Sauvignon Blanc Pairing – Grilled Portobella Mushroom Tacos with 2015 Phifer Pavitt Date Night Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley…

Here’s a great summer grill recipe by Julie Hoskins, our Resident Chef of Unexpected Chef – an ideal Sauvignon Blanc pairing – Grilled Portobella Mushroom Tacos with a choice of Tomatillo Avocado Sauce or Pineapple Habanero Salsa along with the highly recommended 2015 Phifer Pavitt Date Night Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley…

lsGrilled Mushroom Tacos

When I first started contributing the pairing piece to Summertime in a Glass, it didn’t occur to me I would get to go “round two” on some of my favorite Sauv Blacns. This is meaningful because today’s wine lovers tend to stick with wineries whose style they like. But more than that, people drink the wine made by people they like and feel they know.

I asked Suzanne Phifer Pavitt, owner of Phifer Pavitt Winey, what her plans for growth were and she said, “Why?” As she explained, it was fine “as-is.” It is more important to make good wine her way and not compromise. Although she has been very busy “educating to expand palates” around the country, she was still the gracious, wide-eyed “gal” I could just talk to for hours about, well…. anything! Our conversations turned to the 2015 Phifer Pavitt Date Night Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley and how it had stood up to fiery Indian cuisine earlier that month. Luke, the tasting room manager spoke of how umami, such as a grilled mushroom might work too. I wanted to do something ethnic since our last pairing was so “All Americana” (see “Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Tomato Nectarine Salsa”).

Suzanne is proud of how this varietal, with their grapes sourced from Pope Valley in Napa County, have that “first cut of pineapple” freshness to it. So here it is, our collaboration:

Grilled Mushroom Taco
with two sauces: Tomatillo Avocado Sauce and Pineapple Habanero Salsa

Serves 4

2 large portabella mushrooms, stems & gills removed

1 clove garlic, minced

2 Tablespoons Maggi seasoning (found in Latin section at your grocery store)

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Salt & pepper

8 good quality corn tortillas

Marinate cleaned mushrooms with garlic, olive oil, Maggi and salt & pepper for two hours.


datenight15sb_250x304Avocado Tomatillo Sauce

Makes 2 cups

2 avocados, pitted & peeled

1 # fresh tomatillos, husked

1 bunch cilantro

2 limes, juiced

salt & pepper to taste

Put avocados, tomatillos, cilantro, lime juice, salt & pepper in blender. Blend on high speed until smooth. Add extra cold water if needed and blend further until smooth. Reserve.


Pineapple Habanero Salsa

Makes 2 cups

1/2 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2″ dice

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 habanero pepper, minced*

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

2 Tablespoons red bell pepper, small dice

1 Tablespoon shallot, small dice

salt & pepper

* wear gloves!!!
Combine ingredients. Reserve

Preheat grill to medium high. Grill mushrooms 4 to 5 minutes each side. Set aside. Grill tortillas 30 seconds until slightly charred (do not skip this step!). Cut mushrooms into strips. Place 4-5 strips into each charred tortilla and drizzle with avocado tomatillo sauce. Spoon pineapple salsa into mushroom taco and enjoy with 2015 Phifer Pavitt Date Night Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley.


JulieHoskins~ Chef Julie Hoskins of Unexpected Chef has a cookbook obsession, is a lifelong “foodie” and has cooked professionally for over a decade. As a longtime resident of California’s wine country, she enjoys working with winemakers and creating dishes to highlight their wines. Many of her favorite ingredients, such as vegetables, shellfish and fresh herbs allow her the license to create parings to highlight and contrast many varietals. Her constant passion for good food and wine has provided her many opportunities to meet with winemakers, wine enthusiasts and other “foodies” and understand the balance of flavors that make good wine and good food exceptional. You can find her recipes and articles in numerous publications and websites. Chef Julie is the founder of Chic Le Chef Catering in Hidden Valley Lake, California, and host of “The Culinary View” radio show on KPFZ 88.1 FM and blogs at She teaches culinary classes and wine pairing education and can be reached at julie “at”

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