Saturday, October 14, 2017

Celebrating the Harvest with Eggplant Lasagna and J Lohr #MerlotMe #WinePW

Each October we celebrate #Merlotme with our Wine Pairing Weekend group.  This event was started by California wineries after the movie, Sideways, disparaged Merlot wines causing  a decline in sales of this wonderful varietal that deserves much more respect than it gets.

The past two years, when celebrating this event, I have served three wine and food pairings in one post.  You can find my Triple Wine and Food pairing from 2015 here and my #Merlotme Trifecta from last year here.

This year I am changing things up a bit.  Today I am showcasing a bottle of J. Lohr Merlot.  I will be showcasing the other wines in upcoming posts so stay tuned.

I want to mention right here and right now that I was buying J. Lohr long before they ever sponsored any event in which I participated.  While I love having sponsors and getting free samples, I love my readers more.  I did not get any monetary compensation in this event by J. Lohr or any other sponsor.  My opinions, in this post, and in my entire blog are purely mine.

I am always, always, always excited to have J. Lohr sponsor our events.  Mainly because I love their wines and purchase them quite often.  I know that if I have J. Lohr available in my wine fridge, I can open it for guests or take it with me as a host gift, knowing that it is going to be wonderful.

Their vineyards and winery are located on Paso Robles, California, close to where my brother resides.  A visit to my family in California is not complete without a visit to at least one winery and Paso Robles, more often than not, is where we head.

J. Lohr sent a fact sheet along with their bottle of wine. This wine was harvested over a 2 week period beginning September 10, 2015.  It is fermented in stainless steel tanks and then matured over a 12 month period in barrels made of 22% new oak.  This wine is recommended to be opened upon release but has potential to improve over the next 5 years.

Frank and I enjoyed the wine on a Meatless Monday when I served up this cheesy, ooey, gooey eggplant lasagna.

I had been over Kim's and she gifted me several eggplants from her garden.  I knew, from past experience, that the eggplant/tomato combination has paired well with J. Lohr and I am smart enough not to tamper with success.

This pairing was no exception and did not disappoint.  I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that the eggplant, tomatoes and grapes are all harvested during the same time period.  

The wine was deep, dark and vibrant both in the glass and on the palate.  It complemented the earthy sweetness of the eggplant and tomatoes.  I think this wine would be great with pizza too.  

We enjoyed it well enough that we are hoping to pick up a case and open a bottle every 6 months to see if, in fact, it does improve with age. Stay tuned for that little experiment.

Eggplant Lasagna

2-3 small eggplants, ends cut off and thinly sliced
1 qt. Marinara, homemade or your favorite brand
6 oz. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1 c. ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 t. Italian herb seasoning
3 oz. parmesan cheese, shredded or grated

Whisk together the ricotta, egg and Italian herbs. Place a small amount of marinara in the bottom of an 8" square baking pan to cover.  Layer 1/3 of the eggplant slices onto the sauce, followed by 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, 1/3 of the Mozzarella and 1/3 of the Parmesan.  Repeat 3 times.

Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated 350* oven for 45-55 minutes, until eggplant is very tender.  Remove foil and place under the broiler for a few minutes until top is browned and bubbly.  Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing into quarters to serve.  Print Recipe

Let's join the rest of the #WinePW group as we celebrate #Merlotme


  1. What a delicious pairing! That eggplant lasagna looks wonderfully cheesy!

  2. I LOVE eggplant lasagna - can't wait to try this with a bottle of Merlot!

  3. I did similar pairing with our bottle of J. Lohr...and eggplant tomato sauce for pasta. Definitely a good match, your pairing sounds very good.

  4. I'm always appreciative of meatless dishes and in fact my kids do enjoy eggplant. And it looks so pretty waiting on the counter before making a meal.

    I have to say, J Lohr really does tasty just-right - your recommendation is sincere! Paso wines these days are delish and I've enjoyed their Monterey releases too.

    Great post - fall fun!

  5. Yum for the eggplant! And the wine, of course!

  6. This eggplant lasagna looks so delicious–the perfect meal to cozy up with this beautiful bottle of Merlot!

  7. Late on my shares this event. Sorry! The weekend-long robotics competition threw me off completely. I LOVE this pairing, but I'm a sucker for anything eggplant. I paired this wine with a hoisin-based dish and was pleasantly surprised. Cheers, Wendy.

    1. Life before blogging Cam...enjoy those boys before they are gone....of course, in the blink of an eye, you will get to be the nice grandma.


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