This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of L'Ecole.
Complimentary wine was provided for this post and this page may contain affiliate links.
However, all opinions expressed here are my own.
If you're been following my blog, you'll know that I'm doing a series of monthly posts in collaboration with L'Ecole Winery.* A group of us participate in a virtual tasting with their marketing manager, the winemaker, and the general manager and discuss timely topics. This month, we are talking about #MerlotMe month and pouring two of their Merlots.
L'Ecole's Columbia Valley Merlot
This will be the first wine I'm sharing that wasn't really poured as part of a pairing. I was sent two Merlots from L'Ecole, both the same vintage: the 2018 Columbia Valley Merlot (their Heritage label) and the 2018 Walla Walla (their Estate label).
The Columbia Valley is blended from four different AVAs - Walla Walla Valley, Candy Mountain, White Bluffs (pending AVA status), and Red Mountain - and six different vineyards - Estate Seven Hills, Estate Ferguson, Pepper Bridge, Candy Mountain, Dionysus, and Klipsun.
It's comprised of 80% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec, and 2% Petit Verdot. The Cab Franc adds a lovely floral note to the otherwise meaty wine. The wine pours an inky crimson with a paler red rim. On the nose, I jotted down black fruits, red fruits, and that rose petal from the Cab Franc. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied with generous, lovely fruit. But there are woody, earthy notes - think redwood duff - that make this an intriguing pour.
Cookie Care Packages
I already mentioned that this post isn't a wine pairing per se. Jake and I enjoyed the Merlot while we decorated cookies one evening to send to our older son and his friends at UC Santa Cruz. That's the reason for the tie-dyed banana slugs.
And, so you know, I couldn't find a banana slug cookie cutter anywhere. I ordered a caterpillar and had Jake transform it with a pair of pliers!
This is my go-to frosted sugar cookie recipe. And - reports are in - they ship well. R told me that only one of the cookies cracked during transit. But the texture and taste of the cookies was fantastic. So, if you need to ship cookies during the holiday season or anytime, try these.
Vanilla-Cardamom Sugar Cookies
- 2-3/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup organic granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla paste or extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (use any spice you want or skip it altogether)
- Also needed: cookie cutters
Royal Icing (you can watch my Royal Icing on #CulinaryCam)
- 3 egg whites, or more to thin icing
- 6 cups organic powdered sugar
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 t pure vanilla extract
- food dye or coloring gel as needed
Vanilla-Cardamom Sugar Cookies
Sift together flour and baking powder. Set aside in a bowl.
Beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs, vanilla extract, and ground cardamom. Mix well. Gradually add flour mixture, until completely combined.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill dough for 1 to 2 hours. Roll out between two pieces of parchment paper.
Preheat over to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Shape dough with your cutters, using flour to keep them from sticking. Place on a silicone mat-lined baking sheet and place in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to firm up.
Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 9-11 minutes, depending on size of cookies. Cool completely on wire racks. Make the royal icing while the cookies cool.
Beat the whites until stiff but not dry. Add sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon juice. Beat for another minute. If the icing is too thick, add more egg whites; if it's too thin, add more sugar. Dye whatever color or colors you want; I set aside some of the white before adding yellow and blue to two bowls for this batch.
I am especially excited about the second wine from L'Ecole in conjunction with #MerlotME. Stay tuned to read about the L'Ecole Walla Walla Merlot.