30 Days of Local Wine

With Black Bear Farms & Estate Winery‘s new planting, owner William Rondelez has captured the characteristics of the new variety of black currant in their field. This year the winery will have three sizes with 2 editions of the Black Currant wine on their shelves. The older edition, which is a 14.6% alc. wine bottled in 375ml bottles, won a bronze at the 2010 Fingerlakes International wine competiton. The new edition is just hitting the shelves this month just in time for the holidays.

As mentioned, the latest edition is different as it is bringing in the new characteristics of their new planting in the field. Some say it is a more softer touch at 13% alc./vol. and a little more dry. Either way the Black Currant is an enjoyable wine to sip on with or after dinner and is nice with pork dishes or made into a sauce. To keep the evening going longer, the owners have been known to blend Black Currant with apple juice to make a enjoyable drink and on those days where the cold has sunk in they have warmed a cup straight up to take the chill out.

We handed this wine over to Chef Jay Souilliere of Motor Burger to see what he could create and this is what he came up with:

Poached Pear Crositini

Poached Pears

  • 4 Pears (peeled, halved and cored)
  • 1 bottle Black Bear Farms Black Currant wine
  • 1 cup of water
  • ½ cup sugar (for a more ‘tart’ version…add more sugar if you prefer sweeter pear)
  • Assorted aromatics (vanilla, ginger, thyme, star anise)

Place the above ingredients into pot, cover port with cling film, once boiling shut off burner completely, let cling film bubble and then retract to concave, once cooled pears are done.

Liquid can be strained and reduced to a beautiful intense syrup for drizzling crostini after

Seasoned Walnuts

  • ½ cup walnut pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper powder (additional if you like more ‘kick’)

Melt and brown butter in sauté pan on medium heat, add walnuts and stir or flip continuously (stay on task as they will burn quickly if left unchecked) once walnuts are coated and have turned to a deeper brown, sprinkle cayenne and sugar stirring continuously so that it is well incorporated.


Cut large baguette into diagonal slices of approx ½ inch, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, toast in oven, rub with garlic clove when done. Build crostini as follows:

  • 1st layer – baby arugula
  • 2nd layer – thin sliced poached pear
  • 3rd layer – crumbled gorgonzola cheese
  • 4th layer – sprinkle with chopped seasoned walnuts
  • Drizzle extra virgin olive oil or reduced poaching liquid