Thursday, July 30, 2015

Meiomi Chardonnay paired with Goddess Clams

Meiomi Chardonnay is a Chardonnay blend and by that I mean it is a blend of Chardonnay from three diffferent coastal regions of California.  Each of these three regions bring a different terrior expression to the wine.

The wine was aged in both French oak and stainless steel.  The oak really comes through on the nose of the wine.  Along with some buttered popcorn, there are notes of  pear and pineapple with a slight hint of minerality.

The palate is smooth and full of tropical fruit, guava, peach and hint of apple.  There is a nice spice on the finish.

I paired this as well as used the wine in my clam dish "Goddess Clams"

1 stick unsalted butter
30 fresh basil leaves coarsely chopped
Juice of 1 lemon along with the zest
Olive oil
5 Hungarian Hot Peppers, sliced
2 cups dry white wine (I used the Meiomi Chardonnay)
1/2 cup greens you might have in the fridge. (kale, spinach, etc)
20 cherry tomatoes whole
50 Little Neck clams

Make the Basil Butter: Mix butter, basil, lemon juice and zest together in a food processor.  Put in dish and refrigerate.(can be made a day ahead)

Rinse clams.  Heat oil in a heavy skillet. (I used a large iron skillet) Add clams and cook until they begin to open.  Deglaze pan with the wine and cover pan.  When all the clams have opened, add cherry tomatoes, Hungarian hots, greens and basil butter.  Stir until greens are wilted and butter is melted.  Enjoy....

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wine Word Wednesday: Late Harvest

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Notes From the Captain Lawrence Tasting Room: Oh, The Places They’ll Go!

It’s always a jovial atmosphere out on the Captain Lawrence patio, but today’s vibe feels extra festive. Perhaps it’s because it’s the Carmel High School Class of 2000 reunion. Old friends catch up, show off their babies, and dish on classmates who could not make it while sampling the Captain’s usual selection of craft brews. It is a “semi-official” reunion for the Putnam County school, says Danielle Smith, who came down from Narragansett, Rhode Island for the bash. It’s “Facebook-official,” adds classmateChristine Dunning, who had a much shorter trip from Valhalla.
Christine may have had something to do with the group choosing Captain Lawrence as its venue. After all, she and her then fiancé, now holding their baby while lamenting the Mets’ performance with a friend, had their wedding rehearsal dinner at the brewery.
Sarah Dioguardi of New York City sports a broad smile. “I just love seeing my friends—and their kids,” she says. “It’s a gorgeous day and you couldn’t pick a better venue.”
The crew is sampling the Freshchester Pale Ale, the Effortless IPA and its big brother, the Hop Commander IPA, along with wood-fired pizzas from the Gleason’s guys (The Captain Kuchen, featuring crème fraiche, onion and bacon, is a hit.). Carmel High guyErik Schlange is at home with both the standby ale Kolsch as well as the small-batch Bee’z German Honey Kolsch. “I’m a German guy,” he explains.
It’s a sunny Saturday. Fittingly, “Shiny Happy People” pumps out of the speakers. Elsewhere on the patio, Sean Wandzilak andKyli Peterson of Yonkers ended up at the brewery after spying a batch of sample chips from a previous visit in the car. They’re enjoying the session brew Effortless IPA, produced for daytime al fresco sessions such as this. “This is like coming to your backyard,” says Kyli. “It’s just nice and comfortable.”
The pair is discussing the next day’s plans; perhaps a lengthy bike ride will be in the offing. “It depends what time we get up,” says Sean.
Inside the tasting room, the warning bell for the 2 p.m. tour goes off and people make the necessary arrangements. Kathi andBob Kearney of Yorktown share a table with pal Tom Litavec. The Kearneys are picking up donations from the brewery—a gift basket and cases of beer for the Drive to Cure Diabetes golf event they are helping organize at Centennial Golf Club in, yes, Carmel, July 27. “Since we were picking up the donations, we said, ‘let’s have a tasting,” says Kathi, sipping an Effortless IPA that she singles out for its “nice and interesting flavors.”
Bob, for his part, opts for his preferred Belgian-style golden ale Liquid Gold. “It’s dependable,” he says. “I figured I’d get one that I know I’ll really enjoy.”
Tom samples the “nice and hoppy” Hop Commander. He’s happy to be along for the ride, even if it’s not a free ride. “Someone’s got to lift those cases,” he says.
Seated at a nearby table are Arielle Boutin of Norwalk and Jonathan Crovo of Trumbull on their first excursion to Captain Lawrence. “It’s a nice day and we wanted to find something to do, so we looked online,” he says. Seeking a destination in the “hour-ish” zone, Jonathan adds, they stumbled upon the Elmsford brewery and were off.
First impressions count for something, but they’re not always everything. “We pulled into the lot and said, this is a bust,” admits Jonathan, sipping the Kolsch, of the brewery’s somewhat hidden locale on the far end of an industrial parking lot.
Fortunately, they ventured in. “Such a hidden gem,” offers Ariella, a glass of Hop Commander in hand. “It’s so cute I couldn’t believe it.”
Meanwhile, back on the patio, more Carmel Class of 2000 folks turn up for the reunion. Sarah DioGuardi’s only complaint on the day is that one of the beertenders could not name the source for the honey in the Bee’z German brew—that, and the block of Weezer songs ending. “The music is great, the outdoor space is great, the beer is great,” Sarah says. “Where else would we go?
—Michael Malone (

