The Orin Swift Takeover…

“She gets to keep the Mercedes and the chalet, but leave me the Cabernet!”

Alright people i’m back and I know you are all expecting some enlightening narrative on what types of grape varietals grow best in specific soil compositions in new and old world climates. However, that is just not my style. Over the years I have spent half my money on wine, gambling and wild women….The other half, I wasted!

Choosing a wine is about hedging your bets, it is about scanning a wine list or liquor store and knowing exactly which bottle (out of hundreds) best suits your liking. Let me ask you something…When you walk into a bar, do you just go after the first thing that peaks your interest? absolutely not! You throw back a few and scan the bar for the perfect candidate. One that will make the night memorable. For some a full-bodied Cab and for others a long-legged Barolo.

What most don’t understand is that 27% of wine is actually bought without knowing a single thing about whats in the bottle. People often gravitate toward wines that they know absolutely nothing about and believe it or not purchase wines solely based on the label art.

Now let me introduce you to my good friend Orin Swift Cellars. Not only is it one of my favorite brands but also has an appealing taste and label.

Orin Swift Wines

The Abstractorin-swift-abstract-red-california-usa-10153839:

The Swift abstract is a blend of Grenache, Petite Sirah, and Syrah

On the nose: Perfume of dark fruit, sage, acacia flowers

On the palate: Ripe blackberry, mulberry, roasted plum, black tea, and bitter chocolate



The Palermo:

palermoThe Swift Palermo is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc

On the nose: currant, roasted espresso, spring flowers, and toasty oak

On the palate: wild berry fruit, plum, roasted fig, and cacao




The Location “I”, The Prisoner, The Location”F”


The Location “I”:

The Swift location “I” is a blend of Negroamaro, Nero d’Avola, Barbera, and native varietals from Puglia

On the nose: Macerated raspberries, dried lavender, plum tart, and toasty oak accents

On the palate: Super lush flavors of ripe berries and spice

The Prisoner:

The Swift Prisoner is a blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet, Syrah, and Petite Sirah

On the nose: cherry, espresso, roasted fig and vanillin oak

On the palate: Ripe raspberry, pomegranate and wild berry fruit

The Location “F”:

The Swift location “F” is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and assorted Bordeaux varietals (Cab, Merlot, Cab Franc, Petite Verdot, Malbec)

On the nose: ripe cherry, kirsch, blackberry preserve, lavender, and subtle spice notes

On the palate: strawberry compote, crushed plum, and mocha.

…your welcome

and as always,

Buon Appetito America!




The other day I was having a conversation with this women who was telling me that you can make ice cubes out of left over wine, I was confused…..What is leftover wine?

So I just snuck away from the dinner table to give you all a great wine to try. While I was eating dinner I was thoroughly enjoying this particular bottle and found my self on my fifth glass before I knew it. While I was sitting there I was thinking to myself. A person with a basement full of vodka is an alcoholic but a person with a basement full of wine is classy! Funny how the world works.

Anyway this Sonoma County Zinfandel is quite special in the sense that the California zinfandel is an extremely challenging and rewarding wine to produce. What makes it so special is the meticulous and severe grape selection criteria as well as the masterful blending techniques toward the later stages of production.

cline zin

Cline Zinfandel 2011

Sell price: (11$)

Some winemaker notes:

  • The Cline Zinfandel showcases a wide array of dark berry fruit including black cherry and strawberry. Additionally, spice notes and a lasting finish of vanilla from oak aging and firm, supple tannins add complexity to this wine.

This particular wine would pair best with grilled meats, chili con carne and even the Sunday sauce!

I’ve said it once and I will say it again… “friends don’t let friends drink white zinfandel”

and as always,

Buon Appetito America!


Wine Publication #8

…And now a poem,

Wine is great for many fair reasons

It warms you through winter and all of the seasons.

You pop the cork on a 2011 pinot

and before you know it, its your third bottle of vino.

Beer before liquor and you get drunk quicker

But a wine hangover my friends, you’ve never been sicker.

A good wine pairs well with whatever you are cooking

But after a few glasses your much better looking!

Well now that I got that out of my system, lets talk about some awesome red wines that have all been rated over 90+ points and are under $20. There is nothing better than great wine for a great price. These five bottles will be sure to impress! Enjoy

1.) 2011 Belle Glos Meiomi Pinot Noir………………………………….($19.99)

belle glos

2.) 2011 Seghesio Family Vineyards Zinfandel……………………………. ($19.99)


3.) 2009 Aia Vecchia Lagone Toscana……………………………………($14.00)


4.) 2007 Tomaiolo Chianti Classico Reserva…………………………………($11.00)

chianti classico

5.) 2011 Filon Garnacha …………………………………………….……..…($9.00)


I have had the pleasure of tasting each of these bottles and they are all wonderful and all very different!

and as always,

Buon Appetito America!


