Below is the latest Instagram Livefeed wine tasting. This time it included Bordeaux wines from Château de Côts located in the Côtes de Bourg appellation in the northern portion of the right bank. These wines are mostly red blends: 60/25/15 of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. This tasting was made with with Loes de Vreugd of Iconiclife_travel.


This is the last installment of Tuscan cooked food from the cookbook Super Tuscan. Below are five dishes—three paired with sparkling wines, one with a delicious beer, and one with a Pinot Noir from northern Italy.

1. CHEF.

Lockdown has ended in France, but restaurants remain closed until February. So, again this home cooking was completed in my apartment in the town of Blaye, southwest France.

Pre-dawn water view in the town of Blaye


We’re moving backwards and sideways just for a change—beginning with a light red wine, moving to sparkles, interrupting that with a delicious beer and then returning to sparkling wine.

We’ll begin with a beet and pear carpaccio, paired with a Pinot Noir from Peter Zemmer in the northernmost Alto Adige region of Italy. Crumble Gorgonzola or blue cheese over sliced beets and pears, then douse with a small amount of lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, and fresh pepper. Toss on sliced mint leaves. Fresh tasting!

The Rolhüt Pinot Noir from the highlands of Italy’s Alto Adige (think Dolomite mountains) is an earthy red—with aromas of granite, wet hay and cherries. The fruit tastes young, ripe and rich, and the wine includes minerality with a hint of blueberries, licorice and morel mushrooms. The earthiness and acidity pair well with beets and pears in the salad. Tasty!

Highland Pinot Noir with a beet and pear carpaccio

Next dish—lentils and mozzarella (or burrata) cheese, which pairs with a sparkling rosé from Enrico Serafino—a family producer located in the Piedmont region of Italy. The acidity of the wine cuts against the fat of the cheese. Healthy, but filling.

Lentils and mozzarella and parsley
Sparkling rosé from Italy’s Piedmont region

Now, seafood with beer. Deep fried shrimp with salsa rosa matched with a full Leffe Blonde beer from Belgium. Drizzle both food and beer with fresh lemon juice …

Now, salmon with salsa verde. The delicious sauce includes olive oil, parsley, anchovies (or sardines), lemon juice, garlic and sea salt—blended together. The Viña Esmeralda from Miguel Torres in Spain includes a blend of Muscat and Gewürtztraminer and is fresh and crispy to pair with salmon.

Salmon and salsa verde
A light Spanish sparkling wine

Finally, a dose of cheese and pepper pasta as well as pan roasted green beans with bacon, paired with a sparkling Franciacorta from Castello Bonomi in the Lombardy region of northern Italy.

Pasta and green beans


An excellent dose of pre-lockdown advice was to buy a cookbook, then begin cooking all recipes included. Although I only went through 20 recipes in over a month, the experience gained from each was excellent, and the tastes were usually fresh and surprising.

For pairing food with wine, there are complementary or contrasting options (the opposite of each other), and remember that a wine may take five years to make, whereas a meal may take only 50 minutes, so consider letting the wine be the driving force behind a menu.

Pre-dawn colors within the Citadelle fortress of Blaye

Experimentation and substitution are key. Cooking is creative. Don’t have burrata cheese,? Google a substitute, then use mozzarella instead.

(The two photographs of Blaye above are some of several I’ve taken during recent pre-dawn runs. In the early morning the air is cold, but the silence is beautiful and the light can be stunning. Changing schedule is always healthy for changing perspective.)

Enjoy your holiday season!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. You do a lot of pre-dawns!… They do lend amazing photos. Great idea to start working through a cookbook, what could be better than Italian. Look forward to visiting after the new year. In the meantime, happy holidays Tom!

    1. Thanks Lynn! Cooking helps keep sanity here, and I look forward to travel after the New Year kicks in. We’ll have to meet and share wine! Best to you during this bizarrely wet and windy holiday season…Stay inside and pop some corks!

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