I’m obsessed with rosés this summer, so this wine recommendation came easily. Rosés are no longer one-dimensional, sweet and forgettable.
Molino a Vento Rosé 2013 is a fresh, uncomplicated rosato from Sicily made from 100% Nero d’Avola, the black grape of Sicily. It’s light rose/pink color is clean and bursting with red and black fruit flavors of juicy cherries and raspberries. This invigorating wine pairs with a variety of foods especially those from the grill such as chicken,tuna or salmon along with fresh, crisp fruit or vegetable-based salads.
Rosés are especially food friendly. They have the acidity of crisp white wines yet the fruitiness of red wines with red and dark berry flavors and aromas.
Having the opportunity this summer to taste examples that are soft, balanced and elegant, I recommend stocking up and sipping before the summer comes to an end!
Riesling is one of the fastest growing white wines in the US today.
I have always been a die-hard fan of the Riesling grape because of the beautiful and delicate wines they produce. Riesling wines are versatile with food pairings and express a unique balance between acid and sugar levels. The enticing lush, floral and soft fruit aromas and mouth-tingling acidity had me at the first sip. From dry to semi-sweet to the extremely sweet late harvest dessert wines, there is a Riesling for every occasion and food pairing.
The Riesling Grape:
Although the beautiful and historic Rhine River Valley of Germany is the birthplace of the Riesling grape, it is widely planted all around the world including the wine countries of Washington State, New York, Oregon and Michigan.
Riesling is a cool weather grape that is fruity, aromatic and is distinguished by the retention of acidity. Riesling grapes produce soft, floral white wines that range from bone dry to honey-like sweetness and an abundance of mouth-watering acidity. Cool weather climate produces a very fresh grape and apple fruit character, naturally high acidity and balanced with sugar. Riesling grapes produce wines that reflect their terroir (location and climate) and it does not benefit from oak aging.
Roughly between 30 and 50 degrees in the northern hemisphere and 30 and 50 degrees in the southern hemisphere, Michigan is located within the grape friendly isothermal belt in the northern hemisphere. The diverse climate and terroir along with the moderating Great Lake effects are successful at growing French-American hybrid varietals in the cold-climate conditions with distinct expressive flavors and aromas that reflect the area from which they are grown. The best wines come from the vineyards where midsummer heat and midwinter cold is tempered by the soothing effects of an ocean, lake, river or coast line.
Up North is a concept that was created by us at Eagle Eye Brands. Jason Knysz, VP said in an email: ” We really wanted to showcase the potential of Michigan Riesling. We love to hear of people outside of Michigan (and especially outside of the Midwest) that are trying and enjoying the wine. We really feel we can make world class Riesling in Northern Michigan. I highly recommend a trip up to Michigan wine country, particularly Lellanau, and my favorite, Old Mission Peninsula.” Well, Jason, I think I will visit Michigan wine country soon!
Eagle Eye Brands work closely with the best winemaker in Northern Michigan. His name is Bryan Ulbrich and he owns and makes wine for the winery Left Foot Charley. ” The grapes for Up North Semi Sweet Riesling come from 5 different single vineyard sites. Four of the vineyards are located on Old Mission Peninsula and one just on the other side of East Bay in Grand Traverse County. Strict yield management in the vineyards ensures a high quality harvest. Fermentation is halted partway through to preserve the natural sugars of this semi sweet Riesling.”
Why I love UP NORTH semi-sweet Riesling and believe you will too!
Ripe peach aromas and flavors swirl out of the glass of pale-gold wine with delightful, mouthwatering minerality reminiscent of lemon-lime acidity and a touch of tangerine. The pleasant sweetness which is perfectly balanced by the crisp acidity will be a perfect match for one of my favorite salads, The Chinese Chicken Salad. This classic salad is a fusion of Asian flavors inspired by California cuisine and is my go-to summer salad. Asian foods such as Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese are complex in flavor and layered with the balance of sweet, sour, salty, hot and a touch of umami. Semi-sweet Rieslings are perfect pairing wines, marrying the flavors of the wine with the intense flavors of the salad and cool the touch of heat by Sambal Oelek, a bright red hot chili paste.
*Enjoy this wine slightly chilled with a meal or warm summer evening at sunset with friends, they will love you for it!
UP NORTH semi-sweet Riesling 2011 is distributed by my friends at 100 Percent Italiano and is available in Nashville at the wine shop at Craft Brewed in Nashville at 2502 Franklin Pike. The knowledgeable and nice guys, Sean and Ryan, will take care of you! Priced around $23 and worth every drop.
This is one of my favorite salads of all time and just in time for summer weather dining! It comes really close to the famous salad at Chin Chins in LA and Wolfgang Pucks that I crave. The recipe is simple, ingredients are easy to find and it pairs so perfectly with this cool and refreshing Semi-Sweet Riesling from Michigan.
4 split chicken breasts (bone-in, skin-on)
Good olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
½ pound asparagus, ends removed, and cut in thirds diagonally
1 cup sugar snap peas, blanched
1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded
2 scallions (white and green parts), sliced diagonally
handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds, toasted
For the dressing:
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup good apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
juice from ½ lime
1½ tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon peeled, grated fresh ginger
½ tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
¼ cup smooth peanut butter
1-2 t sambal oelek, or to taste
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 t sesame seeds for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub with the skin with olive oil.
Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked.
Set aside until cool enough to handle.
Remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin.
