Food and Wine Chronicles https://www.foodandwinechronicles.com Real Food & Wine Adventures Thu, 12 Sep 2019 17:04:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.3 https://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/favicon.ico Food and Wine Chronicles https://www.foodandwinechronicles.com 32 32 North Carolina Wineries; Whats The Real Deal? https://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/north-caroling-wineries/ https://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/north-caroling-wineries/#respond Wed, 11 Sep 2019 20:07:31 +0000 https://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/?p=2947 So, I finally got around to visiting a few North Carolina wineries. Well, as bad as it may sound, credible wineries (so to speak) in the region. Before you start to contort your face, and get a sour taste in your mouth, stick around hear me out.

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So, I finally got around to visiting a few more North Carolina wineries. Well, as bad as it may sound, credible wineries (so to speak) in the region. Before you start to contort your face and get a sour taste in your mouth, stick around and hear me out. You might be surprised by what I have to say. Before I get to that though, let’s chat a little about North Carolina as a wine region.

Overmountain Vineyards grape vines
 

North Carolina Wine Region

According to my research, the North Carolina coast played host to the discovery of grapevines in America in 1584. It’s said that a couple of explorers laid eye on the land overflowing with grapes, but little did they know that the grapes were simply being consumed. Native Americans were unfamiliar with the processes of turning fruit into wine; therefore, they ate the grapes. Needless to say, the story continued, and today there are almost 200 North Carolina wineries. And oh… one more interesting fact, prior to prohibition North Carolina was the leading wine-producing region in the nation.

 

The Truth And Nothing But The Truth

A few weeks ago, a couple of wine-friends invited me to join them at Overmountain Vineyards, where we spent some time tasting the wines, enjoying the vineyard views, and chatting. Our journey for the day concluded just a stone’s throw away at Mountainbrook Vineyards in Tryon, NC.

First off, let me just clarify, I have been to a handful of other wineries in the region. The first, all of the wines were curated from grapes grown outside of North Carolina — technically disqualified (as far as I am concerned). Another of the wineries that I visited, the wines were far from being a quality product. Thus, my initial statement.

Don’t get me wrong; every state has its fair share of these types of wineries. And while I may share my thoughts, opinion, and experience, I will always refrain from mentioning their names in my post. I have unparalleled respect for the industry as a whole. But I genuinely believe that the whole truth is a crucial element in my story, so I strive not to tell half-truths (is that really a thing). I simply believe those types of wine businesses do more damage than good to a region’s industry.

View of Overmountain Patio
 

Overmountain Vineyards

Anyway, Overmountain Vineyard has a cozy tasting room with an expansive patio where customers can enjoy views of the property and the vineyard along with the wines. The winery is pet-friendly, in fact, they have a few of their own which roam freely throughout the tasting areas—two enormous Great Danes. The dogs were friendly, meandering to some tables seeking a bit of attention, but spent most of the time, snoozing on the patio.

One of the things that I really appreciated during our visit to this winery was the professionalism of the staff. The person pouring our wines was very pleasant, knowledgable, and accommodating. Being that it was my first visit to the winery, I wanted to know everything and take lots of photos, especially of the wine bottles. Often times, when visiting tasting rooms on weekends, you may not get the personalized service you desire. That was not an issue at all at Overmountain.

Lady holding wine bottles

We visited on a Sunday, and although it was not packed with patrons, there was a healthy afternoon crowd. We chose the regular tasting ($15) followed up by a tasting of port, and a glass of their Rosé wine. The day of our visit Olive Catering food truck was on site. I enjoyed the spicy garlic shrimp with toasted crostini, which paired nicely with the winery’s 2017 Rosé.

Wine with shrimp and crostini on plate
 

Mountain Brook Vineyards

Mountain Brook Vineyards has an excellent selection of options for enjoying their wines—indoor seating, covered patio seating, and covered seating on the wrap-around deck. Inside there is a beautiful fireplace and outdoors a huge fire-pit for customers to gather. This winery is also pet-friendly and has a winery dog. Just off of the parking area are lovely vineyards; where of course we had to pause for a few quick photos.

Mountain Brook Vineyards sign

We elected to enjoy the unexpected ideal weather on the deck—slight overcast, light breeze, and moderate temperature. We chose the Standard Tasting Flight ($12), which was generously comped by the winery at the end of our visit—thank you. Also, the tasting room offers an excellent selection of nibbles, and we opted for the Charcuterie Meat Platter, and an array of local cheese.

Mountain Brook was recently acquired by its new owners, Vickie and Jonathan, in May of 2018. The current owners are continuing the process of further development as a wine destination.

Both of these North Carolina wineries were legit, and each had some lovely tasting wines. So what’s the real deal? Why don’t more people know about the wines of the region? Admittedly, before moving to the state, I too had never tasted a North Carolina wine, although I have sampled tons of wines from so many other areas of the U.S., but why? Like so many lesser-known wine regions, barriers and misconceptions continue to plague North Carolina as a wine region. One of the most significant wine misconceptions is that it is all sweet. 

#NCWineChat

Recently, I participated in a Twitter chat, and asked some questions surrounding the subject:

What would you say are your biggest barriers in the N.C. wine market? 

Folks still don’t know that we have a thriving wine industry here. But we do! The economic impact is more than $1.7B!

NCWineGuys

My first response is that retailers find more convenience purchasing from the giant distributors instead of buying direct from local wineries or smaller regional distribution. Especially restaurants!

Elkin Creek Vineyards

That seems to be a common theme in many lesser-known regions. But the big question is, how do you change the narrative to break those barriers? 

A really good question, one with probably not an easy answer.

Windsor Run Cellars

Exposure and getting more people to try them. Doing more events like this will help.

