Summer Wines & Wine Reading

By Bob on June 2, 2011 2:03 AM

Even though summer hasn't "officially" started (that's June 21st) we've already uncorked some lighter wines to get us in the mood for the longer days to come. Our friends at St. Francis and the Naked Grape wineries gave us some nice varietals to try, so we gave 'em a taste as we shift to the softer shades of summer.
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St. Francis Winery & Vineyards Limited Edition Whale of a Chardonnay
For over 35 years, St. Francis Winery has produced some of Sonoma County's best varietals. It's earned a reputation for bold-flavored, fruit-forward wines that are unique to Sonoma.


Winemaker Notes

According to Director of Winemaking, Tom Mackey, the Limited Edition Whale of a Chardonnay is made from 100% hand-picked Sonoma County fruit. Grapes were harvested at night to ensure full-fruit flavors and bright, crisp acidity. 


What I Like About It

It's a crisp Chardonnay with tropical overtones and notes of apple and smoky oak. It had a clean, non-mineral finish that was perfect for sipping on the patio after some work getting the backyard ready for entertaining.


What I Ate With It

Charlotte's Chipotle Chicken Salad. The St. Francis Chardonnay's clean taste was the perfect complement to this spicy summer salad.



Corkscrewed Rating

Wines are rated on a scale of one-five corks. A one-cork wine is good for killing fire ants; five-cork wines are reserved for sharing with your very best friends or drinking whenever you have a good day.


Naked Grape Pinot Noir & Pinto Grigio
This California winery is known for producing uncomplicated wines that are easy to enjoy.


Winemaker Notes

Director of Winemaking, Hillary Stevens creates wines that are easy-to-enjoy and honest expressions of the grape's natural characteristics. She starts with the best fruit and simply lets their pure flavor shine through, thus revealing The Naked Grape.


NakedGrapeWines-275.jpgWhat I Like About the Pinot Noir

It had notes of dried cherry, ripe plum and minerals with just a hint of blueberry on the finish.


What I Like About the Pinot Grigio

It's a crisp white wine with notes of orange peel, pear, vanilla and white pepper - just right for a warm summer day.


What I Ate With Them

We paired the Pinot Noir with some mini Babybel and Stacy's multigrain pita chips (hey, sometimes it's just too late to cook) and the cheese really accented the full, rich taste of the wine. For the Pinot Grigio, Charlotte served up a plate of her famous chicken spaghetti and the crisp Pinot Grigio was the perfect complement to the cheesy chicken and pasta.


FOUR CORKS (for each)

Corkscrewed Rating

Wines are rated on a scale of one-five corks. A one-cork wine is good for killing fire ants; five-cork wines are reserved for sharing with your very best friends or drinking whenever you have a good day.


Uncorked - The Novice's Guide to Wine

If you're new to the wonderful world of wines and wine drinking, I highly recommend Paul Kreider's great new book, Uncorked (Turner Publishing). It's a quick read that's presented in a simple to understand format that will help anyone be more confident about wine. 


Paul's book will help you:

* Be at ease in the wine environment

* Save money by making choices that suit YOU

* Understand the language of wine

* Choose wines to complement meals


This guy knows what he's talking about. Paul established his own California winery (Ross Valley Winery) in 1987 and ultimately went on to become a wine-making consultant. If you or someone you know, would like to be just a little more confident about wine, head over to Amazon.com and buy this book.


About Me

I've been a wine lover since about 12 (that's not a typo). My earliest grape experience was probably at my cousin Nancy's wine tasting wedding rehearsal dinner. Since then, I've graduated from Boone's Farm (Ugh! What was I thinking?) to a slightly more sophisticated palate. By the time I reached college I was the only guy in the dorm with a dog-eared copy of Frank Schoonmaker's, Encyclopedia of Wine (Hasting's House, 1965). Today, my tastes run more toward the reds, but I'm always on the lookout for great white wine to pair with fish or fowl.


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Diabetes-Friendly Chicken Burrito Bowl

ChickenBurritoBowlEverydayDiabetes 600.jpg

By Laura Cipullo and Lisa Mikus, authors of Everyday Diabetes Meals
Image credit: Colin Erricson

Prepare your own Mexican quick fix with this Chipotle-inspired bowl. Carbs are moderated by filling the bowl with beans, extra veggies and chicken. No need for rice, since the beans count as carbs.


If you love tomatoes, increase the quantity to 1/2 cup, but note that the carbohydrates will also increase.

If preparing this recipe for one person, cut all of the ingredients in half. Or simply prepare the full recipe up to the end of step 2 and store leftover chicken and vegetable-bean mixture in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave on High for 1 to 2 minutes, or until heated through, and continue with step 3.

Health Bite: The iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc in black beans help to keep bones strong and healthy.

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Windy City

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