Friday, May 25, 2012

French Cheese Straws + Peju Wines

A girls day in Napa was just what the doctor ordered last weekend. We planned it rather last minute, but sometimes that is simply the best. I jumped on OpenTable and booked an 11:30 reservation for Morimoto Napa. Since it takes only about an hour to get up to Napa from where we live, we left early to stop by Peju Province Winery for my friend Helen to pick up her favorite wine – provence. { BTW - Morimoto was a simply divine lunch experience - highly encourage you to go }

{ Elizabeth and Helen in front of the tower at Peju }

I have been to a good number of wineries in the valley, but Peju had for some reason been missed. Glad that we made a stop there – the wines were delicious. It was a bit early for wine, but as the romans say – when in Rome do what the romans do. The Provence along with the Cabernet Sauvignon were stands outs for me. So much that with the generous case discount, I purchased 5 Provence and 7 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Provence is a blend of red and white wines. I know you are thinking rose or white zinfandel – no way. It is actually made up of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Chardonnay and French Colombard. It is meant to be served cold and especially decadent with BBQ and spicy foods. It has fragrant notes of vivid cherry and raspberry along with floral notes and a slight cranberry essence. The fruit is fresh and ripe and quite a pleasant finish – perfect for summer.

Peju’s Cabernet Sauvignon is actually sourced from two estate vineyards and aged for 18 months in new french and american oak barrels. The oak aging comes through and is very pleasing on the palate and nose. It has aromatic summer berries, cherry and cocoa powder. Behind the scenes in the back of your nose, you can sense a ting of caramel. The berry flavors come through along with rich bing cherries and a slight toffee undertone that is quite memorable on the palate.

One of the distinguishing architectural delights is the tower. It is a 50 foot tower that was designed by Calvin Straub and each wine label embodies the picturesque tower. It resembles a French Provincial tower. With the French influence, I thought these French Cheese Straws from Martha Stewart would be a perfect pairing for this delightful wine.  They are crunchy, savory, cheesy and spicy - just perfect with a glass of wine.

French Cheese Straws
(slightly adapted from Martha Stewart)

1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup finely grated Gruyere cheese
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound store-bought puff pastry
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Line two baking sheets with nonstick baking mats; set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together both cheeses and cayenne pepper and black pepper. Sprinkle cheese mixture on work surface; top with puff pastry and roll out to a 10-by-13-inch rectangle, pressing dough into cheese to adhere. Sprinkle top of dough with poppy seeds, if desired; press gently with a rolling pin to adhere.

Using a pastry cutter, trim sides to form a 9-by-12-inch rectangle. Cut puff pastry into 3/4-inch-thick strips. Grab each end of a dough strip with your fingers and carefully stretch and twist strip in opposite directions; arrange 1 1/2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Transfer to refrigerator to chill, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Transfer baking sheets to oven and bake until golden and puffed, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


  1. I have also enjoyed Peju wines but have yet to step a toe in their winery. Must remedy that soon, it looks so gorgeous. I love the cheese straws, Lisa, just perfect with a glass of Cab! Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!

  2. So easy, but yum! I could really go for a glass of wine right now!

  3. Cheese straws are so delicious! These are perfect for summer entertaining!

  4. Look like a fun weekend, the cheese straws or so simple but look so yummy too. Have a wonderful weekend Lisa!

  5. I have not been to the winery but I do enjoy Peju wines a great deal. Will have to put them on my list :)
    Your cheese straws look wonderful! Wishing you a great holiday weekend!

  6. Thx for connecting with me on foodbuzz. I just subscribed to your blog feed and can't wait to see what your next post will be!

  7. I'm so jealous of your Morimoto dining experience, your Napa wine tasting...wish I lived where you are :( Anyway, these cheese straws are wonderful! I love munching on these things!!! Pinning now...

  8. I loooveee cheese straws! Yours look incredible. :)

  9. Looks like you had great time too!
    Your cheese straws turn out beautifully....great photo shots!
    Have a awesome Sunday!

  10. Cheese straws are wonderful! I love how you photographed everything!

  11. Looks like you had a blast. Have you explored the wineries in Livermoore? They are sure to surprise you. Cheese straws looks yummy. Perfect snack on a picnic.

  12. One of the best things about Napa...have to love a place that encourages drinking wine immediately after breakfast :)! I LOVE Peju wine...missed visiting last time we went, but it's on the list for our next visit. Those cheese straws are perfect: easy to make and very tasty!!

  13. So envious you tried Morimoto. I have two sets of friends who loved it and didn't like as much. I need to try it on my own!

    I'm not much of a drinker in general but I LOVE Peju wine. My friend had peju wine for their wedding in 2007 or 2008 and they had so many leftover cases that we took over some. OMG, it was amazing wine and I think the year was great too. Ever since then, we wanted to visit and I finally did last month!!! I think my husband said the same thing it is still young. We bought a case back and just wait for a few years... The person who helped us was a very talkative guy and told me all the stories but I couldn't understand 100%. I enjoyed reading your information about their wine!!! I love your French cheese straws. Crunchy and delicious - perfect with great wine!

  14. This is my kind of snack--easy to prepare and even easier to eat. I could eat that entire batch.

    Can't say I've ever tried Peju wine but now I must watch out for it. I'm overdue for a trip to Napa! :)


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