by Christine Ritenour, Intermediate Sommelier and Rogers Ford Farm Winery Tasting Room Associate
I have loved to cook since I was a teenager and I still remember hosting dinner for my fellow swim team
captains my senior year in High School. I loved reading cookbooks and decided to prepare minestrone
for the first course, and the second course was chicken and veal cannelloni wrapped in homemade pasta
and topped with James Beard tomato sauce. Of course, there was no wine with that dinner, but over 40
years later I still remember that meal. I love preparing food for family and friends, and in 2023 I took the
next step by earning my intermediate sommelier certification. Now I’m enjoying pairing my food
with wonderful wines and sharing my wine finds!
I was thinking about a pairing for the newly released Rogers Ford First Frost Vidal Blanc. When I
poured a glass and swirled, I saw the wine has some legs, indicating that it has some residual sugar typical of a late-harvest wine. On the nose, I detected tropical and citrus aromas. Upon sipping, I got an almost candied pineapple taste on my palate, but I also noticed it has a medium-high acidity. I knew the acidity level would play off well with salty and bitter notes and the sugar would counterbalance spiciness. I wanted to see if I could change the wine’s taste when I drank it with my meal.
I decided to try a Thai dish and add some bitter elements by adding a grilled or roasted vegetable. Many
Thai dishes have heat and umami/salty elements provided by fish sauce, and squeezing a fresh lime over
the dish adds a wonderful citrus burst in the mouth. I headed to the kitchen and created a Thai-inspired
dish that should balance with the wine: Thai Red Curry with Coconut, Chicken and Roasted
This dish paired nicely with the First Frost. I noticed the candied pineapple now came across my palate
as a ripe pineapple with citrus notes brought out by the lime juice; the creaminess from the coconut
milk and the bitter and salty were balanced out by the acidity in the wine; and finally, the heat stayed at a
pleasant level when the sugar in the wine hit my palate.
April Wine Club members will be getting the First Frost wine in their wine club bag! It is a lovely wine to
sip after dinner, sitting on the deck as you watch the sun dip down and the fireflies come out. Try it with
your favorite Thai take out or try the recipe below!
Thai Red Curry with Coconut, Chicken & Roasted Cauliflower
Makes 4 servings
2-3 ounces Red Thai Curry Paste (I used Mike’s Organic Curry Love – Red Thai Curry Paste)
1 medium head of cauliflower, washed and cut into bite-size pieces
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs – diced *
3 Tbsp oil
Salt & Pepper
1 hot pepper, seeded and diced (for extra spice leave the seeds and ribs in.) Use whatever pepper you
enjoy or can find that day.
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 Tbsp fish sauce
Sliced Green onion & pepper slices, Cilantro, and Lime
Heat the oven to 400 F. Tip: I use my convection toaster oven.
Place cauliflower and sheet pan and drizzle with 2 Tbsp oil and season with S&P and toss.
Cook the cauliflower until they are nicely browned, about 25 minutes – stir after first 15 minutes.
In the meantime.-
In a skillet heat the remaining 1 Tbsp oil and sauté the chicken until they start to brown.
Stir in diced hot peppers.
Add pouch of Red Thai Curry paste, fish sauce and coconut milk – stir to combine.
As soon as cauliflower is golden brown stir into pan.
Bring to simmer for 5-10 minutes to combine flavors and finish cooking chicken.
Serve over rice and garnish with sliced green onion, sliced peppers, cilantro leaves and lime wedge for
squeezing over the dish.
Pour a glass of First Frost Vidal Blanc and Enjoy!
Sommelier tip – make sure your wine it not too cold – to appreciate the beautiful aromas in your wine, serve at 55 degrees. Simply place your white wine in the refrigerator 15-20 minutes before you plan on serving it for the perfect serving temperature.
*To make this a vegan/vegetarian meal swap out the chicken with diced sweet potato or butternut
squash and roast those with the cauliflower and combine with the sauce (skip the fish sauce) or if you’re
a pescatarian try it with shrimp.
Note: additional hot pepper is optional, but I enjoyed the extra heat with the Mike’s curry paste