At This Moment…#3

At This Moment….is a series that I expand on the day to day things that I see, do, read, eat and drink, and share them with you so that you too may be inspired by some of these things. In turn, I hope that you will share with me what is grabbing your attention…at this moment.

The Holiday Season almost always has a way of making memories. Family, friends, neighbors, and even strangers play a key role in producing some of our best holiday memories. At this moment…as we kick off December and the Holiday Season I want to share some things that I am enjoying, reading and drinking.

My Holiday wish to you: Whatever makes beautiful memories. Whatever is meaningful. Whatever brings you happiness. May it be yours this holiday season and throughout the coming year.

Buzzing about…At this Moment

I am keeping an eye on the news about how “Walla Walla wine industry prepares to battle phylloxera, a pest that kills grapevines” a story from the Oregonian.

The Seattle times shared a story about how WA State Sparkling Wines Surge in Popularity Beyond Special Occasions .

Loved this article by Paul Gregutt in Wine Enthusiast regarding Five Winemakers Creating Cult, Collectible Oregon Wines You Can Actually Find.

Bon Appetit Magazine is sharing something that most of us winelovers may have already known, You’re Not Going to Believe I’m Saying This, But Merlot Is Back.

If you have always thought about visiting the Willamette Valley Wine Region you might want to read this story, Steven Spurrier: A letter from Oregon, from Decanter.

Can Cannabis and Wine Coexist? is a big topic in states that have legalized marijuana and this story in Wine Spectator is reporting how “As California’s cannabis industry matures, development in winegrowing areas sparks conflict and concerns.”

Food and Holiday Celebrations…At this Moment

Like many others, my Holiday season is full of get-togethers and celebrations. Our first big Holiday party is coming up this week at our home with some friends and co-workers. The theme is a little out of the ordinary for the holidays, but I will be preparing a Mexican Dinner, to include Wood Fired Mexican Pizzas, Enchiladas, Pintos & Polso, Pulled Pork Sheet Nachos and much more. If you are interested in some of the recipes that I will be making you can visit my Pinterest Page and check out my ‘Let’s Eat – Mexican Dinner Party‘ Board.

Individual servings of 7-Layered Mexican Dip is great for large parties.

Reading…At this Moment

All during the month of December I am continuing to Study for the WSET Level 2 Exam early next year, here is a book I am reading and some flashcards that I am using to help in my studies.

I am also trying to learn as much about food and wine pairing as I can and this book has some valuable information.

Spirits…At this Moment

Available again this year from Heritage Distilling in Washington State, is a fun way to celebrate the Advent Calendar days in December. We have already began enjoying each days Spirit surprise and this Spirits Advent Calendar would also make a great gift for the Spirits lover on your holiday shopping list.

A festive mix of 24 mini bottles of vodka, gin, and bourbon by Heritage Distilling Co. Each 2019 Spirits Advent Calendar includes 24 – 50 ml bottles of:
BSB® -Brown Sugar Bourbon x 3
BSB 103® x 3
Dual Barrel Bourbon (Orange) x 2
Dual Barrel Rye (Orange) x 2
Lavender Flavored Vodka x 2
Huckleberry Flavored Vodka x 2
Blood Orange Flavored Vodka x 2
Heritage Vodka x 2
Heritage Gin x 2
Heritage Rye Whiskey x 2
Heritage Bourbon Whiskey x 2

“Christmas means fellowship, feasting, giving, receiving, a time of good cheer, home.” ~W.J. Tucker

I love making seasonal cocktails during the holidays. This Bourbon and Cranberry Cocktail made with Nightside Distillery’s 90 Proof Bourbon Whiskey is a great way to enjoy the taste of spicy grain and corn with hints of sweet fruit in this Bourbon.

