About Matt.mmwine

Sommelier, wine writer, and overall Motor Mouth, I appear on various TV shows, host local wine events, and write about wine, food, cocktails, family & more!
Website: http://agoodtimewithwine.com
Matt.mmwine has written 198 articles so far, you can find them below.

About Matt.mmwine

Sommelier, wine writer, and overall Motor Mouth, I appear on various TV shows, host local wine events, and write about wine, food, cocktails, family & more!

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Here are my most recent posts

Pork and Pinot – A Perfect Pairing


Leave a comment on the video and let me know what you want to see next!

There are some days you just don’t want to slave over a hot stove, yet yearn for a delicious, home cooked meal. Managing your time between meal prep and other tasks, work, play, whatever, couldn’t be easier once you master the art of the crock pot! Toss four ingredients in the pot, let it cook for half the day while your attention is elsewhere, and the end result is a perfectly prepared, hot meal that’s delicious. All that you have to do is pop the cork on a nice wine to make this meal fabulous. That’s where I come in, taking this crock pot pork loin recipe and pairing a delicious red wine with it, a Pinot Noir from California.

As you saw in the short video, placing a 2-3 pound pork loin in the crock pot with about 3 cups of beef broth, eight thyme sprigs, and 4 or 5 whole cloves of garlic makes an amazing meal. While we cooked it, on a low setting, for 10 hours, it would have been ready after 6-8. The meal was positively delicious, but what really set it off was the wine pairing.  Pork goes famously with white wines, like Riesling or Gewurztraminer, but we really enjoy this dish with a Pinot Noir. I selected the $30 offering from Russian Hill, their Russian River Valley 2006.

Russian Hill has been family owned and operated since 1997, and produces a number of estate Syrah offerings in addition to their estate Pinot Noir wine and an estate grown Viognier. They also offer a Chardonnay sourced from a neighboring Dutton Ranch vineyard, numerous Pinot Noirs sourced from individual neighboring vineyards, and of course, the RRV Pinot Noir discussed in the video. Winemaker Patrick Melley, who is the nephew of proprietor Ed Gomez, is largely a self taught winemaker. His online biography mentions that mouthfeel is what he loves about wine most, and that indeed translates to his wines. Silky and soft, they dance on the palate.

The Russian Hill RRV Pinot Noir is sourced from multiple vineyards, selected from several small hands-on growers who offer fruit the team at Russian Hill feel creates a wine that represents the appellation as a whole. The summer fog provides moderate temperature during the day and cool nights, which results in wines with a bright acidity and full fruit flavor as the fruit ripens slowly. I thought this wine had great fruit that was beautifully balanced with smokey and earthy notes and a wonderful acidity that finishes softly.  This Pinot Noir is aged for 10 months in 100% French oak, 25% of which was new, which contributes those toasty, earthy notes. There were 2,000 cases of this wine produced, up from 1,370 in 2005. The wine has a velvety mouth feel, rich and supple, without being flabby. While it’s wonderful to sip on it’s own, it’s great with food. The video captures the tasting notes perfectly when this wine is paired with the right meal.

Do you have a recipe you’d like for me to prepare, then pair with the perfect wine? You can email me at matt @ mmwine.me or leave a comment below and we can collaborate. I’d love to feature your recipe on the blog!

Food and Wine Pairing – Grilled Grouper

Grilled Grouper recipe from Cooking Light http://is.gd/89SKo

Grilled Grouper recipe from Cooking Light http://is.gd/89SKo

My friends frequently ask for wine pairing ideas, and always love to help them out. I often just think about the last few wines I’ve had, and pick one or two of those. I’ve decided to start cataloging those recommendations here, to build a library and resource for everyone to use. There are, of course, dozens of places to find food and wine pairing tips, but I hope to make this your go to resource. Today, my friend Ron asked about pairing a nice white wine with Grilled Grouper for Valentines Day.

Grouper is a white, flaky fish, and is a staple here in South Florida. I’ve enjoyed it many ways, but Robin and I definitely opt for it grilled. It’s a clean flavor, and the grill just gives it the right seasonings. It’s also fairly easy to pair a host of wines with Grouper.

The first wine that comes to mind with Grouper is Chardonnay. While Grouper can definitely stand up to a buttery, toasty Chardonnay, such as Le Crema or Sonoma Cutrer, I would prefer to put it with a unoaked or lightly oaked Chardonnay. The first option that come to mind is Wente Wines Riva Ranch 2008 Chardonnay. For just $20, this wine offers great fruit, nice oak integration without being a hunk of wood in a bottle, and has great acidity that makes it very food friendly. The nose is bursting with pear and white flower scents, with bosch pear or yellow apple on the palate and a finish of spice that lasts a very long time.

