What We’re Cooking Now: Dinner with the Cockerell’s

Le Petit Coquerel

Saturday night we had a former television client of mine and his wife over for dinner.  We had asked our friends the Brenda and Clay Cockerell over previously, loving both the couple, and their incredible Napa Valley Coquerel Sauvignon Blancs.  To finish out the table we invited my former clients business partner and his lovely wife.  A perfect table of 8 – not too large that you lose conversations, not to small that conversation topics became dull.  Quite the contrary with this group, especially when you add in two perfectly chilled Mumm Napa Rose sparklers to start, followed by much more in the evening.

 Our guests arrived on the nose at 8 to be greeted with the bubbly and a few savory creations as we finished dinner.  Stuffed peppadew peppers and my truffled brie creation (kind of my signature dish.  I used to stuff the filling into chicken.  About 3 years ago I started topping brie and baking it instead….everything is so much better with cheese…) (Recipes below)

Serving both of these with the Rose bubbly both married and contrasted perfectly.  I usually go for a Rose Champagne or Sparkling Wine.  I like the earthy flavors and delicate distinction that Roses often have, especially when paired with truffle and mushroom. 

Our peppadew dish is bright, fresh and slightly acidic, so paired with a subtle, earthy sparkler filled with strawberry softens out the acidity and enhances the creaminess of the cheese and rounds out the complete flavor.  Paired with the mushroom and brie allows for a perfect combination that any Frenchman or woman would be proud to call their own.  My sweetheart calls this dish a big bowl of sinful, cheesy goodness; pairing with a delicate, earthy wine creates a complete flavor profile.  And one of our favorites. Read More

Pinot Noir Inspired Dinner

A few weeks ago I hosted a Pinot celebration.   I had just received the latest shipment from one of my wine clubs and I was anxious to try one of the Pinot Noir selections.  And, because I do love to throw a good party with lots of different flavors and senses sampled, I meticulously planned my menu from appetizer to dessert, with wine for each course, of course.  I knew I wanted to do something that would appeal to most of my guests, and since some are not beef eaters this led me to chicken.  Chicken often gets a bad wrap, but if done well it can be luxurious.   

One of my favorite recipes is for a truffle, mushroom and thyme stuffed chicken with mushrooms that have been sautéed in a good splash of Pinot Noir with a touch of truffle oil.  You are probably thinking this is something that would be better suited for steak….oh no, the combination with the chicken is stupendous.  I also thought it would be nice to start with stuffed mushrooms to carry the theme, a nice cheese plate, a field greens salad with truffled crisps, and I had an opened bottle of Pinot that would be perfect for making poached pears for dessert.    Read More

Wine Goes Well With Cheese….

A good friend of mine says when asked how he likes a particular varietal, “it goes well with the cheese.”  It has become a joke between us, but he is actually correct; wine does go very well with cheese.  The creamy richness and pungent flavors of cheese matches deliciously with wine, cutting through the wine’s acidity: cheese complements the fruity flavors found in wine. 

There are some basics to take into consideration when matching wine with cheese.  A mild creamy cheese will pair better with a lighter white wine; while a pungent ripe cheese will marry happily with a bold red.  This column will outline some basics for finding the perfect pair for your next wine and cheese tasting.  A few good general tips to keep in mind: soft, creamy cheeses will coat your palate when you eat them.  To cut through this creamy coating, pair refreshing, slightly acidic whites to creamy cheeses to ensure that you are getting the best flavors out of your wine.  Very ripe, pungent cheeses can be overpowering if not paired with a bold red.  Match strong cheese to big, fruit-forward, powerful reds with lots of flavor.  Read More

Red Wine with Breakfast

Every Glass Is An Adventure


Sommelier, Personal Chef & Concierge Creating Elegant Dinner Parties and Unique Wine Tasting Events to the Big Island of Hawaii

Cogill Wine & Film

Cogill WIne & Film and Cogill Consulting brings together the talents of Producer Gary Cogill and his wife, Sommelier Hayley Hamilton Cogill, working together, yet thriving individually, for a perfect pairing of wine and film.