The Perfect Appetizer
An elegant cheese board makes for the perfect appetizer – with a quick visit to your local cheese shop or specialty cheese section and a few minutes to assemble, you have an appetizer that is a definite crowd-pleaser. Pair different styles of cheeses with different wines to accommodate red and white wine drinkers and include a variety of dried and fresh fruits to round out the selection.
Where Do I Start?
The perfect cheese board includes a wide variety of cheeses, fruits both fresh and dried, cured meats, and nuts. Start by choosing one cheese from each of the following categories:
Young and Fresh – this includes fresh cheeses like mozzarella and riccotta, but goat cheese is the most wine-friendly of this category. Try both spreadable goat cheese and the harder and more pungent aged crottin style. Pair young and fresh cheeses with rosés, sparkling wines, dry white wines, and low-tannin reds like Pinot Noir.
Soft, Medium-Aged – this includes cheeses that are still soft but are aged for a few months like Brie and Camembert. These cheeses are some of the most versatile on a cheese plate, pairing well with both white and red wines and with a variety of fruits as well. Not too soft and not too strong, these cheeses still have enough flavor to stand up to a wide range of wines.
Semi-Hard, Medium-Aged – Emmental, Gruyere, Jarlsburg, Monterey Jack and young Cheddar make up this category. Medium-bodied whites like Pinot Blanc, Viognier, and white Rhone Blends and fruit-forward, lighter-bodied reds like Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Zinfandel pair well with these cheeses.
Hard, Aged – Aged Cheddar, Gouda, Parmesan, Asiago. Pair these cheeses with bold reds and full-bodied white wines. The aging process concentrates the flavors of the cheese meaning they can hold their own against bold red wines. Look for cheeses aged longer than six months.
Classic, Can’t-Go-Wrong Pairings
Try pairing our Chardonnay with brie - the creaminess of the brie works perfectly with our medium-bodied Chardonnay. Experiment with different toppings including salami, fresh pear slices, almonds, and honey. For our Rosé, try pairing with fresh goat cheese on water crackers and topping with pistachios, dried figs, proscutto, or strawberry preserves. With our Red Blend, choose an aged cheddar, smoked gouda, or a wedge of asiago. Top with proscuitto or salami.
Assemble your cheese board by first placing the cheese, then adding crackers, toasts, and cured meats. Fill in the gaps with nuts, fruits, and fresh herbs for an effortlessly elegant look. Your guests will love discovering the diversity of flavors! Be sure to show us your creativity by tagging us in your photos with #GIFFTWines!
5 tbsp apricot preserves
1/2 cup dried mission figs, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup shelled pistachios
1/3 cup walnut hearts, roughly chopped
3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 round of French brie
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Thoroughly mix the apricot preserves, chopped figs, cranberries, pistachios, and chopped walnuts in a small bowl until well coated.
Place the round of brie in a small cast iron skillet or oven-safe dish.
Top the brie with the apricot mixture.
Bake at 400F for 10 minutes or until brie is warm and softened.
Once the brie is softened, turn the oven to broil and broil the brie for 30 seconds or until the nuts begin to brown (be careful not to burn the top).
Remove from the oven and decorate with fresh rosemary sprigs.
Serve immediately with sliced baguette or crostini.
At GIFFT Wines, we spend so much time caring for our vineyards, carefully selecting grapes, and crafting the best wines that it only makes sense that we would put just as much effort into ensuring the safety of our wines in transit.
Every aspect of the experience of taking a sip of wine, from the aromas that form in the glass after it is poured, to the way the tannins create a structured and silky mouthfeel, has been considered and meticulously created by our winemakers. As you can imagine, extreme heat and cold can easily damage these delicate and complex components.
Therefore, we are now offering temperature-controlled shipping to states where the temperatures put your order at risk for heat and cold damage. Our temperature-controlled service will protect your order from our door to yours, ensuring that every time you open a bottle of GIFFT Wines, you will experience the wine as it was intended. We are offering this service at no additional cost, knowing that your wines will be delivered in pristine condition.
Please know that we will be taking into consideration not only the temperatures of your area, but also the route that the wine would have to take in order to reach you. Many East Coast shipments pass through Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas before reaching their destination, so while temperatures in North Carolina might not be dangerous, spending a week in transit through very hot states would be dangerous. Additionally, while ambient temperatures may not be severe, being inside a delivery truck can add 10-15 degrees on top of outside temperatures and we also consider the high temperatures of the day, not just the average.
