Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Chorizo-Stuffed Caps, Roasted Mushrooms with Mozzarella Toasts, and the 2017 L'Ecole Merlot #MerlotMe #Sponsored

 This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the #MerlotMe event sponsors.
Complimentary wine was provided for this post and this page may contain affiliate links.
However, all opinions expressed here are my own. 

It's October. Do you know what that means? It's the time of year when bottles of Merlot start arriving at my door for #MerlotMe. The Wine Pairing Weekend  - #WinePW - crew has been participating in this online celebration of the Merlot grape for the past five years. So, once again, October's Wine Pairing Weekend collides with the event. Jeff of Food Wine Click! invited us to jump on the #MerlotMe bandwagon with him again this year. Welcome to year six!

The MerlotMe website encourages wine lovers to "celebrate the greatness of Merlot throughout the month of October." So, we are. In addition, all of the #winePW bloggers were offered bottles of Merlot to try, taste, and pair for this event. Complimentary wine? You bet. I'm in. 

In the Glass

One of the bottles I received this year is the 2017 L’Ecole N° 41 Merlot* which is made of grapes from the Seven Hills, Bacchus & Dionysus, Candy Mountain, Klipsun, Weinbau, Pepper Bridge, and Stone Tree Vineyards in Washington's Columbia Valley. It's a blend of 81% Merlot, 14% Cabernet France, 3% Malbec, and 2% Petit Verdot.
I have tried earlier vintages of this wine and this was just as delightful as I remember the other bottles. With layers of complex aromas, I noted the florals of rose petals, earthiness of tobacco, and woodiness of cedar among the expected black fruits. On the palate, the wine was full-bodied and well-balanced with flavors of chocolate and peppercorn added to the aromas I detected earlier. And with its lingering finish this wine was a good match for savory dishes, especially with earthy mushrooms!

On the Plate

And having remembered enjoying a previous vintage with mushrooms, I decided to make a dinner of mushroom-laden eats.

Chorizo-Stuffed Caps

These are an easy appetizer or a simple side dish. You can stuff them ahead of time and bake them when you're ready to serve. I use a local-to-me Spanish-style chorizo from PigWizard, but you can use whatever chorizo you have on-hand.

Ingredients serves 4

  • 1 pound mushrooms, scrubbed free of dirt (I used baby portobello mushrooms)
  • 1/2 pound chorizo
  • fresh herb for garnish, optional
  • Also needed: baking sheet, parchment paper, olive oil for drizzling


Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 

Remove stems from mushrooms and reserve for another purpose; I like to drop them into homemade vegetable stock. Fill mushroom caps with chorizo, then place them on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle the caps with olive oil and put them in the oven.

Bake until mushrooms are soft and the tops are nicely browned, approximately 20 minutes. 

Garnish with fresh herbs to serve.

Roasted Mushrooms with Mozzarella Toasts

I adore this dish for its simplicity and flexibility. I usually use whatever herbs I need to mirror the flavors of a dish. In this case, I used dried lavender and fresh thyme.

Ingredients serves 4
  • 1 pound organic brown crimini mushrooms
  • olive oil as needed
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1/4 cup red wine (I used some Merlot)
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon dried organic lavender buds
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • fresh mozzarella cheese
  • toasted bread (I used some homemade molasses rye bread)
  • Also needed: baking sheet, parchment paper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush any dirt from your mushrooms and cut into thick slices; I got three of four slices per cap. 

Place the mushrooms into a medium mixing bowl. Pour in wine and balsamic vinegar. Add in garlic, thyme, and lavender. Drizzle with olive oil and toss so that the mushrooms are evenly coated. Spoon mushrooms onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Separate them so that they are not touching.

Place in the oven and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the mushrooms are tender, move to a serving plate and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To assemble, place slices of mozzarella on toasted bread. Spoon roasted mushrooms on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, as needed. Serve immediately.

I rounded out this amuse bouche-style dinner with artichoke pesto-stuffed mushrooms, an assortment of homemade pickles, cheese, charcuterie, and homemade sourdough bread.

Stay tuned for more Merlot pairings throughout this month.

Find L'Ecole No.41 on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter

on the web, on Facebook

*Disclosure: I received compensation in the form of wine samples for recipe development and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the organizer and sponsors of this event.


  1. Those mushrooms sound gorgeous! Oddly enough I have some chorizo hidden in my freezer so I am definitely going to make this recipe!

    1. They are delicious. I hope you DO try them. Let me know.