I've never met a person that doesn't love comfort food. And, if you're looking at this website, you certainly love wine as well. If you're looking for a little something that satisfies your comfort food cravings and also lets you sip on some beautiful Seal Beach wine, you're definitely in luck.
This particular batch of chili is super easy to whip up, and our bottles of smoky. fruity Grenache are always available in the tasting room. The mild spice from this particular recipe livens up the fruit-forward aspect of the Grenache, while the smokiness of the wine melds with the spices in the chili. It's a win-win situation for both the delectable beverage and the hearty, delicious dish!
Here's the recipe to follow, or modify howevery you choose. Want to skip the beef? Add some more beans! Need a little more heat? Add some more cayenne to set your palate alight. And, if you want to know my secret, throw in a spoonful of chocolate chips or nutella. Just trust me, it's amazing.
As walking into any major retail store will tell you, it is common practice to dive right into the holiday season as soon as Halloween passes. While skeletons and ghosts are swiftly removed in favor of Christmas trees, holiday lights, and advent calendars, so many people forget how wonderful Thanksgiving can be (and honestly, I can't see how so many aren't tangibly excited for mountains of mashed potatoes and gloriously roasted turkey). However, for the winos here at Seal Beach Winery, Thanksgiving holds more in store than just delicious food--the perfect wine pairings for all those traditional Thanksgiving favorites.
The Meat and Potatoes
The most staple traditions of Thanksgiving are, of course, turkey and mashed potatoes, all smothered in savory gravy. As such, many people seeking to pair wine with their Thanksgiving feasts look towards finding a perfect match for these hearty mainstays. Reds that are lower in tannins and high in bright, fruit flavors do create an excellent contrast to these intense and savory dishes. And as the wine club members at Seal Beach Winery know, we offer a variety of wines that fit this critera almost exactly, such as either of the Pinot Noirs or Grenaches, the Barbera, or the Zinfandel. Each of these wines have a bold fruit flavor and a smooth finish to round out the heartiness of the centerpieces of any traditiional Thanksgiving feast.
The "Healthy" Stuff
Next to every off-brown component of the Thanksgiving dinner (think turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy..), there is something bright and green. Whether that be something along the lines of fresh, seasoned green beans or wilted spinach is up to each household chef. However, what is certain is that these greens offer a fresh relief from the heartiness of the rest of the meal. When conceptualizing what the ideal pairing for these light vegetables should be, the wine should be thought about in the same way. Crisp, cold wines, like our Old Vine Chardonnay or either of our Rosés, will amplify the lightness of these vegetables and round out the meal.
For me, the very best part of Thanksgiving is the copious amount of sweet potatoes I can eat without judgment. While I smother mine with marshmallows and candied pecans, many people opt for something lighter, like roasted butternut squash, glazed carrots, or even homemade cornbread (or any combination of those, really). Dishes like these will pair well with a variety of wines depending on what your intention is--a dry, tannic wine like our 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon or 2012 Syrah will tone down the sugar content and leave the dish feeling more rich, whereas a sweeter, cold wine like our Chardonnays of Rosés, will amplify the sweetness.
An Admirable Compromise
While each element of a Thanksgiving dinner has wines that pair perfectly alongside it, many of us don't feel like interchanging sips from several glasses in front of us while we feast. As a host, it's always good to offer up a selection of wines, such as a few from each section above. However, as a mere drinker, it's helpful to know what wines pair nicely with just about anything you could encounter at the dinner table. If you prefer to stick to one wine for the entire dinner--or only want one glass--a Pinot Noir or Chardonnay is the way to go. These are some of the most amenable wines to pair with Thanksgiving food.
Another fantastic wine for pairing with all of these delicious Thanksgiving options is our brand new Sangiovese, which will be debuting right before the holiday. Its intense notes of black fruit will complement moist turkey breast and darker thighs alike. Moreover, with its acidity balanced by a smooth, cherry finish, this Sangiovese will work alongside any sweet sides or tender vegetables while still being bold enough to stand up to hearty potatoes and gravy. Look out for the release of this wine, and consider taking a 1.5 liter growler bag along to any family party.
Fall ushers in change here in Orange County, indicating that the oppressive rays of the summer sun will shift into, well, slightly less oppressive rays of summer sun. During this season, we trade out iced coffee with pumpkin lattes, tank tops for sweaters, and our ever-running ACs for open windows and whirring fans. While the fall season signifies transitions for everyone, it does so doubly for us at Seal Beach Winery. This fall, we'll be welcoming the addition of several new wines--both by the bottle and as part of our growler program--as well as a long list of new events for our loyal members and new visitors alike to enjoy.
