Thanksgiving Wine Recommendation: Domaine Serene Pinot Noir Evenstad Reserve Willamette Valley 2014

A Serene Wine Recommendation from our friend at Wayward Wine…Happy Thanksgiving!

WAYWARD WINE

Picking a Thanksgiving wine presents endless variables and pitfalls. Let’s make this simple. Choose one that will impress but not challenge or overwhelm both guests and the food.  Imagine that polite, introverted guest who may not be the most memorable but charmed everyone. A wine so approachable, balanced, moderately complex but not showy does exist.

My charming/belligerent evening at Salud! wine auction (read here) inspired me. The Willamette Valley churns out many quality Pinot Noir. Today’s recommended bottle of Domaine Serene merits a place on your Thanksgiving table.

For a bit of background, Grace and Ken Evenstad came to Oregon from Minnesota and, by 1990, threw their finances into mimicking Burgundy.  They own six vineyards. In 2001 DS built a winery dripping with francophilic pretensions including their Disneyland chalk caverns. They even bought Burgundian Château de la Crée in 2015 to complete the circle.

Salud Wine Auction Resonance Me getting fancy drunk in D…

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Just Another Tazmanian Sparkling Rosé!

We have a new grocery store in Roanoke, Virginia…Earth Fare!  “Healthy Food For Everyone”   Their food philosophy: “We pledge that our food is free of added hormones, antibiotics, artificial fats and trans-fats, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners and preservatives, bleached or bromated flour, artificial colors or flavors”.

Their prepared foods section is amazing…let’s take a tour…starting at the cheese case where I met Aaron who gave me a taste of the most delicious “Brie” cheese…

EF Cheese case

EF Brie cheeseEF Brie Cheese with bread

Jasper Hill Farm Harbison ~ soft and decadent brie-style cheese is wrapped with spruce for structure and flavor.  Made in Greensboro, Vermont. Amazing buttery taste. https://www.jasperhillfarm.com/harbison

EF Baguette sign

I served it on freshly baked baguette (sold at Earth Fare daily for 98 cents…mine was still warm when I purchased it…yum).

I paired this lovely cheese with Jansz Rosé, sparkling wine from Tasmania.  The first wine I’ve tried from Tasmania.  Delightful!  I found this bubbly at Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar in Roanoke, Virginia.   http://mrbillswinecellar.com

Jansz Tasmania is a pioneer of deluxe sparkling wine in Australia. Jansz is made by the méthode champenoise.   Pale salmon in color, with a fine bead, this wine has a rich floral bouquet of strawberries with a soft and creamy palate. $26 range.

tazmanian champagne

Ef shrimp saladEF salads

EF shrimpEF shrimp on grillEF shrimp on plate

Grilled Shrimp Quesadillas 

Earth Fare Herb Shrimp Salad with red and yellow bell peppers and lots of seafood seasoning makes fabulous Grilled Shrimp Quesadillas.  So easy to prepare…spray grill with vegetable spray. Top a taco size flour tortilla with shrimp salad and finely grated Monterrey Jack cheese. Top with another flour tortilla and grill until cheese is melted and tortilla is toasted. Flip once. Remove from grill and cut into triangles. Serve warm.

avocadoEF guacamole

Guacamole!  

I love Earth Fare Fire Roasted Corn Salad.  Fabulous addition to homemade Guacamole.

EF chips

Late July Organic Sea Salt and Lime Tortilla Chips are my new favorite…crispy yet sturdy enough to hold up to chunky guacamole.

Ef pretzels

EF bloody mary mix

Another Earth Fare treat  for Sunday Brunch…Pretzilla Smithfield Ham Swiss Cheese Bites.  Cut a little bit of the bottom off of each pretzel bite so the bites will sit up straight, then cut the bites in half. Spread one half with whole grain mustard and the other half with Duke’s mayonnaise.  Fill the pretzel bites with thinly sliced Smithfield ham and Swiss cheese. (I found that  since the Smithfield ham is salty I did not need to top the pretzel bites with the salt that was included in the package.) Heat the pretzel bites in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven until cheese is melted.  Serve warm.

And to finish the weekend…

champagne bottle

  • This vintage Millesime champagne has 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay grape varieties from a unique, single harvest year. Well refined on the nose, with notes of gingerbread and croissants. A complex and very assertive mouth. A champagne to enjoy as an aperitif or set to accompany gourmet dishes.  

    Millésime

    kitty catkitty on shoe
    signkitty Artie
    Our kitties are growing! So happy !

 

 

 

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Winery Cats: Cuddling Opportunities Abound

If you love cats and wine the way I do, this simple little story will make you smile!

VinesseToday

You may think we’re writing a blog about winery cats because we’re just four days awacaty from Halloween.

