As we begin our shift into a new season of gourds and hearty vegetables in place of berries and stone fruits, I thought I’d create a recipe for that transition period. While summer is bathed in sunshine, sweet fruits, bright produce, and a sizzling breeze, fall is robed in chilly, misty mornings, produce fit for stews, and excuses left and right for lighting up the fireplace or reaching for some hot chocolate. Fall is accordingly a season for cozy home gatherings, which is exactly such an occasion for which I developed this recipe.
The Concord grape is the key transitional produce item in this recipe that spans the threshold between the seasons. Its versatility and availability lends strengths to dishes both vibrant and comforting, and alongside baked brie it’s as comfortable as you can get. Roasting the grapes accentuates their flavor, and saturates them in the pleasant herbality of rosemary. Brie is perfect for the season—earthy, nutty, buttery and creamy. Baking it softens and melts its interior so that its lovely texture is released upon cutting into it. Candied walnuts enhance the cheese’s already nutty flavors, while honey pairs with the grapes for a pleasant overall amplification of what makes this dish great. They also find a companion in what ought to considered the final ingredient—J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot.
The Los Osos Merlot begins with a floral aroma and notes of tart black cherry. The first sip introduces dark chocolate and spices, finishing with rich, deep fruits. A wonderful wine on its own, this Merlot enhances everything that shines about the baked brie and roasted grapes. Its balanced tannins and medium body reflect the earthiness of the cheese and walnuts, while its notes of chocolate and berries express the sweetness of the grapes and honey. It’s simply a wonderful match. As I said before, fall is a season for gatherings, and this cozy wine and comforting appetizer beg to be shared and enjoyed with those whose company you cherish. So please take my recommendation and treat this recipe as a perfect excuse to invite them over.
Many thanks to J.Lohr for sponsoring this post! And, as always, all opinions are my own.
Baked brie with roasted grapes
1/2 lb concord grapes, washed and dried
1 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
3/4 tsp freshly chopped rosemary
pinch of kosher salt
1 wheel of Brie cheese
honey, for drizzling
1/4 cup candied walnuts, chopped
Sliced baguette or crackers for serving
Heat oven to 400°F. Place the grapes in a small baking dish and drizzle with oil, vinegar, rosemary, and a pinch of salt. Gently toss everything together with the grapes still on the vine. *You can also remove all of the grapes from the vine if desired.
Place the dish in the oven, shaking them halfway through, until their skins begin to burst and begin to shrivel, about 30 minutes.
Remove the grapes from the oven, and set aside to cool slightly. Reduce the oven’s temperature to 350°F. Place the wheel of brie on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until the cheese begins to soften and ooze.
Transfer the cheese to a plate and place the roasted grapes and it’s juices over the top of the brie. Garnish with a drizzle of honey and chopped walnuts. Serve warm with crackers or sliced baguette.