Our temperature-controlled service works a little bit differently than standard ground. With our temperature-controlled method, your order will travel in an air conditioned truck to a temperature-controlled hub. Then, your order will be packaged with ice packs and handed off to the carrier for final delivery. As soon as your order is accepted by the carrier, you will receive an email with your tracking code. Total transit time will be about two to three weeks and you will receive your tracking code 1-5 days before delivery.
We are so excited to be able to offer this service to you at no additional cost, knowing that your wines will arrive safe and sound to your door. If you have any questions or concerns about our temperature-controlled service, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 831.455.9990.
2015 GIFFT Pinot Grigio with Lemon and Rosemary Roasted Sea BassTotal Time: 30 mins
2 sea bass fillets, about 7 ounces each
6 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 lemon, horizontally sliced
Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Lay fillets on sheet, sprinkle with salt, drizzle with olive oil then lay lemon slices and rosemary sprigs on top. Place the fillets on the baking sheet and bake for 11 – 12 minutes until fish is cooked through but still tender. Serve with green salad and roasted fingerling potatoes.
1 gallon distilled water
Silicone ice trays and/or spherical ice molds
Assemble the flowers you would like to use and trim off the stem just below the blossoms. For ice that is clear instead of cloudy, use distilled water. Make sure the blossoms will fit inside your ice cube molds. Take the distilled water and pour a little into each mold, then add a blossom to each mold. Fill the molds until the flowers are covered with water. Freeze the cubes overnight.
In the morning, carefully remove the ice cubes from their molds. If using a spherical ice mold, run the mold under hot water for three seconds before attempting to open. Add as an elegant accent to your wine chiller for weddings, bridal showers, and garden parties!
2015 GIFFT Rosé with Grilled SausagesTotal Time: 10 mins
12 potato bratwurst-style hot dog buns
12 high-quality chicken or turkey smoked sausages
Assortment of favorite toppings (diced onions, pickel relish, saurkraut, etc).
Fire up your grill and set one half of the grill to medium high heat, setting the other half to medium-low heat. Once the grill has finished warming up, add the sausages to the medium-low side of the grill and allow them to heat through, about 5 minutes. Once the sausages have warmed, move them to the medium-hot side of the grill for another 5 minutes. Continue switching the sausages between medium-hot and medium-low sides of the grill until the center of the sausages reaches 150 degrees fahrenheit and and grill marks have appeared. The goal is to cook the sausages all the way through without burning them, or causing the casing to become tough.
Once the sausages are done, remove from the grill and let sit for 5 minutes. This brings them to edible temperature and allows the juices to settle evenly throughout the sausage, maximizing flavor. Serve with your favorite toppings and a chilled bottle of 2015 GIFFT Rosé for the perfect summer party!
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups thinly sliced yellow onions
6 cups beef broth
¼ cup GIFFT Chardonnay
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
1 baguette fresh-baked bread
2 slices Swiss or Gruyere cheese
4 slices Provolone cheese
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Melt butter with olive oil in an 8 quart stock pot on medium heat. Add onions and continually stir until tender and translucent. Do not brown the onions. Add beef broth, Chardonnay and thyme; simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Pre-heat the oven broiler; taste soup and adjust seasonings as needed. Ladle soup into oven-safe serving bowls and place one slice of bread on top of each (bread may be broken into pieces if you prefer). Layer each slice of bread with a slice Provolone, ½ slice Swiss and 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese. Place bowls on rimmed baking sheet and broil in the preheated oven until cheese bubbles and browns slightly. Serve immediately with a crisp green salad and chilled glass of GIFFT Chardonnay.
If you loved this recipe, we'd love to see your photos! Find us on Facebook or Instagram and show us your culinary prowess!
Food & Wine Pairing: One-Pot Penne Pasta with Chicken in a Chardonnay Wine Sauce with 2014 GIFFT Chardonnay
One Pot Penne Pasta with Chicken in a Chardonnay Wine Sauce
Serves: 4 for dinner
8 oz. penne pasta
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tbsp. butter
¾ cup GIFFT Chardonnay
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. half-and-half
2 tbsp. olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
Chopped fresh parsley
Bring water to a boil in a large pot and cook pasta until al dente; drain and set aside. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then heat the skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil, heat for 30 seconds, then add chicken breasts. Sauté for 4 - 5 minutes each side; once cooked, remove from pan and cut into strips. Return skillet to stove and melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes then sauté for three minutes, scraping bottom of pan to release any chicken bits. Add Chardonnay then cook for 7 minutes until reduced. Stir in cream, parmesan cheese and chicken; season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and additional parmesan cheese. Serve with GIFFT Chardonnay for a quick and elegant dinner.