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Wine Review: Trentadue Old Patch Red

This week’s wine is from Alexander Valley, California, just north of Sonoma, and comes from my all-time favorite winery—Trentadue in Geyserville, California. It is almost dizzying thinking about the sheer volume of wine that is created throughout this region— from small, family-owned businesses to sprawling compounds—so while spending a day trying out as many as I can, it has to take something really special to stand out in the crowd. That was Trentadue.

The first time I visited them was five years ago, and a small sign out on the road prompted us in for a port tasting where we were greeted by a complimentary take-away apertif glass, and tastings of several types of port, from a light, crisp white Viognier to the heddy, rich Chocolate Amore made from Merlot grapes—I was immediately hooked. But it wasn’t just the wine that made me fall in love with this winery. The grounds and main building are echoes of old-world Italiante architecture, but are quaint and personal enough to not be intimidating, you just feel like you’re visiting someone’s home, not a lucrative business.

When I returned recently, I went with the goal of trying all of their other choices as well. Although the Grand Cuvee Sparkling was delightful, and the “flat” Viognier turned me back into a white wine lover, I have to say that their house blend “Old Patch Red” won me over entirely. A blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignane and Sangiovese, this perfectly balanced wine has hints of brown sugar, black pepper, plums, with a bit of cocoa and vanilla undertones. And for only $14 a bottle—what a great deal!

Reclaiming my right to eat waffles

So, since realizing recently that I am gluten intolerant, and possibly have Celiacs disease, I’ve been searching for gluten-free alternatives to foods that I could no longer eat: bread, cream soups, crackers & pretzels, and the oh, so decadent Belgian waffles.

I’ve done a bit of research online on flour substitutions from buying a name brand to developing my own, but when I ran across this one in our local Co-Op market, I decided to give it a try since it’s fairly local, and I always like to support local companies. Namaste Foods is based in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and their GF flour blend is quickly becoming a staple in my pantry.

I took inspiration from a recipe online, added and tweaked a few ingredients, and came up with this waffle recipe, which the first time out of the gate, made me forget that I was gluten-free, and reminded me what I loved most about breakfast. Enjoy!

Gluten-free Spiced Belgian Waffles

  • 1 3/4 cups Namaste Perfect Flour Blend Mix
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice blend
  • 1/2 tsp ground Cardamom
  • 2 TBSP raw or organic cane sugar
  • 3 medium to large eggs, separated
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 8 tbsp butter (1/2 cup), melted — that’s right, a whole stick of butter! Hey, I said gluten-free, not calorie-free!

Put the egg whites in a separate bowl and whip until soft peaks. I’ve realized now that this step is very important to baking while gluten-free, as this creates the fluffly texture of the batter — that which you are missing by not using gluten.

Mix the egg yolks, milk, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add the melted butter and mix until combined. Then add the flour blend, baking powder, salt, and spices to the wet ingredients and mix well.

Fold the egg whites into the batter.

Cook the waffle according to your waffle makers instructions, remembering to spray both the top and bottom of the waffle maker with cooking spray before each waffle is made.

Makes 10 square Belgian waffles.

SIDEBAR: the next day, I put the leftover waffles in the toaster oven to warm them back up, and they got wonderfully crispy on the outside — even more so than when they were originally made, but they were in no way dried out, just crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, like a good Belgian waffle should be, so I’m inclined to make these up in advance, throw them in the fridge or freezer, and eat them later.

(These waffles were so good, I forgot to snap a photo. This photo is stock, but mine look just like this!)***