My good friend Rebecca has a bit of what you call the travel bug (read about it here). She can't stay in one place for long and seems to use up her vacation time as soon as she accrues it. She left on a trip to New Zealand a while ago and brought back some really tasty wines, Daniel Schuster being one of them. I got to meet him at the Jug Shop (our friendly neighborhood liquor store) where they occasionally do wine tastings. I almost came home with a bottle but they sold out - literally the person in front of me bought the last one. Thankfully, Rebecca decided it was time to share in this goodness.
She proposed a slumber party (which I have not done in years) and thought it would be fun to have this wine for breakfast. haha. Wine for breakfast seems silly I know... but it was fantastic! The glory of our breakfast goes to Daniel Schuster himself (who might I add is an excellent salesman). He convinced us the way to drink this wine was breakfast in bed and here is how he sold us.... A bottle of Late Harvest Rielsing, brandy soaked apricots, apricot studded stilton cheese, maybe he said something about roses scattered on the bed.... I can't remember it all, but Rebecca remembered the food part well.
We didn't have breakfast in bed - a little weird for 4 grown women - but we did all sit around our breakfast counter and devour our breakfast. We recreated the instructions fairly well and I made some scones with the Stilton cheese. It is amazing the flavor you get after taking a bite of cheese and apricot followed by a sip of deliciously sweet wine.
Late Harvest is one designation given for dessert wine. This means the fruit is harvested later in the season so there is less fruit but a higher concentration of sugar in each grape. This can be done with a lot of different types of wine, some of which are combined with Brandy to make Port or similar dessert wines. You also usually drink these types of wine in moderation since they have a higher alcohol content. This Riesling was not overly sweet and paired really well with the cheese. Schuster was right. We might just have to spend some money on a case and do this again.
Thanks Rebecca for sharing!
Stilton and Apricot Scones
1/2 C cold buttermilk
1/4 C apple cider or unsweetened apple juice
1 3/4 C all purpose flour
1/3 C stone ground yellow cornmeal
2 T sugar
1 T baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick butter cut into small pieces
3/4 C crumbled stilton cheese with apricots
1/2 C dried apricots finely diced
Preheat oven to 400* and center a rack in the oven. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat.
Stir egg, buttermilk and cider together. Whisk the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with your fingertips until you get pea sized pieces and everything in between. Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and stir with a fork until just blended. I promise at this point you have done everything right, the batter is just sticky, really sticky. Stir in the cheese and apricot. Fold with a spatula a few times. After this I found it easiest to drop it by the spoonfull or so on the silicone mat. Alternately, you can turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, pat into a 12" rectangle a half inch thick and cut with a dough cutter into 12 equal pieces. Bake 20-22 minutes, or until the tops are golden and slightly firm. Transfer to a rack to cool for about 10 minutes.
Serve with a delightful chilled dessert wine, preferably the one mentioned above, and do remember to soak some fresh apricots in brandy overnight.