Citrus Vinaigrette with Orange Muscat

Pasolito-3Orange Muscat-2

There is plenty to celebrate this month with Mother’s Day coming, it’s Mediterranean Diet month and spring has finally sprung in the eastern part of the United States.  Spring often represents new beginnings with a fresh start and new perspectives. Taking a moment to reflect on our mother’s special day can bring fond memories of food preparation, time in the kitchen and sharing meals at the table. I am remembering my mom’s beautiful and bountiful garden, which provided fresh ingredients for cooking throughout the spring and summer seasons.

Since we are just kicking off Mediterranean Diet month and Mother’s Day is nearing, I chose a recipe that will allow you to spend more quality time with mom and less time toiling in the kitchen and what better way to celebrate the Mediterranean lifestyle than with olive oil?  You can use this mixture as a dressing on grilled or roasted spring veggies from the farmers’ market or as a marinade for a meaty piece of fish or chicken. You decide.

I am a member of an olive oil club based in Paso Robles called Pasolivo. (see Cru62 tab for more on this visit) where they grow olives on the property and harvest and press the oil on site. This oil is produced in very small batches but the end product is something to savor.  I received my first shipment of oil just this past week and their citrus flavored oil was one of the offerings. Perfect timing!  If you want to peruse their products or join the club visit: 

Citrus Vinaigrette
Pasolivo citrus olive oil

Pasolivo white balsamic vinegar (or your favorite brand)

Orange blossom honey

Blend equal parts oil and vinegar in a container. Add honey to taste. Sprinkle with your favorite sea salt and pepper and shake well.

2013 Santa Barbara Winery Orange Muscat
Orange Muscat is a white grape that is part of a broad family of ancient muscat grape varieties. In fact, muscat is said to be the oldest and most widely planted grape in the world originating in the Middle East and used in winemaking in ancient Greece. It has many different names and has evolved over time. It is known as Moscato in Italy and Moscatel in Spain and Portugal just to name a couple.

Orange Muscat is not nearly as widely planted as the other muscat varietals, but it has it own distinct characters; ones that the winemaker at Santa Barbara winery know how to showcase. This wine is the perfect aperitif for your Mother’s Day gathering.  This orange muscat wine is fermented in stainless steel to express the bright citrus and tropical fruit notes of the grape. Stainless steel fermentation also eliminates any cloying or overly fruity characters while introducing the right amount of acidity to balance out the orange blossom-like quality of the wine.

I paired this wine with this recipe for obvious reasons. Number one is they both express beautiful orange citrus notes so they are well matched. They are also both from neighboring regions in California. This wine can take you from appetizers to main course and even dessert if you are serving one. Consider pairing with some soft cheeses and fruits to start out and move to grilled fish marinated in the citrus mixture and serve with grilled asparagus drizzled with the citrus dressing. Light cookies or biscotti for dessert will round out your menu for this special day. If you cannot find an actual orange muscat to pair with these dishes then a regular moscato or even a light pinot gris will do. Ask for a wine with similar characteristics and tastes. Consider one with orange blossom, apricot, citrus or peach notes. You also want some bright acidity to balance out the fruit flavors.

You can order this wine directly from Santa Barbara winery at  The orange muscat is a bargain at $17.00.

Create some beautiful memories with your family and friends this weekend and show all the mothers in the world how much we cherish their role in our lives!

Posted in Recipe & Wine Pairing, Wine Pairing.