Can I share with you the single most important thing I love about my job? It’s the food, no big surprise, right? I live and breath food, dancing with it in my head. I go to sleep at night dreaming about the whipped cream I am going to put on my coffee in the morning, and no sooner is breakfast, that I’m thinking about lunch. Just yesterday I was on the treadmill at the gym, completely lost in my thoughts about warm donuts and bacon. It often happens that I will be sitting across from my husband enjoying something amazing and I float off to a happy place inside my mind, completely tuning out the conversation he is trying to have with me. He is used to me saying, “I’m sorry can you repeat that , I didn’t hear a thing you said. I was thinking about the wine”. Nobody gets offended, he understand me. I can’t help it.
It’s a magical moment when I meet someone who is as crazy as I am over the flavor of something. Last month I met Joe. I was on a wine and olive oil tasting tour with Deb’s Kitchen and our last stop was a private tasting and lunch in the barrel room of Joe’s vineyard, Hart Family Winery. Don’t worry my husband was there and was happy to stand back and let me have my moment.
Joe Hart is a winemaker in the Temecula Valley, who can’t help but smile like a proud papa when he pours you a glass of his pride and joy, the Sauvignon Blanc. Debbie and I had prepared a vineyard salad with mixed greens, chicken, bacon, blue cheese, walnuts, and Muscato Grapes from Melissa’s Produce. I had never had Muscato grapes before and was taken back by their intensely sweet crisp flavor. The citrus notes from Joe’s wine paired with the salty bacon and sweet grapes was a beautiful match. I couldn’t stop complimenting Joe on his wine, almost as if I was trying to convince him how great it was. He smiled modestly with a boyish grin and agreed it was his favorite too. Moved by my excitement, Joe invited me back into the winery and poured me a drink straight from the barrel… let’s just say I drifted off to my happy place.
This oven roasted chicken was inspired by my afternoon with Joe. The grapes in this recipe break down ever so slightly in the oven with the olive oil, rosemary, vinegar, and garlic. They release just the right amount of their juice that mixes into the other ingredients to create a savory sweet sauce.