Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wine Review: 2008 Rutherford Ranch Rhiannon Napa Valley Red Wine

This wine has a deep garnet color. The nose has aromas of dark berried fruit, a hint of spice and "Rutherford Dust" or earthiness. I know it seems odd, but I could smell the Rutherford dust on the nose which was very intriguing. I felt like maybe I found "terroir" on the nose; maybe this wine gives us a taste of Rutherford Ranch. The palate has flavors of dark cherries, blackberries, raspberries, plums and a bit of pepper. This wine is a blend of 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot and 12% Zinfandel. This is definitely a wine meant to be paired with food. I would pair this with a lovely rib eye steak, finished with a light drizzle of Ecco Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This olive oil is available at their website and is delightful. It is is buttery with a hit of herbs and spice. Another ideal pairing would be gourmet burgers, topped with cheddar or blue cheese. These pairing suggestions are in keeping with our love for grilling which for most of us has already started. 

Note: This wine and olive oil was a sample provided by Rutherford Ranch.  2008 Rutherford Ranch Rhiannon Napa Valley Red Wine SRP $29.00

  Ecco Extra Virgin Olive Oil SRP $19.00

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wine Review: Bogle 2009 Riesling

This wine is a light straw color. The nose has aromas of pears and orange zest. The palate is full, round, and honeyed with flavors of juicy pears, a bit of peach, orange zest and lemon drop on the finish. This wine would pair well with Asian fare and light creamy cheeses. An ideal pairing would be a simple appetizer of cream cheese topped with Tabasco brand Pepper Jelly and Ritz crackers. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Bogle Vineyards. SRP $9.00

Monday, April 25, 2011

Wine Review: Round Hill 2010 California Oak Free Chardonnay

This wine has a straw color.  The nose has aromas of green apples, pears, a hint of pineapple and lemon zest. The palate mirrored the nose with those green apple, pear and lemon flavors, along with a creamy  mouth feel. This wine is produced and packaged by unitizing methods that are committed to sustainability.  This wine would be great paired with shellfish, fish, chicken or pork. It would also pair well with light appetizers and light cheeses.  SRP $12.00 

Note: This wine was a sample provided by Rutherford Ranch Vineyards & Winery

Try the recipe below with this wine and let me know what you think!

Spinach and Artichoke Pinwheels

  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 (17.3 ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • Egg wash (1 egg whisked with a tablespoon of water)
  • Dash of Sea salt
*Parchment paper for baking


Preheat the oven at 400 degrees
Drain spinach well, pressing between layers of paper towels

Stir together spinach, artichoke hearts and next 5 ingredients

Thaw puff pastry at room temperature for 30 minutes

Unfold pastry and place on a lightly floured place or on heavy plastic wrap

Spread one half spinach mixture over pastry sheet, leaving an 1/2 inch border

Roll up pastry, jelly-roll fashion, pressing to seal seam, wrapping in heavy duty plastic

Repeat procedure with remaining mixture and pastry

Freeze 30 minutes, cut into ½ inch thick slices

These can be frozen up to 3 months

Brush with egg wash before baking. Place pinwheels on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown

Yield 4 dozen

Note: I just sampled this wine again last night, and I found the fruit flavors so vibrant and juicy. This is a great chardonnay for those of us who just can't take the oak! It is a wine that is great to sip alone or to pair with food.  I felt it warranted a re-post. I paired it with Drunken Goat cheese.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Rest In Peace Jess Stonestreet Jackson

Jess Jackson passed away on April 21, 2011 at the age of 81. We all know of him as the wine icon of Kendell-Jackson Wine Estates. I knew him through being an African American wine lover who had her first glass of chardonnay many years ago, and it had the Kendall-Jackson label, Vintner's Reserve on the bottle.  Many people experienced K-J chardonnay in a positive way, getting a quality wine for a price that they could afford. I always liked that about Kendall-Jackson wines; they were made accessible for all who wanted to experience a quality wine and be a part of the wine and food culture. Jess Jackson would  coin slogans to express how he felt about his wines, my favorite is " A Taste of the Truth."

I did not have the opportunity to meet Mr. Jackson, but if I did I would tell him, "Thank you." He and his staff supported my wine and food writing from the start, at a time when there were not many African American wine writers/bloggers around. I started a newsletter entitled, "Life's Little Luxuries Newsletter." The focus was to create some diversity in the world of wine. I began the newsletter in New Orleans, my hometown until Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in August of 2005.