NC Wine Guys

North Carolina produces a variety of wine, some of the most common include, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay, and Viognier.

Exploring is one of the best ways of enjoying wine. Trips and sips in unfamiliar regions that lead to delectable undiscovered wines and winery destinations. If you are in the area, I encourage you to do some research on the regions wine destination and give some of the wines a try. You may be pleasantly surprised.

 

Wine Reviews

Here are my tasting notes for a few of the wines I tasted on my visit to Overmountain Vineyards and Mountain Brook Vineyards.

Overmountain Revolutionary Red Wine

Overmountain Vineyards Revolutionary Red 2016

Flavors of bright red fruit, oak, vanilla, dried herbs, spice and hints of eucalyptus. This wine nicely balanced and had great structure: full body, pleasant acidity and pleasing tannins.

We purchased a bottle to take home and enjoy.

Blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot and 17% Petit Verdot 

Price $30 per bottle

 
Overmountain Vineyards Red Table Wine

Overmountain Vineyards Red Table Wine

Notes of cherry, ripe berries, sweet tobacco, vanilla, and oak in the mouth. This wine is a fun, easy-drinking, everyday sip that can be accommodate as an overall crowd pleaser.

Price $24 per bottle

 
Mountain Brook Vineyards Rieslings Bottle

Mountain Brook Vineyards Riesling 2018

Flavors of honeysuckle crisp apples, jasmine and citrus. This wine was very refreshing on the palate, and paired nicely with the meats and cheesed we ordered.

Price $25 per bottle

 

For more information on Overmountain Vineyards, visit their website at www.overmountainvineyards.com.

For more information at Mountain Brook Vineyards, visit their website at www.mountainbrookvineyards.com

You can also visit NCWine.org for more information on the North Carolina wine region and North Carolina wineries and wines.

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Super Fast Tasty Quick Fix Spicy Tuna Patties https://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/tuna-patties/ https://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/tuna-patties/#respond Wed, 28 Aug 2019 16:47:03 +0000 https://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/?p=2876 One of the most exciting things about cooking is the skill of taking simple food and elevating its flavor with unexpected ingredients. Take tuna, for example. It would not be my favorite food when served as a salad or a sandwich. But these spicy tuna patties are an entirely different story. In fact, this recipe came out of pure necessity.

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One of the most exciting things about cooking is the skill of taking simple food and elevating its flavor with unexpected ingredients. 

Take tuna, for example. It would not be my favorite food when served as a salad or a sandwich. But these spicy tuna patties are an entirely different story. In fact, this recipe came out of pure necessity.

Let me explain. I was raised in a household where a meal was not complete if there was meat was on the plate. My husband, raised similarly. Surprisingly, recently, he decided he wanted to try meatless eating.

Wow! Really? But then my thoughts; why the heck not, let’s go for it.

We decided to agree on the conditions that we would continue to eat dairy and seafood. Oh… and, yes, I was definitely happy about that.

So, before I go on, I should warn you that I have never prepared a meatless meal. At least, not intentionally. And somehow using seafood feels a bit like cheating when it is as scrumptious as these spicy tuna patties.

When it comes to food, the most important things to me are flavor and texture. For me, the cuisine must have layers of great flavor that are bold and interesting and offer a true culinary experience.

 

About These Tuna Patties

 

I seasoned these tuna patties with cayenne pepper, old bay seasoning, pepper sauce and loaded with onions and parsley; now those are big, bold flavors! The spicy flavor is rounded out with a bit of lemon juice, eggs, mayo, and earthiness of the flaxseed. The beautiful crisp salad provides a cool freshness to the dish.

Talk about a winning meatless meal! Not only are they delicious, but they are also healthy and satisfying. And, what an easy meal to prepare on any night of the week. I whipped this entire meal up in less than 30 minutes.

Let me tell you how:

Spicy Tuna Pattys and Veggie Salad
with Creamy Italian Dressing

 

INGREDIENTS

3 – 5.5oz Cans of Tuna in Oil (drained)3/4 Cup of Panko Bread Crumbs
3 Large Eggs1/2 Cup of Mayonnaise
2 Tsp Cayenne Pepper1 Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
Juice of 1/2 LemonHot Pepper Sauce to Taste
2 Tbsp Chopped Parsley1/4 Cup of Flaxseed
Salt & Pepper to Taste4 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

INSTRUCTIONS

Lightly beat the eggs, and combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Gently stir the mixture to combine. Do not over mix or it will become gummy.

Using you hands, form the mixture into patties. The mixture makes about 8 medium sized tuna patties. 

Heat a large pan on the stove over medium high heat, and add vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot, add the patties being sure not to over crowd the pan.

Cook the patties until the outer layer is nice and crisp and golden brown.

Remove the patties from the pan to a rack to allow them to cool slightly, and firm up before serving.

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F. Stephen Miller Viognier 2018 https://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/stephen-miller-viognier-2018/ https://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/stephen-miller-viognier-2018/#respond Fri, 02 Aug 2019 17:34:18 +0000 http://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/?p=2865 Anyone who knows me in the wine world knows I enjoy an excellent Viognier. I understand the varietal isn't for everyone. Recently, I received this F. Stephen Miller Viognier 2018 in a wine club shipment. My first sip sent my palate into a tailspin, — whoa, sweet! I really wanted to be excited about this one, but...

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Anyone who knows me in the wine world knows I enjoy an excellent Viognier. I understand the varietal isn’t for everyone. Recently, I received this F. Stephen Miller Viognier 2018 in a wine club shipment. My first sip sent my palate into a tailspin, — whoa, sweet! I really wanted to be excited about this one, but it only fell a bit short for me. It lacked the balance that an excellent Viognier has, and even after giving it some time to open up, and re-tasting (over and over), I couldn’t love it.

