Chef Suzanne is sharing her recipes that she made for our February pickup party last month for those of you who could not make it or are not part of the club. 

Applewood Bolognese


2 TB good olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 carrots, diced

3 celery stalks, diced

4 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 pound lean ground sirloin
1/4 pound pancetta or slab bacon, ground or thinly sliced and pulsed in food          processor until finely chopped

1 TB dried oregano
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 ¼ cups Applewood Winery Merlot, divided
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 TB tomato paste
Kosher salt & black pepper
¾ pound dried pasta, such as orecchiette or small shells
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving



  1. Heat 2 TB of olive oil in a large (12 inch) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook, crumbling the meat until the meat is no longer pink and has started to brown, then add pancetta and cook. To the rendered fat, add onion, carrot, and celery and cook until soft.  Add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 more minute. Pour 1 cup of the wine into the skillet and stir to scrape up any browned bits. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 TB salt, and 1 ½ tsp pepper, stirring until combined. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.


  1. Finish the sauce while the pasta cooks. Add the nutmeg, basil, cream, and the remaining ¼ cup wine to the sauce and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.  When the pasta is cooked, drain and pour into a large serving bowl. Add the sauce and ½ cup Parmesan and toss well. Serve hot with Parmesan on the side, and a big glass of Applewood Winery Merlot to sip along side of this comforting cold-weather dish.


And for Dessert

Chocolate Chili Frosting


·         5 sticks unsalted butter, softened

·         1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted

·         1/4 cup heavy cream

·         1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

·         1 teaspoon cinnamon

·         1 teaspoon ancho chile powder

·         1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

·         5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

·         5 ounces white chocolate, melted and cooled


1.      In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter until creamy. At low speed, beat in the confectioners' sugar. Increase the speed to high and beat until fluffy, scraping down the side of the bowl, about 2 minutes longer. At low speed, beat in the cream, vanilla, cinnamon, ancho chile powder and cayenne, then gradually beat in the bittersweet and white chocolate. Scrape down the side of the bowl and the paddle, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light, 3 minutes longer. Using a wooden spoon, vigorously beat the buttercream for 30 seconds to deflate any air bubbles.

2.      Frost your favorite chocolate or cinnamon cake and enjoy with Applewood Winery International Red.  The slight kick from the frosting is countered by the fruity notes in this delicious wine.

Make Ahead

The buttercream can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Return to room temperature before using.