Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sasha's Kitchen: Food & Wine Pairing: Amaretto Panna Cotta & Wagner Vineyards Riesling Ice Wine

I recently received several bottles of wine from New York's Wagner Vineyards, on the shores of Seneca Lake, as a gratuity, to review for this website.  Because I love Ice Wines, was so excited that I could hardly wait to do my first pairing, with the 2007 Wagner Vineyards Riesling Ice Wine.

Wagner Vineyards, on New York's Finger Lakes Wine Trail (specifically Seneca Lake), is well known, and the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, for their Rieslings and Ice Wines.  They are one of the premier New York State Rieslings that have put Finger Lakes Wineries on the map.  Wagner is an Estate Winery, which means that all of the grapes are grown on vineyards located at the winery, for use in its wines.  It is one of the top Riesling and Ice Wine producers in the Finger Lakes and I am excited to have the chance to taste and review some of their wines.

I paired the 2007 Wagner Vineyards Riesling Ice Wine with my Amaretto-flavored panna cotta, topped with passion fruit caramelized apples.  The wine was a lively, fragrant and exciting Ice Wine.  It was not quite as sweet as the Canadian Ice Wines that I tasted on my wine tasting trip in Ontario.  However, it was a welcoming fruity dessert wine that was mild in its sweet overtures.  The wine had the pleasant aroma and taste of apples and raisins with tropical undertones.

I thought that the Wagner Ice Wine complemented the panna cotta nicely, and brought out the flavors in the amaretto and apples that incorporated into the dessert.  This was one of my favorite ice wines to date - a truly exemplary wine.  It was perfectly matched to the panna cotta.  The passion fruit used to caramelize the apples highlighted some of the tropical flavors in the Riesling Ice Wine as well.  This is not an overpowering dessert wine, but is a pleasant fruity Riesling Ice Wine.  It would also pair nicely with goat cheese or with creme brulee.  My husband and I really enjoyed it!

The panna cotta is quite easy to make, just allow a couple of hours for the dessert to solidify.  I chose to make it amaretto flavored because I have vast quantities of Amaretto from my liqueur making adventures (click here for my Amaretto recipe).  Below is my recipe for Amaretto Panna cotta, which I developed after looking at numerous recipes for plain panna cotta and creating my own that incorporated the subtle, sweet almond flavoring.  My recipe made three desserts, although this depends on the size of the bowls that you use as molds.

Sasha's Amaretto Panna Cotta With Caramelized Apples
1 envelope gelatin
2 1/2 T cold water
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
3 T Amaretto
1/3 cup passion fruit juice (for apples)
3 T sugar (for apples)
1 apple, peeled and sliced

To prepare the panna cotta, add the water to the gelatin.  Meanwhile, combine the cream, milk and sugar (a quarter cup) over medium heat and mix until the sugar is dissolved.  Add the amaretto and the gelatin and stir over medium heat until the gelatin is dissolved.  Do not allow the mixture to boil or bubble.  Pour into small glass bowls or ramekins, and refrigerate for two hours.  When the panna cotta is chilled, cut around the sides with a knife or toothpick until it comes out of the mold when you flip it over (this is a bit tricky, and I found the toothpick worked best to loosen the panna cotta).  I also caramelized some apple slices in 1/3 cup of passion fruit juice with 3 T of sugar and used these to top the panna cotta because the apple flavor complemented the Wagner Riesling Ice Wine so nicely.

Click here to read my wine pairing of Heron Hill Winery's Riesling With Cheese Fondue and click here to read my pairing of Rooster Hill Winery's Riesling with Apricot Almond Couscous.  Click here for my review of Ontario Ice Wines and here for Michelle's Review of Ontario Ice Winery Lailey Vineyards.


  1. Yum, I'm about to make a panna cotta! I need to find some nice glasses, because I hate struggling to get it out of ramekins. Yours looks delicious by the way!

  2. great panna cotta..I also love ice wines



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