Saturday, May 26, 2012

News from J Vineyards & Winery: Pinot & Pizza

For Immediate Release


George Rose                                                                                      

Communications Consultant                                                                                      

707.431.5233 (Direct)                                                                                                         


J Vineyards & Winery

11447 Old Redwood Highway

Healdsburg, CA 95448

A Celebration of Pinot & Pizza at J Vineyards & Winery

Saturday, June 16, 2012 — 11a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

HEALDSBURG, CALIFORNIA (May 1, 2012) — J Vineyards & Winery teams up once again with Healdsburg-based chef and author, Andrea Mugnaini, for a "Pinot & Pizza" food and wine celebration at the J Visitor Center. Mugnaini will be employing a large wood-fired pizza oven, and along with J Executive Chef Mark E. Caldwell, will create a variety of tasty pizzas featuring farm-fresh organic vegetables, Bellwether Farms artisanal cheeses, and Merchants & Millers olive oil.

All pizzas will be paired with J Vineyards Russian River Valley Estate Pinot Noir wines. Mugnaini will also sign copies of her book, "
The Art of Wood Fired Cooking."

The cost is $20 per person for Club J members, and $40 per person for the general public.

For tickets, please call (707) 431-5479 or (707) 431-5430. Tickets can also be purchased online at


J Vineyards & Winery is located at 11447 Old Redwood Highway south of Healdsburg. The winery focuses on Brut and Brut Rosé sparkling wines, as well as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris Estate varietal wines, produced from grapes farmed primarily within Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley appellation.

Founded by Judy Jordan in 1986, J Vineyards & Winery is an independently-owned Sonoma County winery. The winery has "Certified Sustainable" status through the California Sustainable Winegrowers Alliance To learn more, or to join the J Wine Club, go to

J Executive Chef Mark E. Caldwell and Andrea Mugnaini

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wine Review: Hess Select 2011 North Coast Sauvignon Blanc

This wine is a pale straw color. The nose has aromas of citrus, and beautiful tropical fruit notes. The palate has those same flavors of lemon, grapefruit, but a hint of tropical fruit flavors, which seems like a whisper of pineapple on the mid palate. This wine has the crispness and freshness found in most well made Sauvignon Blancs, along with a nice finish. This wine is a spring and summertime keeper. I also love that the bottle is a screw cap. I like easy access, and the screw cap allows for saving any leftovers with ease; but I doubt that you have any leftovers with this wine.

This wine is great to sip on its own on a warm day, or to be paired with fresh goat cheese on a thin slice of baguette, grilled chicken or grilled pork with a citrus based glaze.  I'd also love this wine with a crab cake. Note:  This wine was a sample provided by The Hess Collection http://www.HESSCOLLECTION.COM SRP $11.00

Lorrie’s Crab Cakes


1lb of jumbo crab meat (check for shells)
2 teaspoons of good Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon of New Orleans Seasoning
1 pinch of sea salt
½ of lemon
½ of a small red bell pepper (if bell pepper is large ¼ of red bell pepper)
2 tablespoon of mix seasonings (flat leaf parsley, celery, and sweet onions)
3 stalks of chopped green onions
3 tablespoons of olive oil *(1 tablespoon for the seasoning and 2 tablespoons to fry the crab cakes)
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter *(divided in half, 1 tablespoon is for cooking the mixed seasoning, the other tablespoon is for frying the crab cakes))
¼ cup of mayonnaise (I use Blue Plate brand mayonnaise )
1 egg
1 ½ cup of Panko Bread crumbs (1/2 cup for the mixture and 1 cup to coat the crab cakes before frying)

Check crab meat for any shells. Saute` the mixed seasoning, red bell pepper, and green onions in a pat of butter and one tablespoon of olive oil. Allow the seasoning mixture to cool. Mix, the crab meat, mixed seasoning, New Orleans seasoning, salt, lemon juice, egg, ½ cup of Panko crumbs, and mayonnaise. Form the mixture into 12 patties. Chill for at least 30 minutes; the longer the better. Note: Chilling helps the crab cakes stay together. Coat the crab cakes in Panko crumbs. Place a pat of butter and a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a frying pan on medium high heat and brown crab cakes on each side; repeat until all the crab cakes are browned. Place the crab cakes on paper towels to drain any excess oil. I like serving this as an appetizer or with angel hair pasta and a salad to make a meal.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The World of Bruschetta and Wine

There is just something satisfying about toasted slices of baguette topped with an array of goodness paired with the right glass of wine. I just love Bruschetta. This is a fun way to share small bites with friends that are simple and easy to make.

Ricotta, Fig & Prosciutto Bruschetta

  I like to do a light spread of fig jam, fresh goat cheese, crushed red pepper flakes, a few drops of balsamic vinegar on top each thin slice of baguette, that has been brushed with EVOO, and baked in a 350 degree oven to just get slightly toasted. Then I finish with each small bite with lightly fried pieces of prosciutto, then put them back in the oven to warm the fresh goat cheese. This pairs so well with Rose` wines still and of course my favorite, sparkling Rose` wine. Try this with these two recommendations and tell me what you think.

Here is a link to some great Bruschetta recipes.



Wine Review: Girasole Vineyards 2010 Chardonnay, Medocino

This wine is a straw color. The nose is filled with aromas of citrus and apples. The palate has those same fruit flavors with a bit of toasty oak integrated into the wine. I found the mouth feel to be medium to full, creamy and round. The oak influence is found on the finish along with the fruit.  This is a wine that begs to be paired with food. I sampled it with a bite of roasted chicken breast that was seasoned with herbs, which was a nice pairing. But, I then paired it with a piece of fried catfish. The fried catfish brought all the fruit flavors alive. I think this wine would pair well with fried or grilled seafood, chicken and creamy pasta dishes. There needs to be richness in the foods to compliment the richness of the mouth feel of this wine. This wine is also Estate Grown, Hand Picked Family owned since 1955 and Vegan Made with Certified Organic GrapesNote: This wine was a sample provided by Girasole Vineyards. SRP $13.00

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I Spy Wine With My Little Eye

I love it when I get home magazines, and home catalogs and see wine as a part of a room display. So, is wine a part of our everyday culture? I say yes, and apparently so do the magazines, Hoda and Kathy Lee love wine; they always have wine, and wine experts to discuss wine on television. Also, most of the local newspapers have a small section on wine in the Food section; I think it is because wine has always been a part of some peoples lives, and it is a large part of the food world.

 I just got my May 2012 issue of the Ballard Designs catalog, and on page 45, I spied a white wine that I reviewed a while back, or it looks like it! I have wanted to do a post on how you see wine, wine glasses and wine accessories in all kinds of print ads, TV commercials and TV shows. They usually turn the bottle, so they don't provide any endorsement for any brand; at least that is why I think that they do it. What do you think? Let me know; I love hearing from my readers.

I love when the world of wine and interior design link together. I also spied a bottle of Rose` wine on the cover of the May 2012 issue of House Beautiful Magazine. Rose` is wonderful to look at, and sip in spring and summer. Note: Real men are not afraid to drink pink!  In that same issue on page 26, there were a a few pages allotted for "the Best", and I spied a Wine glass called Chateau Baccarat Red Wine Glass SRP $85.00

Check out this video; Mario loves wine as well.

Well, hope that you enjoy the read.