“White wine with fish, red wine with red meat” has a critical flaw — it fails to mention what to serve successfully with vegetables! It’s the time of year where bountiful main course salads are on every dinner table. Maximize the flavor synergy with these tips:

1) Think GREEN: Green flavored wines include sauvignon blanc (or fumé blanc) with its sassy, boldness; or pinot grigio for a lighter green note with its floral, creamy herbs. 2) Think PROTEIN: Serve extra protein and make super fruity red wines shine by adding meat, fish, eggs or cheese to salads.

3) Think LINKS: Link the salad flavors to the wine, maximizing enjoyment all around. Add roasted hazelnuts and walnuts, avocados, aged or dry cheeses and mayo to dressings to make them milder, creamier and more wine friendly.

4) Think TECHNIQUE: Grill veggies and cool for 15 minutes before adding to a salad, and always roast that garlic so the salad will be more wine friendly.

5) INVEST in the BEST: When making salad dressings to be served with wine, always invest in soft vinegars like balsamic or aged Sherry vinegars, or use orange or lemon juice instead of vinegar. Also, use the very best extra-virgin olive oil you can find. A great olive oil is the best partner wine has ever had.

6) USE CAUTION: When salty or pungent ingredients (anchovies or acidic items) are in the salad, it can be tricky. Acidic tomatoes need high-acid wines; salty anchovies crave very fruity wines. Avoid serving fruit salads and wine. 

Cry for the Right Reason!

It’s understandable you’d get upset to see red wine spill onto your new white carpet. Here’s the perfect remedy: Act quickly. Cover the spot with cornstarch. Hold a hot iron 2 inches away from the wet stain and press the steam button for 5 seconds to moisten the cornstarch. Let it dry for an hour, then vacuum both the cornstarch and the wine stain away. How does it work? The steam causes the carpet fibers to expand so the tiny starch particles can absorb every bit of the wine. So it’s O.K. to cry over the wasted wine, but there’s no need to cry over a stained carpet if you act before the wine dries.  Get Your Giggle Going

This recently appeared in an issue of Readers Digest. We’re sure Marvin Keeler of Salina, Kansas who submitted it to the publication would not mind if your favorite Wine of the Month Club passed it on . . . A couple is in their living room, sipping wine. Out of the blue, the wife says, “I love you.” “Is that you, or the wine, talking?” the husband asks. “It’s me,” says the wife. “Talking to the wine.”

VINS DEL COMTAT — MONASTREL – (Vintage 2013, Red) Country: Spain  Region: Alicante  Grape: Monastrel

Alicante is a Spanish Denominación de Origen (DO) in the province of that same name, in the rugged coast of Southeastern Spain where limestone mountains tower majestically over the sea. The area has a long history of grape growing and wine production, introduced by the Romans. Vines have grown in that ideal microclimate for           more than 2,000 years, surrounded by pine trees, evergreen oaks and olive groves.

The Vins del Comtat Winery and Estate is in the town of Cocentaina. The winery is a state-of-the-art facility that incorporates the most modern technology combined with the best traditional methods of winemaking.

Made of 100% Monastrel from vines that are over 30 years old, it is a blend of fruits from several small vineyards in the Alicante Mountains. The wine is aged for 6 months in French and American Oak before bottling. The cherry red wine shows expressive notes of fresh black cherries and red berries mingled with hints of sweet spice, toast and cocoa. On the palate, this accessible red shows silky texture, liveliness and long length.

It is ready to be enjoyed now, slightly chilled (about 55°) with pork chops Normandy, grilled veggies, parmesan-crusted asparagus tips and pasta dishes from your list of favorite recipes.

Vins del Comtat Monastrel:

MONASTREL — Also known as Monastrell, or Mourvedre in France, or as Mataro in Australia and California, this is one of the major grape varieties of Spain. It is an under-rated Spanish variety that is usually hidden in blends, but it has a full and distinctive flavor which makes individual wines of great distinction.

LAGOON HILL — SAUVIGNON BLANC (Vintage 2014, White) Country: New Zealand  Region: Martinborough  Grape: Sauvignon Blanc

An extremely diverse wine-growing nation, New Zealand has a long history of producing wine since the 1830’s, where most of the regions are defined as “maritime.” New Zealand is one of the “greenest” wine producing nations on earth (94% of wine certified sustainable in 2013), with a strong focus on organic and Biodynamic farming.