 I brought a sample of my newsletter to a Napa Valley  Wine tasting in 2005 in Uptown New Orleans. It was a wonderful event, which was a gift from a dear friend of mine, Donna. She has always encouraged me in anything I've wanted to do; but she really knew this meant a lot to me, so off we went. My newsletter was well received by many wineries, and that is how my wine and food writing began. Kendall-Jackson supported me in New Orleans and even after my evacuation to Little Rock, sponsoring events that I coordinated in Little Rock, AR and just checking on me and my family. I will never forget that about Jess Jackson and his staff. I even have a Christmas card of the vineyard with white Christmas lights on the vines that the PR staff signed. Those personal connections meant so much to me and made me think that Jess Jackson must have been a kind man. We generally hire people who remind us of ourselves, so he had to be a kind man.

So, farewell Jess Jackson; you will always hold a place in my heart. I did not get the opportunity to meet you, but I feel through your company's good works that I've always known you.

Here is a sample of my older reviews of Kendall-Jackson wines; it brings back sweet memories...

Lorrie’s Wine Picks
 Kendall- Jackson Grand Reserve 2005 Chardonnay (Jackson Estates Grown); $20.00
This wine is the epitome of what a well- balanced chardonnay should be. The wine is medium bodied with a mixture of tropical flavors including pineapple and a creaminess, which makes the finish go on and on..This wine went well with a shrimp appetizer I prepared as well with any shellfish dish. This wine is highly recommended.

Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve 2003   Merlot, $26.00       
 Dark fruit, especially plums, cocoa, and notes of cedar describe this well-balanced wine. It has lots of character that reminds one why they fell in love with Merlot for the first time. This wine is highly recommended. It pairs well with beef, Fontina cheese, cheddar, chocolate desserts or alone.
Favorite Wine Quote:  "Wine is a lifestyle that chooses you, and then you marry!"
Lorrie S. LeBeaux 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wine Review: Honig 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

Honig 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

This wine has a very light straw color. The nose is quite fragrant, notes of citrus,  primarily zest of nectarines and grapefruit. The palate mimicked the nose with an addition of ripe juicy peaches, melons and a more of those lovely nectarine flavors that shine on and on. The finish is nice,  showing some mineral notes creating a nice mouth feel. This wine is so delightful, it just makes you want to have another glass. Ideal pairings would be with crab, grilled shrimp, orange glazed grilled chicken and light cheeses.  Note: This wine was a sample provided by Honig Vineyard & Winery. SRP $16.00


Monday, April 18, 2011

Wine Review: Honig 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Honig 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Let me first say that I was lucky enough and honored to sample this wine prior to its release. Winemaker  Kristin Belair has crafted a wine that is so "honest",  with the fruit being the star, and the oak being the supporting actor. This wine is a blend of 95.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4.5% Petit Verdot. I found this wine to be intoxicating and lush; just like the" perfect woman" one would see on the silver screen, playing the role of the seductress. I usually don't write flowery reviews, but I needed to provide this bit of imagery for the reader to fully understand my tasting experience.

Kristin Belair Winemaker at Honig Vineyard & Winery

The wine was a dark garnet color. The nose has aromas of ripe dark fruit integrated with lovely exotic spices. The palate mimicked the nose showcasing flavors of blueberries, dark cherries, hints of blackberries along with faint hints of coffee and coconut along with sweet vanilla oak finish. The oak was not overpowering, but played the role of creating balance and structure in the wine. The wine is rich and lush and  has a long finish.  The wine was paired with a rib eye steak pan seared in olive oil with a few sprigs of  rosemary, which infused the meat with a lovely earthy flavor that pairs so well with Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is wonderful to sip alone or pair with aged cheddar or Cahill Porter Cheese. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Honig Vineyard & Winery SRP $40.00

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Herbes de Provence Recipes and Wine Pairing Suggestions

Herbes de Provence

Herbes de Provence Roasted Fingerling Potatoes


  • 1 bag of Fingerling potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of good olive oil
  • Herbes de Provence (sprinkle to taste)
  • Sea Salt (sprinkle to taste)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Cut fingerling potatoes in half lengthwise. Put them in a baking pan, toss with olive oil, then sprinkle lightly with salt and Herbes de Provence. Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes, turn and bake another 15 minutes or until your desired level of tenderness.

