Recorded weekly at The Panel Wine Lounge in Sonoma, California, WINE WOMEN Radio features members of the nonprofit, professional organization that’s focused on providing the tools, guidance and creativity for its members to attain wine industry prominence.
Wine Women – Erica Timmerman, pt. 2
Continuing our holiday entertaining theme, part two of our show with Erica Timmerman focuses on two appetizers and how well they pair with each of the sparkling wines Erica shares. (For a bit of background, listen to part one of the show where Erica shared an artichoke dip recipe here.)
First up is a delicious salmon “salad” appetizer. Tune in to hear Erica’s comments about how well salmon pairs with various sparkling wines – especially with brut rosés. One of her go-to ingredients for pairing with sparkling wines is salmon, and we couldn’t agree more. The recipe (below) she shared was handed down from the Russian aristocracy and is, in fact, at least one hundred years old. We also noted this dish goes great with still rosés and other high acid white wines.
By Anya von Bremzen
Serves: 4 or more
WHISK TOGETHER DRESSING
4 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. Sherry vinegar
1.5 tsp. Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3-4 medium boiled, cooked, peeled, diced new potatoes
8 oz. cold smoked salmon, diced
1 to 1.5 Tbsp. diced red onion
1 to 1.5 Tbsp. capers, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup chopped Kalamata olives
1.5 Tbsp. minced fresh dill
Gently toss the ingredients together. Add enough dressing to evenly coat the salad being careful not to over mix. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Serve with lettuce cups (which we didn’t have during the show, so we went without).
Lastly, Erica wanted to compare the relatively young sparklers from the first show, Val de Mer Brut Non-Dose and Domaine Carneros 2017 Brut Rose, with the to-die for Domaine Carneros Le Reve 2009 Blanc de Blanc. Creamy, lemon-y, with loads of bread dough notes integrated fully into the flavor profile, Erica brought out her big guns dip to pair with this decade-plus vintage bottle: a delicate and elegant caviar dip, that hit just the right notes with the wine.
By Ina Garten
Makes approx. 1 pint
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons freshly minced dill, plus sprigs for garnish
1 scallion, minced (white and green parts)
1 tablespoon milk, half-and-half, or cream
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
100 grams good salmon roe
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese until smooth. With the mixer on medium speed, add the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, scallion, milk, salt, and pepper. With a rubber spatula, fold in 3/4 of the salmon roe. Spoon the dip into a bowl and garnish with the remaining salmon roe and sprigs of fresh dill.
Serve with chips, toasts, or crackers.
Erica used whipped cream cheese and creme fraiche instead of the sour cream. She also usually leaves out the milk. Chives can be substituted for the green onion. And she added some grated lemon peel.
What a way to finish the year! We can’t thank Erica enough for her extensive food and wine pairing tips and bringing so many wonderful wines and appetizers to sample them with. Listen in to hear everyone’s reactions to which wines paired best with each dish and try them at home for your celebrations. Cheers!
Wine Women – Erica Timmerman, pt. 1
We’re winding up the year and the season with two shows featuring guest Erica Timmerman. This is a bit of a departure for WWRH as Erica doesn’t work in the wine or hospitality industries, but you’d never know it from her deep knowledge of wine and food pairing, along with her myriad tips for entertaining and making guests feel great.
She says she buys a lot of wine because she loves to share it with friends. (We should all have such friends!) When asked what her go-to wines are for celebrating the season and entertaining with friends, she didn’t hesitate: sparkling wine. Thus, she brought not one, but three sparklers to compare, along with some delicious appetizers to pair with them.
Sitting in for M.I.A. cohosts, Misty Roudebush and Lisa Adams Walter, were avid wine drinkers, Kim Martin and Marlys White, both of whom enthusiastically gave everything a try and had plenty of smart questions for our guest.
When asked what her go-to food pairing is with sparkling wine, Erica didn’t hesitate. It was a fast “Dungeness Crab!” reply. Lucky for us in the San Francisco Bay Area that season is just getting underway… Tune in to hear all the crab dishes Erica prepares during the season.
