Easy Holiday Appetizers & a Sparkler from South Africa #WinePW

Wine Pairing Weekend Celebrates the Holidays
Our theme this month is “Sparkling Wine and Festive Holiday Dishes”. Scroll further down in this post for lots of great ideas from our group.  If you see this on Saturday morning Dec. 12, please join us on Twitter at #WinePW for a lively discussion!

Welcome, we're so glad to see you! Care for a bit of bubbly?

Welcome, we’re so glad to see you! Care for a bit of bubbly?

One of the best lessons we learned early on was to always keep a bottle of chilled sparkling wine in the fridge.  Anytime someone stops by, pop the bubbly, they feel welcome and a special occasion is born.  Even if it’s just Tuesday afternoon.

Truffle oil is your appetizer secret weapon. Great power must be used with care!

Truffle oil is your appetizer secret weapon. Great power must be used with care!

This is especially true during the holidays, when you’ll want to have appetizers to serve with that sparkling wine on short notice. Today I’m highlighting a Methode Cap Classique (Champagne method) Sparkling wine from South Africa with a couple of easy & quick appetizers. Share with friends, or enjoy these at home with a loved one, no guests required!

Festive treats for your friends, or just you!

Festive treats for your friends, or just you!

Great Pairings with Sparkling Wines
A great paradox of pairing with wines is the subject of sparkling wines. Elegant, snooty even, we think of things like caviar, raw oysters. Funny thing, some of the best pairings are salty, fried snacks. Potato chips? Yes! Fried chicken? Bring it on! My suggestions today include Frico, a treat from the Friuli region of Italy (fried salty Montasio cheese, potatoes & onions!) and cheesy stuffed mushrooms, washed down delightfully with a nice dry sparkling wine from South Africa.

Pongrácz Winery makes their Methode Cap Classique Brut from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

Pongracz Winery makes their Methode Cap Classique Brut from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

Pongrácz Brut Methode Cap Classique (South Africa) ($18 at South Lyndale Liquors)
Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) is the name used in South Africa for sparkling wines made by the champagne method. Although other grapes can be used, many South African wineries use the traditional champagne grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier.

Eye: Pretty, creamy warm yellow. Nice mousse, fine with good persistence.
Nose: A touch yeasty, super nice. Ripe pears and apples, a bit stony. This is one of the most “Champagne-like” noses I’ve encountered in a sub $20 sparkling wine.
Mouth: Nice brut balance.  A touch of sweetness so it isn’t too severe. Bubbles are nice and fine. Nice length in the finish.

This is new favorite sub-$20 sparkling wine at our house! Great with boursin stuffed mushrooms and potato onion frico.

From the winery:
The Inspiration An elegant and distinctive Méthode Cap Classique, Pongrácz is inspired by a nobleman and refugee from the Hungarian uprising, Desiderius Pongrácz, whose sheer genius and vision revitalised viticulture in the Cape. Composed in the classic French tradition of two noble varieties, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, this magnificent Cap Classique evokes an air of style and sophistication, a tribute to the genius to whom we owe its name.

Crunchy frico and rich, creamy cheese stuffed mushrooms

Crunchy frico and rich, creamy cheese stuffed mushrooms

Great Sparkling Pairings from our Wine Pairing Weekend Group

Culinary Adventures with Camilla  will be “Celebrating with Lemon-Poached Scallops with Caviar Limes and Champagne”

A Day in the Life on the Farm is excited to share “An Assortment of Appetizers with a California Champagne”

Curious Cuisiniere  has paired “Italian Panettone and Sparkling Wine”

Confessions of a Culinary Diva is preparing to have “Champagne & Caviar Dreams”

Pull That Cork  is “Celebrating In Style with Giulio Ferrari for #winePW”

ENOFYLZ Wine Blog is planning “A 3-Course Sparkling Wine Dinner with Iron Horse Classic Vintage Brut”

Grape Experiences is excited for the holidays with “Le Medaillon Brut NV and Normandy Fondue”

Dracaena Wines is ready to talk about “Why We Love Sparkling (And You Should, Too!)”

WinePassItaly will be enjoying “Asti Spumante with Hazelnut and Torrone Semifreddo for #WinePW”

Cooking Chat Food is planning “Kale Pesto Crostini Wine Pairing That Sparkles”

Rockin’ Red Blog is sharing “A Sparkling Good Wine and Food Pairing”

Austrian Wine USA is sharing “Austria’s Sekt with Smoked Char Cucumber Canapes

Roero Consorzio gives us “Sparkling Wines: Roero Arneis Spumante DOCG

sparkling_winePW_frico_shrooms_pongracz 20151206 92

Stuffed Mushrooms with a Hint of Truffle

Truffle oil is your secret weapon in this delicious appetizer.  The key is to use it sparingly, so your guests would have a hard time identifying it, yet an intoxicating aroma is clearly present.

Ingredients

  • 1 8 oz. package of baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 tub of soft, spreadable cheese with herbs. We like Rondele from the grocery store.
  • Truffle oil (white truffle is preferred, but black truffle works just fine)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375° F
  • Brush the mushrooms lightly, then break the stalk off.  Baby Bella mushroom stalks break easily.
  • Place two drops of truffle oil in each mushroom.  Be careful to not overdo it, when there’s too much, the truffle aroma can be overwhelming
  • Spread a generous spoonful of cheese into the cavity of each mushroom
  • Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, I like to let the top of the cheese brown slightly
  • Serve immediately with a nice glass of sparkling wine!

sparkling_winePW_frico_shrooms_pongracz 20151206 91

 

Comments
22 Responses to “Easy Holiday Appetizers & a Sparkler from South Africa #WinePW”
  1. TheWiningHour says:

    Never had #Sparkling from South Africa. Sounds fabulous!

  2. Diana says:

    As always, great pictures. I’d be very interested in finding a sparkling wine from South Africa…I wonder where one can be found in Piemonte? The mushrooms looks especially delicious!

  3. I’ve never had sparkling from South Africa – on the hunt now!

    Great pairings. I tried making Frico for ItalianFWT but it didn’t quite turn out right, thinking it was because I couldn’t locate Montasio cheese. Yours looks fabulous as do the mushrooms! Cheers!

  4. I am so intrigued now for SA Sparkling! I noticed how this month everyone’s pairings were spot on. It goes to show the flexibility of Sparkling wine! I agree, everyone should always have bottle in the fridge.

    • Thanks, Lori! Having one in the fridge is so useful. Our next door neighbor called today asking if we had any sparkling wine (no Sunday sales in MN). They were going to a last minute celebration. Not only did we have one, it was cold and ready to go. Boom! Better than borrowing a cup of sugar.

  5. I tried the Graham Beck Brut and Rosé a couple of years ago and found them to be quite nice. They were definitely they were definitely in my sub $20 sparkling wine faves. Will have to see if I can find this one. Will have to try you mushroom app! Great post!

  6. I am still lovin the frico! I have never had sparkling wine from South Africa. I must change that!

  7. Looks and sounds delicious. Beautiful post. Love MCC.

  8. This sounds like such a wonderful pairing! As always, your pictures are incredible!

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