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Video: Toast the season with delicious, affordable wines

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    >>> spring bringing seasonal fall favorites back to our table. you need good wine to pair with them. i have been waiting all week for this segment. joe is here to walk us through a tasting. good morning.

    >> so people don't differentiate between seasons and wine but you think it's important to do that.

    >> like with food, wine is important. you start to feel a different way. the leaves change, your sensibility change and so are the wines you drink.

    >> we can still drink white. i like it. here's one we can do.

    >> so we start with one from central coast california from a friend of mine. it's an italian variety made in california.

    >> are you supposed to smell it?

    >> it's part of the process . sniff and taste. this is good like very honey and this we made a salad. so a salad of grilled vegetables mixed with a traditional salad together. great white wine . very sweet.

    >> this goes down too easy. what about this one?

    >> chardonay. white burgandy. it's made all over the world. the wine is named after the place, not the grape but we know it's made of 100% chardonay. do you like?

    >> i might like this one better.

    >> it's more oakey. here we made grilled pork sausage but we made an apple chutny. tell me if you want to try some of this.

    >> sure.

    >>> then we go to italy. all of these wines are 15 to $20. rich, good acidity. this is going to be great with the short ribs.

    >> nice.

    >> was this a medium body's wine.

    >> this is, again, a town outside of verrona. most are named by the places they come from. it's counter american tradition. in europe the wines are named after the place. because the place is important. wine should taste of the place.

    >> okay. i keep forgetting to swirl and smell. i just go straight for the drinking.

    >> last we go to a french wine . they're a producer of the greatest red wines in the world. he makes this as a blended wine. and --

    >> so fall wines, fall food.

    >> joe,

    >> announcer: from nbc news, this is today's take with al roker , natalie morales and willie geist , live from studio 1 -a in rockefeller plaza .

    >> welcome to today on this friday morning. september 27th , 2013 .

TODAY recipes
updated 9/26/2013 5:28:34 PM ET 2013-09-26T21:28:34

Restaurateur and vineyard owner Joe Bastianich shares five affordable fall wines and a few delicious dishes to pair them with. Here, he serves up cotta e crudo insalata, grilled pork sausage with apple chutney, and braised short ribs with creamy polenta.

Palmina Tocai Friulano 2012, California, $18 to $22

A medium-bodied wine with some citrus notes on the nose. On the palate, they become more creamy like a lemon curd or greek yogurt with almond notes. It's quite delicious and perfect for a fall salad with roasted veggies.

Remoissenet Bourgogne Blanc 2010, France, $20 to $23

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White burgundy is really the best expression of Chardonnay. The 2010 vintage was an amazing year for the burgundy region across the board, and this bottle from Remoissenet is a great value for the price. It's a weighty wine that is oaked with good fruit to support it. Best with the grilled pork and apple chutney.

Brandini Barbera D'Alba Superiore 2011, Italy, $16 to $17

Barbera is a good entry wine into Italian reds. Barbera is a crowd pleaser and very easy to pair with a variety of foods as they are usually not too tannic. It's another great option for the grilled pork dish and has good structure with an intense flavor. On the palate there are hints of vanilla, cocoa, and licorice.

Marchesi Fumanelli Valpolicello 2011 Classico, Italy, $18

This is a great example of a lighter style Valpolicella that does not undergo ripasso. High in acidity, it's great for cutting through fattier dishes like the braised beef. It has aromas of violets and cherries and black cherries.

Gruet Blanc de Blacs 'Champenoise,' New Mexico, $16

This is a great way to start and end your meal. I like to serve a little when snacking on meats, cheeses or veggies before a meal, and finish off the bottle with dessert.

Recipe: Cotta e crudo insalata (on this page) Recipe: Grilled sweet Italian pork sausage with apple chutney (on this page) Recipe: Braised short ribs with creamy polenta and grana padano (on this page)

Recipe: Cotta e crudo insalata

  • 1/2 lb fresh plum tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 of a lb of small red potatoes
  • 1/2 pound leeks sliced into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 lb shiitake or baby bell mushrooms
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound green beans
  • 1/2 cup black olives
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Wash the sliced leeks. Brush the leeks and the mushrooms with a little extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and place on a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 12 to 14 min. Remove and place in the fridge to cool.

While the leeks and mushrooms are in the oven, boil the potatoes (skin on) in a large pot of salted boiling water. Be careful not to over boil, boil only for 5 or 6 minutes (they should be quite firm). You should be able to pierce with a fork with some resistance. Cook them "al dente." Remove them and chop into 1 inch or so pieces. Don't discard your boiling water! Add your green beans and cook for 3 or 4 minutes. The beans should still be quite firm. Be sure to blanch them in ice water to keep their green color, otherwise they'll brown.

Wash and dry your tomatoes, endive, and Boston lettuce. Chop your tomatoes. Break up your lettuce and endive into pieces to suit your individual taste.

Place the cooled leeks, mushrooms, tomatoes, endive, beans, and olives into a large bowl with 2 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil and 2 tbsp of red wine vinegar (you can adjust the vinegar to taste) and toss. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Add in your lettuce and endive, re-toss all ingredients and serve.

Serving Size

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Recipe: Grilled sweet Italian pork sausage with apple chutney

  • Grilled sweet Italian pork sausage
  • For apple chutney:
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/3 cup apple juice
  • 2 tbsp golden raisins
  • 4 or 5 large tart green apples, (Granny Smith apples) peeled, cored and chopped into roughly 1/2-inch pieces.
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For apple chutney:

Extra-virgin olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.

Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Increase the heat, then add brown sugar, apple juice and honey. Bring to a simmer, covered.

Add in apples, raisins, salt and pepper, cover, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove the lid and cook until the apples are soft and the liquid has evaporated.

Serve with grilled sausage.

Recipe: Braised short ribs with creamy polenta and grana padano

  • 4 pieces of short rib (about 2 lbs, have your butcher cut into 4 pieces)
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Chopped onions (1 large yellow onion)
  • Chopped carrots (2 large carrots)
  • Chopped celery (2 large stalks)
  • Polenta (1 box)
  • Grana padano cheese (for shaving)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • Red wine (for deglazing)
  • Beef stock
  • For polenta:
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

For short rib:

Season the meat with salt and pepper

Sear the meat in a Dutch oven cast iron pan.

Once browned on both sides, add about 2 cups of the chopped veggies and tomato paste.

Add enough beef stock (can use chicken or event water as substitutes) to just cover the meat and veggies If cooking on the stove top, cook for 2 to 3 hours over low heat.

If using the oven, cook at 300 degrees for 2 to 3 hours.

Cook's notes: For a sauce, simply reduce your cooking liquid.

For polenta:

Bring 5 cups of water to a boil in a heavy, large saucepan.

Add salt to taste, about 1 tbsp.

Add the cornmeal gradually, whisk is best.

Add the butter.

Lower the heat to low, stir often, cooking the mixture until it thickens (15 to 20 min).

Top with a few pieces of shaved grana padano cheese.


If necessary, deglaze your cast iron pan with a little red wine to remove all the brown bits.

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