CRANBERRY BOURBON COCKTAIL

This recipe makes 1 cocktail

2 ounces bourbon
2 ounces cranberry juice (100% juice, unsweetened)
1/2 ounce rosemary sage simple syrup*
Splash of lemon juice, freshly squeezed
Fresh rosemary and sage for garnish

In a glass filled with ice, add the bourbon, cranberry juice, rosemary sage simple syrup, and a splash of lemon juice. Stir to combine.

*Rosemary Sage Simple Syrup: In a medium saucepan, combine one cup of sugar and one cup of water. Toss in a couple sprigs each of fresh rosemary and sage. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. This will take 5-8 minutes. Strain the herbs from the simple syrup and allow it to cool completely before using.

Wine…At this Moment

All ‘Winecember’ long I will be enjoying and posting about some of my favorite Washington Wines for the holiday season.

Some of the Washington Wines that I will be sharing this month on Social Media and that are perfect to #SiptheSeason with include:
2017 Côte Bonneville Du Brul Vineyard Chardonnay
2018 Muret-Gaston French Creek Vineyard Chardonnay
2017 Three of Cups L’ermite Grenache
2017 JB Neufeld Two Blondes Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
2015 Baer Winery Ursa
2015 Betz Family Winery Père de Famille Cabernet Sauvignon
You can also visit the Washington Wine website to learn more about the 1000+ wineries in Washington

Many wineries offer special Holiday Gift boxes during the season and I would like to share a couple of those with you that I will be enjoying in case you a looking for your holiday party or a gift idea for the winelover on your shopping list.

Dunham Cellars

This three bottle gift box from Washington winery, Dunham Cellars in Walla Walla, includes a wonderful selection of their 2015 vintage wines including, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and a Riesling.

The full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon would make a fantastic cellar storing wine to be enjoyed now through 2030. Dunham Cellars 100% Syrah has layers of clove, allspice and vanilla flavors and a long fruity finish. Made to age, you can drink this beautiful Riesling now with your favorite holiday dish or tuck it away for a future special occasion.

Dunham Cellars has started their 12 Days of Shipping which means if you order your favorite Dunham wines today through December 12 you will receive 12 cent ground shipping on all wine orders. They can also add a custom note to personalize your gift, then sit back and enjoy the holiday season.

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.
– Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Muret-Gaston Winery

Another Washington winery that I would like to share is Muret-Gaston Winery from Benton City, WA. Muret-Gaston has 5 two bottle gift boxes available on their website and from now until December 14th they are offering penny shipping on these gift boxes for easy holiday gift giving.

One bottle each of Muret-Gaston 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2015 Petit Verdot and One box each of Chukar Cherries Ultra Dark Vanilla Almonds and Dark Chocolate Cabernet Cherries.

At Muret-Gaston each bottle of wine is produced from some of the finest vineyards in Washington State’s infamous Red Mountain and Wahluke Slope AVAs and handcrafted using a fusion of Old World and New World winemaking techniques. This attention to detail results in a fine bottle of wine, and each bottle of wine displays the hard work, tradition, and family values that Kyle and Amy Johnson, Owners of Muret-Gaston, hold dear.

One bottle each of Muret-Gaston 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2018 Chardonnay and One box each of Chukar Cherries Ultra Dark Vanilla Almonds and Dark Chocolate Cabernet Cherries.

In an upcoming Blog post I will be sharing more about Muret-Gaston Winery, as well as my conversation with Co-owner Amy Johnson and their fantastic Washington wines.

I am excited to share my thoughts and interests with you here and I thank you, as always, for reading.

This post may contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase by clicking on them, I will receive a commission, at no additional cost to you.

Images © Drink In Nature Photography and Drink In Life Blog.

A Word with the Winemaker- Angela Jacobs of WineGirl Wines

When I travel to a winery for the first time it is always an incredible honor to be able to speak with the winemaker about their history, wine making styles, successes, and challenges. In this new series, A Word with the Winemaker, I will be sharing some of these one on one wine conversations.

“A winemaker never, never changes the character of a wine. The character comes from the grapes.” – Michel Rolland

Image courtesy of WineGirl Wines.

