Wednesday Wine Tasting Plus Poached Pears and Blue Cheese

It is Wednesday and for me that means Wandering and Wine Tasting.  The triple W!

Today my friends at Little Raven Vineyards shared a great recipe for Red Wine Poached Pears with Blue Cheese.  How could I not share pears and blue cheese?

Pears simmered in red wine with spices may seem old hat but adding peppercorns is a new twist for me. Add a wedge of Maytag Blue, your best local blue cheese or heck, splurge for a great French cheese and drizzle with the spiced syrup.  A dessert fit for royalty!

If you can find the wines locally, try {and BUY} them and most definitely, make these pears!

Recipe and wine notes from Little Raven Vineyards:

The recipe maximizes the pear’s natural sweetness, combining it with a fruit-forward red wine and highlighting both with a touch of cinnamon and vanilla.

Wine-Poached Pears with Maytag Blue Cheese.


2 cups red wine (We recommend the Velvet Devil Merlot, 2008, $12 a bottle)
½ cup water
½ cup orange juice
3/4 cup sugar
8-12 peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
3 inch piece of vanilla bean (or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract)
4 Bosc or Bartlett pears, slightly under ripe, unblemished, stems attached
6 ounces Maytag blue cheese (If you have a favorite blue cheese, give it a try. There are a number of excellent ones available these days including Rogue River from Oregon or Crater Lake Blue. Make sure to select a high quality blue cheese.)


Combine wine, water, orange juice and sugar in a medium stockpot. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add peppercorns, cinnamon and vanilla bean. Set aside.

Using a sharp paring knife, slice a small amount from the bottom of each pear to form a flat surface. Gently scoop out the core using a small spoon or melon scoop. Peel each pear using a vegetable peeler.

Place pears into syrup and heat over medium high heat until boiling. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook the pears for 40 to 60 minutes, turning regularly to ensure even coloring. Remove the pears and cool.

Store them in an airtight container up to 2 days until ready to serve.

Return syrup to a gentle boil and cook until reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Strain and store syrup until you are ready to plate up desert. (If you have leftover syrup, try it on ice cream, it is one delicious topping!)

Plate one pear on each plate with a 1.5 ounce wedge of the Maytag blue cheese. Pour 2 tablespoons of syrup over each pear and serve at room temperature.

Delicious!  Elegant!  Fit for guests!

And now to the tastings {and yes…the purchases}!

Tortoise Creek Wines 2009 Zinfandel, Lodi, California -$13

This red is juicy, ripe, yet possessing a smoldering structure with plenty of acidity and grip. Scents of spice and rose petals grace the nose. The wine is a canvas of blueberry and raspberry flavors, splashed with clove, semi-sweet chocolate, and a hint of cigar box. It is complex, with soft black tea tannins and mouth-watering acidity.

Le Grand Ballon 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, Loire Valley, France -$14

This wine hails from the banks of the Loire River, in the region of Touraine, where Sauvignon Blanc reins. Aromas of white flowers and citrus scents escape from the glass. In the mouth the wine is refreshing, offering flavors of lemongrass, gooseberries, lime zest, and snappy hints of mineral. An ample dollop of acidity makes this white perfect for your favorite seafood dishes.

Since I will miss the Saturday tasting (yeah, I do this several times a week), I am sharing the wines in advance.  I have never been steered wrong at LRV, so I am going to give them a thumbs up and if they prove to not be all they claim, I will come back and update this post!

Giovanni Rossi 2008 Le Quattro Dolcetto d’Alba, Serralunga D’Alba, Italy -$19

This is a bright, delicious red, with a sultry mouthfeel. Flavors of pie cherries and blueberries fill the palate. The wine has a spicy, lively profile, with plenty of acidity. Sultry tannins push back against the ripeness. It is the perfect red for Italian dishes that are crusty with cheese or slathered in olive oil.

Gustave Lorentz 2009 Pinot Blanc, Alsace, France -$20

Aromas of melon and lime zest fill the senses. A lush offering in the mouth is layered and complex, blooming in the glass as it warms. Melon hard candy, yellow apples, mineral hints of lanolin, and touches of lemon zest create a portrait of refreshment. The wine lingers in the mouth with a zippy tangerine tone.

Clink, Clink, Salute!

{Feature photo by Andrew Fung used under CC Attribution 3.0}


3 responses to “Wednesday Wine Tasting Plus Poached Pears and Blue Cheese

  1. Oh yum….sounds perfect. Will definitely be trying this one, with a great Washington red. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Oh wow, this sounds delicious. I really enjoy the eclectic mix of recipes on your site. Keep them coming!


  3. WOW! I love this recipe… It looks simply amazing! I also love your wine reviews, great post 🙂

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