Something Simple To Pair
Let's start with an easy recipe for Spiced Maple Nuts that pairs well with a fruit forward Cotes du Rhone rouge or a robust Rioja. Whole or halves will be most tasty and beautiful. Feel free to mix up the combo with hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, etc. to taste.
Makes 3 ½ cups
1 cup almonds
1 cup pecans
1 cup walnuts
¼ cup shelled raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
¼ cup raw pistachios
⅓ cup pure maple syrup
2 tbsps. olive oil
2 tsps. chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 tsps. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp. hot smoked Spanish paprika
1 tsp. kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350°. Toss almonds, pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, maple syrup, oil, rosemary, red pepper flakes, paprika, and salt in a medium bowl to evenly coat nuts. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet or a large cast-iron pan and roast, tossing occasionally, until nuts are toasted and maple syrup caramelizes, 18–25 minutes.
Transfer to a sheet of parchment and spread out in an even layer, breaking up to prevent clusters from forming. Let cool.
Nuts can be candied 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
What to sip? You can't go wrong with this terrific value from Chateau de Saint Cosme, the Cotes du Rhone Les Deux Albions 2018.
92 pts. Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Mainly Grenache, with smaller portions of Mourvèdre and Syrah, the 2018 Cotes du Rhone Les Deux Albions matured in wooden and concrete vats. Black cherries and blueberries mark the nose, picking up hints of garrigue and black olives along the way. Medium to full-bodied, plush and expansive, it turns almost velvety on the finish. It's another terrific bargain from Barruol.
Another great option, Marques de Murrieta Rioja Reserva 2016 provides amazing value for the "second label" of the 2020 Wine Spectator #1 Wine of the Year, Castillo Ygay.
94 pts. Robert Parker's Wine Advocate The wine is textured and fine, and it's more elegant than the 2015 I tasted next to it. The detail and texture on the palate is different, and the quality of the tannins is completely different.
91 pts. Wine Spectator Black olive and forest floor notes frame tangy black cherry and currant flavors in this polished red. Well-integrated tannins and orange peel acidity support the supple texture. Balanced, in a savory style. Tempranillo, Graciano, Mazuelo and Garnacha. Drink now through 2026.