Monday, December 20, 2010

My Wine and Food World Trends for 2011

I think the word "trends" as it relates to the wine , food and spirits world is basically predicting consumers behavior based on several reliable variables. Their past spending habits (needs/wants), which are studied by the grocery retailers by way of your grocery receipts, the economy (income), and their lifestyles (how they live).

Here are some of my picks for upcoming trends or an extension of current foodie trends. These ideas are not in any order of nominal importance.

#1. Specialty Beers

I think that consumers will begin to pair beer with meals, appetizers and cheeses when entertaining. This will lead to having beer tasting parties, and will allow the men to be more active in cocktail parties. There are programs that allow you to choose from imported and domestic beers to be mix and matched for a flat fee of a six pack. They have the six pack holders in a holder by the beer cooler isles and you just choose. We have that program in Little rock at my local Fresh Market; I just love it!

One of my favorite lunch parings is a cold Peroni beer, with a chicken salad sandwich on french bread. This is such a great pairing when you add a little cayenne pepper to your chicken salad.

#2. Cheese

Cheese and wine was all the rage when I was a young woman in the 80's; and yes, I'm telling my age! There were parties that all there was was the basic wine and cheese pairings. Now cheese has taken its rightful place in society and is used to pair with wine, used in cooking, and as healthy snacks for kids and adults.
I was never a lover of goat cheese until I sampled Cypress Grove Chevre goat cheeses.

Humboldt Fog
Garrotxa Goat Cheese
I truly love the Humboldt Fog, Truffle Tremor and Purple Haze goat cheese. My son Evan, who suffers from Autism loves the firmer Midnight Moon. Evan has become a gourmet cheese lover; I allow him to sample the cheeses to get a kids point of view.

I love to break chard's of Garrotxa, which is a Spanish goats milk cheese and pair it with sparkling wine or champagne. The flavor is mild and slightly nutty.

There are so many cheeses to try, and if you go to a gourmet shop, most are willing to let you sample cheeses and give you wine pairing information.

#3. Appetizers or Small Bites

Rosemary and Parmesan Madeline's

I think that the idea of variety makes us feel "privileged" when we are eating. This is so appealing in our time when we feel the financial pinch of the economy everyday. So, having a few things that are tasty on a plate is more appealing than one big thing, whether it be chunks of cheese, mini cupcakes, mini crab cakes, crostini, or bruschetta; more is better. Appetizers pair well with wine, and some can be made ahead, store bought and quickly assembled. Mini cheesecakes pair well with Riesling wines, and sparkling wine is always a crowd pleaser.

#4. Sparkling Wine

In the world of wine. I see wine drinkers drinking more sparkling wine. This is a conclusion that I have come to because of a few factors:

We are tired of feeling deprived! Having a rough economy has dampened our spirits and sparkling wine can make us "feel good" ; if we feel good we have a better view of life, and faith that the best is yet to come. You can purchase great sparkling wines for $11.95 on upwards to around $40.00. But many can be found under $25.00. Here are a few of my picks.
Domaine Carneros
Iron Horse Wedding Cuvee
J Cuvee 20 Brut
Marquis de La Tour Sparkling Wine
Schramsberg Mirabelle
Roederer Estate Brut
# 5. Baking Artisanal Breads

Bread baking is an art to many young and old cooks. My daughter is in her twenties and she loves baking bread, and giving it as gifts. I bought her some baking tools for Christmas to assist her in her bread baking.

#6. Gourmet Ingredients

True foodies will "save up" to purchase quality ingredients to utilize in their cooking. Salts, spices, extracts, olive oils, assorted oils( like grape seed),  and herbs are mainstays in their kitchen. Window sill and patio herb gardens as well as roof top gardens will continue to be popular. You can have the herbs year round and you can keep them organic. Also, the herbs in the grocery store are expensive, not so fresh and if don't use the whole package, you waste money.

