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...

Drink it Now. Tonight. Masut Pinot Noir

Crickets Chirping. Katydids clicking…right on my deck. Green wings vibrating. Tree branches framed against the night sky. Black oily olives. Crumbly aged cheddar. Crusty ciabatta. Luminescent Pinot Noir. Pouring liquid lavishness. Go ahead–open that bottle you are saving. Just do it. Tonight. Drink in the elixir. And be grateful–for all of this. THE WINE...

Grilled Avocados and Sileni Sauvignon Blanc

Think pairing wine with avocados is daunting? Try grilling the avocados! Then, try the wine pairing. Green vegetal flavors meet roasty, nutty, smokiness! Things got complicated…. This is all thanks to my friend Chef Andrew Kintigh’s recent recipe post for Hy-Vee’s Get Cooking segment, “Grilled Summer Salad stuffed Avocados”. (Watch the YouTube video here.)...

Vitiano Loves Summer’s Produce

When your date shows up with bags upon bags of produce from the DesMoines Farmers Market, you get to chopping, roasting, peeling and caramelizing! Tomatoes finally made their appearance at the Market, and when combined with the basil from my backyard, Caprese salad was assembled.  With a twist or two…  We added smoky prosciutto and...