Kicking off the festivities, Erica offered up the Domaine Carneros 2017 Brut Rose, a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Flavor notes included fruity, citrus, grapefruit, strawberries, sweetness and a bit of dough. It was delicious all around.
We wondered how Erica learned food and wine pairing, to which she replied it was just innate because she’s Italian. Lol. Works for us! She did cite that she likes to go daring with her food and wine pairings. And often she will taste a wine and immediately begin thinking about what food dishes it would pair with best. (It helps that she’s a chef!)
We got the benefit of her expertise when she shared a Hot Artichoke Dip appetizer with everyone:
8 oz block cream cheese (reg)
1 Cup Hellmann's Mayonnaise (reg)
1 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
4 oz can Mild Diced Green Chiles
12 oz Jar (or 2 - 7.5 oz jars) of Marinated Artichoke Hearts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Drain artichoke hearts, leaving a tiny bit of marinade behind. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. Pour into baking dish and bake on middle rack for approximately 30 minutes, until bubbling and starting to turn golden brown. Remove and serve with tortilla chips, baguette, crackers, whatever you like…
When tasted with the second wine, Val de Mer Brut Non-Dose, it proved an excellent match. (You’ll have to listen in to hear Erica’s explanation of why the artichoke dip was better paired with the Val de Mer than the Brut Rose.) This Chardonnay-based crémant was bright, refreshing, with a completely different flavor profile, featuring green apples, a touch of caramel and far more dough or brioche notes than the previous wine.
Paired with the artichoke dip, and what Erica referred to as the “secret ingredient,” the Val de Mer showed why it’s a go-to sparkling wine for any season. (Oh, and that “secret ingredient”? Listen carefully to what Erica thought made the dip stand out above the usual, mayo-based hot artichoke dips!
As for the other wines and appetizers? Stay tuned for part 2 of our show with Erica next week, when we’ll taste and pair more sparkling wine and deeee-licious appetizers you can try at home.
Wine Women – Chef Lauren Kershner (part 2)
The celebration continued into our 101st podcast, with guest Chef Lauren Kershner. In part 1 of our interview with her, we talked extensively about the origins of her new endeavor, Songbird Parlour, in Glen Ellen, California. In the second part, we turned to her holiday hospitality tips and business advice.
Among Chef Lauren’s recommendations during the show were dialing up your holiday parties by offering gourmet cheeses to guests and not just the usual cheese log fare. Co-host Lisa Adams Walter responded that great cheeses were one of her three vices (one of the others is yummy Sauvignon Blanc).
Turning to challenges facing any catering and hospitality business, we asked Chef Lauren about what issues she’d been facing recently. And surprisingly to the hosts, it was the lack of heirloom tomatoes. (Evidently the season had been too short for them to get to market.) Chef Lauren mentioned climate change is affecting the supply of ingredients available to her and her staff. That means she has to be more general in her menu descriptions, which gives her the freedom to substitute when ingredients either aren’t available or bring in special ingredients that wouldn’t otherwise have been available to her.
When she was first getting started, she didn’t have a fixed menu and was regularly reinventing the catering wheel (per se) for each client. She soon learned it was a better business practice for her to set her menus. With them in place, she then could offer clients variations or substitutes as availability and seasonality necessitated.
The cohosts wondered how Chef Lauren, as a young graduate (at 19 y.o.) of Le Cordon Bleu, learned about food and wining pairing. Tune in to hear Lauren’s answer. But suffice it to say that her time in wine country has afforded her the opportunities in the past decade to hone her skills in balancing flavor weight, fats, acids and more.