#7. Becoming an Oenophile

Wine is here to stay and becoming more popular than ever. It is an hobby that grows and becomes a part of your identity. Seeking out QPR wines will be a continuing trend due to the economy, and one can purchase more bottles to add to their wine cellars or wine fridges which are becoming more popular as becoming an oenophile is a trend that will last for years. Blind tastings will be something done with brown paper bags to have a great time and learn about different red and white grape varietals. All reds are not Merlot and all whites are not Chardonnay; the blind tastings will educate your guests to those facts. Pairing wine and food will become a natural part of "everyday dining" in a wine lovers home; not just saved for special occasions or company.

#8. Vegetables

We will be eating more vegetables prepared in different and tasty ways. Herbs, olive oils, citrus and cheese will be used in the preparation of familiar and unfamiliar vegetables. Mushrooms of all kinds will be incorporated into dishes to add complexity to the final product.

#9. Screw Caps

Even though we may not like how they look, or how they take that romance out of opening a bottle of wine; screw caps will continue to be a trend in the world of wine. The keep wine from spoiling as fast and help deter the idea of "corked" wine. I must admit that I find merit in screw caps. I know on an expensive bottle of wine we don't want to see them, but I think we will.

#10. More Men Will Begin to Cook

More men will cook due to being unemployed, to assist in the home. They will begin to enjoy cooking due to mastering different dishes. Sometimes positive things come from not so positive origins.

Also, this may be a trend we may have to look more to movies, television and spirits marketing , but I think Cognac will be the after dinner drink after formal or "casual elegance" style dinners in many households who love to entertain utilizing their fine crystal, china and flatware.

These are just a few of my predictions for the New Year...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Special Christmas Gift

This is a story a wrote a while back, but the idea of collecting of antique corkscrews are still one of my passions.  To date I have one, and it was purchased a few years ago at an antique shop on Magazine Street in New Orleans. 

The above corkscrews are for sale at Lucullus Antiques in New Orleans.

There is something magical for me about corkscrews from New Orleans in the 1800's; I always wonder whose hands and how many hands have graced the corkscrew. The idea of the civility involved around meals taken with wine is very comforting to me. I wonder who opened the wine, was it a servant of the man of the manor or creole cottage?

Being a person born and raised in New Orleans I love to study the history of customs in New Orleans. Being an African American, this history has pain and pleasure. This idea of pleasure and pain is conveyed in a movie that I just recently watched entitled, The Feast of All Saints by famed New Orleans writer Anne Rice. This was a very thought provoking movie about the secret societies of New Orleans as it relates to race.

The people of New Orleans are a people of grace, civility, frolic, food and wine. We love to have a great time. It does not matter if you have a fortune or a few cents; we just love a good time and we love to entertain.

So, the gift of an antique corkscrew for an oenophile would be a lesson in history and a special gift that can be used if it is in good condition and the worm is still good.

Antique corkscrews can be an affordable hobby. You can expect to pay about $45.00 an upwards to the hundreds or even thousands to purchase corkscrews from a reputable antiques dealer. The prices vary due to the styling and condition of the corkscrews. I think that antique dealers are the best source to get the factual time period or circa of your corkscrew and its place of origin. Some corkscrews have the estate that the corkscrew came from written on its tag.

Well, I hope that this makes you want to start an antique corkscrew collection.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Wineries Produce More Than Wine

Jordan 2009 Extra Virgin Olive Oil Note: This was a sample provided by Jordan Winery.

As I explore more winery websites, I am re-taught that wine starts with the land. It is a crop as well as olives that make olive oil and mustard seeds that make gourmet mustard's. There are many wineries that are working ranches. Long Meadow Ranch has cattle (they sell meats), wine, olive oil and all sorts of fresh produce that come from their vineyards.

I have been fortunate to sample Jordan 2009 Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The olive oil is lush, very expressive with herbal notes and a spicy finish. The mouth feel is buttery, a quality that I like in a good olive oil. I sampled the olive oil on a piece of fresh French bread; it was wonderful.