 

My Tasting Notes; F. Stephen Miller Viognier 2018

Aromas of tree fruit, hints of oak, and mild nuances of almond and oil. In the mouth notes of tropical fruit, apricot, white peach, nectarine, and citrus peel. Oil and white pepper on the finish. The finish lingered developing into an unpleasing sweetness as all flavors quickly receded. The wine made me pucker and squint (not in the right way). The wine is unbalanced, but also, obviously still super young. Viognier’s age very well, and this definitely will need time to see how it fully develops.

Please keep in mind wine is subjective, and each palate has it’s own preference. I encourage you to explore and sip your way to what is pleasurable to your palate.

For more information on this wine visit www.nakedwines.com

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An Early Mountain Low-Country Boil In Minutes https://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/early-mountain-low-country-boil/ https://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/early-mountain-low-country-boil/#comments Sun, 21 Jul 2019 18:58:52 +0000 http://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/?p=2808 It's summertime, and you know what that means; It's time for a low-country boil! In my case, an Early Mountain Low-Country boil.

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It’s summertime, and you know what that means; It’s time for a low-country boil! In my case, an Early Mountain Low-Country boil.

Wait…what?

What the heck is a “Low-Country Boil”?

 

Origins of Low-Country Boil

I will tell you what is — a mouthwatering one-pot wonder. Which, generally includes a foundation of shellfish, corn on the cob, spicy sausage (like andouille or kielbasa), red potatoes, and an array of spices. Alternatively, soft shell crab, crawfish, and other types of sausage are also great options.

Believed to have originated on St. Helena Island, which borders, Beaufort County, SC the origins of the Low-Country Boil date back to the Gullah people who lived in that Lowcountry region.

Now that we have that out of the way let’s chat a little bit about the gorgeous rosé wine I paired with the dish.

 

Early Mountain Vineyards Rosé 2018

Early Mountain Vineyard Rose
My Tasting Notes

This wine is dry and crisp with strawberry, white peach, and melon on the nose. On the palate much of the same strawberry, white peach, melon notes, with green apple. Pleasing citrus and bright acidity on the finish.

 

Early Mountain Low-Country Boil

My low-country boil paired perfectly with this Early Mountain Rosé. Certainly, the plump shrimp and my spicy stock base with plenty of cayenne pepper and hot sauce, played nicely with the fruit notes of the wine. Keep in mind: part of the deliciousness of this dish is the spicy kick. So don’t cringe out on me, man. Grab a nice glass of wine to offset the heat.

 

Early Mountain Winery

The winery produces some stunning wines, and this refreshing, lip-smacking rosé is no exception. Additionally, it is incredibly versatile and food-friendly.

Early Mountain Vineyards is located in Madison, Virginia, one of the most beautiful regions of Virginia. Situated in the foothills of the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains, the sweeping views are amazing. Oh… and the wines, some of the best in Virginia.

Notably, the winery is the first Virginia winery, and the first East Coast winery outside of New York, to be nominated “Best American Winery of the Year” in the Wine Enthusiast Wine Star Awards.

 

The Recipe

For the one-pot meal, I decided to keep it pretty traditional. However, the one exception I did make; I elected to use uncured bison sausage. It doesn’t necessarily follow the rules, I simply chose a sausage that I personally love and thought would be an excellent alternative. And it certainly was!

Low-Country Boil
Low-Country Boil
1 lb Large Shrimp (18-20 ct)1 Stalk of Yellow Corn
2 Stalks of Sweet White Corn7 Medium Sized Red Potatoes
1 Lemon1-2 lbs Sausage
1 Large Onion4 Cups Chicken Stock
Parsley for Garnish1 Tablespoon of Cayenne Pepper
Cajun Pepper Sauce2 Tsp Ground Ginger.
1/8 Cup Sea Salt1/8 Cup Old Bay Seasoning
Crab-Boil Spice Pouch
2 Tbsp Mustard Seeds.2 Tbsp Mixed Peppercorns
1 Tbsp Celery Seeds2 Tbsp Dried Hot Red Pepper Flakes.
5 Bay Leaves1/4 Cup Pickling Spices

Watch how quick this all comes together!

  • Combine all of the spices in a cheese cloth to make a boil pouch and set that aside
  • Remove shells and devine shrimp
  • Chop onion up into large chunks
  • Slice sausage into large chunks
  • Shuck corn, remove all silk and quarter corn stalks
  • Half Potatoes
  • Cut lemon into 1/8 pieces

In a large stock pot, combine the chicken stock, spice pouch, onion, corn, potatoes, pepper sauce (to taste) and remaining spices. Bring the mixture to a boil until potatoes are just barely tender.

Seriously… keep and eye out, those potatoes will cook fairly quickly.

Add in the sausage, and boil for another 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and lemon slice, and boil until seafood is just pink.

All that’s left to do is grab a big bowl — personal size — and ladle in the goodness. Garnish with parsley and dig in!

Oh… and don’t forget to grab that glass of Early Mountain Rosé!

Early Mountain Rose Bottle

For more information on the Early Mountain Vineyards and their wines visit their website at www.earlymountain.com Please feel free to use my code 3BtlShipVoV to receive free shipping on wine.

 

Lastly, remember there are a number of ways to prepare and serve this incredibly scrumptious dish. Certainly, an Early Mountain Low-Country Boil is the perfect, easy and fun way to serve a crowd.

Check out these photos from a previous gathering I hosted for family and friends. It doesn’t get any funnier than that.

The wine was an industry sample. However, the assessments made are mine.

