Online Wine Review January 2013
We received this zinfandel as a gift from our good friends and fellow wine lovers, Susan and Gary. First, we were intrigued by the label which depicts a gnarled oak tree with an owl perched on a limb. We happen to have an interest in owls because to us, they represent bold wisdom, patience, independence and respect (and we also happen to live in an area where owls frequently visit!).
Opening the bottle, Paul detected an aroma of dark chocolate. I detected hints of sandalwood and spice. Pouring the wine into the glass, it had a lovely dark garnet color.
When we tasted the wine, I tasted tart cherries or perhaps boysenberries. Paul agreed with my impressions but also tasted dark cherry and a hint of chocolate. We both agreed that chocolate and cherry were prevalent in the wine and we both agreed that this zinfandel was smooth, fruit-driven and full bodied, deserving of a hearty meal accompaniment on a cool winter evening, (preferably while listening to owls hooting in a nearby tree).
Paso Creek describes their wine philosophy as bold character derived from stubborn patience. With an unwavering respect for the soul of the vineyard and a solid respect for nature and the land, Paso Creek prefers to think “out of the box” to produce small lots of wine with minimal intervention that are patiently barrel aged to allow the bold characters of their wines to fully develop.
January, 2013 Wine of the Month: Paso Creek 2010 Zinfandel
Type: Red wine
Producer: Paso Creek
Designation: Paso Robles
Country: United States
Region: San Luis Obispo County
Rating: Corks 3.5
A bold zinfandel such as Paso Creek’s Zinfandel deserves to be paired with a hearty dish. Paul and I thought that our Three Friends Lasagna would be worthy of this wine. Three Friends Lasagna is our interpretation of lasagna from the Old Country. It is a combination of recipes from two of our Italian friends, Judy and Alba along with our own adaptations. Judy’s grandmother was originally from Italy and handed down many of her recipes to her granddaughter. Alba is originally from Italy and has been cooking authentic Italian food for decades.
This lasagna is not for the faint of heart (or appetite!). It is extremely hearty and filling and best enjoyed the day after it is made. Mangia!
Three Friends Lasagna
In a large skilled with deep sides (or a large Dutch oven pan), heat the olive oil on the stovetop and sauté the onion, green pepper and minced garlic on medium heat stirring frequently until the onion is opaque and peppers are tender.
Add the ground sausage to the mixture and brown. Add the ground beef and brown. Add the salt, fennel seed, black pepper, oregano and basil; stir mixture thoroughly.
To the mixture, add the jar of pasta sauce, the stewed tomatoes with the juice, the tomato sauce and the ½ cup water and mix thoroughly. Cover skillet and simmer on low heat for one hour, stirring occasionally.
In the meantime, prepare the lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside the cooked noodles on clean towels to dry.
In a medium sized bowl, thoroughly mix together the ricotta cheese, 1 Tablespoon of chopped parsley and the raw egg (yolk and whites).
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. and lightly spray the bottom and sides of a lasagna pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Add a thin layer of the sauce mixture to the bottom of the pan.
Add the lasagna noodles, slightly overlapping each one.
Evenly spread ½ of the ricotta cheese mixture over the lasagna noodles.
Distribute the sliced hard boiled eggs evenly over the ricotta.
Spread a generous layer of the sauce mixture on top of the eggs.
Sprinkle 2/3 of the shredded mozzarella over the sauce.
Distribute the sliced Genoa salami evenly over the mozzarella layer.
Add another layer of lasagna noodles, slightly overlapping each one.
Spread the remaining ricotta cheese mixture over the lasagna noodles.
Spread the remaining sauce mixture over the ricotta cheese. If desired, save some of the sauce to use when serving the lasagna.
Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese and the parmesan cheese together over the sauce mixture. Sprinkle the remaining parsley on top.
Cover the lasagna with foil and bake covered for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until lasagna starts to bubble on the sides.
Remove the lasagna from the oven and let stand uncovered for 10 minutes.
Cut the lasagna into desired portions and serve with the remaining sauce if desired.
The hard boiled eggs can be eliminated if desired.
The Genoa salami can be substituted with large slices of pepperoni or sliced prosciutto.
We think that this lasagna tastes better on the second day. It also freezes well. We cut the lasagna into individual serving sizes and freeze in a freezer bag. It’s best to use the frozen lasagna within 2-3 weeks of freezing for best taste. Thaw in the refrigerator for several hours and warm in the oven.
Because this is hearty and filling lasagna, we don’t usually serve salad or any other side dishes with it. We do serve warm garlic bread sticks and we like to add some sauce to the top of our lasagna. And of course, there’s always a nice red wine to accompany this dish!
Carol & Paul
Southwest Wine Guide
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