Linguine with Clams and Lemon

While all of you are either at work or school I figured why not give you a great dish to make for dinner tonight. All im saying is give it a try! Put away the ramen noodles and frozen pizzas and take a trip to the grocery store for an inexpensive and easy dish.

Clams are a funny ingredient because not everybody likes the consistency or taste of them. However I have found that many people are simply just to stubborn to try clams in the first place. Saying you don’t like something before trying it must be one of my biggest pet peeves. I had a roommate in college that lived on popcorn and frozen pizzas. The one day I made him a plate of my linguine and clams and he flipped his lid. The only bad part was that he kept hounding me to make it for him again. Enjoy!

Linguine con vongole e limone (Linguine with Clams and Lemon)

Cook time: ~ 1 hour


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic(finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley (chopped)
  • 2 lb little neck or baby clams (washed and scrubbed)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup clam or fish stock
  • 1 lb Linguine
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon zest
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper

First you want to clean and scrub your clams under cold water. Discard any clams that are not closed and will not close at your touch.


In a large sautee pan heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add your garlic till it becomes aromatic (about 30 seconds)

Add clams, stock and white wine and saute in pan. cover and cook until the wine has been reduced and the clams have steamed open (about 6 minutes) discard any clams that did not open. (add a little butter in there if you would like, just dont tell mom)

While clams are cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it to taste. Add the linguine and cook (about 8-10 minutes) drain in a strainer and transfer the pasta to a serving bowl and add the clams and stock. lightly dust the lemon zest, red pepper flakes and fresh ground pepper and mix in with the pasta. Lightly sprinkle your parsley for nice flavor and presentation….Its that easy!


and as always,

Buon Appetito America!


Coq Au Vin

Lets be honest and say that I mainly started cooking for one reason and one reason only. The Ladies love it! Thats right ladies. I like dinner by candle light and long romantic walks to the fridge!

For some of you gentlemen out there, Valentines day is fast approaching and if im a betting man, which I am…You have already made reservations at your favorite restaurant and have ordered the roses. Let me tell you something, that is the most boring thing I have ever heard in my life. There is nothing that makes your girl feel more special than by doing the same thing that every other couple in America does. Turn those berries you have between your legs into grapefruits and make your lady a romantic dinner. Don’t be scared to pull out all the stops either!

All thank you’s can be sent to my email!

Enough talk let’s get into some food.

Tonight I made a very classic dish called Coq Au Vin. It is a french dish that dates back way before you and I were roaming this earth. Coq Au Vin loosely translates to english to mean “rooster in wine.” It was traditionally made with poultry and braised or cooked in the wine from the region from where the chef derived. (typically Burgundy region of France)

Coq au vin

Cook time: ~ 1 hour 10 minutes

Serving size: 4


  • 4 chicken thighs and legs
  • 6 bacon slices (coarsely chopped)
  • 4 tbsp Parsley (chopped)
  • 8 oz. Crimini mushrooms (halved)
  • 2 large carrots (chopped)
  • 6 shallots (halved)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 cup dry red wine (Syrah, Bordeaux, Tuscan)
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce (not necessary)
  • 4 teaspoons flour
  • Salt and Pepper

Firsts start by Preheating your oven to 400 degrees

Sautee bacon in a large nonstick pan over medium/high heat till crispy and remove with a slotted spoon and keep till later. Season your chicken with salt, pepper and 1 tbsp of parsley and add directly to the bacon drippings. sautee untill cooked through, about 8 minutes on each side. Transfer to baking dish and finish cooking in oven until sauce is complete. (save pan with grease and chicken drippings)

coq au vin

On medium heat in the same pan, add the mushrooms, shallots, garlic and carrots. season with salt and pepper and sautee untill brown, about 4 minutes. turn to high heat and add your bacon, wine and broth and another tbsp of parsley. (add the bbq sauce for a little smokeyness if you would like)

Bring to a boil then let boil on high heat for 8-10 minutes (stir ever 2 minutes). When the red wine has been reduced out add your flour and stir well. cook for another couple of minutes while the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.

Remove chicken from oven and add it back into the pan along with the juice from the baking dish. Mix together and serve in a large bowl!


and as always,

Buon Appetito America!


Wine Knowledge!

So here we are again! For my fellow readers, another delightful post and for me an empty bottle of wine and some fresh rambling. I figured since the snow is coming down I might as well pop the cork and spill some fresh knowledge to all of you. Before we get into that a few things I wanted to mention.

1. Never date a girl with a hook for a hand

2. Dont forget to tip you serving staff

3. Never wear a brown belt with black shoes.

And lastly remember, Beer is made by men, wine by Gods!

This entry will be a little more in-depth then your average wine facts so buckle up! I hope that you will enjoy reading it as much as enjoyed typing it!

