Giving the gift of wine is an expression of taste, history, culture, and art. Wine is that and so much more. Opening a bottle of wine slows our daily pace down. We pause and savor what is in the bottle, and gathers us around the table. If you are a wine lover or have one on your gift giving list, why not give wine?! L’Ecole No 41 offers holiday wine gift boxes and wine club memberships to delight the wine enthusiast and adventurer. Receiving a bottle of wine is the perfect excuse to come around the table with family and friends for a winter dinner.
This past year it has been my privilege to collaborate with L’Ecole No 41 winery. Tasting their wines throughout this last year has broadened my knowledge of Washington State wines, the L’Ecole story, now in its third-generation, and the premium quality wines they produce. What better way to celebrate this collaboration than preparing a winter dinner to pair with the holiday gift box from L’Ecole containing a bottle of their 2020 Chenin Blanc Old Vines, Yakima Valley and 2018 Syrah Estate Seven Hills Vineyard, Walla Walla Valley.
My Wine Tasting Notes
Disclosure: The Holiday Wine Gift Box was provided to me as a media sample. All opinions are my own.
2020 L’Ecole No 41 Chenin Blanc Old Vines, Yakima Valley
13.5% abv | $17.00 L’Ecole No 41 | 100% Chenin Blanc
Pale straw in color. Vibrant aromas of chamomile, citrus, stone fruit, chalk, and quince. On the palate, dry with medium(+) body and acidity. Flavors of citrus, pear, quince, and minerals with a round soft mouthfeel. Well balanced with lingering layers of complexity.
2018 Syrah Estate Seven Hills Vineyard, Walla Walla Valley
15.0% abv | $36.00 L’ Ecole No 41 | 100% Syrah
Deep ruby in color with a purple rim. Aromas of blackberries, vanilla, and dried herbs. On the palate, dry, full bodied with medium(+) tannins, and acidity. Flavors of blackberries, black currants, plum, dried herbs, smoke, leather, and star anise. Well balanced with a long lingering finish.
Winter Dinner Pairings
I love a well-thought-out seasonal menu for a gathering of friends and family or just a Sunday Supper. I started with a boneless leg of lamb for a winter dinner and stuffed it with rosemary, thyme, and Dijon mustard. Syrah and lamb are classic pairing partners. A roasted vegetable side dish of baby carrots, fennel, and pomegranate seeds adds color and brightness to the winter table. The slight sweetness of the roasted vegetables with the juicy acidity of the pomegranate seeds paired nicely with similar elements of the Chenin Blanc. And finally a creamy mashed potato gratin completes the dinner.
My winter dinner inspiration comes from Lush Life, Food & Drinks from the Garden, Valerie Rice (Creamy Mashed Potato Gratin) and Dinner in French, Melissa Clark (Roasted Carrots & Fennel with Pomegranate Vinaigrette.)
Wishing you a Happy Holiday Season filled with good wine, food, family, and friends.
Roasted Leg of Lamb Stuffed with Herbs and Dijon Mustard
- 5 lb. boneless leg of lamb
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1½ tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon grape seed oil
- rosemary sprigs for garnish, optional
- If the lamb comes with a mesh covering, remove it and open the leg of lamb on a flat surface, boned side up. Dry it completely.
- Spread the mustard on the boned side of the lamb. Sprinkle with the rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. Fold the two sides back to the center. Use kitchen string and securely tie at 2-inch intervals to hold the shape. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Let the lamb roast come to room temperature before roasting about 2 hours)
- Preheat the oven to 325° F
- Season the outside of the lamb with salt and pepper. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium high heat and add one tablespoon of grapeseed oil. Add the lamb roast to the skillet and brown evenly on all sides, about 10-15 minutes total. Transfer the lamb in the cast-iron skillet to the preheated oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer registers 135°F at the thickest part for medium-rare. About 1½ hours or 18 minutes per pound.
- Let the lamb roast rest for 30 minutes before slicing. Make sure to remove the string. Slice the lamb in thin slices and garnish with rosemary sprigs.