Olive oil is great when making bruschetta of any kind; whether it be to brush on the bread, add to the classic tomato, garlic and basil bruschetta or to finish any bruschetta or crostini. You really want to have a great quality olive oil. I think that this one from Jordan will work out nicely for my bruschetta appetizers and I also drizzle a little olive oil into my tomato sauce when making pasta dishes. It just adds a bit of richness to the sauce.

 Good olive oil makes a great salad dressing and marinade for beef, seafood and poultry. I add balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt. pepper, sugar, lemon juice, liquid smoke, Victoria Taylor's New Orleans Seasoning and liquid smoke to make my beef marinade; I also add a bit of leftover red wine, like Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a thing you have to taste and adjust spices until you get it "just right." I marinade the beef (steaks) for about an half an hour and then I pan sear or grill it on an indoor grill pan during the cold weather months.

I could see using this olive oil and Victoria Taylor's Tuscan Seasoning or Sicilian Seasoning on a piece of tilapia along with sea salt and pepper, and pan seared and finished in the oven . Then give it a squeeze of lemon. I think this is a quick no hassle recipe that I will try soon. I think it would pair well with with the Jordan 2008 Chardonnay. I would serve the fish with a side of angel hair herbed pasta and a simple Roma tomato and romaine lettuce salad.

Note: These seasonings were samples provided by Victoria Gourmet.

I must admit that I have not sampled these mustard's, but they sound fabulous by the description. I have sampled Leaping Lizard Wines and they were quite good. Maybe I will have the opportunity to sample a few of these mustard's and provide you with reviews. Foodies love anything that adds that next "new" flavor to a sandwich, salad dressing or dish.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cooking Spices including Herbs and Wine Pairing

French Herb Garden
Thyme, Sage and Rosemary

Cooking spices and herbs along with food preparation techniques have a lot to do when choosing a wine to pair with a meal. I love to add Rosemary to a gravy or compound butter when cooking beef and pair the meal with Cabernet Sauvignon. My second favorite herb pairing is sage and Syrah when cooking a dish when beef is the star.

I love to have a few potted herb plants on my patio or kitchen window sill to use when I am cooking. The herbs that are pre-packaged are expensive and sometimes not so fresh; they also have a short lifespan. Also, they just require a little watering and some sunlight and you can have fresh herbs year round. My large basil plant looks as if it is dead; I left it outside and we have had some cold temperatures in Little Rock lately. I'm so glad that I have a small basil plant in my kitchen window sill. Remember to bring your plants inside when it is too hot or too cold.

Note: This was a sample provided by Victoria Taylor
I love pan seared salmon and pinot noir. When I prepare salmon, I use sea salt (I like Victoria Taylor's Trapani Sea Salt), black pepper and Victoria Taylor's Herbes de Provence

Lorrie’s Herbes de Provence Salmon
With a Caper Sauce

Yield 4 servings (Note: This recipe can be doubled or tripled)

4(6-ounce) salmon fillets
¼ teaspoon of sea salt (or to taste)
¼ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper( or to taste)
Herbes de Provence (Sprinkled on each fillet to taste)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
½ teaspoon of olive oil (to oil grill pan or skillet)
1 lemon cut in half (this is to squeeze on the cooked salmon)
to squeeze on fillets as a finish
Caper Sauce
1 cup of Mayonnaise
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon of capers (drained of brine)
4 dashes of Tabasco sauce (or more to taste)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Pat salmon fillet dry, then rub olive oil on each fillet then sprinkle with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and Herbes de Provence. Heat a grill pan or skillet with the 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Heat oil in a large non stick skillet, then sear fillets skin side up for about 3 minutes until edges turn golden and then, the other side for about 15 seconds, there should be a nice crust on the fish. Remove from skillet and place fillets in a in a baking dish, in a preheated 400 degree oven, and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Some may like their salmon less cooked, so oven time can be shortened. Squeeze lemon juice on each fillet after they are removed from the oven.
Caper Sauce
To make the caper sauce, just combine the cup of mayonnaise, juice of one lemon, capers and Tabasco sauce, to taste.  Place in a bowl for serving.