Shred the chicken in large bite-sized pieces.
Blanch asparagus in a pot of boiling salted water for 3 to 5 minutes until crisp-tender. Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain.
Cut the peppers in strips about the size of the asparagus pieces.
Combine the cut chicken, asparagus, and peppers in a large bowl.
Whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing.
Pour over the chicken and vegetables.
Add the scallions and sesame seeds and season to taste.
Sardinia is Nashville’s newest HOTSPOT for Lunch, Happy Hour, Dinner…and an Anniversary!
Since we made the move to a more urban style of living, I have enjoyed being closer to the burgeoning restaurant scene Nashville has to offer. Being 10 to 15 minutes from some of the coolest and hippest establishments has given me a chance to frequent some of my favorite restaurants. Sardinia is one of them. Sardinia Ristorante is located at 210 25th Ave. North Zip 37203; Phone: (615) 320-9147 and the hours are as follows: 11am til 10pm Sun – Thur, 11am til 11pm Fri & Sat.
The rustic yet sophisticated atmosphere is just perfect for a glass of wine or expertly-made cocktails and Sardinian-style appetizers at the gorgeous bar with friends or seating in the inviting dining area with a group or a celebration of a birthday or in my case, a 26th Anniversary!
What is Sardinian Italian food like? Sardinia is Italy’s second largest island and the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. This island is known for its gorgeous beaches and centuries of history. Sardinia takes pride in its rustic home cooking of roasted and grilled meats,pristine seafood and locally grown vegetables. Hand-made pastas with savory ingredients and traditional pizza with the freshest of ingredients come from influences of a deep Italian heritage combined with the neighboring countries’ food cultures.
Sardinia Ristorante just got the wood-fired pizza oven up and running just in time! Look at this pizza. It’s tasted a wonderful as it looks!
The pizza is as perfect for appetizers at Happy Hour as it would be for dinner or lunch. Share a board of Italian cheeses and meats with friends or….
a platter full of succulent mussels scented with thyme, roasted cherry tomatoes and fregola (little pasta bits like Israeli Couscous).
Since it was our anniversary, we decided to sit in the dining area near the oven-fired pizza! I enjoy watching the cooking process and get to see what other people are eating. So much good food, I was having a hard time deciding!
Our lovely and knowledgable server Anysia made sure that we had a delightful night full of laughter, great food and of course, wine! The wine menu is quite extensive and lists the Italian wines by the region. I truly love that. There are so many amazing Italian wines that I appreciate that they take the guess work out of it for me. OK. Trust me, even someone who thinks they know all of the regions would enjoy this menu!
One of my favorite Italian white wines is from the region of Campania made from the varietal Falanghina. Irpinia is 100% Falanghina and the intense flavors of tropical fruits such as pineapple and crisp apples with bright acidity was the perfect wine to pair with the house made Burrata Cheese appetizer with roasted tomatoes and fresh octopus carpaccio as well as complementing the fruit and acidity of the olive for dipping.
The succulent veal meatball appetizer on top of sautéed fennel covered with rich and flavorful tomato sauce was one of the best appetizers that I have had in a while. We fought over every last bite!
My daughter and husband both got Orecchiette, with wild boar sausages with rapini (broccoli rabe) pesto and roasted pine nuts with was both rustic and hearty with meaty pork and just the right amount of garlic and seasonings. Roasted meat dishes such as wild boar and lamb represent the Sardinian cuisine and the restaurant creates authentic dishes that you might have if you were on the island.
Before I found out that the “exquisite” braised Lamb Shank entree with porcini and perfectly cooked Cannonau risotto was featured on “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” Miami Episode, I knew I was getting it. I NEVER miss a chance to experience a lamb dish of this epic proportion! It was extremely flavorful, moist and fall of the bone tender and full of flavor from the slow cooking process and earthy porcini mushrooms. The bone was clean when I finished! I should have taken a photo of THAT…or maybe not! Cannonau di Sardegna, that was used to make the lovely violet-colored risotto, is a red wine made from Italian Grenache grapes from the island of Sardinia. The residents of Sardinia are known to live healthily into there 90’s and beyond and attribute their long and healthy lives due to this wine! No kidding! “It contains antioxidants called procyanidins that are very similar to the polyphenols found in olive oil, which protect and restore the cardiovascular system, reduce the effects of aging in adults and can help to prevent cancer.” Drink a glass with your meal. You will enjoy the burst of dark juicy raspberries and hints of smoke and cocoa. And, who knows, you just might live to see your great-great grandchildren!
Often,I do drink Cannonau di Sardenga so when I saw on the menu wines from my friends who own the local wine distributing company 100% Italiano, I had to get a bottle of the Alberto Long Primitivo from the IGT Salento rosso region of Puglia in Southern Italy. This pleasantly intense wine is the perfect wine to pair with richly flavored meats such as lamb. The varietal Primitivo is genetically very similar to the Zinfandel varietal. The tannins are sturdy but not overpowering and the brambly sweet blackberries with hints of warm spices in this rustic-style wine will make me want to keep several bottles at home especially for warm and hearty fall recipes like stews and eggplant pizza. Andrea & Viviana-I love your wine!
You HAVE to get the Tiramisu for dessert. I don’t care how full you are, get it and share it if you have to. It is creamy,cool,dense and you can taste the espresso soaked in to the lady fingers.
So happy to celebrate our 26th Anniversary with my family and the great food and wine at Sardinia Ristorante! CHEERS!