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Three Wine Country Dinners

L ooking for a way to enliven your dinner parties? Take your guests on a culinary tour through some of the most famous wine producing countries and regions in the world. Wine serves as a thread that weaves through a dinner, enhancing your dining experience. Australia, California and France are all known for their abundant selection of award winning wines that deserve the accompaniment of their superb food traditions. For a flavor of wine country at home, consider pairing regional wines with fresh ingredients that highlight the differences and enhance the enjoyment of a regionally inspired meal. Just remember to serve your wines at the proper temperature.

Three Wine Country Dinners - Holidays & Entertaining – Dartagnan.com

Australia
Australians are known for their relaxed nature, hospitality and their love of hearty food and bold wines. Australia produces some of the most delectable lamb in the world and lamb pairs perfectly with an Australian Shiraz. Here is a menu idea for an Australian inspired wine dinner.

Greet your guests with grilled prawns and a Western Australia Sauvignon Blanc perfectly chilled to around 48 to 52 degrees. Follow with Pan Seared Foie Gras over sautéed spinach served with a Margret River Unoaked Chardonnay at 46 to 50 degrees. For the main course, consider a Rack of Lamb with Mushroom Prune Butter served with a Margret River Shiraz at 57 to 61 degrees. Finish your Australian feast with milk chocolate and an Australian Port at 55 to 60 degrees.

California
From its humble start with the Franciscan monks who planted their first vineyards over 200 years ago, Californian wine has flourished in its quality, complexity, and scale. The state’s varied geography and spirit of innovation provides a perfect locale for the production of a wide variety of wines, making the California of today the world’s 4th largest wine producer and a major source for fruits and vegetables across the United States. California wines combined with fresh produce and artisanal cheeses can make for a dynamic meal.

To pair with California’s sunny outlook, start your wine dinner off with a champagne style California Brut, seasonal fruits and a tangy, fresh chèvre cheese. For the second course, Sautéed Foie Gras with Apple Julienne is a superb match with a Monterey Chardonnay served at 50 to 54 degrees. For the entrée, wow your guests with Pomegranate-Mint Marinated Quail with Figs, Arugula and Crispy Potato Croutons paired with a Paso Robles Zinfandel at 57 to 61 degrees. Wind down your wine dinner with a medium dark chocolate and a spicy North Coast Zinfandel at 57 to 61 degrees for the perfect end to a perfect meal.

France
France’s world reputation for rich, elegant food provides the ideal backdrop for its masterfully produced wines, also known for its warm subtlety and tradition. Great food and wine is as integral to French identity as the land in which it is cultivated. The French are experts of seasonal eating and drinking—something to keep in mind when planning your French wine dinner.

Start your French wine dinner with an amuse-bouche of Goat Cheese Crisps with Wild Mushroom Ragout and a flute of Champagne served at 45-54 degrees. Refresh the palatewith a Côtes de Rhône at 59 to 61 degrees served alongside an Arugula Salad with Shaved Parmesan Reggiano and slivers of Duck Prosciutto tossed in Lemony Vinaigrette. A fine Pièce de résistance is a Boneless Sautéed Squab on Green Lentils and Foie Gras with Lentil Sprouts Salad balanced with a traditional Burgundy Pinot Noir chilled to around 61 to 63 degrees. A rich, dark, French chocolate paired with Banyuls served at 48 to 57 degrees will have your guests saying ooh la la!

Chocolate provides the perfect finish to any wine dinner. Medium dark chocolate (60% cacao) goes best with Côtes de Rhônes, Shiraz/Syrahs and Zinfandels, while milk chocolate (40% cacao) is well-suited to Pinot Noirs, Ports and Ice Wines.

Wherever you and your guests land for dinner tonight, remember to take your time and enjoy the wine!