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Wings And Skins Recipe — Did You See This Recent Recipe Making You Immediately Re-Think Summer Meals https://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/wings-and-skins/ https://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/wings-and-skins/#respond Wed, 17 Jul 2019 14:48:33 +0000 http://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/?p=2768 Summertime, the warmest of the seasons; inviting us to get out of the house, enjoy the sunshine and all of the opportunities that go along with it — the pool, outdoor dining, summer activities, and savoring the seasons most popular foods. Generally, fresh, crisp salads, grilled fruits and vegetables, BBQ, and refreshing beverages are the norm.

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Summertime, the warmest of the seasons; inviting us to get out of the house, enjoy the sunshine and all of the opportunities that go along with it — the pool, outdoor dining, summer activities, and savoring the seasons most popular foods. Generally, fresh, crisp salads, grilled fruits and vegetables, BBQ, and refreshing beverages are the norm. But, did you see this recent wings and skins recipe making us immediately re-think ‘summer dishes’?

I am a bit of a rebel!

Oh… alright, it’s true, I am a lot of a rebel, especially, in the kitchen.

Breaking the Rules

Most of my life I was taught that when it comes to summer cuisine, you need to pick a side, light and fresh (salad, pasta, fish) versus the heavy grilled meat options (hamburgers, steak, ribs). Now don’t get me wrong, I love both of those options as much as the next person. However, there is a third option I prefer over the others.

I call it; ‘the in-between.’

I like to take food that is generally considered not to be summer cuisine and transform it into a tasty summer delight. For instance, a classic buffalo chicken wing is one of my favorite tailgate foods, and while most think of them as merely football or bar-food, I disagree.

 

Who Invented Buffalo Wings Anyway?

If you’re assuming buffalo wings are named after Buffalo, New York, good for you! You are correct! Hearsay has it a joint called Anchor Bar in Buffalo created them — or rather, their owner Teressa Bellissimo did — after accidentally receiving a shipment of them.

Over the years, most have dropped the word buffalo from the title, and chicken wings have become the all the rage — in all different styles.

 

Lighten Up The Dish

During the warmer months, I prefer preparing them in a lighter style, using bright, vibrant ingredients. Similarly, I prefer preparing fresh vibrant sides to pair. In this case, I choose a fresh watermelon, cucumber, basil salad, and light crispy potato skins. The meal is a nice riff on typical wings and fries. Above all, you still get the pleasing textures without the bold heaviness of the bar food favorite.

Did you see this recent wings and skins recipe making you immediately re-think ‘summer dishes’

C’mon, I”ll show you:

Garlicky Parmesan Chicken Wings

 
Ingredients for parmesan chicken wings.

The Cast of Characters: Raw chicken wing “drummettes”, canola oil, fresh Parmesan Cheese, Dry Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, garlic, fresh parsley, lemon (not shown) and butter.

At least one to two hours before preparing the wings, chop up 1 tbsp of garlic (I like a bit more). After that, in a large bowl, combine drummettes, garlic, and a tablespoon of lemon juice and 2tbsp of oil. Place the mixture aside. Certainly, we will get back to that later. We want our wings to be at room temperature when we cook them, so do not refrigerate.

Meanwhile

Scrub potatoes, dry them and rub them generously with oil. Place the potatoes on a racked oven pan, and bake them at 350° until they are soft in the middle. Check the potatoes by sticking a toothpick into them; if it comes out easily and clean, they are ready.

 

Remove the potatoes from the oven and allow them to cool so you can handle them. Meanwhile, slice the potatoes into halves, and scoop out the centers; you can use those at some other time. I am not fond of mashed potatoes. However, there are several other things you can do with the mash.

It’s One Time

Time to get the chicken prepared to go into the oven!

Pour remaining oil and half of the remaining garlic to the bowl of chicken, toss to coat well. Place wings on a rack inside of a pan and spread them out evenly, so they are not touching (we want all sides to get nice and brown). Let them cook until golden brown, turning them halfway through.

 

Ultimately, we want the potatoes and the chicken to be done cooking around the same time. So, wait for your chicken to cook halfway through before placing the potato skins into the oven alongside them.

Rub each potato generously with oil, both inside and out; use your hands, they work wonderfully. Place the potatoes back on the baking rack and place them into a 400° oven, baking them until the skin is crispy.

 
Potatoes on pan

Let’s prep the ingredients for the potatoes:

The Cast of Characters: Red Onion, Cheddar Cheese, fresh Jalapeños, Turkey Bacon, Applewood Bacon, fresh Parsley, Sour Cream, and Salsa Verde.

 

Pan-fry the bacon until crispy and chop. Shred the cheddar, and chop the onion, parsley, and jalapeño. In a small bowl combine the veggies, sour cream, and chili verde sauce. Stir well and refrigerate until later.

Now, lets work on the refreshing salad. This salad is so good, I could just eat it all by itself.

 

Watermelon, Cucumber, Basil Salad

 
Ingredients for Watermelon, Cucumber, Basil Salad

The Cast of Characters: Watermelon, Sherry Cooking Wine, fresh Cucumbers, Red Onion, fresh Parsley, Lemon, fresh Cilantro and Basil (not shown).

Start by cutting up the watermelon into large chunks. Also, cut up the cucumber (I like to cut it in slightly smaller chunks). Dice the onion, and chopped the cilantro and parsley. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, add in the sherry and juice from the lemon. Mix well, sprinkle with chopped basil, and place the mixture in the refrigerator until well chilled.

 
Watermelon Salad
1 1/2 Cup Diced Watermelon1/2 Cucumber
1/4 Lemon1 Tbsp Cilantro
1/4 Cup Sherry Cooking Wine1 Tbsp Red Onion (optional)
1 Tbsp Parsley

Finally, lets pull this meal together. I am starving!