Under her Goodness Gracious Private Chef & Catering company, Chef Lauren offers a number of different catering packages. Most popular are the private chef experiences, often requested by those visiting the region in AirBnBs. She mentioned that she designed her various offerings based upon how she would like to experience wine country if she was visiting from elsewhere. That includes maintaining healthy eating habits and exercise. One of the other popular experiences she offers is a yoga and champagne brunch experience, where the yoga instructor arrives on site to take guests through a class before sitting down to a stellar brunch with a wine country view.
Next, the cohosts turned to the food and wine pairing, featuring Ferren Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast. Lisa noted their wines were sold entirely by allocation. The bottle she brought was stunning with a classic, cool-climate tasting profile, including notes of fresh cherry. Lauren explained her pairing strategy, as she said pinots are versatile to pair food with.
Her method? Switch up the smooth, fruit flavor profile of the wine with spice. She preferred pork over beef or lamb. She crafted bites made from chorizo sausage base with orange gastrique, topped with microgreens – a combination none of the hosts would have come up with (which is why Chef Lauren is the gourmet professional)! This paired beautifully with the Ferren Pinot Noir. But wait! There’s more…
In contrast to the spicy charcuterie and citrus bites, Chef Lauren also prepared bites of brie topped with brandied cherries and pinot noir-infused sea salt. While very much a flavor opposite to the spicy meat and citrus bites, the fat in the brie, along with the brandied cherry, made for a wholly different, but very dynamic and delicious pairing.
Munching away on these goodies, the hosts wanted to know more about Chef Lauren’s career and observations about success. Having not only survived but thrived and expanded her business during the pandemic, to what did she attribute her success? Unsurprisingly,
Wine Women – 100 with Chef Lauren Kershner
We were thrilled when Chef Lauren Kershner agreed to help us celebrate our 100th podcast. Chef Lauren, founder and culinary director of Goodness Gracious Private Chef & Catering in Sonoma, had been searching for the right facilities for some time to serve her team’s expanded catering needs. Additionally, she’d been wanting to offer her own venue for private events and parties.
These dual goals neatly intertwined and became available in one space within Glen Ellen’s Jack London Village. Built in 1839 (with the sawmill General Vallejo constructed at the confluence of the Asbury and Sonoma Creeks to process locally harvested redwoods), the property was converted into a gristmill nearly two decades later, then a winery and distillery. It was replaced in the 1940’s with the current building. Here, Lauren could envision a home for her growing team of chefs and catering managers, as well as building out the space as a private events venue. Songbird Parlour was born!
In their new space (that just opened) guests can experience a glimpse into a bygone era, when the social elite would gather in salons to tell stories and discuss art and culture. Designed to evoke your senses with modern and global food, art and music, and inspiration from around the world, this modern Victorian event parlour and dining experience has been reimagined for the twenty-first century.
But we’re getting ahead of our story! What were some of the hosts’ favorite shows in the past 100 podcasts? Hint: you’ll have to tune in to hear what made the biggest impressions on them. What were common threads they heard from multiple guests over the last three years? Endless curiosity was a recurrent theme, according to co-host Misty Roudebush Cain. And there were several other memories recounted about past guests…
To celebrate the occasion, the hosts popped the cork on a bottle of Perrier Jouet Blason Rosé Champagne, a sparkling wine that came highly recommended by guest and sommelier Simone F.M. Spinner. Chef Lauren, who was trained in classical French technique at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Academy in Portland, Oregon, prepared two delightful bites that paired perfectly with the bubbly wine. One featured a cheese slice topped with nuts, fruit and a sweet topping. The other was a slightly sweet but oh-so-light dessert olive oil cake.
While tasting away, enjoying the plush, deep velvet chairs and divan in a corner of the parlour, Lauren filled us in on her background. Originally from Mendocino, she became hooked on travel while studying at the culinary academy. She incorporates dishes she’s enjoyed during her travels into her repertoire and is the go-to chef for true, internationally-inspired Wine Country cuisine. She specializes in Mediterranean and French fare and is currently fascinated with Middle Eastern cuisine. Her Persian mezah, kookoo, and dill salmon dinner are a must-try!
