Wine Adventures

Last week, we attended our 3rd wine dinner at Carrabba’s Italian Grill. These dinners are great because you get to eat your favorite recipes, sample dishes on their hidden menu, and taste four wines for between $40-50 per dinner. During our last dinner, a couple was asking us about our wine adventures. This is something people ask us from time to time so I thought I’d share. Jeremiah estimates we’ve been to 30 wineries for tastings. Here are a few of our favorites.

  • Sommerset Ridge Winery and Vineyard – Located in Miami County, KS just about us_alter.jpga mile and half past the Louisburg Cider Mill, this is the home to absolutely one of our favorite wineries. On the weekends, they often have music in nice weather months and occasional food trucks. Here are a few of our favorites: Oktoberfest, Buffalo Red, Avalon, Ambrosia, Citron, and Tawny Port. Did I mention we love them so much that we used one of our wine corks from them on Jeremiah’s boutonniere he wore during our wedding?
  • Windy Wine Co. – Located just east of St. Joseph, MO, we loved so many of their wines. My husband and sister had a chance to sample them at the Northwest Missouri Wine Fest. It started storming by the time arrived so I wasn’t able to test any. That lead us to a Sunday Drive to the winery. They even have a bottle called Peanut Butter & Jelly. Apparently, the owner is a huge fan of giant Reese Peanut Butter Cups. I’m talking one of those several pounds big. His family bought him one from the store while we were sampling. Here are some of our favorites: White Chocolate Strawberry, Caramel Apple, Raspberry, Good News Dread, Spiced Pear, and Blackberry Cobbler.
  • Weston Wine Company – Located in downtown Weston, we sampled this winery IMG_0496on our way to my 40th birthday weekend at Arbor Lodge. It was raining and this cheery purple building was home to some delicious wines. I liked them so much, we joined their wine club. Quarterly, they host a “Book Club” where they review a wine related book and we get to sample some great wine. Trilliant Cut is my absolute favorite but I also like Navette Cut. If you are up for mixing, Princess Cut and Navette Cut are great mixed together. Although I am not a huge fan of Bubly carbonated water, the Mango and Apple to mix well with Princess Cut and Navette Cut to make a spritzer.
  • Van Till Family Farm Winery – Our first visit to this winery was on an icy morning IMG_0419after a December getaway to The Elms in Excelsior Springs. The owners were organic farmers in California before moving to Missouri just before September 11th. On Friday and Saturday nights, they crank-up a wood-fired oven on the outdoor patio they had brought in from Italy. Although it was starting to getting icy, we stayed for some pizza. OMG – it’s sooooo good. The recipes are the owner’s creation and use ingredients from their farm. The crust is light enough you can eat three pieces and not feel too stuffed. I’m not talking your traditional pizza topping either. Plus, they pay their employees a live wage so you don’t need to tip. In fact, they ask you not to. We like their: Peach Wine, Strawberry Festival, Farm Shed Red, and Prairie Fire.

Want to sample some dish food and wines for yourself? I hope you will purchase a ticket for Harvesters’ Forks and Corks. For $125, you get to sample food and libations from over 60 vendors. All proceeds help feed over 141,000 people in our community who rely on Harvesters to help feed their families. Who knows, you might just find a new wine you like or a winery you’d like to visit.

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Italian Quesadilla

One of the things Jeremiah and I really enjoy doing is wine tasting. We like to go on little day trips as well as while we are on vacation. A few of our favorite places are Somerset Ridge (just past the Louisburg Cider Mill on the Miami County Wine Trail), Van Till Winery and Family Farm (great wood-fired pizzas on the weekends just outside of Excelsior Springs), and Windy Wine Company (east of St. Joseph off Hwy 36). Another little winery in downtown Weston actually got us to join their wine club.

IMG_0247The first winery Jeremiah and I visited together was Pirtle Winery – located in a historic church just off Main Street. Downtown Weston has lots of great shops. I love the community food pantry and charming kitty cat outside the photography shop. This little town really isn’t any bigger than where I grew up but really developed tourism around wine tasting, local food, unique shops, and B&B stays. Once a quarter, the Weston Wine Company host their monthly book club…aka an excuse to drink wine and pick-up your free bottle. In August, the book featured was “What to Eat with What You Drink.” You don’t need to buy or even read the book, they give you the Cliff IMG_0295Notes version during the event. Since the book was about pairings, they had matched each of their wines with a recipe. One of our favorites was the Italian Quesadilla served with a semi-sweet red (Radiant Cut Wine). At the winery, they sell a pepperoni cheese. I told Jeremiah that I thought we should buy a block and use it with fresh basil. Jeremiah says that kicked it up a bit. This is our take on this non-traditional quesadilla.

Italian Quesadilla by Weston Wine Company (modified by Amber Bourek Slater)
IMG_03191 lb. ground Italian sausage (we used Scimeca’s turkey sausage)
1 apple (red preferred)
Fresh basil
Grated Parmesan cheese
Shredded mozzarella cheese (or pepperoni cheese if you can find it)
Flour tortilla shells (we like high fiber Mission shells)

Dice the apple. Cook the ground sausage and apple. Cover half a tortilla shell with sausage mixture, basil, and cheeses. Fold over. Cook on medium for 3 minutes. Flip and cook an additional 1 ½ minutes (or until golden brown).