Well, if this were a blog specifically about black cats, that would make a lot of sense. But this blog is about all types of winery cats — British shorthair, Siamese, Persian, Ragdoll, Maine Coon, Bengal, Abyssinian, American Bobtail, American Shorthair and so on.

At quite a few wineries, the resident dogs serve as unofficial greeters. They trot up to arriving cars, rub up against the guests and lead them to the front door of the tasting room. I kid you not. I’ve had this experience at least a dozen times.

But winery cats are different. I’ve had a few allow themselves to be petted as I approached the winery doors, but most just sit around wherever they want or go off exploring, hunting who knows what. There’s no question that…

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In The Southern Tradition ~ Country Ham Pretzel Rolls

My “go to” for holiday hors d’oeuvres? Country Ham Biscuits of course!  Did you know that the perfect size for a country ham biscuit is the circumference of the top of a champagne flute? (1 3/4 inches round).  Coincidence, I think not.  Salty country ham and a chardonnay predominant champagne make a perfect pairing!

I am always looking for creative ways to change up my traditional hors d’oeuvre menu. When I saw these yummy pretzel rolls I immediately thought filling them with country ham.

To make these yummy Country Ham Pretzel Rolls, I preheated my oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  I split the pretzel rolls in half lengthwise and spread on side with Duke’s mayonnaise and the other side with Pommery whole grain mustard.  Then I topped the mustard side with shaved Smithfield (country) ham and slices of swiss cheese, placing the mayonnaise side on top of the cheese.  Then I brushed the rolls with melted butter and sprinkled the tops with black sesame seeds (optional). Bake the rolls for 8 to 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.  Remove from oven, cool slightly and cut into 4 slices horizontally. Serve warm.

Jeeper champagne

As soon as we devoured the pretzel rolls we sat back and enjoyed a tasting of Jeeper Champagne.  60% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir, and 15% Pinot Meunier handpicked grapes. $60 range.

The story of this champagne begins in 1949.  It was then that Armand Goutorbe, son of Victor Goutorbe, on his return from the Second World War, decided to produce and sell his Champagne.

Armand Goutorbe christened his brand Champagne JEEPER, with an eye to making himself stand out from the many wine growers of the region also named Goutorbe and in reference to the Jeep bestowed upon him (he returned from the war to his native Champagne disabled)  by the local authorities to help him ascend the vineyard slopes with ease.

You can see why this champagne appealed to me, knowing that I love Jeeps. My own Jeep Overland is named “Dolly D”, for Dolly Dawn who was known as the “Champagne of Big Band Singers”!

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/dolly-dawn-mn0000172847/biography

Jeeper Champagne has a light golden color with tiny bubbles dancing around the flute.  Elegant with glazed apple notes.  This champagne lends itself to pairing with food and we found a fabulous pairing…

crisps with package

crisps

Adams Reserve New York Extra Sharp Cheddar (made in upstate New York) paired with Virginia Gold Orchard Asian Pear Marmalade. The marmalade was a special gift from my bubbly friend Cindy.  Their Asian Pears are homegrown & handpicked in Rockbridge County, Virginia and they are delicious! I put a smear of the marmalade on top of the cheddar cheese on a Apricot and Ginger Raincoast Crisp Cracker. Oh la la…it was a “pearfect” pairing with the Jeeper champagne.

apples

http://www.virginiagoldorchard.com

mug with ginger beermug

Roundng out the weekend…these crisp Fall days are perfect for a chilled Moscow Mule made with BundAberg Spiced Ginger Beer.

Here’s a link to BundAberg Brews Cocktail Recipes:

https://www.bundaberg.com/en-us/mixology-2/?mixer=ginger-beer&alcohol=

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Results of The First JamesTheWineGuy Sparkling Wine Survey – James Melendez

Encouraging results from James the Wine Guy Sparkling Wine Survey…we are drinking more bubbles these days instead of waiting for a celebration to pop the cork. Cheers!

James the Wine Guy

First, thank you to all of those people who participated.  I realised in my writing that it was important to do a survey on wine.  I want more of my writing to not just always be based on the anecdotal only.

I could think of no better topic than sparkling wine to start with a survey.  There were things I wondered about in sparkling wine–what sparkling wine was top of mind, price points people paid, types liked, etc.

Being a wine writer, judge, educator and videographer and also being a paid professional as a wine marketing manager at a multi store chain retailer in the past.  I have had a burning platform to know more about the behaviour of wine consumption which ultimately does inform my writing and video creation.