I think that the perfect pairing would be with Davis Bynum 2008 Pinot Noir.

This wine is a lovely dark garnet color. The nose is filled with aromas of bright red fruit flavors, (cherries), a bit of dust, a hint of caramel and spice. The palate mimics the nose with a silky mouth feel. This wine paired well with a turkey rubbed with an herb infused compound butter. It would also pair well with roasted chicken, pork roast and salmon. Note: This was a sample from Rodney Strong Vineyards.

These are just a few ideas for fall and winter wine and food pairings.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Lorrie's Favorite White Wines

I love white wines that have great fruit, balance, "expression of place",  and they can be sipped alone or paired with food. This is my equation for a "good wine". All wines have a place in my opinion. Some are great to sip on daily, some great on the budget for a party, and some are for an elegant occasion. This may sound kinda "Dewey-Decimal" but that is my take on wine. Now some wines can fool me and say ah ha, I can "roll either way" and when that happens, I have to respect the wine. I always "respect the wine."

This wine is light-bodied, crisp, clean and refreshing. It is like "summer in a glass", with flavors of citrus, melon, a hint of pear with a clean finish. I could sip this wine all day long and year round. It would pair well with grilled chicken on skewers, grilled shrimp, fish and my favorite pairing for this wine is a salad with grilled chicken, romaine lettuce, Roma tomatoes, grated Manchego cheese, croutons and Ken's Buttermilk Ranch salad dressing. It is to die for! This is a wine to buy by the half case or a full case if you have the space. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Rodney Strong Vineyards.

J 2009 Pinot Gris

This wine has a light straw color. The nose is beautiful! I have to say that I have a "thing" for wines with ripe beautiful noses. The nose has a "warm" tangerine and honeysuckle nose with just a slight hint of spice. The palate mirrors the nose with an addition of honey and lime. I think this wine is one to have during the warm months and also in the the cooler months due to the warmth of the nose, the citrus flavors (tangerine), and the acidity of the wine and the hint of spice. I think this wine would pair well with ripened goat cheese, pork, orange glazed chicken, crab cakes, and grilled shrimp, which were marinated in a marinade that included orange juice with a bit of ginger and lime juice. This wine is one that I will have in my cellar, just to sip or to pair with a meal. Note: This wine was a sample provided by J Wines.

This wine has a light straw color with a slight hint of green. The nose is fresh and clean, then opens up to aromas of apple, pear and peach. The palate mirrors the nose with an addition of a bit of spice and a hint of lemon zest on the finish. This chardonnay is quite elegant and smooth; it begs to be paired with food due to its great acidity. I would pair this wine with roasted turkey, roasted chicken, grilled shrimp, crab cakes, grilled fish and shrimp and chicken dishes served with a pasta in Alfredo sauce. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Jordan Winery.

The Santa Barbara Winery 2008 Sauvignon Blanc is a wonderful white wine with tropical notes that is a joy to sip year round. It is a wonderful wine for appetizers and grilled shrimp, crab cakes and grilled chicken. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Santa Barbara winery.

Try a few of my picks and let me know what you think!

Monday, December 6, 2010

More Christmas Gift Suggestions for Wine and Food Lovers

The list continues as I search the internet to find gifts that will surely please the wine and food lovers on your list.

Everyone loves a great cocktail and a beautiful and functional cocktail shaker brings style to the job of mixologist. The Maxfield shaker from Pottery Barn may just be the right gift for your host or hostess on your list.

Note: This was a sample provided by Domaine De Canton.
Add a bottle of Domaine De Canton a French Ginger flavored Liqueur with a cocktail shaker and you have a delightful gift for any mixologist.

Art work is personal, so you have to really know someone pretty good to pick out a gift for them, but this plaque is nice! It can be found at Wisteria.

I also love beautiful chalkboards. This one can be hung in an eating area and the menu and wine selection can be written out for all your guests to see.

I love utensils that assist you in serving cheese. These are from Pottery Barn. Make sure you hand wash these, so they can stay beautiful.

