Wine Down Wednesday – Sautéed Eggplant Caponata Salad (Camping Edition!)

Welcome back to Wine Down Wednesday where I review a vegan dish paired with two different wines from Broadbent Selections.


Camping Wine Savannah June 2012

This is the camping edition where I did the wine tasting along with my parents and my friend Justine while camping near Savannah last weekend.

Several years ago I made a caponata over spaghetti squash and have been meaning to recreate it because it’s one of my favorites.  Thankfully, I finally got around to it because everyone had a lot to say about it.  With the various flavors and textures it makes a delicious and interesting meal. 

Camper Savannah June 2012

To pair wines with a meatless dish we must look at the spices and main flavors of the recipe.  For this dish we combine spicy red pepper flakes, cinnamon, cocoa, fresh mint, balsamic reduction and tomato sauce. 

Spy Valley Riesling, 2011, New Zealand and Warwick Estate Pinotage, 2009, South Africa 

Spy Valley Riesling

Side note! We LOVE these unbreakable wine glasses for camping. They add a touch of class and you don’t have to worry about them shattering when you drive down the road. I’ve tried a bunch of different types, even stainless steel, but I like these simple ones. 

Spy Valley Riesling, 2011, New Zealand

Spy Valley wines are crafted by the Johnson Estate, a family owned winery located in Marlborough, New Zealand. It is one of the youngest wineries I have reviewed – founded in 1993. Overlooking the vines are two huge, white domes; this facility gathers information on satellite communications for the US and New Zealand – hence the name, Spy Valley.

Spy Valley Winery Photo

I’ve reviewed the Sauvignon Blanc twice in the past; in fact, the first time I tried it at a Bite Club event I was solely a fan of red and wondered if their wine might turn me into a white wine lover! The second review was just as delicious – rated a YUM in a previous Wine Down Wednesday post.
The notes from the Spy Valley website state that this wine is fermented in steel tanks to give it  a citrusy floral flavor – intense lime, green apple and floral aromas. “The palate is vibrant and elegant with racy acid in a dry style.” 


Warwick Estate Pinotage, 2009, South Africa


Warwick Estate Pinotage, 2009, South Africa

From 1791 through 1902 Warwick Wine Estate in South Africa was originally known as ‘De Goede Sukses’, the Good Success farm. It was later renamed Warwick after being purchased by Colonel Alexander Gordon of the Warwickshire regiment. In the 60’s the winery traded hands again when it was purchased by Norma Ratcliffe and her husband Stan. After initially selling the grapes wholesale to other wineries, Norma studied the art of winemaking and began producing her own wine in 1984.
I previously reviewed the Warwick, First Lady Cabernet with a rating of Damn that’s Good.  The Pinotage was by far the most interesting of the tastings I have done. See below on both our notes and the change with the pairing.
The winemakers notes on the Pinotage state “The wine has a deep and intense garnet colour. The nose shows ripe cassis, cedar wood and dark chocolate flavours. The palate is full round with ripe subtle tannins.”

Here’s the rating info.


Category #1 – How well my dish turned out.
Category #2 – How well I like the wine.
Category #3 – Pairing notes – How well this wine pairs with the dish.

Rating Scale

Bleck -This wine is pretty bad.
Ho Hum- I could drink it if I was at a football game and there was nothing else in the cooler.
Nice -Good table wine. I would keep this in the wine cooler if it was a good value.
Yum – This is good, I would pay a fair bit more and have it for a special occasion.
Damn that’s Good – Self-explanatory.
** We will use the same terminology for how the dish turned out and how well it paired.

Category #1 The Dish

Me – rating of YUM. I LOVE the layers of flavors in this dish– spicy red pepper, aromatic herbs, sweet raisins, touch of salt, balsamic and tomato reduction.
Justine – rating of YUM. Justine enjoyed the balance of fresh mint, balsamic, sweet raisins and pine nuts. She thought there should be more sauce for the salad greens.
Mom – rating of nice. Mom thought it was too spicy, she isn’t a fan of heat, but liked the flavor and the meatiness of the eggplant.
Dad – rating of ho-hum. He thought it needed more salt. (I had left most of the salt out as my parents tend to dislike saltiness. It looks like that was a bad idea in this case.) Dad does not like the fresh mint and mix of cinnamon, sweet raisins and cocoa. He liked the pine nuts. He thought there should be more sauce for the salad greens.

Category #2 The Wines

Spy Valley Riesling

Me – rating of Damn that’s Good – I tasted fresh pear. It is light and drinkable. Perfect for a campout. I like the pear/lemon color.
Justine – rating of Damn that’s Good – Justine tasted bright citrus. She said it was very refreshing and wants to order two bottles.
Mom – rating of Damn that’s Good – Mom liked the clean and refreshing body. She liked the level of sweetness – semi dry.
Dad – rating of YUM – Dad gave a “Mmmm!” but then after a few sips thought it was a bit too sweet.