Martinborough, home of Lagoon Hill Winery, is on the North Island, with a population of 1,300 inhabitants. But during the Toast Martinborough Wine Festival held each November, the town swells to 15,000 people. (Your favorite Wine of the Month Club wishes it could be a part of the wine festivities of this distinctive region!) Relatively small and typically family-owned, they focus on producing quality rather than quantity, devoting themselves to handcrafting superior wines. Made of 100% Sauvignon Blanc, the wine is a delightful straw yellow with green tints in the glass. Classic aromas of passion fruit and herbs mix with a background of citrus and stone fruit. The palate is concentrated with a fleshy entry making the wine immediately appealing. A lively backbone of acid helps the wine evolve, giving a long mineral finish. Enjoy it now, chilled, as an aperitif with canapés, or with oysters on the half shell, cold soups, grilled shrimps, poached salmon.

Lagoon Hill Sauvignon Blanc:

SAUVIGNON BLANC GRAPES — A white with very distinctive dusty character, high in acidity with up-front aromas and flavors. A climate-driven chameleon, Sauvignon Blanc wines may be fruity in character (ripe melon, fig, passion fruit), or vegetative and grassy. Mostly unoaked, the resulting wines are light to medium bodied and usually dry. They produce wines of different personalities, depending where they are grown.

PIETRA SANTA — SASSOLINO (Vintage 2011, Red) Country: U.S.A.  Region: Cienega Valley, CA  Grapes: Sangiovese & Cabernet Sauvignon

Pietra Santa is a family-run estate just 25 miles from California’s Monterey  Bay. The proximity to the coast provides cooling, maritime breezes and a long growing season that results in vibrant and flavorful wines. The estate also benefits from granite and limestone soils, thus the name Pietra Santa (“Sacred Stone”) honoring the unique terroir. The wine making history dates back to the 1850’s, and today is owned by the Blackburn family, who continues the quality tradition.

Due to the mountainous terrain, only 120 of the estate’s 450 acres are planted with wine grapes, and an additional 25 acres with olive trees. The oldest vines are a treasured block of Zinfandel planted in 1905.

The blended grapes (81% Sangiovese and 19% Cabernet Sauvignon) are all estate grown on 35-year-old vines. The deep ruby red wine is aged for 30 months in French Oak barrels, with a total of 1286 cases produced.

Deep ruby red, their Estate Sassolino is a robust red blend with bold fruit flavors of black cherry and plums with hints of chocolate and smoky oak. Well balanced, with soft, round tannins, it is ready to be enjoyed now. Sassolino is a perfect match for roasted meats or Italian fare. Serve at room temperature with rich pasta dishes, roasts and aged cheeses.

Pietra Santa Sassolino:

SANGIOVESE GRAPES — Without the Sangiovese grape, there would be no Chianti! In a pure varietal form it can have a nearly metallic finish with hidden fruit flavors. When yields are high, the resulting wine is light and fruity with an earthy element. Summers of very hot weather makes for wines of considerable weight, power and finesse.

CABERNET SAUVIGNON GRAPES — This premium red grape is a prolific grower — small, dark, thick skinned and late-maturing. Originating in the 17th century with the crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc it produces tannic wines with black currant/cassis aroma and flavor. Flavors and characteristics vary with the region where it is grown. One of its most significant qualities is that it ages so well, sometimes successfully kept for decades.

QUINTA DO HOMEM — VINHO VERDE DOC  (Vintage 2014, White) Country: Portugal  Region: Cavado, in the Vinho Verde region  Grapes: Loureiro & Arinto

Vinho Verde is a Portuguese wine that originated in the historic Minho province in the far north of the country. The modern-day “Vinho Verde” Region, originally designated in 1908, includes the old Minho province, plus adjacent areas to the South. The region is characterized by its many small growers who grow food among the vines.

Vinho Verde is not a grape varietal. The name literally means “green wine,” or “young wine,” as opposed to “mature wine.” It may be red, white or rosé, and it is meant to be consumed young. Quinta do Homem is a 62 acre Estate located in the sub-region of Cavado, right in the heart of the Vinho Verde Region. The winery produces 100% estate-bottled wines, a rarity in the region.

Clear greenish-lemon hues are the result of the blend of 70% Loureiro and 30% Arinto grapes, all estate grown. It is a very aromatic wine, with floral and fruit aromas. On the palate it is very fresh and elegant, with a well-balanced acidity.

The wine is ready to be enjoyed now. Serve chilled with cold soups (gazpacho, vichyssoise, etc.), salads, hors d’oeuvres, grilled vegetables, fish and shellfish. Why not invite your favorite Wine of the Month Club?

Quinta Do Homem Vinho Verde:

LOUREIRO GRAPES — This is a light skinned grape variety grown mainly in the north of Portugal and adjacent regions. Its main claim to fame is its use in making white Vinho Verde wines. Loureiro means “laurel,” referring to the bay leaf scent. These grapes are known for their wines of excellent acidity and low alcohol content.

ARINTO GRAPES — One of Portugal’s excellent white grapes, it makes for a crisp wine that ages well. It blends well with others, including the Loureiro grape.

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