If fall is the season of change here at Seal Beach Winery, then it's certainly kicked off by our Cabernet Franc Release Party. Our new Cab Franc is a beautiful, dark wine with notes of fresh blackberry fruit and a lean, balanced finish featuring a small amount of spice. We've aged it in neutral French oak to truly allow the subtle and silky aspects of this gorgeous wine to shine.
As enticing as that description is on its own, a release party wouldn't be a celebration without food specifically crafted to best exemplify the flavors and aromas of our newest wine. On the menu is a copious amount of cheese from Cheese Addiction, and housemade hors d'oeuvres uniquely formulated to pair with the Cab Franc. These fancy finger foods and rich array of cheeses will not only complement the freshly tapped wine, but will also accompany the ambience of music provided by jazz pianist Reggy Woods.
Moreover, on the day of our release party, we'll be offering an exlusive promotion on growler fills of the Cab Franc (after all, it's the star of the show). On the 17th, if you fill up one growler, you'll be able to fill a second for half off the regular price.
Tickets for this awesome event will only be $5, but they'll run out quickly! If you'd like to take part, you can reserve your spot online or come by the tasting room and get your ticket. Either way, you'll be able to be a part of our first event to kick off this incredible fall season here at Seal Beach Winery.
If you've been into the winery in the past few weeks, you've been enthusiastically told by our staff about our new cheese plates. We're so excited to serve up our new platters because we're in love with the product, and because we took a major part in the crafting of the menu. Each cheese has an ideal pair to every wine on the menu, to which our own tastebuds can attest. It would only be fair to let you in on the magic of our pairings and give an exposè of all our new delectable cheeses. Here, we have them listed in descending order from mild to wild.
P'tit Basque- We start off our cheese menu with this smooth, buttery number. This is a sheep's milk cheese from the Pyrenees Mountains in France. Nicknamed the crème brulee of cheese, P'tit Basque has a nutty flavor with caramel undertones and pairs well with fruits, which just so happen to be a part of our cheese plate. We recommend it as an accompaniment to both of our Rosès.
Snofrisk- Meaning "snow fresh" in Norway, its country of origin, Snofrisk is a rich and tangy goat's milk cheese with a surprising freshness. It is pure, slightly acidic, and pliable, as the name suggests. Fun fact: it was first introduced at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer. It really shines next to our Pinot Grigio, as both are crisp and tart.
Great Ocean Road Cheddar- This Australian cheddar is sharp and crisp. Aptly named after the Aussie wind, Great Ocean Road, this cheese pairs perfectly next to fruits and meats alike, and complements our 2012 Chardonnay.
Seascape- Just like our wines, Seascape is produced in the Central Coast of California. It is a goat and cow milk blend in a cheddar style, making it somewhat crumbly with a complex tanginess. It is versatile as part of a charcuterie. We recommend trying it with our 2013 Old Vine Chardonnay.
Caña de Oveja- This Spanish cheese, literally translating to "Log of Sheep," is a crumbly sheep's milk cheese with intense flavors of tangy butter, a product of its 21-day aging process. While typically a good match for white wines, we adored this next to both our Pinot Noirs.
Mon Sire Brie- This triple cream brie cheese from France is rich, creamy, and supple. It is amazing when spread over a bread or cracker, and goes perfectly alongside fresh fruit. We recommend you try it alongside our spicy and fruity Grenaches.
Cambozola Black Label- Aged six months in Bavaria, this German bleu cheese is actually created in a brie-style. It's aging process gives in earthy blue tones with nutty, buttery flavors, and complex, grey rind, and a smooth, creamy texture. This cheese was a great pair with our 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, although it can also be put next to a crisper wine as well.
Tete de Moine- This Swiss cheese is one of the strongest on the market. From a centuries old recipe, Tete de Moine offers a sharp, nutty, and woodsy taste with heavy fruit aspects. It pairs well with prosciutto and fruity, intense wines. We enjoyed it alongside our Merlot and 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon.
Cacionerone- The last of our cheese selections, Cacionerone is an Italian cow and buffalo's milk cheese in a parmigiano style. It is mild, sweet, and flavorful. This hard cheese worked wonders with our Zinfandel.
So now, with a well-informed mind and excited palate, you can head over to Seal Beach Winery and try our new cheese plate. They come in four sizes (three or five cheeses, with our without meat), and add an amazing dimension to our wine selections.
I was lost in a spiral of texture and flavor, engulfed in the swirl of wine and cheese that filled my mouth. I tasted each little sample of cheese in front of me—hard cheeses, soft cheeses, cow, goat, and sheep cheeses—and I tried my hardest to transfer notes from my tongue to paper. I fought to distinguish fruit and floral flavors in the wine, creaminess and nuttiness in the cheese, and sought to understand the perfect juxtaposition of flavors that made each shine.
