Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

Me pretending to be a Diva, wearing pink lipstick and well, long hair!

I just wanted to wish all of my readers a safe, healthy and prosperous New Year. I feel so blessed to be able to share some of my favorite things that give me joy, and joy to the readers of my blog. I love wine, food and interior design. So, I hope to continue to provide you with honest wine reviews, great recipes, and other lifestyle related articles.

I also want to thank all the wonderful people in wine country who provide me wine samples, so I can share my experiences with all of you. In addition to wine, I'd like to thank all the authors who have  provided me books to review and, all the companies that have provided me with food items to review. I love spreading the word, so that you can drink, read, cook and enjoy the wine lifestyle. So, tonight raise your wine glass or champagne flute to welcome 2012!

So, enjoy a little sparkling wine tonight and have a little fun! Bubbles are good for the soul!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Wine Review: Bogle 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

This wine was a delight to review! At a suggested retail price of $11.00 a bottle; it is a "bang-for-the-buck wine! The wine is a dark garnet color. The nose is filled with dark ripe fruit aromas (black cherries) along with hints of earth, tobacco, smoke and spice. The palate mirrored the nose with more of that ripe fruit, baking spice, and a hint of leather. This wine is well balanced and quite a bargain, making a great purchase for a gathering. I would pair this wine with a gourmet burger, steak, bruschetta topped with beef pastrami and cheese, aged Cheddar cheese, Cahill Porter cheese or a Blue cheese. Note:  This wine was a sample provided by Bogle Vineyards for my review. SRP $11.00

Wine Review: Bogle 2010 Riesling

I must admit that this wine pleasantly surprised me! I am not a fan of Riesling, but this Riesling had the right amount of residual sugar that kept it balanced, and not cloyingly sweet. This wine has aromas of ripe apples, pears, hints of baking spice and citrus notes, mainly honeysuckle. The palate mirrored the nose along with a nice dose of acidity. I would pair this with pork, orange glazed chicken, soft cheeses, fresh goat cheese, crab cakes, Asian cuisine and one of my favorites Philadelphia Cream Cheese topped with Tabasco Brand Pepper Jelly served with Ritz crackers.This is an easy no-fuss appetizer and wine pairing that is sure to please. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Bogle Vineyards for review. SRP $10.00

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Women of the Vine Wines and the Holiday Season

Hello Readers,
Please check out the link below and order wines made by women wine makers. Girl Power rocks, and so do their wines! Women are making great strides in the world of wine; I'd love for you to support their efforts!

Happy Holidays,


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Book Review: the Saucy Sisters Guide To Wine What every girl should know before she Unscrews! by Barbara Nowak & Beverly Pittman

I must say that this book was a joy to read. Barbara & Beverly A.K.A the Saucy Sisters really provided the proper information on wine, for a beginner to a person who has a good amount of wine knowledge and those in between. They shared information about themselves, to introduce you to how their sisterhood turned into a friendship, and led them to their career path in the world of wine. The voice of the book is part " wine girlfriend" and part "wine educator." The style of the book is easy to read, and they break down a lot of basic wine information in ways that truly helps the reader understand the world of wine.

They put icons, Screw Tip = Savvy Wine Advice, Screw U = Higher Wine Education, Unscrewy = Unscrewy Questions = We've Got Answers to help in the educational process, that are fun and informative. The basic varietal information is there with alternative wines to try if you want to venture off from your "usual" white or red wine favorites. I like that fact that they provide "options", this helps the new Oenophile (wine lover) begin to expand their wine journey.

The concept of the screw cap is still a huge debate; but the sisters and myself see the value of a screw cap. I must admit, I still love the romance  of uncorking a bottle of wine sometimes, but screw caps are great for preserving wine for a few days. I guess they, "screw caps", serve a good purpose for folks who don't have a wine drinking partner, and thus have leftover wine.

The book covers wine pairing suggestions, how to order wine in a restaurant, how to pronounce the names of wine varietals, glassware, information about wines from all regions and so much more.

I think this book would make an excellent Christmas gift for the Oenophiles on your Christmas list. Note: This book was a sample for my review from the authors. SRP $13.95
The book can be purchased from the Saucy Sisters website, and they will personalize it for you or you can purchase the book on Amazon and Barnes and Noble's website.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Product Review: Wine Glass Writer A Wine Lovers Gift

Well, the holiday party times are approaching so quickly, and I have found an amazing gift to attach to a bottle of wine, add to a wine lovers gift basket, give as a party favor or use as a stocking stuffer. The Wine Glass Writer is a pen that can be used to write your guest names, distinguish wine varietals or use on ceramic platters to identify foods. This pen now comes in holiday colors, like silver, gold, merlot and green.