First, remove the potato skins from the oven fill them with equal parts of the toppings. Lastly, drizzle the potatoes with sauce and sprinkle with parsley.

 

Wings And Skins Recipe

Filled Potato Skins

Ingredients – Potatoes

4 Large Russet Potatoes1/2 Cup of Sharp Cheddar Cheese
2 Strips Turkey Bacon2 Strips Applewood Bacon
2 Tbsp Red Onion1 Tbsp Parsley
1/2 Cup of Sour Cream1/4 Cup Salsa Verde
1/4 Jalapeño PepperShredded Basil for Topping

We still have a few things left to do before our chicken is perfect. So, let’s get started, shall we?

Remove the chicken from the oven. After that, in a large pan melt the butter, add remaining garlic and pepper flakes and stir for 2 minutes. Toss the chicken into the butter mixture and add parmesan cheese. After that, plate wings and sprinkle generously with dry parmigiano-reggiano, parsley, and squeeze lemon juice over wings.

 
Plated Chicken Wings

Ingredients – Wings

2lbs of Chicken Wings ‘Drummettes’1 Cup Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 Tbsp Chopped Parsley1 Tbsp Red Pepper Flakes
1/4 Fresh Lemon1/4 Cup Dry Parmigiano-Reggiano
4 Garlic Cloves1 Stick of Unsalted Butter
1/4 Cup of Canola Oil

Oh, you guys, I can’t tell you how delicious this meal is, and as you can see, it is so easy to pull together. Summer doesn’t have to mean all or nothing cuisine; mix it up, have fun trying different versions of foods. For instance, instead of cucumber in the salad, try Jicama. Oh… and the potato skins are great served at room temperature.

In closing, I hope you will give this wings and skins recipe a try. Bon Appetite!

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Buying Summer Sippers With A Blind Eye Can Cost You https://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/summer-sippers/ https://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/summer-sippers/#comments Sun, 07 Jul 2019 18:08:41 +0000 http://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/?p=2738 Summer has arrived, and it's the perfect time to go on a quest for crisp, fresh beverages to cool down. Since my drink of choice is wine (no surprise there), I tend to lean toward finding those that pair well with 80° and

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Summer has arrived, and it’s the perfect time to go on a quest for crisp, fresh beverages to cool down. Since my drink of choice is wine (no surprise there), I tend to lean toward finding those that pair well with 80° and above temps, because where I live, they reach well above. But beware, buying summer sippers with a blind eye can cost you.

 

The So-Called Bargain

For many, the changing seasons means changing preferences in wine. The crave for crisp whites, and fruity rosé wines are inevitable during the warmer months. Retailers are acutely aware of this and flood their shelves with tons of so-called bargains. Placed front and center are whites and rosé wine, piled high for easy accessibility. Both offered in a variety of packaging—cans, bottles, and even boxes—for your convenience. Often, this results in the average wine consumer buying summer sippers, merely grabbing a few wines simply because of the big sale sign perched atop announcing a great value.

This is where buying gets a bit tricky!

Wine preference is subjective, as we all know, and what is considered value is entirely at the discretion of the consumer. While most of us love a great deal, we still expect value for our money. But how do we know if we are actually getting our monies worth out of that bottle of wine?

 

A Few Quick Tips

Here are a few quick tips that might help you when picking out wines to enjoy during your summer picnics, barbecues, and beach bashes.

Don’t buy wines you’re unfamiliar with on impulse. If there is a considerable size sign waving you in for the fantastic deal, it may mean the wine isn’t selling well—generally, there is a good reason it isn’t moving. Also, America’s largest wine conglomerates have taken over so many wineries that today, they sell approximately 60% of the wines sold in your supermarket and wine big-box wine stores. I highly suggest supporting America’s small family wineries, check out who actually made that bottle of wine on the shelf before you purchase. Thanks to modern technology, by going online, you can quickly get the 411 on most wines.

For help with selecting a good quality wine that fits within your budget, ask for assistance at the store. I prefer shopping for wine at the smaller local bottle shops. Typically, they have quality wines to fit within any budget, and the personalized service can’t be matched by the supermarkets and big box wine shops.

 

Refreshing Options

Remember to purchase a high-quality dry rosé, the sugars will be low, and the wine’s vibrant acidity will shine through. Also, grab some bubbly—Champagne, Prosecco, and sparkling wine and served it well chilled. Their effervescence adds to their refreshing taste.

La Vieille Ferme Réserve Brut
La Vieille Ferme Réserve Brut

Consider some slightly chilled lighter reds as an option. Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, and Merlot are all attractive options. Be sure to select red wines that have lighter tannins and are fruit driven. These wines will typically pair incredibly well with a variety of summer fare. Often times, you can find some great deals on quality reds during the summer months.

2017 Urban Provence Rosé
2018 Urban Provence Rose, Côtes de Provence

Finally, low prices don’t necessarily dictate the quality of the juice in the bottle. Exploring is a great way to discover quality wines at great prices. Just remember, buying summer sippers with a blind eye can cost you a pleasurable summer experience. After all, who wants to find out their bargain buy was a bad buy once the festivities have begun.

Cheers to the summer season!