There can be many reasons to visit a new winery, you get the first hand experience of tasting wines that are not likely to show up in a local wine store, and if you are lucky you will get the chance to meet the owner and winemaker which allows for some great insight into their story and winemaking process.

Angela Jacobs Owner and Winemaker of WineGirl Wines

Firmly at the helm of one of Lake Chelan Wine Valley’s great producers, Angela Jacobs is crafting some outstanding Washington wines and telling a story with each of her eye catching wine labels.

Angela has been a wine maker for over 18 years, a career path that is both diverse, and has commonality with her Science background and degrees in Biochemistry and Cell & Molecular Biology. Following graduation in 2003 her keen interest in wine, which began in college and gave her the nickname WineGirl, prompted Angela to follow the world’s grape harvests and learn winemaking skills from renowned winemakers.

After some time spent in Oregon as an Enologist in the Willamette Valley, Angela answered the deep desire to develop her own wines under her own label by returning to Seattle and purchasing two tons of ultra-premium grapes from Red Mountain, WA. Hence, WineGirl wines was founded in 2007, when Angela licensed her first winery in Seattle and produced her debut vintages of WineGirl Wines which included Viognier, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. In 2010 Angela made Lake Chelan Wine Valley her home due to the areas potential this area of Washington state has to become a ‘world-class wine destination’. WineGirl Wines now calls the Village of Mason, along the north shore of Lake Chelan, its home with the wine operations and tasting room situated in the heart of this charming lake side town.

With this amount of winemaking experience I was curious what Angela felt one of the most important variables of Lake Chelan was, and what set it apart from other Washington Wine regions and AVAs.

I think Lake Chelan, when compared to every other AVA on the coast, has screaming potential as a unique wine region producing equally unique and stunning wines. I feel the lake effect produces intense flavors like none other especially for spicy varietals such as Syrah, Gewurztraminer, and Malbec. The spicy characteristics of these wines stands out stunningly and the wines are never aggressively over ripened. Oftentimes, winemakers in warmer regions go for the ripest they can get and end up with wines that are too high in alcohol with flabby acids and too much overripe oxidized, raisin characteristics that get in the way of the natural characteristics of the fruit. In Lake Chelan you get a well balanced wine with alcohols that are moderate, and acids that are perfectly balanced needing little adjustment, and flavors that profile the actual varietal characteristics of the grape. I also grew up visiting this area with strong family ties to the region, combined with my passion for winemaking, the pairing was perfect.

When asked what the most rewarding things about her job was Angela shared;
“The most rewarding thing about my job is seeing the look on a guest’s face when they have found their favorite wine and it has made their day.”

The day that I visited Angela at the WineGirl Wines in Lake Chelan they were busy with the Fall Harvest and in between driving the fork lift and watching over the process of juicing the Syrah, Angela and I talked about her favorite varietals to work with.

“I love working with all the different types of rosés. Each one is SO unique. So the complexity and comparisons are so much fun. I love working with barrel fermented Viogniers and Chardonnays. The body and flavors are so alluring and the bouquet during fermentation is what I want heaven to smell like. I feel like red wines make themselves, so I love working with many different vineyards so that I can achieve the perfect blended balance for Syrahs or Malbecs. We often have more than one version in a year of Malbec or Syrah, so that our guests can find their favorite. Malbec is always one of my favorites and for which we are well known.”

2019 Syrah Harvest

Angela has a passion for letting the grapes express themselves and she believes that her story as the winemaker will be told in how she guides the grapes into the wine they will become with as soft of a hand as possible.

I often wonder if winemakers are seeing a change in the grape harvest due to climate change and if so how does that affect their winemaking process. Angela shared with me a little about what her thoughts were regarding climate change.