I love to find QPR Sparkling wines. Marquis de la Tour Brut Rose` can be found at Wine Express for under $12.00. I truly love this sparkling wine from the Loire region of France. This is one to buy by the half case or by the case if you have the room for it!

Note: Only the Rose` is available at

Friday, December 3, 2010

Best Wine and Food Lovers Christmas Gifts

Well it is that time of the year again; we have to think hard about what to buy our family and friends for Christmas. I think a gift should be well thought out,  with that persons interest as the main indicator of what to buy. For wine and food lovers this can be tricky. We seem to very specific about things and brands that we like, so check out a few of my suggestions.

I really love wine bottle stoppers. The Fleur De Lis stopper can be found at Frontgate. The others can be found at Pottery Barn.

Another favorite is beautiful things that are useful like this cloche from Wisteria. I could see baked goods, cheese or collections under this cloche. Wisteria also has these wine bottle candle holders that look great with a beautiful empty wine bottle as the base.

Cheese lovers will love these items. These cheese markers are porcelain and they have an erasable pen; they be be found at Pottery Barn. The parchment paper leaves look great on a platter. They can be purchased at Williams and Sonoma or Sur la Table.

For those foodies, try Victoria Gourmets sea salts Here are two of my favorites:

 We also like cookbooks, wine videos, nice stemware, herb plants, fruit trees, kitchen gadgets, wine gadgets, and serve ware.
This appetizer cookbook by Eric Treuille and Victoria Blashford-Snell is wonderful. It can be purchased at Amazon.
This is a bit of a splurge, but for that cook that wants to have an extra burner pronto or cook outside, this is an excellent gift. The Viking Portable Induction Cooktop is about $500.00 It is available at

Food items are always a plus in my book. I love the smooth pate` from Les Petite Couchon or 3 pigs
This is the pate` with mushrooms, which I love! I also love the Mousse Truffle Pate`. Try adding these in a gift basket along with some goat cheese from Cypress Grove Chevre, like Humboldt Fog or Purple Haze along with some good crackers and a bottle of sparkling wine. Try this one from J Wines.

These are just a few of my suggested Christmas gifts for the wine and food lovers on your list. I'll offer more suggestions in the coming days...



Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Merlot and Food Pairings

Merlot was my first red wine love. The world merlot is derived from the French and it means “blackbird.”It is thought the merlot grapes are dark as a blackbird. The flavor profile of merlot is blackberry, plum and currants. Sometimes you will find other flavors like chocolate and a bit of leather; but most of the time the fruit is the star of merlot. Merlot is often used as a blending wine in other varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon.  Meritage wines or wines that contain more than one variety of Bordeaux style grape varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Merlot has gotten a bad reputation because it is not that easy to find a well made Merlot. I hate to sound like the character Miles from the movie “Sideways”; but merlot can be less than stellar sometimes. The movie Sideways gave merlot a bad name and made Pinot Noir a rising star in the world of wine.  Here are some fun facts about merlot.
The addition of merlot can really add lushness to cabernet sauvignon. I like my red wines to be fruit forward and lush with a bit of structure.  Merlot gives that to me in a red wine and pairs well with cheeses and beef dishes. One of my favorite pairings with merlot is a hamburger. It not only pairs well with burgers, but steaks as well. Here is a review of one of my favorite merlots.

 This wine has a purple color. The nose is filled with sweet dark fruit, vanilla and spice. The palate mirrors the nose, with an addition of a hint of coffee. This wine would pair well with grilled chicken, burgers and a steak. I would also pair this wine with Cahill Porter cheese. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Rutherford Wine.
Cahill Porter Cheese

