The Booker Brothers legacy in Paso

Booker Front Entrance

 

 

After a beautiful drive North from San Luis Obispo, we made it to Paso Robles  in time to do one last tasting.  My friends at Khoury’s Fine Wine in Vegas had recommended Booker. There website is stunning with gorgeous black and white photos of the property.  The winery is located on Anderson road just off of 46 West.

In the 1920’s two  orphan brothers, Dick and Claude Booker bought this property.  These brothers were farmers and humanitarians and were the area’s biggest philanthropists.  When they passed, they left 100% of their estate to charity.

In 2001 Eric and Lisa Jensen purchased 72 acres of the property.  They planned to grow grapes for some of the best wineries in the area.  In 2005 they did the first release of their own wines under the Booker label.  They focus on Rhone varietals.

The property and the tasting room are beautiful and they have a winery dog that looks like Mojo’s cousin from Miramonte in Temecula!  After our tasting here it was back to the hotel to rest up for the next day.

It’s a Viognier kinda day (with a little Chard on the side)

Viognier Night

It was Thursday and our night for pairings, so I pulled out Sid Goldstein’s book “The Wine Lover’s Cookbook” and pulled together a menu that will pair a little with Chardonnay and a little with Viognier.

We are having Chilled Corn and Sundried Tomato Chowder, Crab Jicama and Mango Salad with Lemon-Curry dressing and Chicken Paprika with dried apricot and almond relish.  The Chowder will pair with a 2007 Miramonte Chardonnay, the Crab salad will pair with both the Chardonnay and a 2010 Zaca Mesa Viognier (Happy 40th Zaca Mesa!), and the Chicken Paprika will pair exclusively with the Viognier.

Farmer's Market vegetables

Farmer’s Market vegetables

So this morning I got up early, hit the gym and headed to the Molto Vegas Farmers Market at the Springs Preserve to pick up the produce!

As you can see I scored fresh desert corn, butter lettuce, garlic, onion, a Meyer lemon, a mango, and two regular lemons.  I raided my pantry and freezer for chicken stock (we had some frozen that I Michael made), cumin, coriander, paprika, olive oil, honey, turmeric, chili powder and tarragon.  Hit the garden for chives and green onions and made a trip to Whole Foods for the rest.  I figured Whole Foods would be a one-stop shop for the varied items that I needed.  We picked up organic chicken breasts, blue crab meat, sour crème, dried apricots, sweet paprika, caraway seeds, sliced mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and pasta.  I picked up slivered almonds from the bulk area since I just needed 3 tablespoons, season croutons for the soup and jicama.  So I have seen sliced jicama in the produce section but they didn’t have any so I had to have someone come and help me find it!  It is a bulbous root that runs around $1.49 lb. and the one I picked ran me $2.79.  I only used about 1/3 of it.

So I started with the soup since it needed to chill for 3 to 4 hours.  Olive oil, onions, tarragon, cumin, turmeric and lemon zest get going in the soup pot then you add the corn, corn cobs, chicken stock and white wine.  I used a Viognier that I had already opened.  This boils, and then simmers a bit then you pull out the cobs and add the roasted garlic, lemon juice and sour crème and then process it in the blender or food processor.  Add the rough chopped sundried tomatoes and toss it in the fridge for 3 to 4 hours.

While that is chilling I jump onto the crab salad.  Crab meat, diced mango, diced jicama and then a dressing with Meyer lemon juice and zest, champagne vinegar, mayo and a homemade curry powder with cumin, turmeric, chili powder and coriander.  Mix it all up and pop it in the fridge for 2 hours.  (there is a chillin’ theme here!)

On to the relish for the chicken.  Dice the dried apricots; add champagne vinegar (it called for raspberry, but I wasn’t buying a whole bottle for ¾ teaspoon!), honey, green onions, caraway seed, lemon zest and toasted almonds.  Then chill this for an hour!

Plating of DinnerFinally the chicken.  I pound out the breasts season with salt, paprika, sage and lemon zest and brown them in butter and oil then drain them on paper towels.  Then cook the onions add the mushrooms, marjoram, sweet paprika, caraway seed and roasted garlic (I had this left over from the previous recipe and it gave a sweeter flavor to the dish).  Once this is cooked up I added the chicken stock and sour cream and then put the breasts back in.  I cooked up some buttered noodles to serve this on.

 

Now for the pairings.  The Chardonnay was beautiful with the Chowder.  And this chilled soup just develops more flavors the longer it chills.  (I enjoyed it for lunch for several more days!).  The salad was fine with the Chard, but the jicama really came to life with the Viognier.  The Chicken and the Viognier were spectacular on several levels.  The earthiness of the mushrooms and the sauce were really lovely creating a new depth when paired with the wine and then the apricots and the relish really popped.

 

All in all, I was pretty impressed with myself. Thanks Sid for the help!  I look forward to cooking my way through this book!

Miramonte, 3.0

Miramonte WInery

 

Miramonte.  What can I say they have created a stunning atmosphere.  Michael got hooked on their Sangria the first time we stopped by and we both fell in love with the artistic atmosphere.  Since our last visit they have expanded the patio and added some wonderful cheese and charcuterie platters.

Miramonte charcuterrie platter

Miramonte charcuterrie platter

These are not cheese and sausage plates.  These are stunning natural wood boards filled with artisan cheeses, meats, fruits, nuts, dips, olives…  So as we were a little hungry we headed over a little early for the evenings music on the patio.  We did a tasting and ordered a charcuterie platter and when it was ready headed out to procure a couch with a heater on the patio. The Picture is taken outside lit by firelight.  The bar on the patio was opening so we could get our tasting there.  After finding a spot and indulging in our charcuterie we were joined by the Miramonte host Mojo.  We met Mojo on our last visit and he was but a puppy then, he has grown quite a bit.  Over the course of the evening, between greeting guests on arrival, he came and curled up in the couch across from us for a little rest (being a host is hard work). It was getting a little chilly and the talent for the night showed up (and threw a little diva fit as he entered the patio with his gear).  With the cold and the complaining talent they moved the music inside.  Unfortunately, all the seats inside were full by now and we did leave early.  But it was a lovely evening regardless.  The wine here is good, the atmosphere stunning with a spectacular view.  We did of course snap some photos.  This place doesn’t take a bad photo.  Enjoy!