Monthly Archives: December 2012

Time to get cozy!

Historic Sonoma Wines Get Cozy With Comfort Food

Here in San Luis Obispo County, we are bracing for two big storms to pass through this week, and it’s got us at Parker Sanpei & Associates thinking about getting cozy.  And nothing says cozy like gathering friends around a thoughtfully prepared meal of sumptuous wintry-weather dishes paired with Geyser Peak Winery wines.

Winemaker Ondine Chattan

A flagship Sonoma producer founded in 1880, Geyser Peak Winery is helmed by Winemaker Ondine Chattan, whose long relationship with Geyser Peak vineyards and commitment to food-friendliness shines through in each bottle.

“Ondine’s style has come to define the Geyser Peak flavor profile during her twelve years with the brand,” said Reid Stinnett, VP of Marketing with Accolade Wines, North America.  “Each of her wines is beautifully balanced, with plenty of natural acidity to complement any number of dishes.”

Pairing Geyser Peak Wines with comfort foods doesn’t need to be difficult or fussy. Try a simple white cheddar grilled cheese sandwich on shepherd’s bread with Geyser Peak’s 2011 Sauvignon Blanc. With outgoing aromas of lemongrass, passion fruit, and grapefruit, this Sauvignon Blanc’s crisp acidity cuts through the creamy richness of buttered bread and creamy melted cheese.

For a quiet night in, try pairing the 2008 Geyser Peak Merlot to a rustic meatloaf with mushroom risotto and herb salad.  A soft mingling of cherry, blackberry and pomegranate flavors laced with spice and cedar, the 2008 Merlot is a natural complement to this hearty dish abounding with the woodsy flavors of the season.  Another ideal match?  Beef pot pie in a tender, puff pastry crust.

An indulgent dinner at home with friends might include the award-winning Geyser Peak 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon paired to tender red wine-braised short ribs.  The wine’s juicy black cherry and blackberry flavors are supported by underlying notes of dark chocolate and black pepper, as well as fine-grained tannins – all of which stand up to the pungent, herbal extravagance of the slow-roasted short ribs.  Finishing with a simple cheese plate and seasonal fruit, this meal is guaranteed to warm any home and linger in the memory for many years to come.


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Holiday Cocktail Ideas

If you’re hosting a holiday shindig and need ideas for seasonal cocktails, the Internet is rife with possibilities.  While we at Parker Sanpei & Associates are partial to simplicity when it comes to cocktails (think: a perfect Manhattan), we are not opposed to the occasional crazy concoction.  Here are a few we’ve got our eye on…

Spiced Cake Martini
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Spiced Cake Martini


  • 2 oz. Baileys® Hazelnut Flavor Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz. Smirnoff® Iced Cake Flavored Vodka
  • 1 sprinkle(s) nutmeg powder


Glass: Martini Glass

  1. Shake and strain into a martini glass.
  2. Sprinkle with nutmeg.

Harvest Highball

harvest highball


  • 1.5 oz Ketel One Citroen Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Lime juice
  • 0.5 oz Simple syrup (one part sugar, one part water)
  • 2 oz Chilled ginger beer
  • Garnish: Lime wedge


Glass: Highball

  1. Add all the ingredients except the ginger beer to a shaker and fill with ice.
  2. Shake well and strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice.
  3. Top with the ginger beer and garnish with a lime wedge.

Blood Orange Pomegranate Mimosas
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  • 3 cups chilled blood orange juice
  • 3 cups chilled pomegranate juice
  • 1 750-ml bottle chilled sparkling wine, such as Prosecco
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds


  1. Combine blood orange and pomegranate juices in a pitcher.
  2. Divide among 10 glasses.
  3. Top each with Prosecco and garnish with pomegranate seeds.

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Three quick snacks for spontaneous entertaining.

One of our favorite things about the holiday season is all the hospitality it inspires.  At no other time of year do people drop in to friends’ homes so often….or so unannounced!  We at Parker Sanpei & Associates adore good times with spontaneous friends, so it never hurts to stock the pantry and fridge with a few simple items that can turn a casual visit spectacular.  Here, we share a few of our favorite snacks to whip up on the fly.

Homemade Kettle Corn


  • 1/3 c. vegetable oil
  • 1/3 c. popcorn kernels
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • salt

Heat oil and one popcorn kernel in dutch oven over high heat, covered.  Once the kernel pops, carefully add remaining kernels and sugar and cover again, shaking constantly to prevent burning.  Once all kernels have popped, remove lid and salt to taste.  Let cool and serve.

Apricot Bites

  • Dried apricots
  • Asiago cheese
  • Candied pecans

Cut cheese into thin squares.  Stack a dried apricot with an asiago square and top with a pecan.

Smoothie Shooters

smoothie shooters

  • 1 banana, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cups frozen strawberries, raspberries, or cherries
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons honey or to taste
  • whipped cream

Puree all ingredients in blender.  Serve in shot glasses or ice wine glasses, topped with whipped cream.

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