You can allow your guest to be artist and let the fun begin! To get everyone in the mood, you could have a glass decorating contest; who has the best Christmas design on their stem. The winner would get a prize! Just have a few sets of pens so your guest can share and get to know each other. We do like to compete, and this is a fun way, because we get to drink wine after we color. When we we in elementary school, we just got a nap! So, there are some perks to being a grown-up. I just wrote my name in gold and made a Christmas tree in gold with a silver star and merlot ball ornaments. I know I can get a bit more clever, but I'm a little tired today. I'll experiment until I am a pro!

 The pens ink stays on when you follow the directions on the back of the package. You have to wait 30 seconds or a bit more before using them. Write above the pour line if you are drinking chilled wines, to ensure that the writing and or design will stay intact. The writing washes off easily with a sponge and soap and water or the dishwasher, and it is non-toxic.

When the holidays roll around we tend to really enjoy our wine, so if we get a little tipsy, we still remember our name. This keeps things sanitary, no drinking from someone else's glass or having the host or hostess to have an arsenal of stemware, because you forgot which glass is yours. So, this item is a wonderful gift for yourself as well as your friends. These pens make wonderful stocking stuffers for those wine lovers on your list. Note: This was a sample for my review from The Wine Glass Writer The SRP for the holiday set of pens is $7.95, and the other colored pens are $6.95 a set.

Also, wine shop merchants, you can contact the site to see about pricing in bulk for your wine stores!

Happy Holidays; let the parties begin!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Wine Review: Rutherford Ranch 2007 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

This wine is a deep dark garnet color. The nose has aromas of rich dark fruit, a hint of herbs, dusty cocoa notes, a bit of earth (terrior or "sense of place"), and a bit of vanilla oak. The palate has those same flavors along with a sense of complexity, all the elements seemed to work in harmony on the palate. This wine has some firm tannins, but yet when the wine had time to breath they seemed to behave and work so well with the steak and over stuffed potato that I served with it. I feel this wine would age well, and is great to serve now. The finish has a nice length, and this wine definitely should be labeled Reserve. It would be great with beef roast, all cuts of beef steaks, lamb prepared with a rub of garlic, fresh sage and fresh rosemary. This wine would also be great with cheeses, like aged cheddar, Cahill Porter and blue cheese. Note: This wine was a sample provided by the Rutherford Wine Company. SRP $48.00

Friday, November 18, 2011

Wine Review: Landers Jenkins Vineyards 2010 Chardonnay, spirit hawk

This wine is a straw color. The nose is very fragrant with ripe juicy tropical notes. Aromas of apricots, peaches, citrus, and a hint of pear. The palate's flavors mirrored the nose; with an addition of a full mouth feel, but yet still had a nice amount of crispness and acidity. There is a hint of oak integrated with the ripe fruit flavors, but it did not overpower the ripe juicy flavors of the fruit. The finish was filled with those citrus notes and a hint of oak. This wine would pair well with seafood, especially grilled shrimp, crab cakes, and grilled fish. It would also pair well with chicken and light cheeses. This wine is also great to sip alone as an aperitif.

I would also pair this wine with a bruschetta ( a thin slice of baguette that has been lightly brushed with Ecco Extra Virgin Olive Oil and placed in the oven for about five minutes or so) topped with a thin icing of fig preserves, fresh goat cheese, a few drops of reduced balsamic vinegar, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and crumbled fried prosciutto or thinly sliced prosciutto.  Note: This wine and olive oil was a sample provided by the Rutherford Wine Company for my review. SRP $15.00

Wine Review: Lander Jenkins Vineyards, 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, spirit hawk

The Ah Ha moment.....

As I sampled this wine, my first thought was, " This would be a great Cabernet Sauvignon to serve as an introductory Cabernet Sauvignon, for those who say they don't like big red wines, or Cabernet Sauvignon."

Wine Review

This wine is a deep garnet color. The nose is filled with ripe dark fruit flavors, like blackberries, dark cherries, dark plums and a hint of spice. The palate has those same ripe dark fruit flavors, with a smooth texture and supple tannins. This Cabernet Sauvignon was a pleasure to sample, due to it being easy to drink alone, or to pair with cheese, especially an aged cheddar or Cahill Porter cheese. I would also pair it with a panini that is filled with pastrami, roasted red peppers, black olives and provolone or Fontina cheese, and burgers or steaks off the grill. This wine would also pair well with appetizers prepared with puff pastry, filled with a beef or sausage mixture. I consider this wine a crowd pleaser, due to its versatility as a drink alone wine or a wine that pairs well with food, and it's price point is great for entertaining.  I consider this wine a "bang for the buck" wine, especially if you take advantage of the club saving price noted online.  Note: This wine was a sample provided by Rutherford Ranch Wine Company. SRP $15.00

