Chenin Blanc wine: The new little black dress

Tasty Chenin Blanc wines from Dry Creek VineyardsMark my words – Chenin Blanc wines are the new little black dress. Comfortable, sleek, versatile and sophisticated, this white grape from France is making a new entrance to the big world of wine lovers. Thank the younger generation of drinkers who crave the unique, the little-known yet delicious in their beverages. But everyone wins. Chenin kicks boring ‘ole Chardonnay in just about every way, so welcome it into your world and onto your table.

Chenin Blanc is originally from France’s Loire Valley region, making its way into various levels of sweetness in wines labeled Vouvray. In its home country, Chenin tastes luscious, slightly to very sweet and offers a cocktail of peach, nectarine and lime. Paired with a meal of varying flavors and to balance out an acidic meal, it can be magical. Add some bubbles to this grape mix and you’ll find Crémant de Loire, the same delicious magic but with a little sparkling added in.

But as much as I enjoy Vouvray, the bone-dry versions of Chenin Blanc are more intriguing to me these days. My love-hate relationship with sugar prevents me from reaching for the sweeter wines in my wine rack. One of the first California wineries to embrace and “own” dry Chenin Blanc, Dry Creek Vineyards in Sonoma County has produced one since 1972, every vintage. I’ve gushed over it many times over the years (and bought it for my wine rack), simply because the price ($15) and quality hasn’t wavered. And continues to impress. Their grapes come from the Clarksburg AVA in northern California, where the warm weather and consistent sun appeal to Chenin. In fact, the majority of wineries that produce a dry Chenin Blanc source the fruit from Clarksburg, generating some well-earned fame for the region. Finally. Grown in the state for decades, Chenin was formerly blended with many other low-quality grapes and relegated to jug wines in the 1970s, so generations of drinkers associated Chenin Blanc wines with low quality. Read more »

Amazing soup recipe: Mushroom, chicken and corn chowder (dairy free)

Although the paleo lifestyle allows for almost all vegetables, fresh corn unfortunately falls in the no-no column. Considered a grain, it’s also high in sugar — being the base of high fructose corn syrup, that’s a duh, but the corn for syrup is a different strain than what you eat fresh. But I cheat sometimes. Like in this mushroom, chicken, corn chowder. That said, you can certainly replace with the corn with another vegetable of choice, like kale, peas, or spinach.

Read more: Amazing soup recipe: Mushroom, chicken, corn chowder (dairy free)

Best Kirkland wines at Costco

best kirkland wines

If you’re not a regular shopper of Costco, Kirkland is their private label and Kirkland wines, sourced from various wineries around the world, is kicking ass in the value department. Unfortunately, Costco doesn’t reveal which wineries they work with, so you have to try them to find out if they’re drinkable. In my experience, they are pretty consistently tasty. This blog will expand over time, identifying the best Kirkland wines that I try, but here are the first three that you can enjoy with abandon.

Read more: Best Kirkland wines at Costco

Recipe: Chicken Bacon Spinach Paleo Alfredo (AIP friendly too)

Chicken Bacon Spinach Paleo Alfredo.

Having turned my back on pasta likely forever, there are a few dishes I miss with fervor. Fresh, homemade basil pesto tossed into thin, delicate angel hair pasta is one, and fettucine alfredo is another. Tossed with shrimp, chicken or what-have-you, the rich, enveloping sauce is an opportunity to enjoy a decadent moment. But I no longer have to crave alfredo sauce.

Read more: Recipe: Paleo Chicken Alfredo with Bacon and Spinach (AIP friendly)

Wine review: Cave Robert et Marcel 2016 Saumur Les Pouches

It’s an impressive mouthful of a name with an equally impressive personality. Cave Robert et Marcel 2016 Saumur Les Pouches hails from the Saumur appellation in the Loire Valley region of France (read more about the Loire Valley), where the grape varietal Chenin Blanc reigns supreme. I visited this region last year and wallowed in the beauty of gorgeous, well-made Chenin Blanc, a wine which offers all the rich, full bodied-ness of Chardonnay and the minerally driven, acidity of Sauvignon Blanc. It’s really been my favorite white grape for a while, pairing with a massive variety of food but also refreshing enough as a porch sipper.

Read more: Wine review: Cave Robert et Marcel 2016 Saumur Les Pouches

Wine review: Crowded House 2016 Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough

Crowded House Sauvignon Blanc

Every so often, you taste a wine that — to borrow a word from beer circles — is a “session” wine. You can drink it aaalllll day— in sessions by the pool, on the patio or on the couch. Sip after sip, it keeps on giving and never gets tedious. Occasionally, Sauvignon Blanc can hit this sweet spot but often these crisp grogs, especially those from the particularly chilly New Zealand wine region, taste way too tart to fall into the “session” category for me. Crowded House Sauvignon Blanc is a strong exception to this New Zealand rule.

Read more: Wine review: Crowded House Sauvignon Blanc 2016 Marlborough

Diary of 72 Hours in Portland

We landed at noon on a Friday, ready to engulf ourselves in the culture of the liberal, hipster town of Portland. Home of beer, wine, a thriving food scene and plenty of outdoor activity. And we only had 72 hours in Portland. The weekend we landed in early May was the first sunshine-y day after many dreary, rainy weekends so everyone took to the streets and parks like a flash flood. The city was bumpin’.

Read more: Diary of 72 Hours in Portland

Six Paleo and AIP friendly recipes that I worship

Paleo friendly recipe for celeriac mash

On a specialized diet, any cook gets bored with making the same thing over and over and over again. Hell, sometimes it’s easier to go through the rote motions but then I get fed up with the monotony. In these dark times, I turn to the internet to refresh my palate. There is thankfully a massive community of Paleo and Auto Immune Protocol bloggers out there and we all feed off of each other’s creativity and published posts. My Pinterest boards are peppered with these six Paleo friendly recipes (and AIP!) that I turn to pretty frequently and wanted to give them some love. By the way, ALL of these are super, super easy to throw together.

Read more: Six Paleo and AIP friendly recipes that I worship

Wine review: Preston 2014 Barbera Dry Creek Valley

Preston 2014 Barbera

As someone who writes about wine and who also works for a winery, I have multitudinous bottles of wine at my house. It can get overwhelming, albeit in a very, very good way. But what this enviable “predicament” means is that I rarely buy wine. When I do, it’s a pretty epic bottle of juice. Like Preston Barbera.

Read more: Wine review: 2014 Preston Barbera Dry Creek Valley

Mahi with lemon caper sauce recipe - Paleo friendly

Mahi with lemon caper sauce

Part of my food life journey is exploring all areas of the protein spectrum and, to be honest, fish was somewhat of a new frontier for me. I ordered it all the time in restaurants (and loved it) but it was an intimidating home meal. All that worrying about freshness, the higher cost and sometimes the smell didn’t exactly make it attractive. But after the past few years, I’m over all of that BS and often make a super easy fish recipe like Mahi with Lemon Caper Sauce. The secret? Buy frozen fillets and you don’t have to worry about freshness (or a fishy smell). This recipe was inspired by Cooking Light Magazine and refined through a few iterations until I made it perfect for me.

Read more: Super easy fish recipe: Mahi with lemon caper sauce (Paleo, AIP)