounds

1.Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Combine butter, vinegar and honey in saucepan. Simmer for 5 minutes; reduce until slightly thickened.
3. Place figs in baking dish, cut-side up; drizzle with balsamic-honey syrup. Roast in oven for 10 minutes.
4. Brush pizzetta rounds with olive oil; top with Gorgonzola and figs.
5. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until pizzetta rounds are lightly browned.
6. Garnish with additional cheese and finely chopped hazelnuts.

Anindor 2007 Gewürztraminer
The wine plays with the layers of succulent fruit laced with honey, the toastiness of the hazelnuts and the richness of the cheese, bringing it all together with a crisp finish.


Roasted Leek Tart with Caramelized Fennel and Goat Cheese

Serves 6
2 leeks, thinly sliced (white and pale green parts only)
4 fennel bulbs, cut in quarters
8 ounces goat cheese
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
2 tablespoons Italian leaf parsley, finely chopped
* olive oil
* freshly ground black pepper
* salt

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Sauté leeks in sauté pan with olive oil until translucent. Set aside.
3. Place fennel in oiled baking dish, brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 375°F until fork tender and golden brown.
4. Form pastry into tart pan. Dot with goat cheese and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley. Spoon leeks over cheese. Arrange fennel over leeks.
5. Bake at 375°F for 20 to 25 minutes. Garnish with additional parsley.

Girardet 2012 Chardonnay
With its pale, golden straw color, this Chardonnay glows within the glass, while lemongrass lingers on the palate and leads to a light mineral finish.


Herb-Crusted Leg of Lamb with Tuscan Grape Bread

Serves 6
¼ cup Dijon mustard
½ cup dry red wine (Tempranillo)
3 tablespoons garlic, finely minced
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup fresh mint, finely chopped
2 tablespoons rosemary, finely chopped
2 tablespoons thyme, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 leg of lamb
2 cups onions, roughly chopped
1 cup carrots, roughly chopped
1 cup celery, roughly chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Whisk together mustard, wine and garlic. Slowly drizzle in olive oil to form emulsion. Add herbs, salt and pepper.
3. Rub mixture over lamb, cover and marinate for up to 8 hours.
4. Place lamb in roasting pan on bed of onions, carrots and celery (this mix of vegetables is also known as a mirepoix). Roast in oven until lamb reaches an internal temperature of 140°F.
5. Allow to rest 15 minutes before carving.

¼ cup olive oil
1 sprig rosemary
2 pounds black grapes
3½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cake fresh yeast (also known as wet, fresh or compressed yeast)
½ cup sugar
* honey

1. Infuse oil with rosemary; set aside.
2. Dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water. In large bowl, add flour to yeast mixture. Add rosemary oil and 4 tablespoons sugar.
3. Knead dough until smooth. Place in greased bowl, cover and let rise until double.
4. Preheat oven to 350°F.
5. Divide dough in half; roll both halves out into thin rectangle. Place one half on parchment-lined cookie sheet. Top with one half of the grapes. Sprinkle with sugar and drizzle with oil. Cover with remaining dough. Seal edges. Cover top with remaining grapes. Repeat with sprinkle of sugar and drizzle of olive oil.
6. Bake until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve with leg of lamb.

Triple Oak Vineyard 2012 Tempranillo
The herbaceousness of the lamb speaks to the Tempranillo with its dark fruit and soft tannins. Note: Tuscan Grape Bread was served in the time of the Etruscans to celebrate Vendemmia, the harvest of the grapes. Incorporated into the baking of the bread are roasted grapes so the fruit is revealed when the bread is broken.


Apple-Pear Crostata with Cinnamon-Spiced Caramel Sauce

Serves 6
1½ cups all-purpose flour
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into ½-inch pieces
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons ice water

1. Mix together flour, sugar, salt. Add in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water until moist ball forms.
2. Wrap in plastic, chill for one hour.

3 apples, cored and thinly sliced
3 pears, cored and thinly sliced
½ cup white sugar
1½ teaspoons cinnamon (divided)
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Combine apples and pears in bowl with lemon juice, white sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Set aside.

1½ cups white sugar
1/3 cup water
1¼ cups heavy cream
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Mix water and sugar in saucepan. Cook over low heat, 5 to 10 minutes, until sugar dissolves. Do not stir.
2. Increase heat to medium; boil uncovered, until sugar turns light brown, approximately 5 to 7 minutes.
3. Turn off heat and slowly add cream, vanilla and cinnamon. Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until sauce is smooth. Pour into serving dish and allow to cool. Sauce will thicken.

½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 whole egg
1 teaspoon milk (or cream) or water
* white sugar, for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Roll out pastry dough on sheet of parchment paper dusted with flour. Cut an 11-inch round. Transfer dough on parchment to a baking sheet.
3. Sprinkle pastry with brown sugar and cinnamon. Spoon fruit mixture onto center or arrange in a concentric circle on the pastry; loosely pleat edges.
4. Whisk egg and milk; brush on pastry. Sprinkle with sugar.
5. Bake 40 minutes, or until crust is golden and tender. Cool on rack. Serve with caramel sauce.

Glaser 2012 Estate Muscat
The dessert’s hint of spice brings us back to the first course with an homage to the Gewürz with the Glaser Muscat. This wine opens with a light waft of honeysuckle, bathing the pears and apples with its scent.

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