Hint: Try using mini muffin tins to make wonderful small bites, and fill the puff pastry with a meat and cheese mixture and bake until they are lightly browned; these can be baked open faced or cut the puff pastry in larger squares to bring the corners to pinched points, for a fancy presentation.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Book Review: Cake Ladies: Celebrating a Southern Tradition by Jodi Rhoden

The Book Cover of Cake Ladies by Jodi Rhoden

The Cupcake Fairies
AKA My Cousins from New Orleans, LA

I want to first thank Jodi Rhoden for taking the time to research, locate and tell the stories of these extraordinary women, not only in the world of "cake", but in the South! I am a native of New Orleans, and food is very important to us; it is what people love about New Orleans, the food. But the South has a reputation for cooking some of the best food and baking some of the best sweets in the United States. There is an honesty about the food, just as the women featured in this book; their stories are true and honest; they express their struggles and their joys. I believe what really made this book special to me was the common threads that held all these women together;  the love of cooking (the secret ingredient), the love of family and community. We southern women love to see a smile on some one's face when they sink their teeth into our food; it feeds our spirit, and the spirits and stomachs of those feast on our food.

As I began reading this book, I began to cry. Hurricane Katrina has impacted the people of New Orleans in a way that really can't be explained. Many New Orleanians whether they returned to New Orleans or not, are still in the process of rebuilding their lives and yes, reinventing themselves. Southern women are strong and resilient, so this book really spoke to that aspect of "dusting yourself off and starting all over again", in this case my cousins dusted off with flour! Sometimes something bad has to happen for us to open our eyes to see our true purpose in life. I have realized that if you don't experience true pain, you can't experience true happiness.

I am so sentimental, and I can remember my uncle Frank cooking away in the kitchen. My uncle Frank is Melissa Woods and Michele Burton-Oatis's father. He loved to experiment in the kitchen. He would use liquors, spices or whatever he thought would make a dish have his "signature touch." He and his wife, my Auntie Lynn would cook together, dance together and before you know it, the holiday meal would be done. I also read all the stories of each cake lady; all of them rich in spirit, honesty and great southern recipes that they have decided to "give up" as we say from New Orleans (some recipes go to the grave). Well, Southern women don't like to give away their recipes, so feel privileged readers, because our "touch" is our trademark, and who wants to give that away! I guess we were taught how to share, and I think that is a good thing.

The quote on page eleven in the book really touched my soul; " As I listened to the cake ladies tell their struggles and  their joys, I found over and over that it is love, the first and foremost, that motivates them, and that love is the one essential ingredient to baking beautiful and delicious cakes." Jodi Rhoden said a "mouth full" when she wrote this quote! The stories from all the women, from her own personal story to Betty Compton of Cedar Grove, North Carolina to Pearl Teeter of Williamston, North Carolina, and all the other cake ladies in the delta noted in between, all warm your heart and provide you with recipes that are a part of their culture. The recipes for pound cakes, cupcakes, Red Velvet Cake, Mississippi Mud Cake, and the list goes on and on, are recipes that will be the star of any event. These cakes help celebrate life's special occasions, whether it be the birth of a baby, a birthday cake for your best friend, a holiday, a repast ( a tradition of providing food for funeral attendees after a funeral in New Orleans and other parts of the South), a party, a wedding or a church fundraiser, they will feed the spirit, soul and bellies of all in attendance.

I like to have a fresh baked cake or cupcakes in my kitchen, especially during Fall and Winter; it is a symbol of southern hospitality and sharing some of yourself with other people who enter your home, and please remember don't forget the coffee, tea or ice cream.

This is not just a cookbook; it is a combination of the chronicling of wonderful women who were willing to share their lives and recipes to all that read this book. I say thank you to the author and all of the wonderful cake ladies; Let there be cake !

PS There are lots of basic cake making information to assist you in making the best cakes, and hints from the cake ladies that are well, just special! This cookbook can be purchased at Amazon and I think this book would be a great Christmas gift or a "just because" gift for anyone who loves baking and peeking into the lives of courageous women.  Note:  This book was a sample provided for review by Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Product Review: Bonne Maman Cherry Preserves

I love all things French, and these preserves are made in France. These  Cherry Preserves are made from cherries, sugar, natural cane sugar, concentrated lemon juice and fruit pectin; this was the ingredients noted on the back of the label. These preserves have nice size pieces of cherries, along with a nice cherry flavored syrup. The taste is not overly sweet, just right; it also makes for a wonderful glaze! Note: This was a sample provided for my review by Andros Foods USA, Inc. SRP $5.49

I developed a glaze with these cherry preserves that I used on a pork loin, but it would be great on chicken, lamb, or salmon.