Lorrie’s Steak Bites

1 12 -14 oz rib eye steak cut into inch cubes
1 bottle Stubb’s Beef Marinade
1 package of bacon cut into thirds
1 bottle of your favorite steak sauce (I like A-1)
Marinade cubed steak in enough marinade to cover the meat for at least 30 minutes. An hour is better.  Use a paper towel to absorb some of the excess marinade off the steak. Wrap each piece of steak with a piece of bacon strip, then secure with a tooth pick. Sear in a frying pan or grill on a grill until the bacon is done. Heat up your favorite steak sauce to dip the steak bites in. A fondue pot would be great to keep the sauce warm. Note: The amount of steak bites will vary due to the size of the steak.
Wine suggestion:  Rutherford Ranch 2008 Merlot

Lorrie's Super Bruschetta
1 head of roasted garlic (recipe will follow)
(1) 8 oz package of cream cheese
½ cup of sharp cheddar cheese
1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon of Creole seasoning
2 tablespoons of melted I can't Believe it's not Butter
¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
20 diagonally sliced pieces of French bread
(1) 12 oz jar of roasted red peppers
½ lb. of thinly sliced beef pastrami
(1) 8 oz. block of Fontina cheese
dried chives for garnish

To roast garlic: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Cut the top off the head of garlic, just enough to see the garlic toes exposed. Put in a square of aluminum foil. Put olive oil on top and add about a teaspoon of water on the bottom of the foil, close up and bake an hour.
Squeeze roasted garlic toes out of the head of garlic into a small bowl.
This can be done ahead of time to save in prep time.
In addition, the cream cheese mixture can be made ahead as well.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix melted margarine and olive oil together in a cup. Brush the bread with the olive oil mixture and bake for about 5-7 minutes.
In a food processor, combine cream cheese, cheddar cheese, roasted garlic toes, cayenne pepper and Creole seasoning and pulse until blended. 
Remove from oven and spread a teaspoon of cream cheese mixture on each slice of bread. Then add a piece of roasted red pepper. Then add a small piece of pastrami, then a thin slice of Fontina cheese, and a drop of oil on each slice of bread. Sprinkle with chives. Bake in oven until the cheese is melted. About 5 minutes.
Wine Suggestions: Bogle 2008 Merlot ~ Red Diamond 2007 Merlot~Rutherford Ranch 2008 Merlot

Try the recipes and wine pairings and let me know what you think!



Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wonderful Red Wines For The Season

I am a lover of red wines that have great fruit flavors; not so sweet that they taste like dessert wine, but fruit forward. So many wine critics have become critical of wines they consider to be "fruit bombs." I think that there is something to be said about having a glass of wine that is made from fruit and you can taste fruit! Yes, I love the balance, spice and other nuances of wines, but please don't leave out the great fruit.

Here are a few of my favorites, yes some have been noted on this blog before, but they are good wines. These wines can be paired with most meals that home cooks and foodies prepare at home. Also, most if not all of these wines are easy to obtain, whether in a wine shop or online.

This wine is a lovely dark garnet color. The nose is filled with aromas of bright red fruit flavors, (cherries), a bit of dust, a hint of caramel and spice. The palate mimics the nose with a silky mouth feel. This wine paired well with a turkey rubbed with an herb infused compound butter. It would also pair well with roasted chicken, pork roast and salmon. Note: This was a sample from Rodney Strong Vineyards.

This wine has a beautiful deep dark red color. The nose is filled with dark fruit flavors and is just delightful. The palate has the same dark fruit flavors like plum and black cherry mixed with spice from the oak. This wine is smooth and it reminded me again why Merlot was my first red wine love. I really think this will be my QPR Merlot for this year. This wine is great to sip on its own or to pair with a burger, and steaks. This would also be a great wine with appetizers like cocktail meatballs, sausages and cheeses. This is a value wine and should be one to keep on hand in your cellar. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Bogle Winery.

This wine has a deep garnet color. The nose and palate are filled with aromas and flavors of dark fruit, especially dark cherries, plums and of course currants. The wine is fruit forward, which is a plus in my book; it makes you just want to have another glass. I could see this paired with a cheeseburger. Another pairing would be a serving of mac and cheese. I could also see using this wine to braise beef short ribs, then pairing the wine with the ribs. This wine would also pair well with a Cantalet or cheddar grilled cheese sandwich. This is a wine to stock in your cellar. It truly is a QPR wine. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Oak Grove Wines.

