Orange and Spiced Glazed Pork Belly

We like to keep the holiday spirit going well into winter. This recipe is comforting, warm and rich in spices and flavor. Napa Valley Syrah is dense, bold and full of character and it requires a dish with power to stand up to the complexity and strength. We like this recipe because it makes for a great shared Sunday dinner with family and friends.

glazed-pork-bellyINGREDIENTS:

•  2 tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
•  1 tablespoon black pepper
•  ½ cup coarse salt
•  ½ light brown sugar
•  1 (3 pound) pork belly
•  Zest 1 orange
•  1 ¼ cups fresh squeezed orange    juice
•  2 sticks cinnamon
•  1/3 cup maple syrup or agave nectar
•  2 cups chicken stock

DIRECTIONS:

In a small skillet over medium heat, toast cumin seeds. Remove from skillet and finely grind. Transfer to mixing bowl and add black pepper, salt and sugar. Remove two tablespoons of the mixture and set aside for the glaze.

Rub remaining spice mixture all over the pork belly. Cover and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours.

In a small sauce pan, combine the reserve spice mix, orange zest, ¼ cup OJ, cinnamon sticks and maple syrup. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, cook until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and set aside (takes about 5 min).

Preheat oven to 300°F. Remove pork belly from refrigerator and rinse off spice mixture; pat dry with paper towels. Add remaining  1 cup  OJ and chicken stock to roasting pan. Place over medium-high heat and cook until liquid comes to a simmer. Add pork, fat side up, to roasting pan. Transfer to the oven and cook until meat is tender (about 2-2 ½ hours).

Increase oven temperate to 425°F.  Cook pork belly until skin is brown and crisp. Baste with reserve glaze every 10 minutes.    Remove pork from roasting pan and transfer to cutting board; let it stand for 10 min before slicing.   Recipe inspired by Martha Stewart.

TierraYMar_BottleBold_stickerTierra y Mar Syrah
Page-Nord Vineyard
Napa Valley, California

Tierra y Mar translates to Earth and Sea, a nod to the special relationship between land and water.  At Tierra y Mar, they produce wines that are the ultimate expression of nature’s balance and harmony, allowing the wines to speak for themselves as they are the unique creation of the grape, soil, water and climate of where they are grown.

This Syrah is produced from vineyards in select parts of Napa Valley. Soils are predominately gravelly silt loams, which generally contain more nutrients and moisture that allows for better infiltration of water.  Napa Valley is also blessed with a cool morning fog that rolls in from the San Francisco Bay, keeping temperatures moderate and afternoons warm and dry.  A long, steady growing season with ample sun and moderate temperatures gave winemakers the gift of picking what they wanted at complete ripeness.

Douglas-Danielak-winemakerDouglas Danielak, Winemaker

“This Syrah is indicative of that, with classic aromas of plum, raspberry, blueberry and clove on the palate.  A bold mouth-feel exhibiting grippy tannins, with juicy red and dark fruit balancing the spice notes and  deep texture of this wine.”

VARIETAL: 100% Syrah
APPELLATION: Napa Valley, California
ANALYSIS: 14.4% alc/vol

 FEATURED WINE CLUB WINE: JANUARY 2015

Day 7 – Last Day on the Seine!

Rack of Lamb

Rack of Lamb

Liz Barrett with AMA Waterways

Liz Barrett with AMA Waterways

Apricot Trilogy

Apricot Trilogy

We are back in Paris for the final leg of our Celebration of Wine Cruise on the Seine! Last evening we dined at the Chef’s Table specialty restaurant at the ship’s stern. Chef prepared chicken carpaccio with tuna – basil cream, pan fried salmon with sesame – lavender crust and porcini salsa, grilled lamb rack with herb mash potato, rijta, and broccoli, and a dessert honoring the apricot – a spoonful of apricot sorbet in a waffled caramelized crepe, an apricot pastry dumpling, and a shot glass of Marillen liqueur!

Place de Vosges, Marais

Place de Vosges, Marais

French Garden, Marais

French Garden, Marais

Crepes Cart

Crepes Cart

Moulin Rouge Selfie

Moulin Rouge Selfie

Today’s excursion explored the Marais neighborhood of Paris, featuring remnants of the ancient wall of Paris, the mansions of the French nobility, and the traditional home to Paris’ Jewish population. We strolled through the Place de Vosges and visited its art galleries and cafes. Once back to the ship, we enjoyed a Champagne tasting with Preston Mohr, learning about the Champagne region of France, levels of sweetness in Champagne, and the difference between vintage and non-vintage Champagnes. Did you know that vintage Champagne takes less effort to produce than non-vintage because vintage Champagne is supposed to have a unique taste, while non-vintage must have a consistent taste year after year, even though grapes are used from different growing years? Tonight Chef prepared a special Thanksgiving entrée of turkey meat, prune stuffing, French crosne, beet root, carrot mash, and cider sauce for the American passengers as well as a scrumptious cream of pumpkin soup. After dinner, Belgian classical artist La Strada performed in the lounge, delivering a beautiful collection of stringed arrangements with their guitar and violin.