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Particularly Pinot Gris/Grigio Comes to Play https://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/pinot-gris-grigio-comes-to-play/ https://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/pinot-gris-grigio-comes-to-play/#respond Tue, 11 Jun 2019 22:46:34 +0000 http://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/?p=2558   Lately, I have been taking the time to explore wine varietals that I generally rarely drink. Pinot Gris/Grigio is one of those varietals. White Wine; Red Grape — Pinot Gris is typically known by its Italian name Pinot Grigio, originating in Burgundy. Pinot Gris is a pink-skinned mutation of Pinot Noir. Generally, the grape variety has a high sugar potential with minimal to moderate acidity. Walk into almost any restaurant that serves wine, and you will likely find Pinot Gris/Grigio offered on the wine menu. Generally, there are also overwhelming options to be found at wine retailers. I almost always opt out of purchasing them. The truth is there are so many cheap humdrum ones it’s challenging to discern what’s worth your money; especially in a restaurant. Recently I tasted two different Pinot Gris wines that were very enjoyable, so I wanted to take a moment to share my bottle notes with you on those wines.   Here are the wines I tasted:   King Estate Pinot Gris 2017     Tasting Notes: The wine is a pale straw color in the glass — ripe flavors of orchard fruits (mainly pear), hints of fresh pineapple and fresh, mouthwatering citrus. […]

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Lately, I have been taking the time to explore wine varietals that I generally rarely drink. Pinot Gris/Grigio is one of those varietals.

White Wine; Red Grape — Pinot Gris is typically known by its Italian name Pinot Grigio, originating in Burgundy. Pinot Gris is a pink-skinned mutation of Pinot Noir. Generally, the grape variety has a high sugar potential with minimal to moderate acidity.

Walk into almost any restaurant that serves wine, and you will likely find Pinot Gris/Grigio offered on the wine menu. Generally, there are also overwhelming options to be found at wine retailers. I almost always opt out of purchasing them. The truth is there are so many cheap humdrum ones it’s challenging to discern what’s worth your money; especially in a restaurant.

Recently I tasted two different Pinot Gris wines that were very enjoyable, so I wanted to take a moment to share my bottle notes with you on those wines.

 

Here are the wines I tasted:

 

King Estate Pinot Gris 2017

 
King Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Gris
 

Tasting Notes:

The wine is a pale straw color in the glass — ripe flavors of orchard fruits (mainly pear), hints of fresh pineapple and fresh, mouthwatering citrus. Appealing acidity and rounded off with a soft texture on the palate.

This wine was nicely refreshing. While I enjoyed sipping this wine without food, it would undoubtedly pair perfectly with a variety of cheeses and light dishes.

I could envision this wine in my picnic basket on a beautiful sunny day at the lake. It was very refreshing and enjoyable. At less than $20 per bottle, the wine is economically priced.

For more information https://www.kingestate.com

 

Left Coast Estate Pinot Gris 2017

 
 

Tasting Notes:

The wine is a muted gold tone in the glass. On the palate, notes of ripe green apple, white peach and melon stand out while subtle notes of nectarine make an appearance. Restrained acid and the wine is dry and medium-light in body. Pleasantly balanced. The finish is long and clean.

This wine is delightful, easy to drink, and warm weather friendly. I paired this wine with shellfish and salad and it worked wonderfully. At under $20 per bottle, this wine is a bargain.

This wine was an industry sample. However, the assessments made are mine.

For more information https://leftcoastwine.com

 

Overall, both of these wines were very drinkable and easy-going. These wines will make an excellent addition to any summer table. Both of these wines will be favorable for large gatherings; they are very unpretentious so everyone can enjoy them.

 

Lastly, don’t be afraid to explore and try wines that you may have ignored in the past. There is nothing better than discovering a lovely new wine to add to your wine stash.

Cheers!

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Altipiano Vineyards – The Devastating Damage Gave The Vines Breath https://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/altipiano-vineyards/ https://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/altipiano-vineyards/#respond Wed, 15 May 2019 14:21:25 +0000 http://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/?p=2334 The devastating damage gave the vines breath — Altipiano Vineyards, positioned in the hills of Escondido, California just outside of San Diego, is breathing just fine. The land is breath-taking, and the story of how the vineyard came to be, takes your breath away. A few months ago I spent some time chatting with Altipiano Vineyards co-owner and winemaker Denise Clarke. The drive up to this small production winery is picturesque, and to put it mildly; adventurous — if driving up steep rounding hills is not your usual.   The Winery The Tuscan themed tasting room is cozy with a tasting bar, backed by a sizable wooden wine rack filled with bottles ready to pour. The winery’s theme extends to the outside patios with opulent gardens. Sprinkled throughout are orange and lemon trees in colorful planters. Plenty of comfortable seating spaces provide perfect views for enjoying the wines. The backdrop to the landscape just off the tasting room is beautiful — the vineyards surrounded by an impressive panorama of rolling hills as far as the eye can see.     From Debris to Opportunity Clarke and her husband Peter acquired the property in 1997 when it was an avocado grove […]

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The devastating damage gave the vines breath — Altipiano Vineyards, positioned in the hills of Escondido, California just outside of San Diego, is breathing just fine. The land is breath-taking, and the story of how the vineyard came to be, takes your breath away.

A few months ago I spent some time chatting with Altipiano Vineyards co-owner and winemaker Denise Clarke. The drive up to this small production winery is picturesque, and to put it mildly; adventurous — if driving up steep rounding hills is not your usual.

 

The Winery

The Tuscan themed tasting room is cozy with a tasting bar, backed by a sizable wooden wine rack filled with bottles ready to pour. The winery’s theme extends to the outside patios with opulent gardens. Sprinkled throughout are orange and lemon trees in colorful planters. Plenty of comfortable seating spaces provide perfect views for enjoying the wines. The backdrop to the landscape just off the tasting room is beautiful — the vineyards surrounded by an impressive panorama of rolling hills as far as the eye can see.

   

From Debris to Opportunity

Clarke and her husband Peter acquired the property in 1997 when it was an avocado grove with more than 1000 trees. It had been that for over 20 years. However, in 2007, devastating wildfires swept through San Diego, destroying the trees, and leaving debris everywhere. Although, the devastation also exhaled a clear view to something Clarke had previously only dreamt of — a vineyard.