This dish would pair well with a grilled steak, topped with a rosemary compound butter. A great wine recommendation for this steak and potatoes dinner would be 2008 Rodney Strong Estate Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Herbes de Provence Pan Seared Salmon with Caper Sauce

  • 4 salmon fillets
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • Herbes de Provence (lightly sprinkled on each fillet)
  • 2 ½ tablespoons of olive oil (reserve I ½ tablespoons for skillet)
  • ½ of a lemon

Caper Sauce
1 cup of Mayonnaise
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon of small capers (drained of brine)
4 dashes of Tabasco sauce (or more to taste)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Rub fillets with olive oil, then sprinkle with sea salt, black pepper and Herbes de Provence. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet, over medium-high heat. Place fillets in pan, skin side up, and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until edges turn golden. Then, turn over and cook for about a minute. Remove fillets from skillet and place in a baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.  Squeeze lemon juice on baked salmon fillets.

Caper Sauce


Combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, capers and Tabasco sauce, and serve in a pretty serving bowl.

I like serving this with herbed rice and a grape tomato and mixed greens salad. Wine Recommendation: 2008 Davis Bynum Pinot Noir

Lorrie’s Roasted Chicken


  • 1 Roasting Chicken (size correlates with roasting time)
  • Sea Salt (to taste)
  • Black Pepper (to taste)
  • Herbes de Provence (to taste)
  • 1 onion quartered ( I usually just use 2 quarters and save the other 2 quarters for another time)
  • 1 stalk of celery quartered ,and 3 stalks of celery to form a rack
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Olive oil (to rub over chicken)
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine (optional)
  • Cooking string

Note: This is a recipe that is rustic and you should season it to your liking.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Remove chicken parts from the inside of the chicken. Rinse chicken in cold water inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Rub chicken all over, with a good olive oil. Sprinkle the inside of the chicken with salt, pepper and Herbes de Provence, and then do the same on the outside. Then put onion, celery, bay leaf and rosemary on the inside  the chicken’s cavity. Take the chickens wings and tuck them back, and tie the legs together with cooking string. Place the 3 stalks of celery in the bottom of the roaster to create a rack, and add the white wine; this helps keep the chicken moist. Place chicken breast side up, bake in a covered roaster until the last 15 minutes of roasting time, then bake uncovered to brown. If you wish you may baste the chicken with melted unsalted butter to ensure the level of browning of your chicken. Chicken baking time is 15 minutes per pound. Chicken is done when pierced if the juices run clear. Average baking time is 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours depending on the size of you chicken and desired level of doneness.

I like to serve this roasted chicken with wild rice or parsley buttered potatoes and a green salad. An ideal wine pairing would be a nice French Rose` like Mas De La Dame Rose`du Mas or a rose` from Chile like Montes Cherub Rose` of Syrah.

I'd love for you to try these recipes and wine pairings and let me know how they came out. I'm waiting for some feedback!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wine Review: Bogle 2010 Sauvignon Blanc

This wine is a light straw color. The nose is filled with aromas of freshly cut grass and essence of lemon. The palate has wonderful flavors of citrus fruit along with a medley of tropical fruit flavors, with pineapple playing a leading role. This wine is crisp and clean with a nice level of acidity. This wine just screams spring and summer in a glass. Ideal pairings would be grilled shrimp, fish, young goat cheese and salads topped with Manchego cheese. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Bogle Winery. SRP $9.00

Friday, April 8, 2011

Wine Videos and Wine Review: 2008 Red Cote Rose`

Check out a few of these wine videos. I love sparkling wine, Pinot Gris and Rose`; so I hope that you will enjoy these links and these wines.

