New Happy Hour!
Allow us to introduce you to a favorite French tradition... L’apero! This French version of “happy hour” is an evening ritual that combines drinks, food, and friends. Come rain or shine, anyone enjoying an evening stroll through a French town or city can’t help but notice people flocking to cafe terraces for apero. You don’t have to travel halfway across the world to enjoy this tradition. We’re bringing apero to you Monday-Thursday from 3-6 p.m., offering you special prices on select wines, beers, aperitif cocktails, and our Bites Menu! Santé!
Blue Moon in Print
Blue Moon Over Avila was recently featured in the Small Bites section of Edible SLO’s Ocean Issue (Summer 2018). The local magazine, which celebrates the food and drink culture of San Luis Obispo County, lauds the authentic French atmosphere and menu at Blue Moon without the price tag of traveling to France!
Tips 'n Tricks: Pairing Wines with Food
One of the more difficult parts of a sommelier's job is wine pairing. Often times, we have tasted a wine or tasted a food, but haven't tasted the two together. Instead, we use a few principles or guidelines to help us come up with some pairing ideas for our guests. Here are a few quick tips to help you pair your dishes with wines at home!
Tip 1: If it grows together, it goes together. This is definitely true of longstanding wine and food cultures like France and Italy. If you have a dish from Provence, find a Provencal Rosé or red wine to enjoy it with. Found a recipe from Northern Italy? Try a wine from Piedmont, Tuscany, or Alto Adige. A classic example of this is the pairing of white truffles with Nebbiolo, both of which hail from Alba or Piedmont.
Tip 2: Matchy-Matchy. Find an element in a wine that would match up well with an element in the food. Pair a buttery Chardonnay with a rich dish served in a buttery sauce. The earthy elements of mushroom-based dishes work perfectly with an earthy pinot noir from Oregon or Burgundy. Pinot noir from these slightly cooler and more northerly regions tend to show more earth in the nose and on the palate than those grown in sunny California.
Featured Cocktail: The Sbagliato Rosa
We're big fans of the Spritz around here. Sadly, we can't pour Aperol as we don't have a full liquor license, but we have found some delicious substitutes! One of our current faves is the Sbagliato Rosa. Sbagliato means "mistake" in Italian, and in the cocktail world, a Sbagliato is a twist on the traditional Negroni recipe. Legend has it a bartender in a rush accidentally grabbed a bottle of sparkling wine instead of gin while pouring a Negroni, and was pleased with the result! We have to agree on our end. We make our Sbagliato in a Rosa style, using Sparkling Rosé, Cocchi Rosa, and Cappelletti. Garnished with an orange slice, this slightly bitter, slightly sweet, sparkling cocktail is as refreshing as it is delicious!
From Our Sommelier:
This Month's Wine and Food Pairing
On my last trip to France, I toured the Loire Valley. As I made my way along the Loire and its tributaries, I visited anywhere from two to four wineries per day. No matter the time of day, each winemaker wanted to feed me, and most of our tastings were accompanied by the winemaker’s house-made pâté and a crusty baguette.
Menu Item: House-made pâté, served with French crostini, stone ground mustard, caramelized onions, and cornichons. $12
Wine Pairing: Domaine de la Croix Marie Cabernet Franc, Chinon, France, $38/bottle
About the dish: Part of our All Day Small Plates menu, the pâté is one of my favorite dishes on the menu with which to pair wines. We make our pâté with chicken and duck liver, aromatics such as bay leaves, garlic, capers, sage, and shallots, and marsala wine. It’s a long process, lasting a couple of days, but the resulting product is delicious and well worth the work!
About the wine: Unlike most of the Appellations within the Loire Valley, Chinon is planted mostly to red wine vines, primarily Cabernet Franc. This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc, grown organically by the humble yet talented Marc Plouzeau, pictured above outside of his cellar from my last visit. The wine is aged in neutral oak barrels deep in caves dug directly beneath the Château de Chinon, where the King of France first met Joan of Arc! Medium bodied, with a gorgeous nose of raspberries, cranberries, and notes of green pepper.
Why it works: Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley shows much more lean, green peppercorn and tart red fruit than most Cabernet Franc we make in California. The high-toned, high-acid of the Chinon cuts right through the fat in the Pâté dish, while the Pâté helps to soften the sharper edges of the wine. The spices in the dish perfectly complement the spice structure of the wine.
Bon Apetit! – Jenna Congdon, Certified Sommelier