Paraiso Chardonnay

Paraiso Chardonnay

The next Chardonnay that comes to mind to pair with grilled grouper is Paraiso, a Chardonnay from Santa Lucia Highlands, CA. Ripe tropical fruit (pineapple, citrus, melon) is teamed to rich viscosity, bright acidity, and a light overlay of vanilla from the gentle oak aging. For $19, this wine would make your meal rock.  Finally, a value Chardonnay that I have been talking about non stop, Gougenheim 2009 Chardonnay. This delicious white wine from Argentina offers a great balance of fruit and toasted notes from gentle oak aging. An easy drinking wine well worth it’s price of under $9.

Ch Les Maines Bordeaux Blanc 081

Ch Les Maines Bordeaux Blanc 081

If you want to try a different grape, Sauvignon Blanc and Grilled grouper would pair expertly. I have two in mind, as I just discussed them for television segments on Daytime, a nation wide morning show I contribute to. The first is Chateau Les Maines 2008 Cuvee Soleil D’or from Bordeaux, France. The nose is very fruit driven, with pear and “minerals” showing. The palate is crisp, with citrus and a little zip that really delights your tongue. Great acid on the finish, this $15 white wine will definitely work nicely with grilled grouper.

Jean Francois Merieau Touraine

Jean Francois Merieau Touraine

Another French white that I loved recently was Jean-Francois Merieau 2008 Touraine, a Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley, France. Also retailing for about $15, this white wine showed bosch pear on the notes, and had a soft, silky mouthfeel. Flavors of lemongrass and citrus fruits, there was perfect acidity and balance. It was a pleasure to drink, and it would fit in well on the dinner table with a white fish like Grouper. We paired this with shrimp sauteed in garlic and white wine, and it was a fantastic meal.

There are many other wine options to pair with Grilled Grouper, and I’d love to hear your ideas. Let me know which wines would make it to your table by leaving a comment below.

Chillin with Chili and Pairing wine

Best Spicy Chili and Wine Pairing

Best Spicy Chili and Wine Pairing

I have been on a quest to find really good chili for quite some time. I remember, as a child, my mom made a decent chili, but nothing to brag about.  Friends would rant and rave about their secret recipes, but never seemed to produce anything of quality. I’m not a chili afficionado, mind you, I just wanted something other than Sloppy Joes and Hot Sauce. Thankfully, my friend Karen, came through with her award winning chili recipe, which I’ll cook for you in the below video. It’s meaty, spicy, flavorful, and goes well with a host of wines.

Chillin with Chili and Pairing wine from Matthew Scott Horbund on Vimeo.

As far as I know, the recipe for this chili only exists here, and in Karen’s home. I don’t think her blog, GeoFooding, even lists it. Therefore, I’m honored to have the pleasure of sharing it with you. The recipe is rather involved, and takes a tad of work. The video is 13 minutes long, but tries to cover all of the steps taken to make this great dish. And of course, at the end, we talk wine.

There are many wines that could have been paired with this chili. Robin wished I went with a Riesling, similar to my Wine and Wings pairing, to cut the spice. She felt the fruit and slight sweetness would have been a welcome offset to the heat in the chili.  And you may have noticed I mentioned Twisted Oak in the video. While I confused The Spaniard’s Tempranillo with Grenache, I think it would have been a welcome wine pairing. The earthy, peppery flavors would really kick the chili up a notch! I selected a more round, fruit driven red wine, however, to pair with this spicy dish. I’m sure Jeff would call me a wimp!

Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel 2008

Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel 2008

Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel is a wine that I’ve discussed previously. It’s an easy drinking, fruit driven wine that is made from vines that range in age from 80 to 100 years old.  These vines produce a grape that has a very concentrated flavor, and offers a taste of plums and raisins, along with nice berry flavors. The high alcohol, 15%, doesn’t impact the flavors of the chili, and the wine compliments it nicely.

If you make this recipe, I’d love to know what you think! Did you kick up the heat a bit with some Cabot Jalepeno or Hot Habenero Cheese? Or did you just go with the Seriously Sharp Cheddar, because the chili was already smokin?  Leave a comment below! And without further ado…

Karen’s Amazing Chili Recipe

The International Chili Society prohibits beans, rice or pasta in chili.  If you want beans, I use black beans cooked separately and mixed in at the end.  Slow cook them with smoky bacon.