Clarke had no background in the wine industry or winemaking. However, her desire, indeed, was more significant than her lack of knowledge — especially, after she and her husband took inspiration during a vacation in Italy.

Denise Clarke was very familiar with farming; she wasn’t afraid of hard work. Although, she discovered very quickly that it would take much more to become a successful winemaker. Not-to-mention being a women winemaker. Moreover, an African American women winemaker. Also, above all, to top it off, in a burgeoning wine region of California.

Altipiano Winemaker Denise Clark
 

The Journey

Clarke attended seminars and classes to jumpstart her passion. She took guidance from trusted winemakers who, above all, would encourage her. Initially, the vineyard had a hired winemaker, but after a few years, Clarke began playing solo as her wine serenaded. Her motto, “The Music of Wine,” which is fitting. Her spirit sings! And you need only to be around her for a short period to feel her rhythm in wine.

By mid-2008 the grapevines were taking a big breath in the form of Brunello, Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petite Syrah varietals. Release of the first Altipiano Vineyards wines didn’t occurred until 2012.

View of the Vines
 

The Symphony

Denise Clarke exudes her love for her craft. Her vibrant and thoughtful words, when talking about wine — “it’s like a symphony” — conveys her respect and admiration for the grape. “I take direction from what I am given” meaning from the land, mother nature and the vines.

Our conversation took us from the beginning to the present, and everywhere in between. After all, there were several glasses of wine to consume; that takes time.

Clarke is a talented winemaker that is not afraid to take on challenges, and there are still many. She looks forward to experiencing equality as a successful winemaker. Saying, “it’s difficult sometimes, but, that never stops me.” Proud of her accomplishments; she continues to be excited to hear “the music of wine.”

Saugiovese

Clarke fancies bold wines, and her portfolio reflects her palate preference nicely. Altipiano wines have received numerous accolades since its inception. Including three recent — two silver and a bronze for its 2016 Sangiovese, 2016 Petit Sirah and 2016 Syrah — at the 2019 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

I had the privilege of sampling many of the wines during my visit. Without a doubt, each one was a lovely expression of it’s traditional style. I enjoyed the time I spent at the winery and the engaging conversation with the winemaker. It was clear, at least to me, that in this case, there is a song in every breath of the vines, and definitely, ever bottle of Altipiano wine.

 

The Wine

For more information on Altipiano Vineyard and Winery and it’s wines visit www.altipianovineyard.com

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Les Vins de Vienne Condrieu La Chambée 2016 – Bottle Notes https://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/les-vins-de-vienne-condrieu-la-chambee-2016/ https://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/les-vins-de-vienne-condrieu-la-chambee-2016/#respond Fri, 12 Apr 2019 15:36:45 +0000 http://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/?p=2449 Les Vins de Vienne Condrieu ‘La Chambee’ 2016. Enticing notes of bright, fresh tangerine, sweet honeysuckle, and subtle apricot on the nose. Dry. Ripe and bold texture with lush notes of stone fruit (mainly peach and apricot). Pineapple, vanilla, and allspice provide a beautiful frame to balance the robust tree fruit flavors. Fresh and vibrant on the complex finish that shows pineapple, ripe tangerine with hints of white pepper.   The Vineyard Condrieu, founded in 59BC by a roman chef. Planted on narrow and steep terraces, the vineyard is in the Northern Rhone Valley of France.   The Grape 100% Viogner 9 months on the lees in French oak casks at low temperatures. Oh my goodness! Les Vins de Vienne Condrieu ‘La Chambee’ 2016 is a banging bottle of Viognier. If you can get your hands on this bottle, don’t let it go. The price tag is a bit steep at $50+. However, it is well worth a sip. I highly recommend seeking this one out. If you have any favorite Viognier’s to recommend, please drop a note in comments. I am always welcome to suggestions. Cheers!  

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Les Vins de Vienne Condrieu ‘La Chambee’ 2016. Enticing notes of bright, fresh tangerine, sweet honeysuckle, and subtle apricot on the nose. Dry. Ripe and bold texture with lush notes of stone fruit (mainly peach and apricot). Pineapple, vanilla, and allspice provide a beautiful frame to balance the robust tree fruit flavors. Fresh and vibrant on the complex finish that shows pineapple, ripe tangerine with hints of white pepper.

 

The Vineyard

Condrieu, founded in 59BC by a roman chef. Planted on narrow and steep terraces, the vineyard is in the Northern Rhone Valley of France.

 

The Grape

100% Viogner

9 months on the lees in French oak casks at low temperatures.

Oh my goodness! Les Vins de Vienne Condrieu ‘La Chambee’ 2016 is a banging bottle of Viognier. If you can get your hands on this bottle, don’t let it go. The price tag is a bit steep at $50+. However, it is well worth a sip. I highly recommend seeking this one out.

If you have any favorite Viognier’s to recommend, please drop a note in comments. I am always welcome to suggestions.

Cheers!

