4 Recipes That Will Impress Your Friends

 In CGT Blog, Recipes

Dinner parties are a fantastic way to entertain and reconnect with friends and family. You’ve embarked on being the gracious host and now you’re on the hunt for recipes to impress. Whether wooing new acquaintances or wowing longtime friends, there’s one ingredient that can really up your culinary game—wine! Great for both sweet and savory dishes, adding wine to your cooking can brighten flavors, create more complex taste profiles, and is a surefire way to make dinner to impress.

Put on an apron, uncork a bottle of wine, and follow these four wine infused recipes from Chateau Grand Traverse that are sure to have your dinner guests talking!

Easy Recipes to Impress

Braised Chicken with Red Wine Sauce

Recipe from Allrecipes


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, halved
  • 1 cup 2018 Pinot Noir Limited
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • Step 1: Braise the Chicken
    • Heat oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Place the chicken in the pan. Cook for 10 minutes on each side, until the juices run clear.  When the chicken is almost cooked, add garlic to the pan and sauté for one minute.
  • Step 2: Red Wine Sauce
    • Drain the oil from the pan. Sprinkle the chicken with paprika and then the brown sugar. Pour the cup of 2018 Pinot Noir around the chicken breasts.
  • Step 3: Simmer
    • Cover the pan, lower the heat and allow the dish to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Use a spoon to periodically baste the chicken with the red wine sauce. Remove from heat. Let rest for 5 minutes and serve.

Pinot Grigio Steamed Mussels

Recipe from Food and Wine


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove sliced garlic
  • 1 minced shallot
  • 4 pounds mussels, scrubbed
  • 1 ½ cups 2018 Pinot Grigio
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup parsley. chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 boule of sourdough bread


  • Step 1: Prep the Pot
    • Heat oil in a large pot on high heat. Add the garlic and shallots and season with salt and pepper, stirring until the garlic is softened (about 3 minutes). Add the mussels and cook for 1 minute while continuing to stir.
  • Step 2: Steam the Mussels
    • Add the 1 ½ cups of 2018 Pinot Grigio, cover the pot with a lid, and steam for about 5 minutes, or until the mussels begin to open. Use a slotted spoon to remove the mussels from the pot and place in a serving bowl. Remove and discard any mussels that did not open while steamed.
  • Step 3: Cover with Broth
    • Add the butter and parsley to the broth and swirl the pot until the butter melts. Remove the pot from the stove and slowly pour the broth over the mussels, stopping before reaching the grit at the bottom. Slice and toast bread and serve with mussels.

Chardonnay Risotto

Recipe from This Celebrated Life


  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
  • 1 cup 2018 Late Harvest Chardonnay
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • Salt and pepper


  • Step 1: Sauté
    • Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots, and cook until softened and translucent. In a separate pot, add the chicken broth, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer.
  • Step 2: Add Rice
    • Add the rice to the garlic and shallots and toss in the pan. Toast the rice for 3-5 minutes and then add the wine. Simmer on medium heat until the wine is nearly evaporated.
  • Step 3: Add Broth
    • Add the broth one cup at a time, allowing the liquid to be absorbed before adding more. Continue stirring until all the broth has been added and cooked into the rice. Remove from heat and mix in the parmesan, paprika, and salt and pepper.

Wine-Poached Pears 

Recipe from The Spruce Eats


  • 4 to 6 pears (Anjou or Bosc work well)
  • Juice of 1 lemon, divided
  • 1 ½ cups 2016 Merlot Reserve
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Fresh mint (for garnish)


  • Step 1: Soak the Pears
    • Fill a bowl with cold water and add half of the lemon juice, saving 2 tbsp of lemon juice for later. Peel and core the pears and add to the lemon water to rest. 
  • Step 2: Make the Sauce
    • Heat a large saucepan on medium high heat and add the Merlot, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and 2 tbsp of lemon juice. Bring pan to a boil.
  • Step 3: Simmer  
    • Turn down the heat to a simmer, add the pears, and let simmer for 10-12 minutes. Turn the pears over and let poach for an additional 8-10 minutes. Remove the poached pears from the pan and allow them to cool on a cooling rack or clean towel.
  • Step 4: Plate and Serve
    • Turn the heat up once more and bring the sauce to a boil, then simmer until reduced by half. Place a cooled, poached pear in a bowl, pour the sauce over top and add a scoop of ice cream. Garnish with a mint leaf and enjoy.

Wine Always Makes the Dish 

Supplementing or centering your recipes around wine can help transform a simple dish into an unforgettable dinner course. Whether you’re going for a savory meal or a sweet treat, integrating wine into your recipes will help enliven and accentuate the flavors of the food you’re preparing.

If you’re unsure on which wine may suit your recipe to impress best, let us help! Visit Chateau Grand Traverse and let us help select the perfect one for your next remarkable dinner party recipe!