Lorrie's Cherry Provencal Glaze

2 tsp Victoria Taylor's Herbes de Provence
1 tsp of finely chopped rosemary leaves
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 and  1/4 tsp good Dijon mustard (I used Maille Dijon Mustard)
1 cup Bonne Maman Cherry Preserves


Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. I used this glaze on a pork loin that was tied with kitchen string, seasoned with Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning , and I pan seared the loin on all sides in a heated cast iron skillet with a little canola oil. Then I cooked my pork loin in a preheated 350 degree oven until my desired doneness. Use a meat thermometer to get your best cooking results; I just cook my pork for about 45 minutes. I like my pork done, but not dry.  I begin to glaze the meat 15 minutes prior to my final cooking time. This is a wonderful glaze, and a wonderful cherry preserve to put on your biscuit for breakfast or on a croissant for brunch. Try it, and tell me what you think. Try this with your favorite Pinot Noir!

Wine Review: Rutherford Ranch 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

This wine was a light straw color. The nose has a light tropical aroma, but was predominately filled with notes of grapefruit and lemon zest. The palate mirrored the nose with flavors of grapefruit, lemon and some grassy notes. The wine was clean, crisp and had great acidity and a lemon laced finish. This wine would pair well with oysters, grilled or fried fish, shrimp, crab cakes, appetizers with artichokes, spinach and Parmesan cheese in puff pastry, a  simple green salad with disc of "well" chilled fresh goat cheese coated in egg whites and rolled in seasoned Panko Bread crumbs and pan fried in olive oil, Ecco Olive Extra Virgin Olive Oil until lightly browned, then drizzled with a light salad dressing. I paired this wine with fresh goat cheese on Town House Flatbread Crisps, the Sea Salt & Olive Oil variety. Note : This wine was a sample provided by Rutherford Wine Company for review.  SRP $15.00

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Wine Review: J Brut Rose` Russian River Valley

Okay, you have to talk about the bottle; it is all glammed up and just sexy! With the artfully black painted "J" and no label, the wine looked like the wine version of the "Little Black Dress." I poured it in a clear, but faceted stem from the Mikasa Parklane suite, that I rescued from my Hurricane Katrina damaged home in New Orleans, and decided to reminisce while sampling this wine; if those flutes could talk!
The color is a beautiful shade of pink, almost like a beautiful slice of watermelon. The bubbles are tiny and ongoing. The aromas are of strawberries, citrus and a hint of apple and brioche. The palate has cherry flavors along with strawberry, citrus and lemon zest on the finish. I really loved this wine; I am a sucker for Brut Rose` champagne or sparkling wine. I cheated and paired it with Grape Chicken Salad that I purchased from my local Kroger's food store. I added a pinch of cayenne pepper to my chicken salad; I like a touch of heat added to my food. I put a bit of salad on a cracker, and found that this was a great pairing , especially when the grape popped in my mouth.
So, you don't have to be a gourmet cook to experience a great pairing, just find a great deli!  I'd also pair this sparkling wine with salmon, chicken, Purple Haze goat cheese or Truffle Tremor goat cheese by Cypress Grove Chevre. This wine is also great to sip alone. Note:  This wine was a sample provided by J Vineyards & Winery. SRP $28.00

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Filled Wine Glasses & The Tables They Rest On

Cobblestone & Vine

I have a passion for interior design, wine and food. I think all pleasurable experiences in life begin with the eye, and end in the soul. Simple things and foods along with elegant things and foods can all find balance, in the home and body. So, I am always on a quest to feed both the aesthetic and culinary aspects of my life, and hopefully my readers lives.  Here are a few glasses and tables and a few wine suggestions that I love, and maybe you will too!

Telescoping table by Grandin Road
Grandin Road

This glass found on Horchow's website is a bit pricey, but I think it would look great on top of this drum table filled with a glass of Bogle Chardonnay or J Pinot Gris.

Maybe have a little sparkling water in this goblet and sit it on the table below. I just love the look!
Crate and Barrel goblet
Grandin Road table

This flute would look great on this breakfast table filled with a mimosa.
I had to throw in a chair. Don't we need to sit down and relax with a glass of wine sitting on a wonderful table?

Chair & Stemware by Horchow

Boy, this flute filled with J Sparkling Wine, while sitting in the above chair would be sheer luxury!

