Winery of the Month:  Prisoner Wine Company

The Prisoner Wine Company was created in 2000 by winemaker, Dave Phinney. Phinney was well known from his years at Robert Mondavi and his creation of Orin Swift. Prisoner spent several years as a small production sourced from several vineyards throughout Napa Valley and other California wine regions.

In 2016 it was bought by Constellation Brands and was launched into a national brand. The winery was opened on the site of the former Silver Oak and Franciscan property and helped cultivate the diverse and artisanal character of The Prisoner Wine Company brand.

“Our winemaking philosophy since the very first vintage of The Prisoner was to craft wines that are thought provoking and approachable. All of our wines focus on an experience defined by texture and mouthfeel. This commonality across our portfolio results in bold, fruit forward wines with velvety soft tannins.” – Prisoner Wine Company website.

Wine of the Month:  The Prisoner Chardonnay

Hand-picked grapes are pressed immediately to separate the juice from the skin and seeds. Once the juice has settled overnight, it’s inoculated with yeast and moved to barrels

to ferment. After the primary period of fermentation, the barrels are stirred every other week to perfect the wine’s balance and acidity.

Bursting with aromas of vanilla, crème brulee, and baked apple. Full-bodied and rich on the palate, flavors of pineapple and toasted oak integrate nicely with the balanced acidity and smooth finish.

Food Pairings:
Creamy, buttery dishes. Shellfish or meaty, mild fish. Toasted flavors from nuts, bread or pastry. Sweet vegetables like corn, butternut squash or sweet potatoes. 

Recipe:
Lobster Mac and Cheese
Serves: 4

1 stick of butter
1 to 2 cups of water
1 lemon, juiced
2 small lobster tails
1/2 lb Cavatappi pasta
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup white cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (plus more for garnish)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using a saucepan just large enough to hold the lobster tails, melt butter over low heat. Add the lobster tails, flat in the saucepan and add just enough water to cover the tails. Stir in the lemon juice and bring to a simmer. Turn heat down to low and turn the tails over. Simmer lightly until the shells are bright orange and begin to curl. Turn off the heat and let the lobster cool in the liquid until ready to peel.

Boil pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta and leave approximately 1/2 cup pasta water in the pan. In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat. Bring to a simmer while stirring. Do not scald the cream. When the cream is simmering add the grated cheese and mustard. Turn off the heat and stir until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and stir until completely coated. Transfer to an 8 x 8 baking dish.

Peel the lobster tails and cut into 1/2-inch chunks. Scatter the lobster over the pasta and lightly stir into the top layer of the mac and cheese. Add the breadcrumbs and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes or until heated through. Garnish with additional parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.

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