Top 3 Summer Food and Wine Pairings
Memorial Day weekend, the official kickoff to summer, is a weekend full of family and friends, cookouts, relaxing, and of course remembering those who gave their lives serving our country. In the office here at Parallel 44, we’ve been talking about our plans for the weekend, which wines would go best with our favorite Memorial Day foods, and what wines to bring to our family/friend gatherings. After some talk we’ve come up with our top Red, White, & Rosé Wines and their Memorial Day Cookout Food Match.
Frozen Tundra Red
Frozen Tundra Red is one of our favorites here at Parallel 44. It is an easy to drink red that offers complexity and balance, without overbearing tannins. Frozen Tundra Red is deep, medium bodied, semi-sweet red that we like to refer to as an everyday drinking red that can be enjoyed with everyday foods. Sine no Memorial Day cookout is complete without them, we had to make our food of choice for Frozen Tundra Red hamburgers. See below for a marinated burger recipe.
Marinated Burgers – Servings: 6
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon dried mustard
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt (your favorite steak seasoning)
- lots of cracked black pepper
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
For the burgers:
- 2¼ pounds ground chuck (80% to 20% fat ratio)
- 6 buns, buttered and toasted
- Optional toppings:
- cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion, mayonnaise, ketchup, etc.
- Divide the ground chuck into 6 equal portions, 6 ounces each. Form into 5-inch wide patties with a deep indentation in the middle. Place in a large shallow, glass baking pan.
- Mix all marinade ingredients together in a small bowl and pour over the burger patties.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or longer if desired, turning at least once.
- Clean the grill grates with a wire brush.
- Heat gas grill to 325-350 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, heat on high until hot, then reduce the heat to medium before adding the burgers. Wet a paper towel with vegetable oil and using tongs, oil the grilling surface thoroughly.
- Cook the burgers until they are cooked through, about 7 minutes on each side.
- Allow the hamburgers to rest 5 minutes before serving.
Frozen Tundra White
The race for our favorite white wine was close, but Frozen Tundra White was our white wine of choice. This wine, a nice middle of the road semi-sweet wine that isn’t overly dry or sweet, is a crowd pleaser that appeals to both dry or sweet drinkers. With its’ deliciously fruity aromatics, tropical fruit flavors, and refreshing finish make this is the prefect wine to pair with a variety of dishes. Our dish of choice for Frozen Tundra White is Grilled Chicken Bruschetta. See below for recipe.
Grilled Chicken Bruschetta – Servings: 4
- 3 medium vine ripe tomatoes
- 2 small cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1 tbsp extra virgin oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- 3 oz part skim mozzarella, diced
- 1.25 lbs (8 thin sliced) chicken cutlets
- Combine onion, olive oil, balsamic, 1/4 tsp kosher salt and pepper. Set aside a few minutes.
- Chop tomatoes and place in a large bowl. Combine with garlic, basil, onion-balsamic combo and additional 1/8 tsp salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and let it sit at least 10 minutes or as long as overnight. Toss in the cheese when ready to serve.
- Season chicken with salt and fresh pepper. Preheat the grill to medium-high, clean and oil the grates to prevent sticking. Grill the chicken 2 minutes on each side, or until cooked though.
- Set aside on a platter and top with bruschetta and serve with a side of toasted bread.
Frozen Tundra Original
Keeping with our theme, we couldn’t help but choose Frozen Tundra Original for our top rosé wine. This brightly hued, almost pink wine with a fruity quality on the front end and a crisp finish on the back end is another crowd pleaser that is sure to be a hit with anyone who tries it. With its sweet and tart expressions this wine, like Frozen Tundra Red, will pair well with a variety of everyday food. Our dish of choice for Frozen Tundra Original is Grilled Ham with Cheesy Potatoes. See below for Cheesy Potatoes Recipe.
Cheesy Potatoes – Servings: 10 -12 servings
- 2 lbs. frozen hash browns, thawed
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted and divided
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup chopped onion or green onion (Jane Ann substituted dried minced onion)
- 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of chicken soup
- 1 pint (2 cups) sour cream (regular or light)
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 cups crushed corn flakes
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or spray a 9×13″ pan or baking dish; set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine thawed hash browns with 1/2 cup of the melted butter, pepper, salt, and chopped onion, blending well.
