We’ve celebrated the Kentucky Derby, Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, various graduation ceremonies—and now Memorial Day will wrap up this eventful month! We’d like to share some recipes and pairings that are fantastic for this popular BBQ holiday, as well as any other occasion you may have this summer where a great recipe and delicious wine to pair it with comes in handy.

Whether you are hosting the get-together or bringing a dish to one, these creations are easy to prepare, full of fresh seasonal flavors and each paired with a wine that complements the dish. Note: If you don’t have the exact Montesquieu wine, pair with a similar one taking into consideration varietal, region, style, etc.

No matter how you celebrate we at Montesquieu Winery wish you all a very Happy Memorial Day!

Starting Things Off To begin with we have the ever-popular and super-easy Caprese salad. For a fun summer twist this recipe is served on petite skewers, which make for a clever presentation and the skewers are easy to manage for casual al fresco dining.

A delicious pairing with this salad is the 2008 Amura Leyda Valley Sauvignon Blanc. This cool-climate Chilean charmer has just the right vibrant acidity with nectarine, citrus and pomelo to lift the flavors around the delicate cheese. An alternative would be other cool-climate Sauvignon Blanc such as Sancerre.

Caprese Salad Skewers photo by Taste of Home

Caprese Salad Skewers photo by Taste of Home

Caprese Salad Kabobs Recipe by Christine Mitchell, yields 12 kabobs

24 grape tomatoes
12 cherry-size fresh mozzarella cheese balls
24 fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
premium salt flakes like Maldon or Fleur de Sel
freshly ground black pepper

On each of 12 wooden appetizer skewers, alternately thread two tomatoes, one cheese ball and two basil leaves; place on a serving plate.

In a small bowl, whisk the oil and vinegar; drizzle over kabobs just before serving. Sprinkle with salt flakes and freshly ground pepper.

Who can resist fresh guacamole and chips? The following recipe includes fresh mango for a burst of flavor and sweetness in contrast to the richness of the avocado and the heat of the serrano and garlic. Serve with the 2009 Hammel Willamette Valley Chardonnay.

The juicy and creamy flavors with pear and nectarine are framed by freshness and minerality that bring out all the flavors in the guacamole, never overpowering like a heavily oaked Chardonnay would. An alternative would be another domestic, unoaked Chardonnay that is fruit-forward.

Mango Guacamole photo from MarthaStewart.com

Mango Guacamole

Mango Guacamole Recipe by Martha Stewart, makes 3 cups

2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, (about 2 limes)
1 serrano chile, minced (ribs and seeds removed for less heat, if desired)
2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces (below)
coarse salt

To prepare mango: Hold mango with a paper towel (to avoid slippage). Using a vegetable peeler, remove skin and discard.

With a knife, slice off wide, flat part of fruit on both sides of pit. Trim flesh from pit (discard pit).

Place parts cut side down; slice in half horizontally. Cut crosswise into thin strips; cut strips lengthwise into pieces.

To make guacamole: In a medium bowl, combine avocados, mango, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, and serrano chile; season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Fold gently, leaving texture chunky. Serve with tortilla chips of your choice.

Sidekicks It wouldn’t seem like Memorial Day without corn on the cob! We chose the following recipe, which is a few more steps than usual, for its originality and addictive flavors incorporating coconut milk and brown sugar. The 2009 Symmetria—a Viognier, Marsanne and Roussane blend from California—with its exotic notes of melon, ginger and lemongrass is a mesmerizing pairing.

You won’t want this match just once, you’ll pine for it again and again! Whites with the same varietals from the Southern Rhone, or Australia would work as well.

Cambodian Corn

Cambodian Grilled Corn Featured in the Washington Post, from Steven Raichlen’s cookbook, Planet Barbecue.