Wine Review: Rodney Strong 2009 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

This wine is a dark garnet color. The aromas are of dark ripe fruit like blackberry and plums along with hints of dusty cocoa. The mouth feel is soft and lush. This wine has soft supple tannins, making for a great wine to sip alone or pair with food. The palate's flavors mirrored the nose. I always am amazed how well this wine tastes each vintage. It has yet to disappoint me! I would pair this wine with Fall appetizers, gourmet burgers, maybe a burger stuffed with Castello blue cheese. I'd also pair this wine with a steak or aged cheddar cheese. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Rodney Strong Vineyards SRP $25.00

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 for an hour. After the garlic has cooled, squeeze the roasted garlic toes in 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, roasted garlic, cheddar cheese, cayenne pepper and Creole seasoning and pulse until blended.

Remove the bread slices 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.
Try this pairing and tell me what you think!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Wine Review: Cline North Coast 2010 Viognier

I must admit that I am not a big fan of Viognier. But this wine had just the right amount of residual sugar that made it quite appealing to me. I like the acidity and how it tapered the sugar level on the palate. This wine is a straw color. The nose is very aromatic, with aromas of peaches, apricots citrus (orange blossoms) and hints of honey. The palate had a full, rich mouth feel, and the same fruit and honeyed flavors were on the palate. There was a bit of acidity that gave this wine balance and a nice finish. This wine would be great with pork, chicken or shrimp with an apricot or peach glaze. I also think it would pair well with the Food Network recipe link below.  Note:  This wine was a sample provided by Cline Cellars SRP $ 12.00


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wine Review: Rodney Strong 2010 Charlotte's Home Sauvignon Blanc

This wine is a light straw color. The nose has aromas of grapefruit, melon, pear and a bit of floral (grassy) notes. The palate mirrors the nose with more fruit, crispness and a bit of minerality. The finish is nice and clean. This wine would pair so well with fresh goat cheese, seafood, and appetizers. It is also great wine to sip alone. Note:  This wine was a sample provided by Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards. SRP $13.50

Product Review: Bonne Maman Strawberry Preserves

I love all things French, and these preserves are made in France. These Strawberry Preserves are made from strawberries, sugar, natural cane sugar, concentrated lemon juice and fruit pectin; this was the ingredients noted on the back of the label.  These preserves have nice size pieces of strawberries and a fresh homemade taste. The taste is not overly sweet, just right. I decided to go a traditional route in a not so traditional way, by making homemade biscuits to pair with these preserves, but served them for dinner. Yep, we like to have breakfast for dinner once a week. So, the saltiness of the bacon, and the hot homemade biscuits with these preserves with your choice of eggs, just made for a lovely breakfast dinner. Note: These strawberry preserves were provided by Andros Foods USA  SRP $5.49.  Note: I saw this product on sale at our local Kroger's at a great price; so check it out and tell me what you think!

Lorrie's Food Processor Heavy Whipping Cream Biscuits

4 tablespoons of cubed salted butter (16 little cubes)
2  cups self - rising flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup and 1 tablespoon of heavy whipping cream
*Additional heavy whipping cream to brush biscuit tops before baking

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put flour, sugar, cubed butter in food processor, pulse a few times then add in heavy whipping cream and pulse until the mixture forms a ball. Sprinle flour on a board or counter and pat or roll out dough about 3/4 of an inch thick. Use a 2 inch biscuit cutter and cut out 8 biscuits. Brush tops with heavy whipping cream, then bake for about 15-16 minutues or until lightly browned.

If you want to add a cocktail, why not add a mimosa to the menu and call it an evening!

Wine Review: Bogle 2010 Chardonnay

Okay, this wine is a "bang for the buck" and party wine. The wine is a straw color. The nose is filled with ripe fruit flavors of pears, apples and lemon zest, along with a bit of spice. The palate has a nice mouth feel, with the same ripe fruit flavors found in the nose, but intensified on the palate, with a finish of just the right amount of vanilla oak. This wine would be a great chardonnay to serve at a party for two reasons, #1 price point, and #2 flavor profile = crowd pleaser. I would pair this wine with seafood, chicken fingers fried in Panko Bread Crumbs, with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce, light cheeses, and appetizers. Appetizers with spinach and artichokes or cream cheese as a base would pair well with this wine. Note:  This wine was a sample provided by Bogle Vineyards  SRP $10.00

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wine Review: Cline Oakley 2009 fiveReds

Okay, this is what I call a "bang for the buck wine."  This wine is a deep garnet color. The nose is filled with dark berried fruit flavors and spice like those found in the five reds that make this smooth red wine blend. The websites description of this composition of the five varietal blend. Vineyard Notes:The 2009 Oakley Five Reds is a silky blend of Merlot (47%), Syrah (13%), Barbera (12%), Alicante Bouchet (10%), Petite Sirah (10%) and the balance are mixed reds. Forty-eight percent of the blend comes from our cool climate Sonoma Coast vineyards, 29% comes from our Oakley, Contra Costa County vineyards, and the remainder comes from vineyards situated in the North Coast AVA.