4 slices, smoky bacon, finely chopped

1 lb fresh ground chuck

½ lb ground pork

½ lb ground lamb

1 medium yellow onion, finely diced

4 cloves garlic minced

2 roasted, peeled poblano chilis, diced (I removed the seeds!)

1 small (2.6-3 oz) can chipotle peppers w/adobo sauce, minced

1 bell pepper roasted, peeled and seeded, diced

2 16 oz cans diced or stewed tomatoes, chopped

1 8oz can v-8 juice

2 tsp epazote or oregano

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp chili powder

½ tsp ground coriander seed

½ tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp ground fennel seed

3 dashes Worcestershire sauce

1 cup dry sherry (not cooking Sherry, go to a store like Total Wine and buy dry sherry)

1 bunch chopped cilantro

½ carrot grated (optional)

Preparation

In a large pot, brown meats, over medium heat, together until it has a nice brown color.  Pour off any accumulated fat and return to heat.  Add diced onion and garlic and stir until onion is translucent being careful not to burn the garlic.  If garlic starts to brown turn the heat down. Burnt garlic will ruin the dish and there is no saving it after that!

Add sherry and simmer until it is reduced by 1/3rd.  Turn heat to low and add spices, stir well and simmer for about 5 minutes so the meat can absorb some of the spice flavor.  Add all peppers and stir well.  Add, tomatoes, worcestershire sauce and ½ of the v-8 juice.  If you don’t want a very spicy chili, add the shredded carrot at this point to add sweetness.

Simmer, partially covered over low heat, stirring occasionally for about 2 hours to fully develop flavors. Tomatoes should practically be disintegrated.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, keeping in mind that the V-8 will add salt and the mixture will become saltier and spicier as it cooks down. Add V-8 juice as needed to keep the mixture moist. Stir in cilantro at the end, reserving some for garnish.

Mix with beans of serve over rice, top with shredded cheddar cheese (I like the Cabot habanera or jalapeño), cilantro and sour cream if desired.  It is also nice with a spoonful of queso fresco instead of the cheese and sour cream.

Bubbles, Bubbles Everywhere – Sparkling Wines for Valentines

Louis Roederer Cristal

Louis Roederer Cristal

If you aren’t a connoisseur of fine Champagne, there’s no doubt you heard of Dom Perignon, Cristal, or Veuve Cliquot from a James Bond movie and rap video.  Indeed, there’s no shortage of expensive Champagne poured each and every February 14th. This Valentines Day men and women everywhere will spend a decent amount of money on good Champagne, often not knowing inexpensive options exist. I’m here to let you know you can pour some fantastic bubbly, and still delight you sweetheart.

When I was asked to visit the CBS12, WPEC studio this week to talk about wines for Valentines Day, I wanted to do something different. Immediately my mind went to Rose wines, something all too often over looked. Once I settled on the Think Pink for Valentines Day segment, I was asked to fill in for a second segment, and came up with three Sparkling wines under $20. I ran into my local Total Wine, with thousands of bottles to choose from, I knew I would find some great options.

Louis Bouillot Perle de Nuit Blanc de Noirs Brut

Louis Bouillot Perle de Nuit Blanc de Noirs Brut

First up was Louis Bouillot (Lou-ee Boo-yoh)  “Perle de Nuit” Blanc de Noirs Brut. Their “Pearl of the Night”, this dry sparkler, made in Burgundy, is a light, crisp and delightful wine. With beautiful bubbles, the palate is light pears and fresh dough, the finish is clean, with a great cherry component. Made of 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Gamay, in the traditional method, the Louis Bouillot Blanc de Noirs is aged 24 months, well past the legal requirement of 9 months. This is a great sipper, and I wouldn’t pair it with anything other than good company. I grabbed this at Total Wine for just $16, and it was well worth the price.

You may have watched Kara Kostanich ask on the CBS segment about wines being called “Champagne”. Sparklers not made in the Champagne region of France can not be called Champagnes. The appellation for the Louis Bouillot is Cremant de Bourgogne, which covers France’s Burgundy region and features dry sparkling wines. And while Champagne holds their wines to a high measure of quality, so does the Cremant de Bourgogne appellation.