3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
3 tablespoons palm sugar or light brown sugar, or to taste
1 2-inch piece of pandanus leaf or bay leaf (see headnote)
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ears sweet corn (in the husk)

Combine the coconut milk, sugar, pandanus or bay leaf and salt in a small saucepan over low heat. Gently cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Prepare the grill for 3 heat zones. If using a gas grill, preheat to high (650 degrees). If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal or wood briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute most of them on one side of the cooking area. For a direct-heat hot fire, you should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for about 1 or 2 seconds. Spread a sparser layer of coals in the center, and leave the far side free of coals. Place a double layer of aluminum foil on the grate above the area with no coals. Have ready a spray water bottle for taming any flames. Brush and oil the grill grate.

Pull the husks back from the corn, leaving them attached to the stem ends; discard any corn silk. Tie back the husks with kitchen twine and use scissors to trim a few inches off the husks. Place the ears on the grate so that their husks lay on the foil, to keep them from burning. Grill the corn for 2 to 3 minutes per side, turning with tongs, until nicely browned on all sides (8 to 12 minutes total). Start basting the corn with the coconut milk mixture after a few minutes and baste several times during grilling. If the corn cooks quickly, move it to the indirect-heat or foil-lined side of the grate.

Baste the corn one final time, then transfer to a platter or plates, and serve warm.

For a change from potato salad, we recommend this tasty sweet potato salad with pineapple, pecans and red bell pepper. A spectacular combo with ribs and other BBQ fare, pair with the 2006 Onas Viognier or other Viognier from South America or Australia with a fruit-driven style.

Sweet Potato Salad photo

Sweet Potato Salad

Sweet Potato Salad Created by Art Smith, serves 8

4 sweet potatoes (for more flavor choose orange-fleshed jewel or Louisiana yams)
1/4 cup mayonnaise , regular or reduced-fat
4 ribs celery , cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 small red bell pepper , seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 cup diced (1/2-inch) ripe fresh pineapple
2 scallions , white and green parts, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup (2 ounces) coarsely chopped pecans , toasted
chopped fresh chives , for garnish

Wrap the individual potatoes in foil. Bake in a pre-heated 400°F oven for 1 hour, until tender. Cool until easy to handle. Peel, then cut into 3/4-inch chunks.

In a large bowl, mix the mayonnaise and mustard. Add the yams, celery, red pepper, pineapple, and scallions and toss gently, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerated until chilled, about 1 hour. (The salad can be made 1 day ahead, covered, and refrigerated. Adjust the seasonings before serving.)

Just before serving, fold in the pecans and sprinkle with the chives. Serve chilled.

Main Event These sliders with chipotle mayonnaise are mouthwatering, and the rib recipe is fantastic, made with Zinfandel and cherries. These main dishes will be fantastic with our 2009 Lyle Napa Valley Zinfandel, which boasts rich blackberry jam and nuances of worn leather and black pepper through a rich and velvety texture.

Also fantastic for barbecued dishes is the 2010 Xeiro de Xisto Vinha da Pedra, with the Tempranillo base this juicy and glossy gem is reminiscent of the most statuesque Australian reds.

Sliders with Chipotle Mayo

Sliders with Chipotle Mayonnaise Recipe by Bobby Flay, serves 6-8

Chipotle Mayonnaise:
1 cup mayonnaise
2 chipotles in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon adobo sauce
1/2 lime, juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground chuck, 80/20
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cheese slices, your choice
Mini burger buns

Chipotle Mayonnaise:
Add all the ingredients to a food processor and puree. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Preheat grill over medium-high heat.

Form the meat into 2 to 3-ounce portions, packed tightly. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the sliders on the grill. Wait until they are nice and crusty on the first side, about 4 to 5 minutes and then flip and cook another 4 minutes. When the sliders are about done, top with desired cheese and close the grill, allowing the cheese to melt.

Place the slider on mini burger buns and top with chipotle mayonnaise and any other desired toppings such as red onions, pickles, tomatoes and lettuce.