This wine is easy to drink, balanced and full of juicy dark fruit flavors and spice. Try pairing this with a burger off the grill, a Mexican inspired meal, foods with a tomato based sauce, or to sip alone with aged cheddar or Cahill Porter cheese. Note:  This wine was a sample provided by Cline Cellars SRP $11.00

Note: I don't have how may appetizers this makes because I just fried them, until I got "full". This was my lunch!

Lorrie's Wonton Tacos


1 package of wonton wrappers
1 lb. of lean ground chuck
1 packet of Taco Seasoning mix (I used Old El Paso)
(1) 8oz package of nacho & taco grated cheese (cheddar, Monterrey jack blended with spices. Kroger's Brand)
I egg, plus I tablespoon of water whisked together
Canola oil to fry ( about 1 and 1/2 inches high in a cast iron skillet)
Sour cream
Taco sauce


Cook ground meat by following the directions on the back of the taco seasoning package. Lay out wonton wrappers, put a little less than 1/2 tablespoon of cheese and ground meat mixture in the middle of each wrapper. Note: make sure not to over fill, you will not be able to close and seal them correctly. Brush the wrappers lightly around the edges with the egg mixture and seal tightly. Heat oil until when you flick a few drops of water and there is a pop; do not over heat oil! Fry until they are a light golden brown color. Drain on a platter with paper towels. I served them on an appetizer plate with a dollop of sour cream and some taco sauce.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Wine Review: J 2009 Russian River Valley Chardonnay

This wine has a lovely golden hue. The aromas are of citrus, peaches, and hints of spice. The palate has those same fruit forward flavors with an almost honeyed note integrated with a bit of toasty oak. The wine is balanced with a great mouth feel, and just a joy to sip. The finish is nice and the wine has enough acidity and structure to make it a wine that would pair well with food.  What I enjoyed was the right amount of oak, just a hint.  I would pair this wine with shrimp, fish, crab cakes, lobster and orange glazed chicken. This wine would pair well with light cheeses and appetizers. Note: This wine was a sample provided by J Vineyards & Winery  SRP $28.00

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Wine Review: Cline 2010 Marsanne Roussanne

The wine is a straw color. This wine is a blend of Marsanne (71%) and Roussanne (29%). This is a very aromatic and lush wine. The nose has aromas of tropical fruit, peaches, apricots, and citrus. The palate mirrors the nose with an addition of a hint of honey and lavender (the floral essence). This wine has a lush mouthfeel and is great to sip alone or be paired with seafood, roat chicken that has been sprinkled with Herbes de Provence due to the lavender notes in the wine. I would also pair this with a pork loin rubbed in herbs like rosemary and thyme and bruschetta topped with apricot jam, fresh goat cheese and proscuitto. Note:  This wine was a sample provided by Cline Cellars SRP $20.00

Wine Review: Jacuzzi Family Vineyards 2008 Estate Merlot Carneros

I want to first say that Merlot was my first red wine love. This wine reminds me why I fell in love with Merlot. This wine has a deep garnet color. The nose is filled with aromas of dark cherries, cocoa dust and a hint of green olives. The palate mirrors the nose with those juicy cherry flavors and notes of green olive, with a sweet kiss of chocolate, all well integrated to make this a fine Merlot. The tannins are supple, but gives the wine just the right amount of structure. I paired this wine with a meat sauce, spaghetti and cheese casserole, and green salad with Roma tomatoes. I would also pair this wine with a grilled steak, burger, Cahill Porter Cheese or an aged cheddar. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Jacuzzi Family Vineyards SRP $16.99

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wine Review: Honig 2010 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Rutherford


Well, let me first say that I love the label. The "bee" that helps bridge the "H" in Honig is a symbol of industry. The winemaker should feel proud of the fruits of her labor, and the winery should be proud as well. This wine is a straw color, with aromas of ripe fruit, like orange blossoms, pear, melon, citrus zest, a hint of apricot and a bit of spice. The palate mirrors the nose with juicy fruit, but with a bit of oak to give this wine some structure and complexity. The mouth feel is full, almost like some chardonnays. This is a wine that a "ABC" person (Anything But Chardonnay) would love! The wine has a a bit of minerality and the finish is long with those citrus flavors mingled with a bit of oak. This is a Sauvignon Blanc that has enough weight and structure to pair with Fall and Winter meals. I would pair this wine with grilled seafood, like fish, shrimp, scallops and crab. I would also pair this wine with roast chicken and chicken or pork with a orange infused glaze. I am in love with fresh goat cheese, so fresh goat cheese on a thin slice of baguette would pair nicely with this wine.  Note: This wine was a sample provided by Honig Vineyard & Winery SRP $25.00

