I’ve been cut off from buying more wine. Currently, I have 30ish bottles on the wine rack, and I’ve been instructed by the hubby not to buy anymore until we drink what we have. Until this ban, I had been buying a bottle to go with my meals each week, even when there was a collection of wine at home. Are these amazing bottles that I can cellar and keep for a while? Are they worth being called a “collection”? Wine snobs would probably stick their noses up at me. I have good bottles, yes, but nothing that needs to be saved or envied by wine fanatics. I live in a non-temperature controlled, small, hot apartment in the swamp of DC where in February, the temperature has fluctuated between 15º and 70º. I can’t keep wine for long before it will spoil!
Anywho, so I’ve been banned from buying more wine, and I have been dying to try this Spaghetti Squash Sausage Lasagna Boat by Skinnytaste. I have been craving Italian, and this recipe was one of her Italian latests. It included 3 different cheeses, (chicken) sausage, tomato sauce, and spaghetti squash; a perfect comfort food makeover! That is one of the things that I love about Skinnytaste’s recipes. She can turn a comfort food into a healthier version, and it still tastes delicious. Lasagna, whether faux or regular, often goes extremely well with a rustic Italian wine; a wine with bold tannins and a strong fruit flavor to stand up to a tomato sauce. With this meal, something like a Chianti or Nebbiolo would be just the ticket. If not an Italian wine, something strong and rustically Old World, like a Rioja or Cotes du Rhone would be perfect. Ok, I must have something like this on my shelf! This one? No… This one? No… How about this one? No… How could I have no Italian reds, Riojas, or Cotes du Rhone?! Wait…what’s this one? I found a California Ancient Vine Mourvèdre by Cline Cellars. I don’t even remember buying this wine, and I can’t recall a time that I have ever even had a Mourvèdre, so I don’t know why it was on my shelf. I couldn’t tell you anything about the grape, what it typically tastes like, or what it would go well with. It was because of my lack of knowledge of the grape that I decided to try it out.
I’m glad I did! After letting it breathe for an hour or so, the wine was absolutely was heavenly. It was the perfect amount of fruit and spice. There were plum jam and cherry flavors, as well as a hint of leather, mint and violet. It was medium bodied, and had low tannins, which makes it an easy drinking wine if you wanted to drink it by itself. There were so many layers to this wine that I didn’t know what to concentrate on first. It was all such a wonderful blend of flavors and complexities that left me wanting more. Mourvèdre is a wine I need to have and learn more about!
The Spaghetti Squash Lasagna was exactly what I wanted. It is an easy recipe to make, but takes some time to roast in the oven, so if you are going to make it, reserve about an hour to an hour and a half from start to table. It requires little attention, say for shredding a few cheeses, cooking some sausage, and mixing it all together. I was able to watch an entire Christmas episode of Downton Abbey while everything was cooking in the oven. What came out was an ooey, gooey, cheesy “lasagna.” The spaghetti squash was filling to the point where I didn’t even miss the noodles. There was enough sausage and cheese for a protein boost. The consistency was a little runny, but that is only because I didn’t drain the roasted squash as much as I should have because I was impatient. However, even with a watery consistency, the meal was delicious. The cheese was golden brown on top, and the inside mix was bubbling. I could see this being really good with ground turkey/ground chicken or eggplant.
And the combo of wine and food? Um…yeah no…not so much. The wine tasted like diluted grape juice. This wine that was so delicious on it’s own was gone. The food tasted the same, but the wine flavor was completely vanquished by the acidity of the dish. I ended up drinking my water during the meal and saved the wine for after the meal, where I was able to enjoy its flavors to the full extent. Sometimes, random pairings work, and sometimes, like tonight, they don’t. You win(e) some, you lose some. 2 grapes.
Wine: Cline Cellar’s Ancient Vines Mourvèdre ($15)