[RECIPE + PAIRING] Quick Roasted Tomato Chutney

Photo: Emily Rentsch

It's September and the tomatoes are poppin'! Here's a fast and tasty way to get into the spirit courtesy of my friend Chef Mike Shannon. This quick tomato chutney recipe doesn't even require fresh tomatoes (although you could certainly roast your own and gain some more bragging rights) and it makes a crowd-pleasing appetizer. Spread it on crusty bruschetta, add to fresh ricotta (as seen above) or goat cheese, serve it with fish or on top of a hearty burger. This is an all purpose delight.

Oh, and don't forget the wine! After the recipe below, you'll find some of my favorite pairings to tomatoes and other late summer fare. 

QUICK ROASTED TOMATO CHUTNEY
from Chef Mike Shannon
Make about 4 cups

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar 
1/2 teaspoon smoked salt
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
2 cans (28 oz) fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
 
Heat oil over medium heat in a medium sauce...

What Makes A Wine Natural?

Photo: Trevor Gerzen

There are all sorts of wine buzzwords on the wind these days, but one that you might hear floating around more than usual is the term “natural wine.” Um, what?! The word “natural” means different things to different people. And it also applies to all sorts of different things in the world. So...what makes a wine natural? Let’s dig in.

I like to tell my wine students and friends that they should think about wine in the same way that they think about food. Some foods are whole, untouched, and come from pesticide-free land. Like an organic Honeycrisp apple! Other foods are processed and packaged, include preservatives, lots of salt, and other things that might enhance the food’s flavor or shelf life. Like, say, Cheez-Its!

Now whether you reach for the Honeycrisp apple or the Cheez-Its (or both!), you make your decision based on having lots of information about how each food is made. Right? It’s the same with wine!

There is a group of wines out there that are made to taste exactly the...

5 Wines to Grill and Chill With This Summer

Photo: Jo Jo

Sure, you could have beer at your next barbecue. But why not play the wild card and pair your smokey outdoor eats with WINE?

Pairing wine to grilled meats and vegetables is a lot easier than you think. Just make sure neither the food nor the drink overpowers the other. So, if you've got a super savory marinated steak, you'll need a heartier wine--like a Cabernet or Zinfandel--to stand up to its big ole flavor. Similarly, try a lighter bodied wine that's full of fruit when enjoying the more delicate flavors of grilled zucchini or pork chops.

Pro tip: Try chilling light-bodied reds (Pinot Noir, Gamay, Frappato, lighter Nebbiolos) before serving them. They'll taste extra fresh and keep you cool while you man the grill.

Below are some of my favorite red wines to grill and chill with in the summertime, complete with some handy little pairing ideas:

1. Elk Cove 'Estate' Pinot Noir Rosé | Willamette Valley, Oregon
This sunset-colored rosé of Pinot Noir is all juicy, tart cherry and rose petals...

You Don't Have to Be Rich to Be My Wine - 3 Great Wines Under $12

Photo: spotted at Black Sheep Coal Fired Pizza

When you first start learning about wine, it can feel a little freaky to drop $20 or $30 on what you’ve heard is a “nice” bottle.

Wine labels aren’t always forthcoming (or even in your own language!), so you could be left fending for yourself, taking anyone and everyone’s advice and just defaulting to what’s most expensive. Because what the heck do YOU know?

But that, my friend, is no way to live. And! There are plenty of affordable wines out there (like, cheaper-than-a-cocktail affordable!) that are truly delicious and compromise nothing in the way of value. I’m here to clue you in! Once you’ve got these 3 wines in your back pocket, you’ll start developing your palate and gain the confidence and courage to continue learning and seeking out other wines. Maybe even some of those “nice” bottles? It’s all up to you.

Here are 3 wines under $12 that you should try:

1. Evolúció (Dry) Furmint | Tokaj, Hungary
$10.99

Furmint is the most prolific grape in Hungary, and you’ll usually find it featured...

[COCKTAIL] Hydrating Wine Cocktails for Summer

Photo: Emily Rentsch

Picture it: The sun is burning high in the sky. You’re lounging on a colorful beach towel, listening to the tinkling sounds of children laughing in the background as your skin slowly warms. The hazy blue line of the ocean waves at you in the distance. You’ve got a good book nearby. You’re all SPF-ed up. And you’re sipping on a little pink wine from your canteen. It’s the perfect day.

Perfect, that is, until you get dehydrated. Gasp!

Nothing goes better with the summer sun than a glass of crisp wine. But this delectable combo can be a little lethal when you’re not watching your water intake. Luckily, there’s a simple and delicious way to keep that from happening.

Say hello to hydrating wine cocktails! Below you’ll find three easy recipes for some wine-based beverages that will keep you feeling healthy and sober while still enjoying the season.

And when I say “recipes,” I really mean loose instructions. Feel free to make these cocktails your own! Add fresh mint, rosemary, or fruit. Switch...

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