2008 Red Cote Rose`

This wine has a beautiful deep pink color, with a nose of berries with a hint of rose petals. The palate has strawberries and cherries and a hint of watermelon, with a nice backbone that could stand up to foods off the grill. It has a nice amount of acidity and it makes you want to drink glass after glass. This wine would pair well with hot wings, fried, roasted or grilled chicken, turkey burgers, salmon, or pork. I'd try it with a young goat cheese, like Truffle Tremor, Purple Haze or Humboldt Fog all by Cypress Grove Chevre on a thin slice of french bread for a cheese pairing.  It is a wine to buy by the case at $9.99 a bottle to take you straight through summer!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Wine Review: Hess Collection Mount Veeder - Napa Valley 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon

Hess Collection Mount Veeder - Napa Valley 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon

This wine has a deep garnet color. The nose has aromas of dark fruit, spice and vanilla.  The palate mimicked the nose with flavors of dark berried fruit, especially blackberries and baking spice. In addition,  there were hints of coffee and smoke to add a bit of complexity and interest to the wines profile. The tannins were present, but finely integrated to create balance in the wine. The weight of the wine really made me think of spring and summer fare,  because it did not weigh the palate down as some Cabernet's tend to do. I paired this with a pan grilled rib eye steak and it was a great pairing. I would also pair this wine with pork chops right off the grill, as well as medium flavored cheeses. Note: This wine was a sample provided by The Hess Collection. SRP $48.00

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cooking and Feeling Good

Cooking serves so many purposes, mainly nourishing the body. But I find that cooking can nourish your soul. When I need to feed my soul, I create a recipe. The thoughts about how all the ingredients will come together and create something new and good,  gives me a great sense of accomplishment.

When I talk to my friends who don't like to cook, I tell them try cooking something in their kitchen and see how accomplished you will feel when your dish comes out so good. I had a friend who was never into cooking. She tried a few of my recipes and her family loved them; she then realized the power of the pots! She also realized how learning how to cook can add another layer to your internal resume.

Cooking is truly a way to let your creative juices flow and for you to share your experiences and culinary creations with your family and friends. This blog is a way for me to share my recipes and wine pairing suggestions with you.

Shopping for the ingredients always makes me happy. I love our local Fresh Market, there is everything you would ever need to create gourmet meals or a simple but elegant breakfast. I was so blessed to get a little cash for my birthday so I went to the Fresh Market and bought some staples for my pantry as well as some of their wonderful rib eye steaks that were on sale! I eyed some beautiful Heirloom tomatoes, but did not buy any. I really loved the purple colored one and a striated colored one. I think I may have to splurge and pick up those two beautiful tomatoes.

I picked up some extra virgin olive oil, French Dijon and whole grain mustard and some anchovies. I intend on making lots of salad dressings. In addition, I got a gift card so I ordered some French champagne vinegar; I know that should add lots of flavor to my salad dressings.

The great thing about cooking is having a glass of wine and relaxing while cooking. Yes relaxing, cooking can relax you; you become involved in a creative process that is all your own. I like to have a little snack like Humboldt Fog goat cheese on a thin slice of French bread and a glass of sparkling wine or a piece of aged cheddar cheese and a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon while cooking. Try my formula for a relaxing cooking time; all the elements are listed below.

Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese

Sparkling Wine and my Park Lane Flute saved from Hurricane Katrina

A Little Music

Try my formula and let me know how things turned out!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Wine Review: Kitchen Sink California White Table Wine

This wine has a light straw color. The nose has aromas of ripe melon, citrus, a hint of floral notes and a touch of spice. The palate mirrored the nose with those ripe melon flavors along with flavors of grapefruit, tangerine and a hint of lemon zest and spice on the finish. I really love this nice white wine; it has a bit of minerality that is often found in Sauvignon Blanc. This wine would pair well with grilled shrimp, fish, and orange glazed chicken. It would also pair well with crab cakes and light cheeses. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Alder Fels Winery.  SRP $9.99

Friday, April 1, 2011

Wine Review: 2007 Rockaway Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley

This wine has a deep dark garnet color.  The nose has aromas of ripe dark fruit with hints of spice. The palate has juicy dark red fruit flavors, perhaps blackberries, and red plums along with hints of cedar and coconut. The mouth feel is lush, with very smooth tannins and the wine has a long finish. I paired this wine with a rib eye steak grilled with a few sprigs of rosemary, steak fries and a wonderful Romaine lettuce, and tomato salad topped with a few special toppings. This wine would also pair well with other beef dishes as well as blue cheese, Cahill Porter cheese and aged cheddar cheeses.  Note:  This wine was a sample provided by Rodney Strong Vineyards.  SRP $75.00