- Add in the soup and sour cream, then the cheddar cheese, mixing everything well. Spread mixture evenly into a 9×13″ baking dish.
- Mix remaining 1/4 cup melted butter and the crushed corn flakes together and sprinkle over top of casserole.
- Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, for 50 to 60 minutes. Serve hot.
Stay Healthy this Summer with Wine
Summertime offers opportunity to get outside, explore the outdoors, enjoy lakeside and beachfront days, and stay active. A major factor in determining whether or not all this will happen is health. Can a moderate amount of wine help you stay healthy and active this summer? Absolutely.
According to ancient Egyptian Papyri and Sumerian tablets, wine played a medicinal role in peoples’ lifestyles, making it the world’s oldest documented human-made medicine. Other historical applications include using as a safe alternative to water, an antiseptic for treating wounds, a digestive aid, and as a cure for lethargy, diarrhea, and pain from child birth. The French Paradox is a study unveiling the relationship between high fat and dairy diets of French people and the low rate of cardiovascular disease among them. While Americans had similar dietary routines, they saw increased heart disease, clarifying the notion that wine is a large risk-reducing factor.
The list of beneficial effects on the human body cover elements such as bones, cancer, cardiovascular system, dementia and mental functions, diabetes, digestion and headaches. The compound resveratrol is found in the skins of wine grapes and theoretically serves as an antioxidant. According to a 2001 Mortenson et al. study, the average IQ difference between wine and beer drinkers is 18 points and found wine drinkers to perform at optimal levels, while beer drinkers did not.
The American Heart Association defines moderate consumption as one to two four-ounce glasses a day and according to various reputable studies wine can promote longevity, reduce the risk for heart-attack, heart disease, type-2 diabetes, stroke, cataracts, colon cancer, and can slow brain decline. The psychological benefits of mood elevation come from social dynamic that one enjoys from the atmosphere wine provides.
So if you want the maximize your summer activity and increase your healthy lifestyle, consider throwing a couple bottles of wine in your cooler rather than a case of beer.
What Makes A Great Summer Wine?
We often say many of our white and rosé wines are great “summer wines.” Is this just a vague marketing ploy or is there some sense behind this allegation?
When we ask customers in the tasting room or our own staff what they think of as summer wines, we get the descriptors of light, sweet, fruit-forward, crisp and maybe tropical. The terms light and sweet established their place in wine language through years of tasting and testing. Light refers to alcohol content being below 12.5% and includes Riesling, Italian Prosecco and Vinho Verde. Sweet refers to the residual sugar level measured at 3% or greater and often include Moscatos and Port or Port-style wines.
As with so many of our varietals, these terms dilute the true expressions of Wisconsin-grown wines because the geography altercates those alcohol and residual sugar levels and offers unique smells and tastes incomparable to any Napa, Sonoma or European wine.
So we end up creating or referencing a unique language including terms such as fruit-forward, bright, crisp and even tropical. These are not solely based on the measure of elements from which a winemaker determines, but rather express what a geography provides.
Thus, whites and rosés provide the balance and uniqueness that go great with every midwest summer.
Quick and Easy Ways to Chill Wine
Whether you’re having the family over for some backyard fun, heading up north for a weekend at the lake house, or just spending an afternoon by the beach, here are a few quick and easy ways to chill your wine.
ADD SOME SALT: This requires a 5-pound bag of ice, about a gallon of water, 1/2 cup of salt and your favorite wine waiting to be chilled. We all know that adding water to your ice helps chill wine faster, when you add salt it reduces the freezing point of water and allows it to become colder without turning into ice. Wait about 20 minutes and chill out.
DAMP PAPER TOWEL: If you wrap your wine in several sheets of damp paper towel and place in the freezer, it will increase the rate of temperature drop significantly. Check wine after 15-20 minutes and be sure NOT TO FORGET about it. The expansion process places increased pressure on the cork and glass.
CHILLING ROD: This easy and safe 11″ stainless steel rod chill wine in minutes. Freeze for 90 minutes then insert into an opened bottle of wine. It has a rubber stopper top, is easy to store and can be hand washed. *Note: small amount of wine must be removed to allow room for rod.
FROZEN GRAPES: This flavor-saving method works great for individual glasses rather than bottles and avoids the watery dilution of ice cubes. Take 2-3 frozen grapes and place in wine glass stirring occasionally. The skin of the grapes keeps the water sealed, while chilling your wine.