Wine Wednesday – Raats Chenin Blanc

photo-298I recently stumbled upon this awesome South African Chenin Blanc completely by accident. I was looking for some South African whites to try and noticed this label said “Unwooded” which means it was aged using steel tanks instead of oak barrels. This technique is used to preserve the wine’s “original”, vibrant, fresh fruit character making the flavors light, refreshing and smooth. I have tried a lot of unwooded/unoaked wines from Chardonnay to Pinot Noir and I have yet to be disappointed, so I thought I’d give it a shot!

The Chenin Blanc grape originated in the Loire valley of France but is thought to be one of the first grapes grown in South Africa around 1655 (it is now the most widely planted grape in South Africa.) Due to the grapes high acidity, it can be used to make a wide variety of wines from sparkling to desert wine.

This Chenin Blanc is rich in citrus flavors, with hints of pineapple, honeysuckle and orange blossom with a bright, tangy minerality. Due to the range of flavors it pairs well with a variety of foods and makes for a great everyday summer white, especially for the price!

Raats Original Chenin Blanc 2011 (Unwooded)

  • Price: $13.99
  • Varietal: 100% Chenin Blanc
  • Region: South Africa, Coastal Region
  • Tasting Notes: Beautifully structured on the palate, bursting with fresh yellow and white fruit flavors. The wine finishes subtly, yet distinct with great minerality and citrus flavors.
  • Food Pairing: An easy-to-pair wine since it has a wide flavor profile, but they especially recommend it with curry or similar spicy dishes as well as sushi and oysters.
  • Score: 88 points

New Zealand Penne Pasta with a touch of Sundance!

Finished pasta

So much has happened this January! Ski Boots in the Kitchen was homeless for a little while, making it very difficult to cook with out a kitchen. No need to worry though, we are now settled into our new home with a great kitchen. Last week, Sundance invaded Park City for ten days of amazing films, parties and events. I was so exhausted from having so much fun, I was scared to go near a stove for fear of setting myself on fire. sundance

It’s always entertaining to watch the Angelinos descend on PC, it’s usually pretty obvious who is from out of town by how under prepared they are for a snowy mountain town in their light jackets and shoes that have never seen snow. ThefrayI got to see the Fray which was pretty awesome. They sing that song “how to save a life” which was the opening song of Gray’s Anatomy back in the day… oh wait I think that show still exists?

I also organized a “Women at Sundance” brunch for 150 people, which was quite an undertaking. This is what breakfast for skinny LA women looks like… no bacon and egg sandwiches here (although we did have some delicious scones and fruit bars).

Jacki’s love of Wonder Woman and Girl power set the theme for the party, which was a huge success – Check out a recap of the party and the new women and film research that was released on Jacki’s website. All that partying left me wanting a big bowl of pasta and glass of wine. While I was abroad in New Zealand many years back a friend made this dish. I never knew the real name of the dish but I did ask for the recipe and have been calling it New Zealand Penne Pasta ever since. Its the perfect dish for a large crowd, a snowy night or when you’re looking for an excuse to open another bottle of wine (although I never really need an excuse). Enjoy!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 box penne pasta
  • 1 lb. sweet or mild Italian sausage (decased)
  • 1 sweet onion (diced)
  • 1 15oz. can diced tomatoes (I use Muir Glen with Italian herbs)
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • parsley for garnish

What you do:

  1. In a large skillet, decase sausage and cook until brown.
  2. In another large pot bring salted water to boil and cook penne according to the box.
  3. Add chopped onion and cook 3-5min until onions are translucent.
  4. Add white wine and simmer until alcohol has cooked off.
  5. Add tomatoes and half and half
  6. Strain pasta and transfer to serving bowl.
  7. Combine pasta, sauce and parmesan until all the pasta is coated.
  8. Garnish with parsley and serve with garlic bread