Rondel Pura Raza Semi-Seco Cava

Rondel Pura Raza Semi-Seco Cava

From France, we jet over to Spain, where a blend of the three traditional Cava grapes; Xarel.lo, Macabeo & Parellada make their appearance. Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine made by the traditional Champagne method, and includes fermentation in steel tanks, then a secondary fermentation in the bottle, which gives it the bubbles we love so much. Another Total Wine selection, this $8 sparkler is great. The Rondel Brut Cava has been very highly rated by several magazines, however I selected the Semi-Seco, or sweeter, offering. I felt that for Valentines Day, you may want a slightly sweeter wine, one that is fun and easy to drink. With flavors of dried pineapple or pear, it’s a tad sweet, but not cloying. It’s crisp on the finish, and pairs perfectly with Strawberries.  If you’ve ever wanted to try Champagne and strawberries, I highly suggest trying it with the Rondel Pura Raza Semi-Seco Cava!

Our final Sparkling wine brings us back to Europe, Italy to be precise. It’s time to talk about Brachetto, a sparkling dessert wine from Italy. If your sweetheart is a fan of desserts, this bubbly will be sure to hit the spot. I selected the Sant-Orsola Brachetto D’Acqui, a delicious gem for about $16 at Total Wine! Brachetto is a red grape that is found mainly in Piedmont, the northwest region of Italy. The cherry cola red color is brilliant, and the palate of dry raspberry with a slightly sweet note is balanced with a very clean finish. The sweet berry flavors of the Sant-Orsola Brachetto D’Acqui makes it a natural pair for several desserts.

Sant'Orsola Brachetto D'Acqui

Sant'Orsola Brachetto D'Acqui

Pairing this wine with a chocolate cake, or even a piece or two of chocolates from that heart you always bring your beloved, works wonderfully. The chocolate enhances the fruit flavor, and the two  work well together. I brought a chocolate mousse tart to the CBS set, and it was a very nice pairing. I’d also happily serve the Brachetto with fruit, or alone. It’s a very nice sipper, with a fun, fruity flavor.

There are, of course, hundreds of other wine options for Valentines Day. If these Sparklers don’t tickle your fancy, and you aren’t adventureous enough to try the Rose Wines I recommended, leave a comment below and I’ll try to help you find just the right wine for your Valentine.  And, if you do use one of the QPR Wines (wines with Good Quality to Price Ratio) I mentioned this weekend, don’t be surprised if your sweetheart looks at you, slyly, having read this article, and wants a bigger present with the money on the wine!

Three Great Wines For your Valentines

Valentines Day Wine Selection

Valentines Day Wine Selection

Many guys will admit they’re not the best when it comes to figuring out what women want. Perhaps it’s because women are complex beings, requiring careful time and study, and men aren’t that patient. Or perhaps it’s because men are selfish, hedonistic animals who really only care about their own needs. To help my brethren out this Valentines Day, I’m going to offer three wine suggestions that will make it seem like they understand what their ladies want, all without investing too much time, or too much money. My theme for this year’s Valentines Day wine choices is “Think Pink”, great Rose wines, one a sexy sparkler, that wont break your bank!

Now, I must admit, I had a little help to select these wines. Robin, my better half, made no bones about loving the color pink. My first clue was “Can I paint the house pink”, followed by an onslaught of pink clothes and accessories showing up on her side of the room.  However, the real giveaway was our being at a Champagne event, and her gushing “Ohh, I love pink champagne.” Ding ding, clue number one just dropped, go pick it up boys. Now, Robin didn’t actually help me make the selections, but for some reason, I knew she’d love them. We started off with a Sparkling wine from South Africa, Graham Beck’s Brut Sparking Rose – NV, from Robertson SA. Retailing at only $14, this wine delivers nice quality at a great price.

Graham Beck Brut Rose NV valentines day wine 2

Graham Beck Brut Rose NV

This light and crisp bubbly had a very nice, pale pink hue in the glass. It’s made from 58% Chardonnay and 42% Pinot Noir grapes, in the Cap Classique method, where the wine undergoes a second fermentation in the bottle.  This is of course the same method used to make Champagne, the  méthode Champenoise, and is the term used in South Africa since 1992 to denote the traditional time-honoured method of making the sparkler.  Right out of the bottle, there were strawberry fruit flavors up front, with a finish of minerals that is refreshing in a Brut (dry) sparkler. There were tons of bubbles, and it was definitely the perfect way to start off our evening. Giving this bubbly a few minutes to open up is a nice idea, because the minerals and almost tart finish blows off, and you’re enjoying nice round red fruit that is well balanced and fun.  You can serve the Graham Beck Brute Rose NV bubbly with seafood, or even rare beef or lamb, and of course the traditional strawberries will be a smash hit!