“I’m not sure I could attribute changes in growing seasons to climate change per se, since I suppose I would likely want data from more than 20 years to look at, however, yes the last ten years have been quite different for the Lake Chelan area. In 2011 and 2012 they were very cold and we saw very high acid profiles in a lot of the red wines, and flat out unripened tannins in 2012, that every winemaker in the state was grateful to finally sell out of. No other year since, had that problem, but many of those nice and warm “ideal growing” years, had fires in all different regions of the state including 2012 and 2015 and 2017 for Lake Chelan area. I would say the 2017s, however were not affected like the 2012s and 2015s were affected by smoke taint. It’s all so crazy how many and how different the variables are each year and for each individual vineyard even. I think because of all this variability, my winemaking style has developed to “cast a wide net” and include many small lots of wines. Thus, any one lot in particular that may not turn out “naturally superior” may be able to be a part of a blend that is looking for exactly that acid hit or smoky flavor. And, my favorite thing about all the selection is that then my guests can find multiple favorites from our large portfolio of annual releases.”

At the WineGirl Wines tasting room I sampled a variety of their current releases and came home with a few bottles to enjoy. A stand out favorite of mine was the 2017 Syrah which had such a unique flavor profile with incredible notes of vanilla. (Just a note this wine may be sold out now).

2017 Syrah: Roses Lake Vineyard in Lake Chelan
WineGirl Wines produces a large array of wines to include; Red Blends, Malbec, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, a Tinta Roriz Port, Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Semillion, and Chardonnay.

A perfect wine for the holiday season you can see my post on how I paired this lovely Gewürztraminer with a seasonal Spiced Gin Pear Cake here.

After talking about some of her current releases I asked Angela if she had a favorite wine or vintage and what elements played a part in making that wine or vintage unique, here’s what she told me:

“Every year in the last ten has been so different. From freezing cold overall temps in 2011 and 2012 to aggressive heat profiles in 2013, to this currently wet and cold end of 2019. I think we enjoyed a series of more consistent “more like normal” years in 2016 and 2017 and 2018, although in 2017 in particular we saw little ripening in September because, although a beautiful fall, it never got over 70, thus the grapes just kinda hung out and the brix levels never really rose before harvest. I was on pins and needles to see what the flavors would be like for the reds, but they have turned out to be some of the best ever, perfectly balanced.”

Always looking to try something new and expand on her wine making talents, Angela told me that her newest ventures include releasing their first “Pet-Nat Sparkling Wine this winter and next year they already have new plans for summertime fun in Lake Chelan.

A trip to Lake Chelan are would not be complete without a visit to the incredibly friendly and down to earth WineGirl Wines. If you are lucky you will be able to chat with Angela while tasting her exceptional wines and find out what new and exciting things this incredibly busy winemaker has on deck.

I want to thank Angela and the rest of the staff at WineGirl Wines for allowing me to be part of their Syrah pressing day and for the memorable wine tasting experience.

Images © Drink In Nature Photography and Drink In Life Blog.

At This Moment…#2

At This Moment….is a series that I expand on the day to day things that I see, do, read, eat and drink, and share them with you so that you too may be inspired by some of these things. In turn, I hope that you will share with me what is grabbing your attention…at this moment.

Last week an early morning flight to Santa Fe allowed for an amazing glimpse of a Sunrise over Mt Rainier

“Be Happy for this moment. This moment is your Life.” -Omar Khayyam

Travel…At this Moment

After a week exploring the charming town of Santa Fe, Mexico I came home with many culinary treasures to use during the holiday season thanks to visits to The Savory Spice Shop and Santa Fe Olive Oil . I am looking forward to sharing more about these Santa Fe locations in an upcoming blog post along with recipes that incorporate this unique ingredients.

Santa Fe also charmed me with it’s selection of New Mexico Wines. Visits to Noisy Waters Winery’s tasting room in SantaFe, as well as Gruet and Vivác Winery, made for some enjoyable afternoons sipping local wines and talking about the rising popularity of New Mexico wines. I will also be sharing more about these impressive New Mexico Wineries very soon.

