Have you ever tried a wine and knew immediately what you wanted to eat with it? This is how I personally choose wines at wineries. I pair in my head what I want to make, and this prompts me to make a purchase. Sometimes, I know exactly what I want to make, but the people I would serve it to won’t try the meal. Sometimes I have to research more–especially with new-to-me grapes. I have a flavor profile in mind, but need some guidance to create that perfect plate. Enter the Georgian Grape–Saperavi. Lamb shank would be perfect, scented with rosemary and plated with potatoes but–NO–my family will not try lamb. I compromised with Cranberry Braised Short Ribs with Rosemary Polenta. BUT!!!! This was not a compromise at all. This was heaven.
Saperavi and Montifalco
On a recent trip through the Monticello AVA, we stopped by Montifalco Vineyards. This is a vineyard and winery I have wanted to visit for some time as several other wineries have recommended them. GOOD CALL! While chatting with Phil, the tasting room host, we met Justin Falco the winegrower and owner. His 2016 Meritage Reserve and 2017 Malbec Reserve were already high on my list (and I really can’t wait to share food pairings for these wines). He spoke of the upcoming bottling of his White Meritage as well as his future projects–like the 2000 Saperavi vines he planted on the property. My ears piqued and I knew this was someplace special. As a way to introduce us to Saperavi, he actually procured several bottles from a Moldovan Winery–Gitana–and sold them along side his bottles. I knew I had to try this wine and create a special meal to pair with it: Cranberry Braised Short Ribs with Rosemary Polenta.
Gitana 2017 Saperavi
- 🗺From Valul lui Traian IGP, Moldova
- 🍇 100% Saperavi with a 14% ABV
- ⏰ Hand picked grapes, clay amphora aged
- 👁 Deep purple with a magenta rim
- 👃🏼 INTENSE Aromas and flavors of: Polaner All-Fruit Seedless Raspberry Speadable Fruit. Very specifically this jam. Also potpourri, cranberry, cherry, black pepper, and a hint of juniper berries.
- 👅 Medium body, dry, with soft tannins, and high acidity. Soft and lingering finish of cherry. Very clean finish.
- 💰 $32
- 🥘 Suggested pairings include Cranberry Braised Short Ribs with Rosemary Polenta, Lamb, stews
- See more about Gitana Winery.
Cranberry Braised Short Ribs with Rosemary Polenta
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 3 pounds short ribs about 8 meaty pieces
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large red onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 5-6 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 1/2 cup cranberry juice or red wine
- 1 1/2 cup beef broth
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 cup milk or half-and-half
- 1/2 cup parmesan grated
- 2 tsp fresh rosemary chopped
wines–saperavi, red blend, grenache, cabernet sauvignon, sangiovese, or zinfandel
- Mix together flour, salt, and pepper and dredge short ribs on all sides. In large pot, heat oil and sear ribs in batches, on all sides. Return all ribs to pot.
- Add onions and garlic to pan, pour in cranberry juice or red wine, and add broth. Top with thyme and bay. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 3 hours, turning ribs every 30 minutes or so checking for tenderness. When they fall off the bone, they're done!
- Bring 2 1/2 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Combine cornmeal, cold water, and salt in a small bowl. Slowly add cornmeal mixture to boiling water while stirring constantly. This reduces lumps.
- Returns to a boil while stirring. Reduce heat to low. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes or until mixture is very thick, stirring often. Stir in milk, parmesan cheese, and rosemary. Mixture will continue to thicken upon standing.