We finally began work on the wine room this past weekend. Prior to moving to Georgia we decided our new home would have a space designated as a “wine room”. Two and a half years later, the plan is finally coming to fruition. We’re using part of our partial basement, dividing the space in half for both storage and wine, fun and relaxing. A dividing wall is now in place and we’re picking out paint colors this week. Hope we find a good one and can get the room painted this weekend. Of course this means empting the wine from the riddling rack (again!) and hopefully placing it in its final spot where the freezer is currently located. The freezer will then be moved to what is the storage/pantry area of the room.
I’ve found some great ideas on Pinterest and have a few of our own which I of course will be sharing with you as they are completed. For now, I’ll share with you my latest wine sample and our latest first try recipe, Planeta a red wine from Sicily and Chicken Cacciatore.
Ruby red with purple hues in color with vibrant cherry and strawberry aromas. Plump, ripe cherry on the front of the palate, a hint of mocha in the finish. The flavors combine for a silky and elegant version of chocolate covered cherries minus the overly sugary sweet filling.
Region – Vittoria, Sicily, Italy
Varietal – 60% Nero d’Avola, 40% Frappato
Alcohol – 13.3%
SRP – around $15
Encompassing several wineries throughout Sicily, the Planeta winemaking history dates back to the 1600’s. Now under the reigns of cousins Alessio, Francesca and Santi Planeta, who in the 1980’s sought diverse Sicilian soils to match to indigenous and international grape varieties. In a short period of time the winery has established itself as a dynamic and quality oriented winery.
The Cerasuolo di Vittoria comes from the Vittoria vineyards which are planted with Nero d’Avola and Frappato only, both varieties used in this wine. In the center of the vineyard you’ll find the 100-year old winery, now restored and complete with apartments for rent.
Another gesture of hospitality is a stay at the, Planeta Estate located on the Southwest coast of Sicily (use the translate function on the webpage for desired language).
We paired the wine with our first attempt at Chicken Cacciatore. One tip, if using canned tomatoes drain first. My husband neglected to do so and the sauce was thin. We remedied by removing the chicken, turning up the heat and cooking the sauce down.
This dish was difficult for me to eat. Not because it wasn’t delicious but because I knew the chicken (actually a rooster) used in the dish. It was the last rooster we hatched and were unable to give away. I’m not sure if it was because it was a rooster vs. hen but the breast was very small, almost chicken tender size and the drumsticks huge. Nothing like the “Frankenchickens” you find in the supermarket.
Chicken Cacciatore (Based on Extra Virgin cooking show on Cooking Channel)
Whole chicken cut into parts
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 anchovy filets, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 small onions, chopped
2 carrots peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
4 bay leaves
3/4 to 1 cup red wine (we used a Shiraz we had open)
2 1/2 cups chopped Roma tomatoes, with their juices (if using canned, drain)
1/2 cup Kalamata olives
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (we didn’t have this available so we left it out)
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Sear both sides of chicken for about 4 minutes each side, color should be golden brown. Remove from pan.
Add the anchovies and garlic to the hot pan sauté until the garlic is fragrant and the anchovy disintegrates. Add the onions, carrots and celery, and sauté until just beginning to turn golden. Add the red wine and stir well for about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices (remember to drain if using canned), olives and stir. Add the chicken back to pan and cover with mixture. Cover with a lid and simmer on low for 35 to 40 minutes.
One update on our chickens, we had our first predator attack yesterday, a hawk. I caught the hawk in attacking on of our hens. I rushed down to her after I scared the hawk off and thought for sure she was dead or near death. I had blood on one hand but couldn’t find a wound. After holding her for a while and shedding some tears I placed her in a cat carrier and hoped for the best. In less than an hour she was alert and standing. I think she was in shock. The chickens are now spending time in their enclosed run as I saw the hawk come back a few more times yesterday. Sometimes the cycle of life really bites (literally!).