This was the beginning of my foray into the world of cheese and wine pairing. When we at Seal Beach Winery had a staff meeting at Cheese Addiction in Long Beach, I didn’t really know what to expect. I’ve always had a love of wine, and I’ve been an avid cheese eater since I was young, but perfectly melding those experiences was only something I’d dabbled in when trying to impress friends and dates with homemade charcuterie assembled from grocery store cheese and crackers. And being brand new at the winery, I was afraid I would be out of my depth.
But here I was, happily nibbling on corners of cheese and suckling sips of wine, actually understanding how the flavors of each intersected. I noticed how notes in the cheese really left some wine flat. I observed strange aftertastes that didn’t exist with other pairings. I discovered on my own, but only because I chose to disregard emphatic advice, that Ginger Mango Stilton really has no business being paired with white wine. I tasted the most brilliant combination of Creamy Truffle Brie and Grenache, which, for me, was certainly the highlight of the night. I felt a spark light inside me after finding the truly perfect cheese for each wine on the menu, and similarly proud of myself when I could immediately tell that a combination we chose to test was just not going to work the way we had anticipated.
After a long night of diligently trying cheese and laboriously sipping on wine, the staffs of Seal Beach Winery and Cheese Addiction eventually crafted an amazing cheese menu with ideal pairings for each of the wines we offer. Since then, our cheese plates have morphed into amazingly catered creations with cheese selections based on the wine in front of our customers. They are gorgeously lined with artisanal crackers and rich servings of Italian meats, and are created with the knowledge and experience we gleaned from the best staff meeting that’s ever happened anywhere.
Making the Season Even Better With Growlers from Seal Beach Winery
It's Southern California, and we are in the thick of summer. That means it's time for outdoor picnics, afternoons on the sun-sparkling beach, restful days along the side of the pool, and concerts in the park. Everyone who lives in this vibrant area knows about the activities that these sunny skies open up for us—and we certainly take advantage of these opportunities as they come. But does anyone wish that their wine was portable enough to keep up with this wide range of activities?
Anybody who has tried to open a bottle of wine at the beach will attest to how difficult it is to yank a cork from a bottle while trying to balance it on sand, never mind protecting their precious wine while the wind violently blows particles into the bottle. A bigger issue is conspicuously twisting a corkscrew into a full bottle in an open area, feeling uncomfortable under the judging glares of the casual beer can drinkers around them.
So what is a wino supposed to do when summer rolls around in Southern California? At Seal Beach Winery, we think we have a solution that makes it a little bit easier to enjoy great wines—our growler program. With six unique wine options to fill up with and take home, along with the ease and versatility of the growler and growler bags themselves, it's a simple and elegant way to enjoy a glass of wine in the summer heat.
Beginning your foray into our growler program is simple: just stop by the winery and pick up your choice of a 1 liter or 1.9 liter glass growler for $9, which are refillable at any time. Or, if you're looking for a one-time use item to bring along to a BBQ or event, you can get a 1.5 liter growler bag, which retains the freshness of the wine inside for months, even after opening. These bags are filled to the brim and equipped with a spout for immediate and easy pouring. All of these options can be filled with any of our six growler wines.
What are those wines? While they are in constant rotation, our current lineup is:
Rosé of Grenache- A beautifully floral blush with summertime flavors of watermelon and strawberry. This is our only rosé selection for our growlers, and is ideal for enjoying on a sunny, hot day.
Pinot Noir- From the beachside Derbyshire Vineyard in San Simeon, these grapes grow within a stone's throw from the Pacific Ocean. Its intense, dark cherry flavors can be combined with a number of activities and foods.
Red Blend- This blend of Syrah, Tempranillo, and Petit Verdot is a full-bodied wine with a hint of dark fruits, blackberries, dried cherries, and spice. It's our suggestion for a summer BBQ.
Merlot- Our deep and sophisticated Merlot is a little dark for summer heat, but perfect for those nights by the pool or on the patio.
Cabernet Sauvignon- This rich Cabernet packs huge amounts of fruit and vanilla with a long finish. It's perfect for summer dinner on the deck or staying at home with a home-cooked meal.
Barbera- This brand new edition to our growler lineup is young, but incredibly drinkable and bold. Its bright cherry flavors really complement a brisk summer night.
By getting our growler, you'll have access to any of these options, available to fill at any time we're open. There's also the added benefit or alleviating the Earth of some of the waste that goes into the typical glass wine bottle, but we know that's not the real reason you're getting one of our growlers the next time you stop by and visit us.