Valentine’s Day: Share a Special Red, Comfort Foods with Your Sweetheart

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consider having a romantic picnic inside– and eat on the floor!

While they may say “love the wine you’re with…” (oh, I mean “love the ONE you’re with”) I disagree. For Valentine’s Day or other important occasions, you want a wine and a partner you truly love.

And while sometimes you want to impress your sweetheart, sometimes you just want something that is special, but warm and comforting too.

This Valentine’s Day, consider sharing a special red wine paired with comfort foods AND your sweetheart.

And do I have two red wine recommendations for you! And a menu too!

Because in the winter, comfort food has that carmelized rich flavor that we crave…

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Silver and Gold: Six Nebbiolo from the New World and the Old

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For most people, Barolo is synonymous with Nebbiolo, and Nebbiolo with Barolo.

But Nebbiolo is made beyond Barolo and Barbaresco too, and the Italian Food Wine and Travel group this month decided to learn more, and to expand the borders of Nebbiolo– at least in our imaginations and the imaginations of our readers! While those two areas of Italy may set the “gold” standard, this month Sue and I investigated three Nebbiolo from Italy and three Nebbiolo from the United States, including two from Silver and one from Naked Winery– hence our title’s reference of “Silver” and “Gold.” We paired four of the wines with rack of lamb and mushroom lasagna recently and the other two we tasted previously.

First, here are a few fun facts about Nebbiolo: Continue reading

Ventura Restaurant Week 2017: Our Visit to Paradise Pantry and Cork

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January is Restaurant month in California promoting “culinary travel”. As Jan 20-29 is Restaurant Week for the cities of Ventura and Oxnard in Ventura County, California, on Tuesday Jan. 24, Que Syrah Sue and I decided to hit up two of them: tried and true Paradise Pantry in downtown Ventura by the San Buenaventura Mission and the brand new Cork located on Main and Santa Cruz in midtown Ventura, both offering $20 dine and wine deals. Find other Restaurant Weeks in California here.

Paradise Pantry

We arrived at Paradise Pantry before 5pm on a Tuesday, but they had a decent crowd already there because Paradise Pantry’s small bites, wines by the glass, and wine flights lends itself to every thing from a very late lunch to happy hour to an early dinner to a light dinner to a snack and a chat with a friend.

The small, narrow venue is warm and inviting with a small bar in the back, a seating area by the window with informal, comfy seating, and two tables by the other windows so you can see out to Main Street and the Mission. Small tables can be combined to accommodate larger groups. Bright artwork decorates the original brick walls. Through a wide doorway, you can access the retail shop with two large cold cases for cheese and pate, plus tightly packed rows of bottles with an emphasis on local but also including carefully curated representatives from around the world.

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For Restaurant Week’s $20 deal, Paradise Pantry is offering Continue reading

New Year, New Wine, New Jersey? New Region, New Grapes #WinePW

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Have you ever tasted wine from New Jersey?

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What about Ugni Blanc? Have you ever tasted a wine made with that grape?

For this month’s Wine Pairing Weekend challenge “New Year, New Wine,” Que Syrah Sue and I decided to taste a wine from a new region — New Jersey!– and to taste a wine from grapes that we didn’t think we’d had before. We considered trying a new recipe too but instead decided to explore new Welsh Cheddars along with a menu of favorites. Continue reading

Sicily’s Global and Coastal Influences: 5 Dishes Paired with 3 Nero D’Avola

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When we heard that the Italian Wine Food and Travel group was going to focus on Italy’s coastline, Sue and I immediately thought of Sicily! Not only is this an island region of Italy with 900 miles of coastline, it’s home to two of our favorite, affordable finds of 2016, Nero  D’Avola, a red wine, and Grillo, white wine.

900 miles is a lot of coastline in a country with a lot of coastline!

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Wine Predator’s Top 12 Posts in 2016

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Even though I started out 2016 with a broken wrist and only published this one really long post in January, I somehow managed to publish 65 or so blog posts during the course of 2016. That’s more than one a week or six a month for the 11 months that I could type! Continue reading

Around the World in Bubbles on Sparkling Wine Day New Year’s Eve

 

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this map of Franciacorta Italy gives a good idea of the diversity of soil types in the region

Did you know that New Year’s Eve is Sparkling Wine Day? What better day to celebrate all that bubbles than on the night when just about everyone all around the world makes a toast with a sparkling wine?

To get us in the mood, I’ve got some ideas for sparkling wines from around the world as well as foods to pair with them starting with Australia where it becomes 2017 first, then traveling west as the day flies by on to Italy, Spain, and France in Europe, then over to Chile in South America, and finally to the Finger Lakes and the Sonoma and Napa areas of North America.  Continue reading