Photo from YumSugar.com

Baby Back Ribs With Cherry-Zinfandel Barbecue Sauce

Spice-Rubbed Baby Back Ribs With Cherry-Zinfandel Barbecue Sauce From the Sunset Cookbook, serves 8

Cherry-Zinfandel Barbecue Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 1/2 cups dry red Zinfandel
1 cup ketchup
2/3 cup dried tart cherries
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons Worcestershire
3 tablespoons lightly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon anise seeds
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
about 3 tbsp. lemon juice

1/4 cup paprika
3 tablespoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
3 racks baby back ribs (7 to 8 lbs. total)

Pour olive oil into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until limp, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add Zinfandel, ketchup, cherries, vinegar, Worcestershire, brown sugar, mustard, ginger, black pepper, anise seeds, and cayenne. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid begins to thicken slightly, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Pour mixture into a blender and add 2 tbsp. lemon juice; whirl until very smooth. Taste and add more lemon juice if desired. Use warm or at room temperature.

In a small bowl, mix paprika, thyme, salt, and pepper. Rinse ribs and pat dry. Rub herb mixture over both sides of each rack, pressing so it sticks. Wrap each rack in heavy-duty foil.

Prepare grill for indirect heat: If using charcoal, ignite 60 briquets in a chimney starter (or mounded directly on the firegrate). When they’re dotted with gray ash, in 15 to 20 minutes, push equal amounts to opposite sides of grate. Add 3 more briquets to each mound now and every 30 minutes while cooking. Set a drip pan on grate between mounds, then set cooking grate in place. If using gas, turn all burners to high, close lid, and heat for 10 minutes. Then turn center burner(s) off so heat is at edges of grill, not under cooking area; turn outside burners to medium.

Lay foil-wrapped ribs on grill, convex (meaty) side up, not directly over heat; overlap slightly if necessary. Cover and cook until tender when pierced (through foil), 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
Carefully remove foil from ribs. Brush tops (meaty side) lightly with cherry-Zinfandel barbecue sauce, turn over, and cook until sauce is browned, about 10 minutes.

Brush concave (bone) sides, turn again, and cook until browned on that side, about 10 minutes longer.

Transfer ribs to a board and cut between bones into individual ribs. Season to taste with salt and serve with remaining barbecue sauce.

Grand Finale We have chosen two especially easy desserts: fresh berries with whipped cream and fruit popsicles with Prosecco. Both of these desserts are fantastic with the Castello di Roncade Prosecco which features vibrant peach and nectarine flavors and a lively, elegant style. A nice alternative to Prosecco would be Cava from Spain.

Castello di Roncade Prosecco

Festive Fruit Cups

Red, White and Blue Fruit Cups From the Food Network By Rachel Ray, serves 4

1 pint fresh strawberries
1 pint fresh blueberries
1 pint fresh blackberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 pint heavy whipping cream

Slice strawberries and combine in a bowl with blue and/or blackberries. Sprinkle berries with two teaspoons sugar. Whip cream until soft peaks form and sweeten with remaining sugar. Serve berries in small cups with generous spoonfuls of fresh whipped cream.

Popsicles are the quintessential summer treat. We came across the idea to place a selection in wine glasses and pour Prosecco over them and serve. Voila! The presentation is colorful and fun, and great for BBQs, parties and such. No plates and cutlery needed, you can mingle and sip and enjoy the popsicle as it merges with the Prosecco. Fruit based are the best match—you can make your own or purchase your favortite gourmet pop.

Popsicles with Prosecco

Watermelon Pops with Prosecco Adapted from iluv2cook on AllRecipes.com

2 ½ cups seeded watermelon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ cup white sugar
½ cup fresh raspberries

Place the watermelon, lemon juice, sugar, and raspberries into a blender, and blend on high speed until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Pour the mixture into ice pop molds, and insert sticks or handles. Freeze until firm, several hours or overnight. When ready to serve, place the pops tops down into large wine glasses with the sticks or handles ready to grab. Carefully pour Prosecco over the popsicles to fill the glasses ¾ full. Serve immediately.

Castello di Roncade Prosecco


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