Songbird Parlour began as a dream during the pandemic when the restaurant and food industry had been brought to their knees. Yet, Lauren’s catering business acumen helped the company thrive during the downturn in traditional dining.
As we wound up part one of our show with her, she divulged some of her secrets: She felt the need was there for alternative venues. Winemakers and wineries without tasting rooms could rent her space for winemaker dinners and release parties. Visitors to wine country who may be celebrating milestone events, such as birthdays and anniversaries, can hold intimate dinner parties where they can indulge and enjoy life to its fullest. Let food and wine be the center of memories and let conversation guide the night. And tune in to part two next week!
To join the celebration, or learn more about Songbird Parlour, playback the 100th show (with a celebratory glass in hand).
Songbird Parlour | Goodness Gracious Catering | @GoodGraciousEats | @SongbirdParlour
Wine Women – Kari Auringer, Winemaker, Cornerstone Cellars Pt. 2
Kari Auringer, winemaker at Cornerstone Cellars, continued to regale us with her wonderful wines and tales in the second part of our conversation with her at their newly opened tasting room in Yountville, California. In the first show, Kari tasted us through Cornerstone’s sauvignon blanc, rosé and pinot noir, three wines from their Taste of Cornerstone experience. In this second half, she tasted us through their merlot, two cabernet sauvignons and a cabernet franc, all of which kept delivering the most delightful flavors and aromas.
It's all “location, location, location” when it comes to sourcing grapes for great wines. In this episode, Kari started us off with the Merlot, Oakville Station. As she explained, Cornerstone has about an acre of Merlot that was once part of the famed To Kalon vineyard. Here, she is able to visit the vineyard throughout the growing season to check on progress of the three wines she makes from blocks all nestled together. Featuring melt-in-your-mouth flavor integration, this was yet another wine that could go with most dishes on any Thanksgiving table.
During the tasting, we once again experimented with Cornerstone’s current “nut and wine” pairing, noting a bit of cheddar flavor in the salted almonds went well with the Merlot. In fact, different nuts went well with the wines in the Cornerstone portfolio, as we began trying them during the first show. (Cornerstone is waiting upon final permit approval to add their menu of wine and food pairings to the tasting experiences offered to the public. Stay tuned!)
Next, Kari poured the Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville Station, a signature grape for Cornerstone and this plot of land on the Napa Valley floor. While the hosts savored the marriage of flavors in the wine, Kari explained her process for visiting vineyards multiple times throughout the growing season to gauge the progress of each location. With her extended visits, she is better able to make adjustments in vineyard management and determine optimal ripeness for harvest.
At this point in the proceedings, we jumped to their deluxe tasting experience, sampling Kari’s Cabernet Franc, also grown “across the aisle” from the Merlot at Oakville Station. Here was a cab franc grown and harvested in optimal conditions–no pyrazine aromas or flavors poking out like getting elbowed in the ribs–just pure fruit flavors! And while this wine would certainly be enjoyable at Thanksgiving, Marcia thought it might make a great pairing with Chicken Molé, with its layered chocolate notes.
While enjoying the array of Cornerstone’s reds, the hosts discussed the challenges Kari faces: One was the general desire of Napa Valley growers to replant to Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa’s most famous grape. It commands the highest dollar per acre. But Kari expressed hope for maintaining diversity in the Napa vineyards she sources from. We also hit upon the unique label design that makes Cornerstone Cellars’ bottles so easy to spot among hundreds of wines on a shelf. Listen in to hear the story of how it developed.
With Kari’s unique background in marketing before she went into the wine business, we thought she was uniquely qualified to tell us about the goals and challenges she faces not only as a winemaker but also for the Cornerstone brand. Few have this unique background to bring perspective to both halves of the equation. This discussion and Q&A section of the conversation led to some keen insights on her success:
Kari stressed the importance of building strong relationships, as well as trusting them enough to feel comfortable asking for what you need. In fact, she cited her continued outreach, asking for specific introductions and connections as the primary reason she was able to work with Celia Welch. When Celia’s name came through on Kari’s caller ID, she thought it was a mistake. But it wasn’t! And this led to more connections (not to mention a fabulous work opportunity).