Having knowledge how each wine tastes is wonderful, but to understand characteristics of each wine and how they are produced is essential in understanding difference in taste from vintage to

Chardonnay has a highly vigorous vine, with extensive leaf cover which can inhibit the energy and nutrient uptake of its grape clusters. Vineyard managers counteract this with aggressive pruning and canopy management. When Chardonnay vines are planted densely, they are forced to compete for resources and funnel energy into their grape clusters. In certain conditions the vines can be very high-yielding, but the wine produced from such vines will suffer a drop in quality.

The Sauvignon Blanc vine often buds late but ripens early, which allows it to perform well in sunny climates when not exposed to overwhelming heat. In warm regions such as South Africa, Australia and California, the grape flourishes in cooler climate appellations such as the Alexander Valley area. In areas where the vine is subjected to high heat, the grape will quickly become over-ripe and produce wines with dull flavors and flat acidity.


The leaves of Pinot noir are generally smaller than those of Cabernet Sauvignon, but larger than those of Syrah. The grape cluster is small and cylindrical, vaguely shaped like a pine cone. Some viticultural historians believe this shape may have given rise to the name. Pinot noir tends to produce narrow trunks and branches. In the vineyard it is sensitive to light exposure, cropping levels (it must be low yielding), soil types and pruning techniques.

Cabernet Sauvignon grape is a relatively new variety, the product of a chance crossing between Cabernet franc and Sauvignon blanc during the 17th century in southwestern France. Its popularity is often attributed to its ease of cultivation – the grapes have thick skins and the vines are hardy and resistant to rot and frost – and to its consistent presentation of structure and flavours which express the typical character “typicity” of the variety. The most widely recognized is the herbaceous or green bell pepper flavor caused by pyrazines, which are more prevalent in under-ripened grapes

Most red wines derive their color from grape and therefore contact between the juice and skins is essential for color extraction. Red wines are produced by de-stemming and crushing the grapes into a tank and leaving the skins in contact with the juice throughout the fermentation (maceration). It is possible to produce white (colorless) wines from red grapes by the fastidious pressing of uncrushed fruit. This minimizes contact between grape juice and skins.

Most white wines are processed without de-stemming or crushing and are transferred from picking bins directly to the press. This is to avoid any extraction of tannin from the skins or grape seeds, as well as maintaining proper juice flow through a matrix of grape clusters rather than loose berries. In some circumstances wine makers choose to crush white grapes for a short period of skin contact, usually for three to 24 hours.

During this primary fermentation, which often takes between one and two weeks, yeast converts most of the sugars in the grape juice into ethanol (alcohol). After the primary fermentation, the liquid is transferred to vessels for the secondary fermentation. Here, the remaining sugars are slowly converted into alcohol and the wine becomes clear. Wine is then allowed to age in oak barrels before bottling, which add extra aromas to the wine, while others are bottled directly.

The process of storing and rotating wine is very important. If the bottle is improperly stored at an incorrect temperature can “cork” the wine. Each vineyard has their own techniques, but as a rule they should be stored out of sunlight, and the temperature should be a constant with little humidity. After proper time of aging in bottle it is ready for you to serve it to your guests.

and as always,

Buon Appetito America!


Chicken Curry With Vegetables

Food is a funny thing. As much as I love Italian cuisine, the flavors of both Thai and Vietnamese cooking continues to captivate the senses. Thai food in particular is a cuisine that plays to its strengths by giving you a little salty, sweet, savory, spicy and umami. Now don’t get me wrong. I need my spaghetti alla carbonara at least once a week but that does not mean that I don’t crave some of that delicious Tom yum goong or Pad kaprow!

Thai cuisine is very well know for its curries and lucky for you I made a great one the other night. Not only is the flavor profile of this dish phenomenal but it also can be used to clean the fridge of any vegetables you may want to use.

Pollo al Curry con Verdure (Chicken Curry With Vegetables)

Cook time: ~ 1 hour 30 minutes

Serving size: 2


  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1/2 Onion (chopped)
  • 2 Garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 tbsp curry paste
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp siracha
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts (sliced in 1″ pieces)
  • 1 small floret Broccoli (chopped)
  • 1 small floret cauliflower (chopped)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 carrot (chopped)

*I prepared over Farfalle pasta but many would use a long grain rice or Couscous

First and most importantly I would get all your ingredients chopped and prepared before turning on the stove.

Over medium heat in a large pan combine the oil, onion, ginger, garlic, curry paste, brown sugar and sautee until the onions have turned translucent and smell sweet. (about 5 minutes)


Add the chicken till it is almost cooked and remove with slotted spoon and set aside. (about 5-7 minutes)

Add 1 cup of water along with the broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. Loosely cover pan and cook for about 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add water as needed to maintain a saucy consistency.

Add the chicken and tomatoes cook for 5 more minutes











Serve over your choice of starch

and as always,

Buon Appetito America!


*If you’re wondering I would go Riesling or light Pinot noir