I think we missed the bar scene. I hear 30-somehting’s talking about hitting the bar and having a few drinks and I must admit that I didn’t every really experience that. I met my spouse in college, and neither one of us were really into a party kind of scene. I am generally kind of at a loss when it comes to talking about different kinds of drinks and alcohol. However, wine…..is a while different story.
I surprised my then girlfriend with a trip to Niagara Falls. I was a fly by the seat of my pants type of guy back then so I had no clue what to do once we arrived there, only that I was getting to spend some chilly nights with my sweetie. It was actually so cold that first night that the falls were frozen!! I mean all that water was frozen completely solid!!! I couldn’t believe it! We arrived in Niagara really late on the New York side and we drove around for a bit and basically just went back to the hotel and crashed.
However, the next day we decided that we wanted to go over the Canadian side of the falls and sight see some. As we were driving we began to see all these signs for different wineries and that we could take tours, and do free tastings! Well you guys know how I like to save a buck so I thought to myself, “Yes! Free Entertainment!!” I convinced Lacy to do it and so we made our first stop at a winery. Now remember I said I don’t know much about alcohol??? Well those folks up in Niagara wine country take their wine seriously and Lacy and I got a serious wine education! We learned about the sugar levels of wine, the alcohol content, the process, and all the different kinds of grapes grown to make different wines. We also learned about and got to see where they age the wine, the wine barrels, and the smell of the wine down in the cellars was down right intoxicating. We learned so much! So while Lacy and I may not be able to tell you the latest drink craze we can handle a convo about wine.
That was probably ten years ago. We have been married for 8 years now and haven’t gone back to Niagara, though we want to, but our love of wine has remained with us ever since. We don’t drink often but when we do, we grab a bottle of wine and share it after everyone is asleep and we talk and reminisce about our adventures. It’s our special time. One of the things we like to do is give different wines a try and give them a test run, and talk about their flavor profiles.
This week on the list is Black Box Wines. Now before you go knocking box wines, let me tell you that I firmly believe you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to get a good bottle of wine. I was shopping for some wine choices and I came across Black Box Wines Pinot Noir and I was intrigued. They have won over 50 Gold Medals for its quality.
I like the slim look of the box and knew if would fit nicely in my fridge, its equivalent to 4 bottles of wine. I stopped right there, if this was priced right and had a wonderful flavor profile, I could be a box convert. Also, it stays fresh in the fridge for 6 weeks! So we could have wine anytime we want for a month? I decided to pick up a box and bring it home. I was even more surprised that when I went to the register to pay!
I headed home and began to think about how we could integrate this wine into a recipe, being the food blogger that I am. But first I knew I would have to taste it. I walked and my wife said, oh we have a box tonight, huh? I laughed and she said well lets see if it’s a keeper. She got two glasses and we pushed in the perforated portion of the box and pulled out the spout. Now this was already easier than uncorking. We put the Wine into two wine glasses and gave it a minute to breathe so we could completely take in all the notes of the Pinot Noir. We smiled, and then picked up our glasses and sniffed, then sipped. Rolling around the wine in our mouths I could immediately tell it was a dry wine, with wonderfully robust fruit accents. I could tell this had been in an oak barrel and it had a fresh berry and cocoa smooth finish that stayed on the palate. In my head I immediately thought hmm a good cheese dish would taste wonderful with this.
I decided I would make Pinot Pastries. This is a delicious portable dish that you can have just you and the wife, or take it to a party. You can’t mess this up. Go to the store and in the freezer section purchase some puff pastry. Then head over to the cheese aisle, the gourmet one, and pick up some Brie cheese. If you don’t have any jelly or jam at home get some of that as well and you head home. I had strawberry jam in my fridge and that’s what I used. I allowed one sleeve of the puff pastry to thaw on my counter for 30 minutes, just until it could be unfolded. I then cut it length wise down the seams and I had three equal pieces. I then cut three squares out of each strip and I ended up with 9 square pieces. I sprayed a muffin tin and places one square in each space. I took about 2 oz of the Brie and cut 9 cubes out of the 2 oz. You could use more or less, just depends on your preference. Followed by a jam, pinot mixture and topped off with some chopped pecans. I put it in a 400-degree oven and after 20 minutes of baking I had delicious Pinot pastries that paired perfectly with the wine and really brought out the strawberry and berry flavors of the wine.
I definitely will be purchasing Black Box Wines again, and giving all of their flavors a try. Cabernet Sauvignon; Chardonnay; Merlot; Pinot Noir and the secondary varietal is Pinot Grigio.
One sleeve of Puff Pastry
2 tbs or more of Black Box Pinot Noir Wine
2 oz of Brie cheese
3 tbs or more of strawberry jam or your favorite jam
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Allow the Puff Pastry to thaw on the counter for 30 minutes, just until it can be unfolded. Don’t allow it to get really soft or you won’t be able to work with it. Cut along the seams lengthwise so that you have 3 even strips and then cut the strips into 3 sections each. You will end with 9 squares. Place one square in each muffin tin space. Take 2 oz of the Brie or more if you want and cut 9 squares and place on top of the puff pastry. Mix together the jam and desired about of wine and make a sauce. If you want a thicker consistency to the sauce add less wine, if you want a thinner consistency add more. Divide the sauce evenly between the 9 puff pastries coating each one in the sauce. Chop pecans and top with desired amount.