Montmartre Artist Colony

Montmartre Artist Colony

Eiffel Tower at Night

Eiffel Tower at Night

We spent our additional free day in Paris taking in the exquisite artwork of Monet, Cezanne, Renoir, Rousseau, Picasso, Matisse, Degas, Manet, Redon, and Rodin at the Musee d’Orsay and the Musee de L’Orangerie, and exploring the sights and sounds of Montmartre. Montmartre is a fascinating area of Paris, featuring the Sacre Coeur Basilica, the Moulin Rouge, and many art galleries and cafes. We saved the grand finale for last, ascending to the very top of the Eiffel Tower after dinner that night! What an incredible view of the romantic City of Light!

Grand Palais, Paris

Grand Palais, Paris

Barry and Kim Wiss

Barry and Kim Wiss

Executive Team

Executive Team

Au Revior, AMALegro!

Au Revior, AMALegro!

As difficult as it is to say au revoir to France, we are anxious to return to our family and friends in North Carolina and at Winestyles. We have made many priceless memories and some new friends as well. We cannot say enough about our AMA Waterways experience – the service, attention to detail, caring attitude of the crew, the exquisite food and beverage, and the overall accommodations aboard AMALegro have been top notch. One of our fellow passengers summed it up well when she said “every day has been both enjoyable and educational”.

Thank you to our Trinchero wine hosts, Barry and Kim Wiss, who have also been gracious in sharing their experience and knowledge. What a terrific way to experience a country – there is substantial truth in the statement “an ocean cruise takes you to a country; a river cruise takes you through a country”!

Truly the best way to TASTE, LEARN and ENJOY! 🙂

Cheers,

Michael and Tiffany Reynolds, proprietors of WineStyles Greensboro, NC

 

Day 2 – French Wine Cruise

King Luis XIV with the Queen

King Luis XIV with the Queen

Bonjour mes amis!

Apple Cider Francaise

Apple Cider Francaise

Chateau Bizy Royal Carriage

Chateau Bizy Royal Carriage

Our visit to Chateau Bizy yesterday gave us a royal taste of French nobility, as well as a taste of one of Normandy’s most celebrated products, la frommage! This historic chateau, designed as a miniature Versailles, has been the home to generations of the Suchet family, descendants of Napoleon Bonaparte, who still live in one of its wings. We enjoyed several workshops within the estate, including one on apple cider, which is an alcoholic beverage in France, and another on the four world-famous cheeses indigenous to Normandy; Neufchatel, Pont L’Eveque, Livarot, and Camembert. The cheese is prepared unpasteurized, as is customary within the province, and tasted fabulously unprocessed! We even had an unexpected visit from the flamboyant King Luis XIV, or was it just his ghost?

Hotel de Ville, Caudebec-En-Caux

Hotel de Ville, Caudebec-En-Caux

Our new friends, Christine & Larry

Our new friends, Christie & Larry

Upon return to the ship, we dined first class once again and spent the evening in the lounge dancing to the music of “Paolo”. By now, we have come to two realizations about river cruising – first, the intimacy, care, and level of hospitality and dining has ocean cruising beat 10 to 1. This is in part due to the exceptional friendliness and professionalism of the AMA Waterways staff. Secondly, with their smaller capacity relative to an ocean cruiser, fewer people combine with the hospitality to create a very familiar atmosphere for us – it feels like we are on a floating WineStyles! We already feel part of a closely-knit group of “club members”…

Napa Merlot vs Bordeaux Merlot

Napa Merlot and Bordeaux Merlot

On Saturday morning Barry Wiss conducted a fascinating presentation comparing the regions of Napa Valley, CA with Bordeaux, France. It is astonishing that wine has been produced for only 150 years in Napa, and, despite many major setbacks during that time, including the Earthquake of 1908, two world wars, the Great Depression, Prohibition, and numerous severe droughts, Napa’s wines consistently rank among the best in the world. With 17 different AVAs within a relatively small valley, Napa is able to grow an impressive assortment of grapes, producing varietals of exceptional quality, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc. The uniquely “Mediterranean” climate, affording a longer growing season with warm days and cool nights, combined with the fact that 50% of the world’s known soil types are found in the valley, result in a winemaker’s paradise.

Norte Dame in Caudebec-En-Caux

Norte Dame in Caudebec-En-Caux

Bordeaux, by contrast, is eight times the size of Napa, and has produced wine for thousands of years, since the Roman Empire. Tried and true, its wines are of similar excellent quality, generally with less fruit forward and more mineral characteristics. We were able to sample this first hand, tasting a Merlot from both regions. Though the soil is not as diverse as Napa, Bordeaux produces a variety of wines also, including Medoc, Sauterne, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Caudebec-En-Caux

Caudebec-En-Caux

Speaking of wine, AMA has treated us to a different French red and white each evening at dinner. Today we have arrived at Caudebec-En-Caux and will take a bus to the charming seaside village of Honfleur.

Be sure to check in with us tomorrow on the WineStyles blog, where you can hear it through our grapevine!

 Cheers,
Tiffany & Micheal Reynolds
WineStyles Greensboro, NC