Warwick Pinotage

Me – rating of Nice. Wow the pinotage has a lot more body….chewy. Flavors of chocolate.  It definitely had a long finish.
Justine – rating of Nice. Tasted licorice and thought it had lots of body.
Mom – rating of Nice. Mom said she thought it was spicy and got drier and drier as the glass went on.
Dad – rating of Ho Hum. Dad thought it was heavy and thick. It left an aftertaste.

Category #3 The Pairing

Spy Valley Pairing

Me – rating of YUM. This one is refreshing with the heat of the spice.
Justine – rating of Damn that’s Good. Justine thought it brought out the sweetness of the raisins and loves sweetness.
Mom – rating of YUM. Mom thought it cooled down the spiciness.
Dad – rating of Ho Hum. Dad thought the semi-dry was too sweet with this dish.

Warwick Pairing

Me – rating of YUM – Damn that’s Good. This is crazy but the Warwick is AWESOME with the balsamic reduction and the meaty eggplant.
Justine – rating of Nice. Justine said she still liked the Spy Valley. This one was ok but still a bit heavy for her.
Mom – rating of YUM. Mom thought it was really interesting how well the spicy wine went with the dish and almost seemed to bring the spiciness of it down a notch.
Dad – rating of YUM – Damn that’s Good. Dad said the wine really paired well with the dish. It became more juicy than dry.
**I will note that we continued “tasting” this wine with the dish and ended up polishing it off.

Where to buy

All the wines will be for sale locally at the Grotto in San Marco. You can contact Mitch Woodlief, with questions and pricing and anyone outside the Greater Jacksonville area can contact E-MAIL: PHONE: US +1 415-931-1725.


Eggplant Caponata 

Sautéed Eggplant Caponata Salad
Serves 4
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For the Spice Mixture
  1. 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (less if you don't like heat -can be omitted completely)
  2. 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  3. 1 Tbsp raw cacao powder
  4. 1 tsp cinnamon
  5. 1 tsp dried thyme
  6. 1/2 tsp coarse salt
For the Sauce
  1. 1/8 cup Organic Tomato Pasta Sauce (for more sauce use 1/4 cup)
  2. 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar (for more sauce use 1/2 cup)
  3. Extra Virgin Olive Oil spray
  4. 1 small Vidalia onion, sliced
  5. 4 Japanese eggplant, sliced
  6. 2 Tbsp raisins
  7. 4 Tbsp (1/4 cup) pine nuts
  8. 1/4 cup Fresh Mint
  9. 1 head fresh romaine, chopped
  1. 1. Mix the spice mixture in a small bowl and set aside. Mix the sauce mixture in a second small bowl, set aside. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray; sauté onion about five minutes, or until translucent. (You may need to deglaze pan a few times with some water, broth or white wine to prevent sticking.)
  2. 2. Add eggplant and raisins; sprinkle with seasoning mixture and toss well, sautéing about a minute; add sauce mixture, reduce heat and cover, cook 30-40 minutes, stirring every now and then, or until eggplant is soft and cooked through.
  3. 3. Divide romaine over four plates; top with 1/4 eggplant mixture, toss well. Top with 1 tbsp pine nuts and sprinkle of fresh mint.
  1. Vegan, Gluten Free
Florida Coastal Cooking & Wellness

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 127.5
Total Fat 6.9 g
Saturated Fat 0.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.6 g
Cholesterol 0.6 mg
Sodium 385.1 mg
Potassium 291.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 12.5 g
Dietary Fiber 2.4 g
Sugars 5.5 g
Protein 2.9 g

Vitamin A 33.2 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 4.0 %
Vitamin C 28.0 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 3.1 %
Calcium 4.3 %
Copper 8.4 %
Folate 21.4 %
Iron 10.2 %
Magnesium 7.5 %
Manganese 59.5 %
Niacin 3.8 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.5 %
Phosphorus 8.8 %
Riboflavin 5.1 %
Selenium 0.6 %
Thiamin 7.0 %
Zinc 5.2 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

*This blog post contains affiliate links for products I’ve used, love and recommend that I know you’ll benefit from if you choose to check them out. Should you decide to purchase, you support Florida Coastal Cooking & Wellness at not a cent additional cost to you. I’m so, so grateful for your support. Without you, I couldn’t provide tons of yummy free recipes, current information, inspiration and more. With light, love and gratitude from me, Dawn Hutchins, Founder of Florida Coastal Cooking & Wellness

It’s dinner time. But what to make?  There’s nothing like cracking open a new cookbook and finding a dish that makes you scream, this is it! I’ve found the answer to dinner!

And life is good. Click here to get Plant Protein Power.

Gift of Cooking

Gift of Cooking

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About DHCooks

Dawn Hutchins is a health & wellness entrepreneur that specializes in helping busy moms kick processed food addiction, such as sugar and food dyes, to the curb. She's a published author, wife, and mother of one sweet little girl. When she's not crusading for the advancement of plant-based nutrition, she's camping, stretching in yoga and paddle boarding on her SUP.

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