This wine has a wonderful ruby color. The nose mimics the palate with dark fruit, blackberries, a hint of sage, and notes of pepper. This is a well integrated and balanced wine. I let it breathe to open up for about an hour in a decanter. The tannins were supple and it was smooth as silk. I love it! Paired it with Classic Tomato, Basil and garlic bruschetta and open faced pan grilled french bread slices with melted Da Vinci Dutch Gouda cheese melted on top. These pairings were great. I could see this paired with steak, burgers, pork ribs or with a piece of the Da Vinci Dutch Gouda cheese. Enjoy! Note:  This wine was a sample from Frank Family Vineyards.

These are just a few of the wines that I have sampled lately that I think are some nice wines for you to try.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Are Wine and Food Bloggers "Digital Influencers" ?

Well according to the FTC or Federal Trade Commission, we are. I always wonder, how do we measure our influences on our readers? Sometimes, the readers will comment on how much they value your reviews and comments. I also can see in the wine review sections that some readers will get a recommended bottle of wine and provide their review on the wine that the wine writer has reviewed.

I know I love reading reviews from my wine experts who seem to share the same palate as I do. It just makes sense to me, especially in this economic climate; who wants to buy a bottle only to throw it away.

I think that wineries are great to reach out to bloggers, because we have nothing to gain by posting our honest reviews. If I get a wine sample and it is not that good, I won't review it. Why should I recommend something that I don't like. That is the thing about most wine lovers or oenophiles, we are so serious and honest about wine.

I love sharing wine and food pairings and the wine and food has to be good in order for me to recommend the wine, recipe or pairing. It is almost like "thugs" have "street cred", well I have my "culinary and wine cred." I think my "cred" is lawful and helpful (smile). So, feel comfortable in the fact that my intent is always to give you the "truth" as I see it.

Jordan 2008 Chardonnay

This wine has a light straw color with a slight hint of green. The nose is fresh and clean, then opens up to aromas of apple, pear and peach. The palate mirrors the nose with an addition of a bit of spice and a hint of lemon zest on the finish. This chardonnay is quite elegant and smooth; it begs to be paired with food due to its great acidity. I would pair this wine with roasted turkey, roasted chicken, grilled shrimp, crab cakes, grilled fish and shrimp and chicken dishes served with a pasta in alfredo sauce. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Jordan Winery.

Predator 2009 Old Vine Zinfandel
Wow! This wine is so interesting. The color is deep garnet. The nose has aromas of sweet dark fruit, a hint of smoke and bacon; yes a hint of bacon! I just could not put this wine down. The palate mirrors the nose along with a smooth and silky mouth feel. I would pair this wine with a cheese burger topped with apple wood smoked bacon, sausage, pork ribs with a sweet smokey sauce and a slow roasted pork roast with a glaze made with this wine. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Rutherford Wine.

Victoria Gourmet's Herbes De Provence
Note: This seasoning was a sample provided by Victoria Gourmet.

This is my herb to add that touch of Provence to my chicken, salmon and white fish. When making a compound butter, I use softened unsalted butter, a good amount of herbes de provence, about a tablespoon, sea salt and black pepper to taste and blend mixture completely.

Gently lift the skin of your chicken that has been rinsed and patted dry and rub the compound butter under the chicken breast on on top of the entire chicken. Add your salt and pepper lightly on the outside of the chicken and generously on the inside of the chicken along with two sweet onion quarters, a half a stalk of celery, a bay leaf and fresh rosemary sprigs.

 I use three whole celery stalks as a baking rack, place the seasoned chicken, legs tied with cooking string on the celery rack and add a bit of left over chardonnay wine while roasting to keep my chicken moist. Roast at 350 degrees, uncovered for about an hour and a half or 20 minutes per pound. I tent the poultry with foil if it is browning too quickly.

I will be reviewing more wine and food items soon, so tune in!