Buzzing about…At this Moment

Earlier this month a case of Bordeaux wine docked at the ISS as part of a biological research project called WISE: Vitis Vinum in Spatium Experimentia. It is the first wine experiment aboard the space station. Wine cellar in space: 12 bottles arrive for year of aging

Due to growing competition with craft beer, cider, spirits and other drinks like hard seltzer, wine sales are experiencing continually lower sales numbers around the globe. Good Fruit Grower posted this article, Growers switch gears after grape glut that shares some valuable information about why the Wine grape industry is hitting a period of oversupply and lower prices.

Just in time for the Holiday Season The Seattle Times shares the best wines to go with your holiday feasts from the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia.

Not surprising Treveri Cellars NV Blanc de Blancs made The Seattle Times list.

Wine…At this Moment

National Zinfandel Day is November 20th and I am gearing up to share some of my favorite Zinfandel wines, including this beautiful wine from Seghesio Family Vineyards.

Wine and Spirits Advent Calendars have become increasingly popular over the last few years. My husband snagged this one for me from a local store. I will be sharing highlights from this advent calendar during the month of December.

Food…At this Moment

The next week will be busy preparing for Thanksgiving and our first Holiday Party. Each year I make the same family favorites when it comes to food being put on the Thanksgiving table, but I also like to add something new to change it up a bit and surprise everyone. My friend Shaun Myrick has some incredible recipes on his blog and this year I hope to incorporate one of them into my menu planning; Rosé Cranberry Sauce .

I am excited to share my thoughts and interests with you here and I thank you, as always, for reading

Lake Chelan Wine Valley’s Rocky Pond Winery

At Rocky Pond Winery it is all about family which is evident with the beautiful array of family photos that adorn a wall in their Chelan, WA tasting room. This boutique Washington winery is owned by David and Michelle Dufenhorst, who’s wine making journey began 2015 when they purchased their first established 50-acre vineyard, Clos CheValle. Shortly after their second vineyard, Double D Vineyard was added and this 165-acre site, was planted with mostly red varietals.

Clos CheValle Vineyard

Touring the Clos CheValle Vineyard is a great way to get a better appreciation for the decade old vines that scatter the 1250 to 1600 foot elevation hillside. With magnificent views of Lake Chelan, Clos CheValle the vines of the vineyard mingle with the residential homes that make up Clos CheValle. Walking trails take you past an array of high-quality Pinot Noir and Pinot Menunier grapes, along with outstanding Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay, Viognier and some Syrah.

Strolling through the vineyards, surveying the geography, experiencing the weather and then tasting the wines, you begin to realize how grapes are truly an expression of where they are grown.

Shane Collins, the winemaker for Rocky Pond Winery since 2017, has deep roots in the Lake Chelan area and that is reflected in his winemaking process. Although, I did not get to met Shane in person while visiting Rocky Pond Winery due to his busy harvest schedule, he was kind enough to answer some questions for me by email. Considered one of Washington wine’s rising stars by Seattle Magazine I asked Shane why he choose to stay in the Lake Chelan Valley to produce wine as opposed to the other wine regions in Washington State.

“I grew up in Lake Chelan growing apples. Being able to make wines from the same soils and area that family has farmed for 4 generations is very important to me. The geology and geography of Lake Chelan is so different from most grape growing regions in our state. We grow and create wines that are discernible from our neighbors to the south, mostly in acidity. Something that unfortunately is disappearing in modern wines.”

One cannot visit Lake Chelan without thinking of terroir

The uniqueness of Lake Chelan terroir began with a glacier that formed the lake and guarded the region from the massive geological event of the last ice age known as the Missoula Floods. The glacier set the deposits of the layered metamorphic rock and granite soil in the valley which was then covered by volcanic ash when the Glacier Peak volcano erupted. With the ideal soil composition in place and the addition of high-desert climate along with moderate temperatures due to the lake effect, the land surrounding Lake Chelan has become an ideal location for growing wine grapes.

