Every once in a while you come across someone who is truly genuine. Someone who doesn’t compromise himself for fame or fortune or the chance to be the next new thing. A person who clings to honesty and authenticity in all he stands for. I met a person last weekend who has such character and it was truly refreshing and, I must say, impressive. That person is Mat Kearney. You might have heard his popular single, Nothing Left to Lose. But what you probably don’t know is that he is inspired by hip hop music, he grew up amongst vineyards in Eugene, Oregon and he has collaborated with Peju vineyards to create a fantastic Bordeaux style wine that he is rightfully enthusiastic about.
I got the chance to meet Mat last weekend at Whole Foods in Encinitas where I and a few other bloggers had the opportunity for a special Q&A over his new aptly-named wine, Verse & Chorus before meeting the crowd, giving a special acoustic performance and signing bottles. Mat told us that the decision to collaborate on this wine came out of a meeting just like the one we were having. By chance, he met someone associated with Peju winery in Napa Valley and, upon hearing about Mat’s upbringing around the fabulous Pinot Noirs in Oregan and his love for wine, suggested the collaboration. Unlike many celebrities who just slap their name on a product, Mat was present throughout the whole winemaking process. He loves tannins and oak flavor in rich reds which had influence over the final product. It is rich, yet soft with notes of dark cherry and chocolate on the finish. You can find Verse & Chorus at Whole Foods Markets across the country. It is a steal at under $30 a bottle!
Here’s a little bonus snippet of a video my husband took where you can listen to Mat playing at the store.
Mat is currently working on his 5th album which he describes as being influenced by a combination of hip hop and Bruce Hornsby. It is expected to be released early next summer. He is making appearances promoting Verse & Chorus in between writing and recording sessions. What I enjoyed most about meeting Mat, however, was his authenticity. His strongest influences are Springstein, U2 & Johnny Cash, all known for authenticity and honesty in their work. Even the name of his wine is veritably astute, relaying the basis of all great songs, the verse and the chorus. Mat said he pined over it until he remembered a Nashville bumper sticker that says “All about the song”.
After the show, I grabbed a few items to create a simple little appetizer to pair with Verse & Chorus. These flavors to me are reminiscent of Southern France where the food must go well with the Bordeaux! These are simple and quick to prepare and pop in the oven before having a few guests over to share a bottle of wine. And to help you out in getting your next bottle of wine, Whole Foods and I are giving away a $25 gift card good at any Whole Foods store in the U.S. Enter via the widget below.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post for Whole Foods Market Encinitas. Any opinions offered are my own.
Ham & Gorgonzola Tartlets
Servings: 12 • Size: 2 pieces • Weight Watcher Points+: 3
Calories: 107 • Fat: 7g • Carbs: 9g • Fiber: 1g • Protein: 3g
Sugars: 1g • Sodium: 176mg • Cholesterol: 6mg
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ½ small onion, thinly sliced
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 ounces ham, chopped
- 1 ounce crumbled gorgonzola cheese
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 ½ Tablespoons crème fraiche
- Dash ground black pepper
- 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent and soft, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and roughly chop. Place them in a medium bowl. To the bowl, add the ham and gorgonzola cheese. Stir to combine.
In a separate small bowl, combine the mustard, crème fraiche and black pepper. Whisk together and pour over the ham mixture. Stir to combine.
Sprinkle flour on a work surface & unfold the pastry sheet on top. Roll it out lightly to make a 10×15 inch rectangle. Cut the sheet into 24 squares. Lightly press each square into each cup of a mini muffin or tartlet pan. Divide the ham mixture evenly among the 24 cups. Bake 12-15 minutes or until the pastry puffs up and turns golden brown. Serve immediately.