Archive for September, 2012


Seminar: Bon Appetite!

The gentle slopes of the North Carolina Mountains are about to be flooded with thousands upon thousands of people from around the globe again. Every year about this time, we are inundated by the world as our hillsides put on a display of color second to none. The hues of yellow, orange, red, and green are always certain to dazzle even those of us with absolutely zero artistic ability. The Blue Ridge Parkway will be bumper to bumper with drivers who will discover the beauty of the mountains and at the same time realize just how bad their driving abilities are.

As we celebrate the fall and this season of change, we also begin to look forward to a season when friends and family will celebrate the holidays. We invite you to participate this Wednesday in a program to help keep those gatherings simple and elegant as we pair wines against appetizers that are quick, easy, and wonderfully soothing. Now, just as you expect to know which family members are coming to your gathering, so do we; please make reservations at 828-414-9111 (or at  in order that we will know how many people to prepare for the evening of 03 October 2012: 6pm.

We look forward to seeing you then!


Cheese: Cave Aged Montgomery’s Cheddar

An authentic cheddar of raw cow milk hand-formed into hulking 60 pound cylinders by James Montgomery in Somerset, England. Each cheese is wrapped with linen and rubbed with lard before cellaring. The curse and wonder of traditional cheese is huge variety from wheel to wheel, making selection all the more critical. Look for savory flavor developed over more than 12 months of aging; the best wheels of Monty’s cheddar have a nutty meatiness described by our British colleagues as reminiscent of the caramelized edge of a Sunday roast. Montgomery’s is proof positive that cheddar and beer make good bedfellows.


Recipe: Parsnip Soup!

Parsnip Soup

With Fall kicking in, the temperatures are starting to add a chill to the air and the leaves are preparing to shine here in the NC Mountains in their full glory. As the temperatures drop and the evening start to encroach a little earlier every day, our thoughts turn to warm hearty soups that add a nice little touch of comfort and warmth to the soul. Today, I share a wonderful parsnip soup recipe that utilizes one of my all-time favorite cheeses, Mimolette! This soup pairs beautifully with a great Rosé from Southern Rhone and extends the classic “Rosé Season” through the Fall of the Year!


Parsnip soup recipe


 1 lb parsnips, peeled

3 oz aged Mimolette cheese

2.5 cups chicken broth, heated

 1/3 pint extra-thick cream

4 shallots

1 branch of celery

1 oz. butter


Finely chop shallots. Melt butter in a saucepan. Slowly cook shallots until clear.

Cut parsnips into cubes. Thinly slice celery. Mix, then add to saucepan.

Pour chicken broth over vegetables. Salt and pepper to taste. Let cook on low heat for about 25 minutes.

While soup is cooking, use a vegetable peeler to cut the Mimolette into extra-fine slices. Set aside.

When soup is cooked, turn down heat and add cream. It is ready to serve as soon as the cream has melted into the soup and is warm.

Pour soup in bowls. Sprinkle with slices of Mimolette.



99 Vines Chardonnay

This Chardonnay is pale yellow in color and has a distinct citrus bouquet with hints of apple as well.  On the palate, this wine is nicely balanced with a medium body.  Tastes of apple, lemon, and pineapple are present with just a hint of banana.  It’s dry finish is nice and refreshing.  This would make a great pair with Shrimp Scampi or an Alfredo based dish, or even a good evening sipping wine!

99 Vines Winery is located in the heart of California’s wine country, where the vineyards that produce some of America’s favorite wines surround Highway 99.


Seminar: The best Grapes You’ve never heard of

Wine Tasting

Wine Tasting

Often the best moments in life come when we discover something that has been right there waiting for us to discover for our entire life. When it comes to wine, this is an absolute fact for me every week. As I sample through wines, there’s always on of the 12,000+ I’ve never heard of or had an opportunity to try that creeps into a sample flight for me. Whether it may be a Mencia from Spain, or a Neluccio from France, finding one more grape to check off my list makes my spine tingle and my lips form a smile. This Wednesday (September 26) at 6pm, I will present 6 varietals of grape that most people have yet to try, and often have not heard of. Join us with new and old friends as we discover new wines that are sure to become old friends for years to come.


Recipe: Clam Chowder Pizza

Clam Chowder Pizza

From time to time it is nice to find something familiar, yet unique. Simple recipes often provide this much welcomed respite for us and today we share this as something simple, yet elegant enough to impress friends and family alike.

1 – 12″ fresh or prepared pizza crust
1 – 15 oz. can condensed New England Clam Chowder
1 – 8 oz. package 4-blend pizza cheese
1 cup cooked chopped/crumbled bacon


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Lightly oil pizza stone, pan or screen.

Spread condensed New England Clam Chowder right from can as sauce to cover uncooked pizza dough

Sprinkle pizza cheese over clam chowder as desired Sprinkle cooked chopped/crumbled bacon over cheese

(We like to sprinkle ground red pepper to add an extra “kick”)

Cook for 12 – 15 minutes or until bottom of crust is lightly browned

As a rule, a light pinot noir or pinot grigio pairs wonderfully with this dish!


Albak Ribera del Júcar


This little wine is a tasty blend of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, from Ribera del Jucar along the western edge of La Mancha.  It is dark in color, similar to Garnet, with aromas of tobacco, fresh cherry and a slight dried herb component.  It tends to be heavy on the palate with superb “fruity” sensations, such and black cherry,  and a robust spicy finish.  This wine would pair perfectly with a nice hearty beef stew, especially on a cool, crisp Autumn day!

Elvi Wines is a producer that makes wines from various regions in Spain. Albak, Furia and Adar come from the D.O. Ribera del Júcar. Ribera del Júcar is located in the province of Cuenca along the banks of the river Júcar and covers 7 municipalities. Grapes have been grown and wine produced in Ribera del Júcar for centuries but the D.O. status was only acquired in 2003, making the region the youngest D.O. in Spain. The creation of outstanding and great wines at a good price is their main objective. Their aim is to produce wines that bring together the producer and the consumer and that represent with authenticity the different Spanish areas, and peculiarity of the wines.

This wine isn’t expected to stay on the shelf long, so come get your bottle today!

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