Chicken and Peach Skewers with Pedro Ximénès sherry marinade

Aug 8th, 2014 Jayne Pearce Consume & Educate

Very often I start with a recipe and then I select the wine to match the food. However, this time the wine came first and I was confronted with the pleasurable task of creating a dish to match its enticing tasting note of a particular wine. While at the annual Wine Bloggers Conference in Buellton, Santa Barbara I got the opportunity to taste some excellent wines from the Santa Barbara County including the Alma Rosa Vineyard in the Sta Rita Hills AVA. Thekla and Richard Sanford started the winery after their move in 2005 from their highly regarded namesake Sanford winery in the same AVA and along the same Santa Rosa Road. At the conference Richard spoke passionately about his lifetime in the local wine industry and, like me, a graduate of Geography, he chose to make a natural progression from his subject major and move into the wine industry. I was taught at an early age to realize the enormous breadth and importance of understanding Geography in our lives, particularly with regard to horticulture. Several physiological factors such as temperature, soil type and aspect all play an important tole in defining what the French like to call terroir. I like to think the somewhat unromantic English equivalent, would be termed “local Geography,” - but that could just be the times-past Geography teacher in me reaching out and flying the flag for the subject. I certainly felt Thekla and Richard had taken on board the terroir of Sta Rita AVA and their passion for practicing what they preach with their slogan: “Nature and agriculture in perfect harmony.”


As well as their Pinot Noir, I tasted the 2010 El Jabalí Chardonnay ($28) and I immediately knew I had to marry this one-off with an appropriate Jambip-created dish. The sparkly light straw hues pulled me in and bragged apple and peach with some citrus, finishing off with lemon cheesecake and stone fruits on the palate. El Jabalí means the boar in English and an attractive one at that. I decided to pull out the subtle stone fruits and blend it with my Alberta peaches and skewered chicken as an entrée. The splash of Pedro Ximénès as a marinade gives the dish some depth of flavor but it can cope without.

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