A Date Night In with Dreaming Tree Wines!

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Two of my favorite things are easily wine and music. Pair them together, and what do you got? A very happy Mary. There’s nothing more rewarding to me than enjoying great wine and food with friends or family while watching live music. A goal of mine is to get to more concerts in vineyards next year because, well, wine and music!

As I have learned more about wine over the years, it has become a passion of mine to know just where the grapes and fruit were harvested, what was used on them in the vineyard, the fermentation process, all that fun stuff. So, when Dreaming Tree wines wanted to partner with me to share about their wine making and dedication to creating sustainable, quality wines, I knew I was in for something good.

Co-founded by philanthropist and musician, Dave Matthews, The Dreaming Tree has a social conscience demonstrated by its commitment to sustainable wine making practices and is celebrating donating over one million dollars to environmental programs that protect tree and forestry programs across the country.

Back in the day, many looked at wine as a “fancy drink”. What one enjoys with a 5 star meal and maybe at a French restaurant. I am extremely glad those mis-conceptions are long over as wine is such a fantastic, diverse drink that can complement and enhance any meal for those of us over 21. I really appreciate that Dave Matthews believes all should be able to raise a glass and have some cheers with a great wine, no matter where you are and your price range.

While there are countless reasonably priced wines, it can be difficult to decipher which are actually that good and enhancing your palette. I had not yet tried the Dreaming Tree but, was intrigued with the price and that they encourage their wines are enjoyed with friends and great food.

My husband and I decided to try out the Dreaming Tree’s Crush red blend and their Chardonnay. Thinking about what we wanted to pair them with, we got to thinking of a dish we love at a restaurant but have not yet made ourselves. I immediately thought of risotto. Creamy rice paired with mushrooms, garlic, and super easy to keep vegetarian, we set out to get the goods for a chill-ax night of wine, food and music at home!

Little did I know, you can make risotto fairly easy at home.. You will need:

  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced and divided
  • 12 ounces uncooked arborio rice
  • 3½ or 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 12 ounces sliced baby portabella mushrooms
  • 2-3 cups spinach or other veggies if you want
  • ½ cup shaved Parmesan cheese
  • sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • a squeeze of lemon

Wine Pairing: the Dreaming Tree’s Chardonnay is ideal, but, we ended up sipping the Crush red blend and loved it.

Instructions
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add two cloves of garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the arborio rice and toss with the butter and garlic for a minute or two until coated.
  2. Add 1 cup of broth and push the mixture around gently in the pan with a wooden spoon, letting it get bubbly. When most of the liquid has evaporated, add another half cup. Repeat this process over about 15-20 minutes until the arborio rice has cooked to the point where it’s almost completely soft, and the whole thing takes on a creamy texture.
  3. In a separate little skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium high heat. Add the garlic, saute for 1-2 minutes, and add the sliced mushrooms. Saute for 5-10 minutes until they’re browned to your liking. Remove from heat, stir in the spinach until wilted, and transfer to the risotto pan (I just arranged it all over the top). Top generously with Parmesan, salt, pepper, and lemon.
  4. Instant yum!

The Dreaming Tree wines were such a great surprise. Michael’s first words were, “Wow, that’s smooth.” As the Crush is their signature red blend, I enjoyed testing my blind tastes luck with Crush. And, didn’t fair badly! I definitely thought there was Merlot in there, and commented how jam-my the second taste was; sure, enough, it was Zinfandel! Wrapping it up was Petite Syrah. The strong plum and jam notes really made this a velvet-y, well-rounded red. They certainly are winning at their goal to make quality wine accessible for every kind of wine-preneurs.

The Chardonnay, which does pair excellently with the risotto, is full of pear and some citrus notes. In no way a creamy Chardonnay, Dreaming Tree’s is a complete homage to my home state, California, and their Central Coast.

Something that really fascinates me about wine and the wine making process is knowing where the grape came from. Just like a great song, a glass of wine can transport you to somewhere new. In this case, where its soil laid.

Another fantastic reason I love the Dreaming Tree wines is that they are in a great variety of stores. I have even found these incredible wines at my local drug store! They truly are an accessible wine for all. Check out their store locator to find where you can pick up a few bottles for your next camping trip, night with friends or a soiree at home! xo

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