Captain Lawrence Brewing, at 444 Saw Mill River Road in Elmsford, is open Wednesday through Friday, with weekend brewery tours on the hour, starting at 1. The author is paid by Captain Lawrence, partially in Freshchester Pale Ale. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sip and Savor at Ocean Breeze Wine Festival on Diamond Beach & $5 off Admission

Cape May County's first annual premium wine festival kicks off at Bungalow No. 1 Beach Bar Saturday August 1, 2015.

Wine-Time on the beach!  You don't even have to leave the beach after spending all day sunning yourself.  My kind of wine festival!

Wine-time begins at 4:30pm and runs until 8pm.  Taste award winning wines from renowned wine brands like Masi wines from Italy, Cloudy Bay from New Zealand, Jordan Winery in Sonoma, the famous Chateau Montelena.  There will be 30+ wineries to sample from. At 5:30pm I will be giving a short seminar to learn how to taste wines like a pro.

Admission to the festival is $50 and includes wine tasting on the beautiful white sands of Diamond Beach, a keepsake glass plus two food tickets for small bites and listen to music by Next.  You can also purchase an additional VIP Grazing Station Access for $20 or a small cheese plate for $10.  Both add-ons need to be pre-purchased before the festival. 

Tickets for the festival can be purchased at   Use code WINEGODDESS5 for $5 off ticket price.

Here are some tasting tips to maximize your wine tasting experience:
  • Make sure you eat a good lunch.  There are many wines to try and the munchies provided are intended to help you try the wine with food and clear your palate
  • Drink water!  You will be in the sun.  Remember you are on the beach. So not only will the wine dehydrate you, but so will the sun.  Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!!
  • Be courteous to others who wish to taste.
  • After receiving your pour, please step back from the tasting table to do your personal evaluation.  This allows others to step forward to receive their sample
  • Step to the side if you wish to speak with the winery representative.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Wines of Chile: Montes Wines

Founded in 1987 by Aurelio Montes and Douglas Murray, both wine professionals wanting to realize their dream of producing Chilean wines of high quality.  In 1988 they partnered with Alfredo Vidaurre and Pedro Grand and Montes Wines came to fruition.

In 2004 the winery was built that holds 2,3000,000 liters of wine.  It is a state of the art gravity flow winery that was built on the principles of feng shui to ensure harmony in a positive atmosphere.  Water flows towards the building so that prosperity will come if the water, representing energy, flows towards the center of the building.

They have always believed in caring for the environment and developing a sustainable practices throughout every phase of production. They aim to understand how all the natural ecosystems around the vineyard provide services to the vineyard.  They work with the benefits that nature provides. This is an ongoing process.

They employ a full time agronomist that studies the science and technology of producing and using the plants for food and fuel in the vineyard.  This involves all areas of plant genetics, plant physiology, meterology and soil science.

I had the privilege to taste two of Montes wines and I was blown away by both of them.

Montes Spring Harvest 2015 Sauvignon Blanc At first sip three words came out of our mouth- Oh Yea, Wow! This comes from their vineyard located in the Leyda Valley where the soil is granite and clay.

The wine had a nice straw color and beautiful aromas were coming from the glass. Juicy pineapple, grapefruit, lime, hint of jasmine and peach.  The palate was crisp with balanced acidity.

Best part, this wine retails for $14.  I served it with Wasabi Salmon.

Montes Alpha 2012 Carmenére is one of the best Carmenére I've tasted, and I've tasted quite a few. The grapes for this wine are from their Colchagua Valley vineyards and they are grown under their dry farming philosophy.  That means they are farmed sustainable with less water and that challenges the grapes and generates flavor.

The wine had notes of black cherry, coffee, and dark chocolate.  There was some nice plum fruit the shined through with a black pepper finish that lingered a bit.

This wine is a steal at $20. I paired this with Peruvian Shish Kabobs.

Wasabi Glazed Grilled Salmon

1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp wasabi powder (more if you really want to clean out your sinuses)
juice of 1 lime
1 lb salmon

Mix all of the above for the marinade in a bowl.  Marinade salmon for about 30 minutes before grilling.

Peruvian Shish-Kabobs

1 pound of beef cubes for shish-kabobs
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 tsp chile powder
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar

Mix all above except beef.  Then add beef and marinade for 2 hours.  Thread the beef onto skewers and grill