Saint Andre de Figuiere 2008 Rose Magali Cuvee Valentines day wine

Saint Andre de Figuiere 2008 Rose Magali Cuvee

If bubbles aren’t your thing, lets hop from South Africa to Provence, France and enjoy a glass of Saint Andre de Figuiere 2008 Rose Magali Cuvee. That’s certainly a mouthful, especially if your French is as bad as mine! However, it’s worth butchering the name, or saying Saint ANdre Rose if you must, to enjoy this crisp Valentines Day wine. Half of the rose wine made in France comes from Provence, and at $16 this blend of Cinsault, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache is sure to delight. It’s salmon-pink color gives way to a bouquet of sweet, ripe raspberries. It has a soft palate, very light and crisp with fresh fruit of citrus and red berries, and some beautiful minerality on the finish. Dry and well balanced, this rose will go well with a host of foods, from chicken to fish, or just sipping with a nice cheese plate.

Big Fire Rose valentines day wine 3

Big Fire Rose Wine

Bubbles didn’t blow her away, and dry French wine not her thing, well then lets pop over to the United States, and try a Rose from Oregon! R Stuart & Co’s Big Fire line has a number of nice wines at good prices, and their $12 Big Fire Rose is no exception. A darker shade of pink than the previous two wines, the Big Fire Rose has some cherry scents on the nose, but it wasn’t a very fragrant bouquet. However, the palate was definitely bursting with fruit, strawberry up front, with a medium body that bursts with flavor. There’s definitely some red cherry and other bright fruit on the wine, and the fruit flavors last an incredibly long time.  The Big Fire Rose is a blend of Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Pinot Gris, each grape bringing it’s unique and interesting characteristic to the blend. Definitely a fruit forward wine, you could enjoy this with a lighter dish, whether it’s a salad, or some simple grilled chicken.

Let me know what wine you have on this Valentines Day, and how you enjoy it. If it’s one of the three discussed here, let me know how you like it. And Ladies, don’t be shy! If you want to be sure you enjoy the wine you drink on Valentines Day, select one of these and just tell him to open and pour like a good man should!  Cheers!

You can watch my appearance on CBS12 WPEC talking about these great wines with Daybreak News Anchor Kara Kostanich!

Wine tasting with Matthew Horbund at Himmarshee Bar and Grille

Guests at Himmarshee Bar and Grille Twineup January 2010

Guests at Himmarshee Bar and Grille Twineup January 2010

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been host to five amazing food and wine events at Fort Lauderdale’s Himmarshee Bar and Grille. The old addage “Time Flies When You’re Having Fun” certainly applies in this case.  We’ve managed to bring together some of the most fun people South Florida has to offer in one amazing place, and introduced them to gastronomic delights and wine pairings to tantalize their palates. What started out as another “Tweetup”, where Twitter users socialize face to face rather than online, has turned into an open event where anyone can experience new tastes in food and wine. Recently the subject of a Conde Nast review as a fantastic destination to eat at in South Florida, 50 people gathered at Himmarshee’s Sidebar to taste three wines that were paired with culinary creations from Chris, Himmarshee’s Executive Chef.

Brilliant Bordeaux

Bordeaux Matchmaking

Bordeaux Matchmaking

In addition to introducing you to new grapes to try in 2010, I’d like to help make wine more fun and approachable.  A great opportunity to do that was the wine event I went to in Miami, where the wineries of Bordeaux were showcasing delicious wines that were great for every day. I hope the below write up helps take some of your fear of France away.

It was a dark and stormy night. No, really, it was probably the worst storm in 2009, but nothing would keep me from making the trip from West Palm Beach to Miami. The almost two hour drive during a torrential downpour was worth it, as I was on my way to one of the most hottest parties of the year. Part of the “Life Goes Better with Bordeaux” campaign, an effort to educate people on the quality and value associated with wines from Bordeaux, France, this event was going to be spectacular.

New Year New Grape – Viognier from Lange Twins

Lange Twins Viognier 2008

Lange Twins Viognier 2008

My mission this year is to help you discover new and fun wines to try, as well as continuing to make wine less intimidating, more approachable, and ultimately, more enjoyable! You’ve given me some great feedback on the first post of 2010, where I introduced some of you to Albarino and Carmenere. Today, we take a trip to Clarksburg, CA and talk about a white wine from Lange Twins, their 2008 Viognier.