Creta Roble: Warmth and Romance on an Iowa Winter Night

I fell in love with Ambrosio–just the name conjures up rugged romanticism–when reading The Telling Room by Michael Paterniti.  It is the true story of a world-famous cheese made in the rugged landscape of Spain’s hot Ribera del Duero region.The cheese was said to hold magic, made by a man of mystery and intrigue,...

Tarima Monastrell and The Magic of Soup

Getting sick when the air temperature was -21F was good timing.  It gave me a very good excuse not to go out in the frigid, not-fit-for-humanity, conditions. As temperatures began to moderate, and my uncontrollable coughing was slowing down, we made soup.  A warming soup, chock full of all things immune boosting. At the...

Cupcake Red Velvet Wine: My Holiday Tradition

Holidays are simpler now that my kids are grown.  Still, there are lists upon lists.  Lines to wait in.  Receipts stacking up on the desk that give a sense of dread, even as I avoid tallying them up. The one thing that helps me transcend the craziness of the holidays is keeping a tradition....

J Cuvee’s Bubbles for my Happy Holiday

BUBBLES! The very word brings a happy smile. Happy bubbles are the quintessential pairing with any celebration. Bubbles have another lesser-known quality–versatility.  Champagne and Sparkling Wines are mixed with orange juice for brunch quaffing.  They can be enjoyed with desserts.  Try Champagne with potato chips–yes really! Or risotto. In fact, pair bubbles with almost any...

Clean Slate Riesling is a Dance Party On Your Palate

Aaahh this Clean Slate Riesling!  It’s a balance of honeyed sweetness and racy acidity, just dying to dance on your palate! Clean Slate comes from Germany’s revered Mosel region, where the hillsides are steep, the river is winding, and the temperatures are cool.  Grapevines are planted on the sunny hillsides where temperatures warm up...

J. Lohr Riesling and My Craving For Apples

Autumn’s arrival awakens my craving for apples. I put apples in my morning oatmeal. I bake apple pies. I eat apples for a snack. I make apple cider Mimosas–who needs orange juice? So on a recent sunny Autumn day, I headed for the nearest apple orchard, just ten minutes away. (Iowa Orchard in Urbandale,...

Ooh La La! Chateau Bonnet Wine and My French Food Day

New wine comes in.  New wine sells out immediately.  Curiosity Piqued. I grabbed the last bottle on the shelf and headed straight to my neighborhood French bakery, La Mie. I came home with breakfast AND lunch. Because, bakery, AND French! Breakfast should be this gooey delicious while still retaining classiness, everyday! I held off...

The Cellar’s La Crescent Wine: This Is Iowa

Iowa wines were pouring! Iowa beers were chugging. Local restaurants were plating. Add almost 900 thirsty and hungry people on a beautiful blue-sky September day, and we had an Iowa event like no other! The Ankeny Chamber Corks and Caps event was where I spent a recent Sunday, welcoming vendors, greeting attendees, being a...

Predator Zinfandel and My Fire Pit Inauguration

I had a big crowd for the inaugural lighting of my new fire pit. A really big crowd. One of the biggest, really.  I mean, millions of stars twinkling in the sky and crickets singing in huge choruses. It was quite the event! So of course I needed a wine as notable as this...