Monday, September 26, 2011

Wine News and the Saucy Sisters


Chuck Whiting:

Whiting Publicity & Promotions

(615) 242-9857

Barbara Nowak: or

Beverly Pittman:

The Saucy Sisters

(615) 807-1743




Hundreds of Women Expected to Gather in Downtown Franklin on Nov. 4

To Help Set World Record during 'Wine Down Main Street' Festival

            NASHVILLE, Tenn. (September 2011) -- Speakers and wine experts Barbara Nowak and Beverly Pittman (known as The Saucy Sisters) will celebrate the release of their latest book by attempting to set a wine-related world record -- all for charity.

            Up to 400 women are expected to gather in downtown Franklin, Tenn., at 5 p.m. Nov. 4 (Friday) to unscrew bottles of wine simultaneously.  The record-setting event, which will help kick off Franklin's annual "Wine Down Main Street" festival, will help provide much-needed funds for the Boys & Girls Club of Williamson County.

            Nowak and Pittman also will use the event to celebrate the release of their latest book, "The Saucy Sisters Guide to Wine - What Every Girl Should Know Before She Unscrews."  The Sisters will give signed copies of their book to all the women who participate in the “unscrewing” ceremony.

            “A few years ago, people thought only cheap wine came in screwtop bottles, but that’s all changed,” said Nowak.  “On November 4th we’ll be unscrewing two incredible wines from New Zealand, Lonely Cow Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, provided by Lipman Brothers.” 

            "Unscrewers" will assemble at 5 p.m. at the Red House, a vibrant event venue just one block from the square in downtown Franklin, to the live music of The Wineauxs.  At exactly 5:45 p.m., the Saucies will give the order to unscrew the caps.  Following a celebratory toast, the opened bottles of the official “record-setting wine” will be distributed and poured throughout the festival.

            “We’re inviting all wine-loving women to join us,” said Pittman.  “Reservations are required, but you don’t have to be attending the Wine Down Main Street Festival to participate. And our friends at Foxyware will be providing their rhinestone t-shirt transfers to everyone who signs up.”

The participation fee is $10 per person, with all proceeds going to the Williamson County Boys & Girls Club units.  Tickets to the Saucy Sisters' "unscrewing wine bottles simultaneously" event go on sale Sept. 26 at  Tickets to the Wine Down Main Street Festival are sold separately and must be purchased in advance.


saucy sisters to attempt to set world record -- 2

            "The Saucy Sisters' Guide to Wine - What Every Girl Should Know Before She Unscrews," which will retail for $13.95, will be available at and selected bookstores in October.  The book is a follow-up to the popular "The Saucy Sisters’ Guide to Wine - What Every Girl Should Know Before She Uncorks" (Penguin Group, 2004).  The wine entertainers also penned "The Everything Wine Book" (Adams Media, September 2005). 

            "Our latest guide will provide the basics of wine in unconventional ways," Pittman said.  "Women will learn how to judge a man by the wine he drinks, discover ways to fake the restaurant wine-tasting ritual, and uncover wine pairings for life passages and amorous escapades.  The information is serious... the delivery is not."

            Nowak noted that the book is especially written for "the girl who would rather sip than study, who's a little overwhelmed by restaurant wine lists, who feels like an outsider in a pack of wine snobs, but who welcomes a good laugh with her wine."

            Nowak and Pittman have contributed their opinions on food and wine to national and regional publications and, for five years, hosted "Sauced!" on Nashville radio stations WLAC-AM and WAMB-AM.  They have appeared on TV talk shows in more than 20 major markets, including Tennessee Mornings on Fox 17 and Talk of the Town on WTVF-TV Channel 5 (CBS) in their hometown of Nashville.

            Pittman is a Certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) who has worked for major U.S. corporations and government institutions, including Dow Chemical, ITT Corp., Pirelli Tire, Atlantic Envelope Co., and the Central Intelligence Agency.  She has trained employees at all levels -- from the hourly workforce to executives -- and has developed industry-proven meetings that are motivational and instructive.  She is a Green Belt in Six Sigma and, through her project leadership, has produced positive bottom-line results in manufacturing, sales, finance, customer service and operations.

