Wine Guy in the Kitchen

Simple dishes, fresh ingredients, and
the perfect wine!


By Michael Gallo, CSW Store Manager, Total Wine & More

With this month's ‘Food Issue,’ I thought I would chime in with a couple of my recent food and wine pairings.

Like most folks passionate about wine, there is usually a would-be chef, or in my case, a home cook hiding somewhere in their cellar.

First up is a savory dish of stuffed peppers paired with a beautiful Napa Valley Cabernet. Although I rarely follow recipes, this dish is simple enough. Fresh large bell peppers cut in half, then filled with sautéed lean ground beef, diced onion, sautéed mushrooms, marinara sauce and parsley complete the plate.

The ground beef is saut,éed stovetop while the peppers are roasting in the oven. Once the meat is browned, add it to the pepper shells to finish cooking in the oven. Remove the cooked stuffed peppers from the oven, sprinkle parsley flakes on top for garish, and serve.

Now for the wine. I paired this dish with the Titus Vineyards 2013, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Titus Vineyards is a family-owned, family-farmed estate producing high-quality grapes for limited production, ultra-premium Napa Valley wines. The Titus story begins at the time when the California wine industry had yet to attain the global recognition it enjoys today. Wine production under the Titus label began in 1990 with a few hundred cases and has grown to a production of over 6,000 cases. Titus Vineyards is a partnership between two brothers, Eric and Philip Titus. Eric managers the vineyard operations and Philip oversees all aspects of the business side of wine. Titus Vineyards is a truly special premium Napa Valley label.

Finally, an elegant pairing of Chablis with Spaghetti alle vongole. A classic Italian dish for sure, with just a couple of small tweaks on my end – adding chopped ripe cherry tomatoes and using a French Chablis instead of a classic Italian white wine like Pinot Grigio or Greco di Tufu. This dish cooks quick, so be ready to put it all together without overcooking the pasta or under- cooking the clams and the chopped tomatoes.

Fresh clams (cleaned and rinsed), good quality olive oil, sliced garlic, diced onions or shallots, parsley, chili flakes, and of course a quality dry white wine are the ingredients you’ll need. Like most dishes, ingregediant preparation is key, so have everything ready to go before you start cooking.  

This dish is simply prepared by sautéing the diced onions, sliced garlic, chopped cherry tomatoes, and chili flakes in quality olive oil, adding the clams when the chopped items begin to soften or brown, adding a half glass (or so) of quality dry white wine. Cover the pot to steam cook clams until open, add ‘al dente’ cooked pasta, parsley and serve country style!

Paired with my almost arterial creation, was the Laroche Chablis 2014, a deliciously crisp and mineral french white Burgundy wine. When served chilled with sautéed clams, one can almost feel the sea mist on their skin…that’s a little over the top, but this is the ‘food issue’ after all.


9178495909918 - better win copy.jpg