 
Les Vins de Vienne Condrieu bottle

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#NCWine Bloggers Summit – Recap https://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/nc-wine-bloggers-summit/ https://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/nc-wine-bloggers-summit/#respond Wed, 27 Mar 2019 01:16:06 +0000 http://www.foodandwinechronicles.com/?p=2337 I had an enjoyable time at the #NCWine Bloggers Summit, held on March 3, 2019. Hanover Park Vineyard in Yadkinville N.C. hosted the event. In addition to the summit, pre-summit activities included winery trips and a wine dinner. The #NCWine Bloggers Summit is an annual gathering. Attendees include wine bloggers, North Carolina winemakers, and industry insiders. The event is in its second year, organized by Joe Brock and Matt Kemberling. Additionally, the pair are the creators of NC Wine Guys.   The conference is an excellent opportunity to network, interact, and gain insight. This year’s summit saw an exciting mix of speakers. The subject matter covered a wide range of social and digital media. Below you will find some information and handouts provided at the #NCWine Bloggers Summit. The photos were taken by myself — the next best thing to attending!   Social Media Practices Presented by Bob Aycock Bob provided a detailed presentation on social media strategy and the effective execution of social media. Additionally, he discussed crafting compelling content, scheduling posts and measuring results.   Panel Discussion: What Bloggers & Writers Expect Wine Writing a Story   #NCWine Bloggers Summit Panel participants:   Triangle Around Town Husband and […]

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I had an enjoyable time at the #NCWine Bloggers Summit, held on March 3, 2019. Hanover Park Vineyard in Yadkinville N.C. hosted the event. In addition to the summit, pre-summit activities included winery trips and a wine dinner.

#NCWine Summit Program

The #NCWine Bloggers Summit is an annual gathering. Attendees include wine bloggers, North Carolina winemakers, and industry insiders. The event is in its second year, organized by Joe Brock and Matt Kemberling. Additionally, the pair are the creators of NC Wine Guys.

 

The conference is an excellent opportunity to network, interact, and gain insight. This year’s summit saw an exciting mix of speakers. The subject matter covered a wide range of social and digital media.

Below you will find some information and handouts provided at the #NCWine Bloggers Summit. The photos were taken by myself — the next best thing to attending!

 

Social Media Practices

Presented by Bob Aycock

Bob provided a detailed presentation on social media strategy and the effective execution of social media. Additionally, he discussed crafting compelling content, scheduling posts and measuring results.

#NCWine Bloggers Summit speaker Bob Aycock
 

Panel Discussion: What Bloggers & Writers Expect Wine Writing a Story

 

#NCWine Bloggers Summit Panel participants:

 

Triangle Around Town

Husband and wife team Triangle Around Town delve into local wine and beer. Also, they explore their hometown of Raleigh, N.C. seeking out up-and-coming businesses. Bob and Jen share their experiences on their blog at www.winecarolinas.com

 

Wine Mouths

Wine blogger pair Jessica Byrd and Jessica Adams are ambassadors of wine education. The duo shines the spotlight on North Carolina wine through events, as well as, an online video series.

 

The panel discussion began with the panelist sharing helpful website tips to wineries. Also, the conversation included expectations and tasting room experiences. Lastly, the Q&A session addressed the topic of winery expectation of bloggers.

#NCWine Bloggers Summit Panel
 

Maximizing Blogging and Social Media Content

Presented by Jenn Nelson

Wine enthusiast and creator of Wine Antics blog, Jenn Nelson conducted an interactive session. The presentation addressed digital content. Most importantly, she shared valuable insight on establishing goals. Jenn shared tips and techniques for meeting those goals, as well. Leveraging available opportunities was also part of the lively discussion.

Jenn Nelson
 

Panel Discussion: Winemaking in North Carolina

Winemakers, Shruthi Dhoopati Addison Farms Vineyards, Mark Roszkowski Childress Vineyards, Michael Helton Hanover Park Vineyard, and Nadia Hetzel Cypress Bend Vineyards.

The guided discussion covered a wide range of topics prepared by Joe Brock and Matt Kemberling.

#NCWine Bloggers Summit winemaker panel

Additionally, Neha Shah of Pittsboro-Siler City Convention & Visitors Bureau discussed the benefits of using their services. The bureau offers a variety of services to assist with exploring businesses within region.

 

Pre- Summit Activities

Winery Visits

Jones von Drehle Vineyards & Winery

Winemaker Dan Tallman provided an in-depth guided tour. The tour included a sniff into the ‘bunghole‘ (no pun intended). Also, Dan provided details about his winemaking style, the chemistry of wine, and a peek into the barrel room.

On the tasting room patio, our group enjoyed a fantastic lunch. The menu included Caesar salad, Poulet Rouge Roulade with North Carolina ham, creamy risotto, and chocolate malt pie.

In the tasting room Diana and Chuck Jones, and Karly walked the group through a comprehensive tasting. Of course, my favorites was their Cab Franc and thier award winning Petite Manseng.

 

McRiitchie Winery & Cidery

Winemaker Sean Ritchie explained his vineyard style. The winemaker emphasized his commitment to producing great fruit. His believes in very minimal intervention and chemical free farming. Additionally, he and his son, Asher lead our group on a tour of the winemaking facilities. We also enjoyed a rare glimpse inside the bottling trailer.

Inside the tasting room, Hannah walked us through an extensive tasting. The lineup included both wines and ciders. However, my favorite was the Petite Manseng Pét-Nat sparkling wine.

 

The #NCWine Dinner

Dinner Salad

Blistered Grape . Arugula.Blue Cheese . Mustard Vin . Candied Pecans . Sunflower Seeds

 
glazed and braised beef chuck.smoked figs demi.roquefort grits.charred carrot & corn

Glazed and Braised Beef Chuck . Smoked Figs Demi . Roquefort Grits . Charred Carrot & Corn

 
Tartlett

Pecan Tartlet . Orange Blossom Honey Butter . Kahlua Chocolate Sauce

 

Prepared by Chef Dusty Snow of Gold Leaf Catering — indeed, this meal was as delicious as it looks. Each attendee contributed wine to pair with the dishes. Above all, the dinner was an excellent way for bloggers, winemakers and others to network in a casual setting.

In conclusion, I gained a lot from the event and had a blast attending!

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