I had an event to go to last night and I was looking to pair an appetizer with some Cabernet Franc wines. What would go well with the peppery, medium bodied wine? Cab Franc has a good deal of toothy grip for a medium bodied wine. The pepper is up front on the palate and these wines, often peter out, on the finish unless there is quite a bit of alcohol to carry the pepper through.
Cab Franc is the parent grape of Cabernet Sauvignon, and is more often used in a Bordeaux Blend to add colour and spiciness. Single varietals, driven by new world practices, is the preferred way to market wine outside of France. So Cab Franc has come into its own. The Lang and Reed, from Napa, was one of the wines I tasted at Every Day Wine, in the Alberta neighbourhood of Portland, last night, also know as the NE art district.
When the wine is the star, as in a flight tasting, you want the food to take a more subtle role, to be the supporting cast rather than the main event.
So to provide a balance between the earthiness, the pepper and the grip, I came up with a Port-Poached Fig Walnut Mascarpone Spread, served with pepper crackers.
It looks a bit like liver pate, unfortunately, but it really does match the wine! As I have some left over I plan to use it as a butter on a port-soaked french toast, I will stuff it under the skin on a roast chicken and sandwich it between ginger cookies. I had it on toast this morning; really good!
I used the crusted Port that I wrote about in an earlier blog.
10 dried Mission figs
5 dried cherries
1/2 c toasted walnuts
1/4 c of Port
1 sprig of rosemary
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 small tub of mascarpone cheese
Poach the figs, 1/2 the sprig of rosemary and cherries in a small pot with the port for 5 minutes on medium heat, set aside. Meanwhile, toast the walnuts at 325F for 6-8 minutes.
When cool chop the fruit, nuts and rosemary. Add mascarpone cheese and remainder of poaching juice. Keep refrigerated.