Clos CheValle Vineyard is producing some awards winning wines, like Rocky Pond’s 2017 100% Estate Gewurztraminer which grabbed silver at the Seattle Wine Awards

Walking through working vineyards, seeing wildlife and experiencing hilltop views gives you a true appreciation for the Lake Chelan Wine Valley.

Rocky Pond’s Tasting Room in Chelan

The Rocky Pond tasting room is a nice modern gem that is warm and welcoming, with a large array of seating options available both indoor and outdoor. Offering both genuine hospitality and some of the areas best wines, the staff at Rocky Pond will walk you through a tastings with enthusiasm and exceptional wine knowledge.

Chelan tasting room manager Jill Babcock, is extremely knowledgeable about wine did a wonderful job introducing me to each of the Rocky Pond wines on the tasting menu.

2017 Pinot Gris

Made from 100% Estate Clos CheValle Pinot Gris the 2017 Vintage from Rocky Pond has a lovely golden color and a multi layered bouquet of fresh Chelan fruit and spring flowers. On the palate the wine is full of soft white summer fruit flavors with a citrus tease.

Winemaker Shane states the most rewarding things about producing Rocky Pond Wines is “Being able to create wine and products people enjoy and want to share with those close to them. I also love that I get to see a lot of sun rises.”

2016 Pinot Noir

An enchanting Ruby color welcomes you in this 100% Pinot Noir from the Clos Chevelle Vineyard. With each sip of this 2017 Pinot Noir you know that you are drinking a uniquely crafted Washington Pinot, its bold red fruit and spice flavors had me dreaming of pairing it with a perfectly grilled salmon.

When asked which Rocky Pond wine or vintage was his favoirte and what elements made this wine or vintage unique, Winemaker Shane replied;
“One is our 2017 Clos CheValle Lake Chelan AVA Syrah. Co-fermented with 6% viognier the wine is also leaner with cooler climate flavors and mouthfeel giving it its own personality far different from reds we grow at our warmer Double D site.”

“The simple act of opening a bottle of wine has brought more happiness to the human race than all the collective governments in the history of earth”
-Jim Harrison

Shane also shared that next year he is planning on doing more work with alternative vessels, like concrete, for upcoming vintages.

2016 LA DOMESTIQUE

This multi award winning Right Bank Bordeaux style wine is a perfectly executed blend of 70% Merlot and 15% of Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Malbec. With an aroma of raspberry flavored hot chocolate and flavors of orchard fresh dark Washington cherries and plum, this is a wine that deserves a taste when you visit Rocky Pond. The best sip of the tasting I couldn’t imagine going home without a bottle of this wine.

I asked Shane if there was a favorite varietal he liked to work with and he replied, “For me it has been Gewürztraminer for many years. A wine that gets little love but when done right is absolutely beautiful and stunning. It is uniquely perfumed but most important it has a higher malic acid that gives it more punch when most are fat and oily as well as sweet.”

Rocky Pond Winery shares some great advice on their website that they received years ago while traveling in France.

“Don’t save your best wine for formal occasions; celebrate your best wine with family and friends”.

Recently, Wine Press Northwest named Rocky Pond its 2019 Washington Winery to Watch and with their large variety of quality, award winning wines it is easy to see why. I highly recommend visiting one of the Rocky Pond tasting rooms or checking out their website to order Rocky Pond wines for the upcoming holiday season.

A trip to Rocky Pond Winery in Chelan can also offer an incredible experience to enjoy the natural beauty of this region, along with a sense of peace and quiet that you may be looking for.

Rocky Pond Winery has two tasting rooms in Washington state, one in Chelan at 212 E Woodin Ave. and the other is located in the Warehouse District in Woodinville at 19501 144th Ave NE #B600.

Images © Drink In Nature Photography and Drink In Life Blog.