I like the analytical part of things… wine included.  I have said that wine is the most complex of all…

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Celebrate National Deviled Egg Day ~ November 2, 2017

egg Bacon and Balsamic Deviled Eggs 

Follow this easy recipe (originally published in The Roanoke Times ~ Gretchen Mckay  Pittsburg Post Gazette – TNS)  to make the most delicious Deviled Eggs…

Bacon and Balsamic Deviled Eggs

12 hard-cooked eggs

The original recipe called for 1/2 of the amounts of the following ingredients. I doubled the amounts because I LOVE bacon and I found the original recipe for the filling to be just a bit dry.

10 bacon slices, cooked crisp and crumbled

2/3 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon very finely chopped shallot (the original recipe called for onion. I find shallot to have a bit less of a bite than onion which I prefer for this recipe)

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons Balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cornichon or sweet midget pickle for garnish, sliced into thin slices

paprika for garnish

To cook the perfect hard-cooked egg:  Fill large pot with water (enough to cover the eggs you are going to cook). Add a little salt.  Bring water to a rolling boil.  Place eggs in boiling water and cover pot. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered for 12 minutes. Remove from heat and drain water out of pot.  Add ice to eggs to immediately stop cooking and allow to cool quickly for peeling.

Peel eggs and rinse well to remove any bits of shell.  Cut eggs in half lengthwise and scoop out the yolks. Put yolks in separate bowl and mash.  Add bacon, mayonnaise, shallot, mustard, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Stir until well combined. Spoon the mixture in the egg halves evenly. Garnish each egg half with a slice of cornichon and sprinkle with paprika.

Makes 24

  • reference: The Ultimate Paleo Cookbook, by Arsy Vartanian (Page Street Publishing)

tailgate eggs

SC fried deviled eggs

Fried Deviled Eggs!

Thank you to Chef Roger Light, Executive Chef, Shenandoah Club, Roanoke, Virginia, for sharing this perfectly delicious and unique Deviled Egg recipe:

sc chef Carlos

Super Delicious!!! Chef Carlos demonstrated how to make fried deviled eggs, starting with hard-boiled eggs. Cut the eggs in two and place the yolks in a mixing bowl.  Place the white halves on a paper towel lined baking sheet. Blot the egg white halves gently with paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible.

Grind panko bread crumbs in a food processor or blender to make the crumbs more like the consistency of flour.  Place flour in one bowl, egg whites mixed with a little water in another bowl and panko bread crumbs in a third bowl. Dip the egg white halves into flour, then egg white wash, then panko bread crumbs.  Place them on the paper towel lined baking sheet (replace paper towels if the towels are moist). Press the crumb mixture into the egg so that it adheres well.

Heat canola oil in a large pot on the stove.  Fry the egg white halves in hot oil until they are light golden brown. Remove the eggs from the oil with a slotted spoon or tongs and place on the paper towel lined baking sheet.  Allow to cool.

Using the hard-boiled egg yolks, prepare a deviled egg filling the same way you prepare your favorite deviled egg filling recipe. Add mayonnaise, pickle relish, mustard, or balsamic vinegar.  Sprinkle some crisp crumbled bacon in each fried egg half and then fill with the deviled egg filling. Garnish with smoked paprika or chopped chives.

SC ME and eggs

Go ahead and ask, you know you’ve always wanted to ask…

What Champagne Should I  Serve With Deviled Eggs?!

Baron champagne

Champagne Pairing For Deviled Eggs:

Baron-Fuenté Esprit Champagne Grand Cru

92 points Wine Spectator

30% each of  Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier grapes resulting in a creamy, rich brioche, lemon curd and almond flavors.  Delightful and elegant. $30 range.

happy-refrigerator

“Always keep a bottle of Champagne in the fridge for special occasions. Sometimes, the special occasion is that you’ve got a bottle of Champagne in the fridge.”
― Hester Browne

cats two

cat artie

These Fall days are getting a bit cooler and Daylight Savings Time is right around the corner, so our days are getting less productive by the minute!

Happy Deviled Egg Day!

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Champagne Season!

Thank you LILLIAN LIM, Curious Wine Drinker, for this lovely champagne review, just in time for the holidays. Readers, please click on “champagne reviews” in this blog and you will find a wealth of information about bubbly for the holidays. Cheers!

CURIOUS WINE DRINKER

It’s the season!  With the holidays approaching this is when all eyes are on Champagne.

Are you looking to find a favorite Champagne?  Do you already have a favorite, but maybe want to try something else?  Wondering what would be a good Champagne to give as a gift or to pop open for New Year’s Eve?

Well, the best thing to do is to taste!  It’s always good to figure out and know what style you like.  For example, I love bubbly in general and would never say no if someone offered me a glass of bubbly, but I do have my preferences. When I’m getting a bottle for myself, I gravitate to what I like, as we all do.  With that in mind, I’ve created a listing of Champagne reviews to use as a reference.  It contains a list of:

  • Top Sellers in the Market – Champagnes that are easy to…

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