I received four bottles of wine to pair with foods and share my opinions with you. Two bottles of Merlot from J Lohr, a Napa Valley Merlot from Duckhorn and a Sonoma County Merlot from Decoy. We are not normally Merlot drinkers so #MerlotMe is aimed at those like us, red wine drinkers that walk right past the Merlot and head for the Cabernet for heavy meals or the Pinot Noir for lighter meals. Let me tell you, having #MerlotMe to bring attention to this neglected wine, worked perfectly on us.
The first bottle we opened and tasted was the J Lohr. We are very familiar with J Lohr and often buy their Cabernet Sauvignon which we always enjoy.
J Lohr sent us a fact sheet along with the wines giving more information about Merlot Wine that I found very interesting. Did you know that Merlot is the second leading variety grown in California? Or that it is one of the primary grapes used in Bordeaux wine?
Also included on this fact sheet were some food pairing ideas that included Cheese Tortellini or Herb Roasted Chicken. Now normally if I were going to serve a red with pasta, I would choose a Chianti and I normally serve Chardonnay or another white wine with chicken. I was intrigued with the thought of serving Merlot with chicken as Frank really prefers a red wine over a white wine and I knew that he would be happy if we found a red wine pairing that worked.
The next pairing we tried was the Duckhorn Merlot that I served up along side a Filet Mignon with a Chocolate Port Sauce. The Duckhorn Merlot was very smooth and heavier than I expect when drinking a Merlot. This may well become one of my new favorite wines. I liked it just as well as some Cabs and better than many Cabs. I cannot express enough how pleased I was to be given an opportunity to try this wine from a winery of which I was unfamiliar. I am anxious to try their other wines. If they are all to the same standard as this bottle, I may have found a new favorite. You can find my recipe for this steak here. It was a perfect Wine and Food pairing and is going down as one of the best meals we have enjoyed this year.
The final pairing was a Decoy Merlot from Sonoma. I love Sonoma wines. My brother lives not too far from this area and I have spent many an enjoyable day touring the wineries and tasting all the great wines they have to offer. I served this wine up with a Cheese Ravioli Lasagna that I am sharing with you today as well.
This Decoy Merlot paired very nicely with the pasta that I served up with it. This was a new pasta recipe for me. I got the idea for this dish from Cuisine at Home but I changed it up quite a bit to make it my own. I used my homemade marinara sauce, ricotta cheese instead of cottage cheese, oregano paste instead of dried, and fresh Swiss Chard instead of frozen spinach. I also added mushrooms and onion to the dish.
It was delicious and made for a beautiful presentation which was one idea that I did keep from the original recipe. You should really try this easy peasy and delicious recipe. It is perfect for a busy weeknight meal. When you do make it, please reach for a bottle of Merlot to enjoy with it. You won't be sorry, I promise.
inspired by Cuisine at Home
1/2 (1 qt) jar of Marinara Sauce, store bought or your favorite recipe
1 T. olive oil
1/2 of a small onion, diced
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
leaves from one bunch Swiss Chard, roughly chopped
3/4 c. ricotta cheese
3/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg, beaten
2 t. oregano paste or 1 t. dried oregano
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1 (12 oz) pkg fresh, refrigerated cheese ravioli
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over med high heat. Add the onions and mushrooms, season with salt and pepper. Cook and stir until onions are softened and translucent. Add the chard leaves and cook until wilted. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor and pulse 3 or 4 times, until coarsely chopped.
Spray 4 (10 oz) ramekins with cooking spray and place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
Combine ricotta, mozzarella, egg, oregano, nutmeg and chard mixture in a large bowl. Put a layer of sauce into each of the ramekins. Place 3 ravioli on top of the sauce. Layer 1/4 of the cheese mixture on top of the ravioli. Top with remaining ravioli and cover completely with sauce. Spray 4 pieces of aluminum foil with cooking spray and tightly wrap each ramekin. Place the ramekins on the baking sheet into a preheated 375* oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit, covered for 15 minutes. Turn each ramekin onto a plate and top with freshly shredded or grated Parmesan cheese. Print Recipe
Let's see what the others thought of the Merlot wines they were given to try
- Martin at Enofylz with An Exploration Of Merlot's Food Pairing Versatility With Ethnic Fare
- Lori at Dracaena Wines with #MerlotMe and #WinePW- A Perfect Pair[ing]
- Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla with Fungi, Fun Guy, & Two Napa Valley Merlots
- Christy at Confessions of a Culinary Diva with Return to the Magic of Merlot
- Cindy at Grape Experiences with #MerlotMe with Duckhorn and J.Lohr paired with Duck Breasts Provençale
- Erin at Platings and Pairings with Gnocchi with Frizzled Prosciutto and Blue Cheese
- Sarah at Curious Cuisiniere with Beef Osso Buco and an Exploration of Merlot Wine
- Jennifer at VinoTravels with Merlot pairings with Polenta and Sausage
- David at Cooking Chat #MerlotMe Wine & Roasted Rosemary Pork Chops
- Jade at Tasting Pour with Lamb and Acorn Squash Autumn Skillet
- Michelle at Rockin Red Blog with Celebrating #MerlotMe with #WinePW
- Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm with A Triple Food and Merlot Tasting
- Jeff at foodwineclick with #MerlotMe Confession with Duckhorn and Pork Chops