Spiced Gin Pear Cake and Washington Gewürztraminer

The arrival of Bartlett pears in the late summer marks the beginning of pear season, a season that then peaks in the fall. The beauty of fresh ripe pears is in the endless ways these sweet juicy fruits can inspire thoughts of Autumn desserts. This year the Northwest Pear crop was one of the largest on record and on my drive home from a recent trip to Lake Chelan, WA, I couldn’t resist stopping at a fruit stand in Leavenworth to pick up a few pounds of this years bountiful crop.

Spiced Gin Pear Cake

I used is Trillium Gin from Oregon Distillery, Trail Distilling, but you can use any gin you fancy. I just love the beautiful notes of citrus, juniper and floral flavors in this gin, it added so much earthiness to the mild Bartlett pears.

You can find out more about Trail Distilling on their website.

“There are only ten minutes in the life of a pear when it is perfect to eat.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

The addition of fresh lemon zest to this cake gives it a brightness that also brings out the richness of the warm spices.
Thyme brings everything in this cake together and elevates it from a simple dessert to something that deserves a spot on the table during your next brunch or dinner party. The addition of fresh herbs is great way to experiment with adding a bit of savory flavor to your baking.
This cake isn’t complete without a dusting of powdered sugar.

This Spiced Gin Pear cake is honestly an ode to the season, and it can be an easy “go to” cake all winter long. I loved this recipe so much that I decided to add it to the dessert table at Thanksgiving. It’s that good.

The trip to Lake Chelan Wine Valley also gave me the opportunity to bring home some Washington wines that I knew would pair perfectly with Autumn desserts. One of those wines was this 2018 Reserve Gewürztraminer from WineGirl Wines. I loved the low 1.5% sugar in this Gewürztraminer and its slightly spicy, white peach flavor. It was a beautiful wine to enjoy with a slice of warm Spiced Gin Pear cake.

I am such a sucker for sweet wines, especially Gewürztraminer with its sweet and seductive floral bouquet.

Spiced Gin Pear Cake

This Spiced Gin Pear cake is the perfect dessert for entertaining and for pairing with a Gewürztraminer, Riesling or dessert wine. Loaded with lush ripe pears, fresh thyme and fragrant gin this cake is sure to be a crowd pleasure.

Ingredients

  • 4 Ripe Pears (I used Bartlett Pears)
  • 6 Sprigs of Thyme
  • 1 cup Flour
  • 1 tsp Ground Cardamon
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Nutmeg
  • ¾ tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp Pink Himalayan Salt
  • 2 Large Eggs at room temperature
  • ¾ cup Raw Sugar
  • 3 tbsp Gin
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • cup Buttermilk at room temperature
  • ½ cup Butter, melted plus more for greasing parchment paper
  • 2 tbsp Demerara Sugar
  • Powdered Sugar for dusting

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Place a piece of parchment paper into an 8-or 9-inch cast iron pan and grease with butter.
    2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, baking powder, and salt. In a separate large bowl, beat the eggs until foamy. Whisk in the sugar, gin, and vanilla extract. Pour in the buttermilk and whisk to combine.
    3. Peel, halve, and core 3 of the pears, then cut them into 1/2-inch-thick cubes. Reserve the remaining pear (unpeeled, and cut into 1/4-inch slices) for the top.
    4. Add half of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, stirring until just combined, then gently fold in half of the melted butter. Repeat with the remaining flour and butter. Gently fold in the cubed pears, reserving the slices. Add the leaves from 5 thyme leaves.
    5. Transfer the batter to the pan and arrange the pear slices in a circular pattern on top of the batter. Sprinkle with demerara sugar and the remaining thyme leaves. Bake until the cake turns a deep golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean, about 55 minutes.
    6. Transfer the skillet to a cooling rack and let sit for 5 minutes. The cake may be served warm or at room temperature, directly from the skillet; whichever you choose, be sure to dust with confectioners sugar before serving.

If you make this Spiced Gin Pear cake I would love to hear what wine you paired it with.

Images © Drink In Nature Photography and Drink In Life Blog.