Wine Women – Kari Auringer, Winemaker, Cornerstone Cellars
Bright, airy, and elegant, with Carrera marble tables and wine bar, and a black and white checkered floor, the new tasting room at Cornerstone Cellars in Yountville, California, was a welcoming respite from a busy workday. Kari Auringer, winemaker for well over a decade at Cornerstone, greeted the hosts with beautifully appointed tasting flights, featured as their signature wine tasting experience.
We settled into the luxurious, gray velvet armchairs to hear Kari’s latest news. (The tasting room only recently held its soft opening, with food service still to come with final permitting.) “You’re going to get to taste some of our best,” Kari intoned. You would never know from the room’s modern appointments we were sitting in an historic former train station, complete with beadboard walls and the old, sashed ticket window behind us, overlooking their outdoor seating area.
We couldn’t wait—not with five wine glasses, each with a generous pour ready for us to enjoy, sitting in front of us. Hence, we jumped right into Cornerstone’s offerings for guests. First up was the Sauvignon Blanc from Farina Vineyard on Sonoma Mountain. The color of straw with aromas ranging from tropical to citrus and a bit of apple, it was the perfect wine to kick off our conversation. (We last spoke with Kari a few months ago about another wine venture of hers. Playback that show here.)
Tune in to learn how Kari sources from the best vineyards in Napa Valley, Sonoma and beyond, seeking out the best grapes grown for of each varietal wine she makes. We were a bit surprised (because the hosts are NOT winemakers) to learn it’s gotten a lot harder to find fabulous Sauvignon Blanc in Napa Valley.
Next, our conversation took a sideways turn. (No, not the movie, although it did come up later when we tasted Kari’s amazing Merlot, in part two of our show). The sideways turned out to be our impromptu wine and nut pairing. You’ll have to listen in for the longer version of the story, but the short version is that Cornerstone is currently pairing its wines during tasting experiences with a variety of nuts. You’ll be surprised to learn how well each of the wines pairs with specific tree nuts, given their unique flavor profiles.
The Corallina Rosé of Pinot Noir added yet another beautiful color to the palette on the table—pale salmon pink. Its classic, rose petal aromas gave way to the floral and fruity notes of a Provence-styled rosé. Layers upon layers of different flavor notes revealed themselves while we debated which Thanksgiving dishes it may pair best with. (Answer: There are no wrong answers if you like the pairing. But if you want to know how Kari pairs it, tune up the volume.…)
Did we mention Kari’s cooking show? Or, as she puts it, she talks about the wine while her husband, Jeff, does the cooking. Right now, you can catch Kari’s latest episode, Roasted Winter Vegetables for the Holidays, on Cornerstone’s YouTube channel. (Prepared for Cornerstone’s club members, the winery makes episodes available to the public soon after their club debut.)
Pinot Noir is the perennial favorite wine to be paired with Thanksgiving dishes. But as you’ll hear on the show, we all had much to say about their classic, Pinot Noir, sourced from Fiddlestix Vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. The color. The aromas. The mouthfeel. And the combination of all of them put together. Kari’s leading comment, “It’s a fickle grape to grow and a fickle wine to make.” (This is why it takes an expert to handle this, um, “fickle” variety for best results.) We’d never know from tasting this wine that it might be a bit challenging at times for Kari…
She mentioned that there are a number of women winemakers and female up ‘n’ comers who work at the custom crush facility Cornerstone uses in Napa Valley. She noted how eager to learn the younger ones are about techniques, their variations (and when to apply them), and methodologies. She
Love this show, educational and fun
I really admire these ladies
And they are motivating me
Through with my dreams
Love the show!
Great locations for podcasts and very interesting interviews 🍷🍇🍷🍇. Another great Radio Misfits show! Cheers