            Nowak wrote the best-selling cooking reference book, "Cook It Right," and has served as a food and restaurant columnist for The Tennessean daily newspaper.  For four seasons, she hosted regular cooking segments on HGTV’s "Today at Home."

            The Red House, built in 1877, is traditional Southern charm on the outside with a modern twist of rock-n-roll memorabilia on the inside.  It is host to weddings, corporate meetings, fundraisers and special events of all kinds.  The Red House is located at 138 Third Avenue North in Franklin.

            Lonely Cow Wines of New Zealand are imported by R. S. Lipman, Inc. and distributed by Lipman Brothers.

            Foxyware is a primary supplier for many resellers and distributors of rhinestone transfers with over 20 years experience in the fashion, retail and promotional markets.  They create private label designs using the latest appliqu├ęs, including Swarovski, rhinestones, rhinestuds, nailheads, sequins, pearls and foils. 

            Members of the Wineauxs are veteran songwriter and wine retailer Joe Scutella; songwriter, performer and producer Paul Umbach; and musician, songwriter and U-Zoo frontman Brian Desveaux.

            The Boys & Girls Club of Williamson County enables young people, especially those most in need, to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens.

            For more information about The Saucy Sisters or their new book, call (615) 807-1743, send an e-mail inquiry to, or visit

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Wine Review: Jacuzzi 2009 Barbera

Let me first say that I love the label. I have a soft spot for vintage photos; you have to know your past to know your future. Therefore, as you read this review you will see this winery has a mighty bright future!  This wine is a very deep garnet color. The nose has aromas of red fruit like raspberries and cherries, and a hint of dust (dust in a good way). The palate mirrors the nose with an addition to a lush mouth feel, fruit forward flavor profile, and hints of tobacco. This wine was bold, but softened by the delicious fruit. I truly love this wine! I paired this wine with a panini filled with a garlic, crushed red pepper mayonnaise, beef pastrami, black olives, strips of roasted red pepper and provolone cheese. This was a wonderful pairing. I think this wine would be great with pepperoni pizza, burgers and ribs/pork off the grill. I can certainly see why this wine won the honor of BEST OF CLASS in the
2011 San Francisco Chronicle Wine CompetitionNote: This wine was a sample provided by Jaccuzi Family Vineyards SRP $25.00

I am not fond of stemless wine glasses, but I could see this wine in this wine glass this filled with this wine sitting on my deck, while the burgers or pork skewers are grilling!

I do recommend washing them by hand. I have some acrylic wine glasses ( they survived Hurricane Katrina) with stems and the dishwasher can make them cloudy.

Try this wine with my suggested food pairings and let me know what you think; leave a comment!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Wine Review: 2009 J Vineyards Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

The wine has a deep cranberry color. The nose has aromas of blackberries, cherries, strawberries, earth, spice and a hint of cocoa. The palate is filled with those rich fruit flavors, but a bit of earthiness adds balance to this fruit and spice laden Pinot Noir. There are hints of oak finely integrated into the wine, to provide balance and structure. 

 I paired this wine with Chicken Sausage Gumbo; you know I'm from New Orleans, and just the thought of Fall had me making a pot of gumbo. The sausage in the gumbo just struck a chord in my mouth with each bite, and sip of this wine! I would also pair this wine with fried or roast chicken, grilled salmon, mushroom pate , grilled mushrooms and mushroom infused dishes, and Purple Haze goat cheese on a thin slice of baguette or cracker.  Note: This wine was a sample provided by J Vineyards & Winery SRP $35.00

 Check out the video from J Vineyards & Winery, they celebrated their 25th anniversary.



Sunday, September 18, 2011

Oakley fourWhites 2010 Cline

This wine is a light straw color. The nose has aromas of citrus (orange blossoms), stone fruit (peaches) and lemon zest. The palate mirrors the nose with those citrus and peach flavors with an addition of some juicy honeyed notes, that are derived from the four varietals that make up this white wine blend. The wine is a blend of Palomino, Sauvignon Blanc, Malvasia Bianca and Viognier. The finish is clean and crisp, and the wine has a nice level of acidity. I would pair this wine with crab cakes, grilled fish, grilled shrimp, light cheeses and appetizers. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Cline Cellars SRP $11.00 This wine is definitely a "bang for the buck wine!

I just love finding interesting wine glasses;  this Lyla wine glass by Crate & Barrel is such a lovely shade of green! And colored glasses are not really my thing, but they are great to entertain with and coordinate with your home decor;  but when I review wines, I must have a clear glass to check the color of the wine (smile)!