I love the Thirsty Girl TGTastes and always offer to participate but the Villa Maria one was tough. They wouldn’t ship to New York and try as they might Thirsty Girl couldn’t get any of the Sauvignon Blanc to ship to me. They suggested that I try to get the wine on my own and they would reimburse my expense. I found the Private Bin 2011 easily enough, however, I could not find the correct vintage of the Cellar Selection. I found a bottle of the 2007 at Pop’s Wines in Island Park, New York. I snatched them both up in anticipation of the upcoming TGTaste.
When I realized I would be lucky enough to celebrate this year’s Mother’s Day with BOTH my girls I took the liberty of pairing our Mother’s Day meal with these wines. Normally I taste with George but as we all know now he is a man of few wine words. I thought my daughters might have more erudite and interesting reactions.
I thought I would pair the wines with one of their favorite recipes and one that I learned years ago from the infamous Grandma Lily. Stuffed artichokes. Grandma Lily was always fond of the violent school of cooking- slapping dough around and pounding artichokes on countertops to open them up. She always managed to frighten me. When I was a newlywed she shared this recipe with me.
I have tweaked it a few times but it remains basically the same.
Now I have heard all the stories about artichokes being difficult to pair with wines but it seemed to me that the Villa Maria Sauvignon Blancs and stuffed artichokes might be a fortuitous combination.
I thought we’d give it a try.
Normally I cook the artichokes with some Marsala wine but in deference to the Sauvignon Blancs I decided not to use this and hoped that my girls would not notice.
I almost always manage to add some wine to my cooking but I promised to use some restraint with this meal. Well – that didn’t exactly work for me and at the last moment I added some of the Private Bin into the pot.
My mother, not an artichoke or wine fan, will gladly be sharing hot dogs with George. Each to his own!!
Maybe I will grill some chicken with it. Maybe. Artichokes alone have always comprised a meal in my little family. Same with lobster. Why spoil a great thing by adding more food to the mix.
Savor the flavor is my motto.
I did cave in and added grilled steaks and chicken and potato salad to the menu. After all, what kind of daughter makes her mother hotdogs on Mother’s Day?
Here is how to make the artichokes.
You will need artichokes of course, garlic, lemons, grated parmesan cheese, parsley, Italian flavored breadcrumbs and olive oil. And some marsala wine or white wine would also be good. Your choice.
First off prepare the artichokes for stuffing. If you have never cleaned and trimmed an artichoke before here is what you do. You will need a pair of kitchen shears for this. Cut off the tip and stem of the artichoke.
Now here is the part Grandma Lily loved. Take the artichoke and holding it on the bottom end smash and pound the artichoke against the kitchen counter or sink until the artichoke opens like a flower.
Prepare the breadcrumbs for stuffing by mincing 3-4 cloves of garlic and adding this to the bowl. Next mince the parsley. Use a good amount and then add to the breadcrumbs as well. Now pour in a good helping of the parmesan cheese. You will notice there are no exact measurements. I never got any from Grandma Lily and I really just eyeball it same way she did. Add some salt and pepper. Mix this all up in the bowl.
Pour a good amount of olive oil into the mixture and combine.
Now you are ready to stuff the artichokes.
Make sure to pack the breadcrumbs tightly into the center of the artichoke and also fill some of the spaces between the leaves.
Pour a bit of oil into a heavy pot.
Put the stuffed artichokes into the pot. They should be packed in pretty snugly. Turn on the burner and let the oil heat up a bit.
Next fill the pot with water about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way up the sides of the artichokes. Slice the lemons and squeeze the juice on top of the artichokes. You may want to add a bit more olive oil to the top of the artichokes too.The breadcrumbs should be moist. Bring the water to a boil and then lower the heat so that the liquid is between a simmer and a slow boil. Cover the pot most of the way, just leaving a little space for some of the steam to escape. The liquid will cook down. Keep an eye on it and make sure that you don’t need to add more water.
When the artichokes are about halfway done you can add wine if you are using it. The artichokes are cooked when you can pull a leaf out easily and the leaf and “meat” on the leaf is tender.
So, contrary to popular opinion, artichokes pair very nicely with Sauvignon Blanc.
Here are our tasting notes.
First we tried the Villa Maria Estate Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2007. Again, please note, this was not the vintage used in the TGTaste. That was a 2011 and I could not find that one. The wine was priced at $22.00 This wine is a very green, very herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc. Grassy, musky and mossy with notes of grapefruit and lime were the descriptors used. Rachel and Jordan preferred this one.
Next up was the Villa Maria Estate Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2011 and priced at $14.00
The Private Bin is a more classic Sauvignon Blanc. We found it to be more light bodied and fruit driven than the Cellar Selection again with loads of grapefruit and lime. Emily and I preferred this one.
After the wine and the artichokes we rested a bit and then continued our Mother’s Day festivities with steak, chicken and potato salad. There were no hotdogs!!
I loved tasting with Emily, Rachel and Jordan. It was much more fun. Sorry George.
I had a wonderful Mother’s Day. I savored the time spent with my two wonderful daughters. I so rarely get the opportunity to spend time with them together and to have them both under my roof and to have Rachel spend the weekend sleeping over was the best gift ever.
At the end of the evening, I was in the kitchen doing some last minute straightening up. I had poured myself a little more of the Private Bin – I could hear my girls laughing and talking in the next room and for that moment all was perfect in my world.
Thanks Thirsty Girl for allowing us to participate in the tasting and thanks Villa Maria for making these delicious wines.