Category Archives: FOOD & WINE

From $200 to $90 to $10, there’s a Tuscan wine for every pocketbook

Wine has been produced in various parts of Italy for thousands of years. An interesting trend, known as the Super-Tuscan wine movement began after World War II when the marchase Mario della Rochetta developed what became the area’s first cult wine, known as Sassicaia. This wine was developed to be a direct competitor of French Bordeaux, which was then considered to be the best wine in the world. Sassicaia (Tenuta San Guido) is comprised of 85 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 15 percent Cabernet Franc — a blend much like those produced in Bordeaux. It is an intense long-lived wine, which be…

Earthquake near wine producers expected to have minimal effect

By Justin Manjorin | Wine & Food Editor NAPA VALLEY, CALIF. This week the Napa Valley Vintners Association issued the following statement: “While some individual wineries may experience inventory shortages as a result of the earthquake, it is not expected to have a significant impact on the Napa Valley wine inventory in general.” As devastating as an earthquake may be, the timing of this one was good. The quake, which occurred around 3:30 a.m. on Sunday, did not result in the loss of any life. This would have been quite different if the event had occurred 24 hours later as the 2014 wine harve…

Holy Wine, biscotti welcome visitors to Tuscany

By Justin Manjorin | Wine & Food Editor Vin Santo or Holy Wine is the name for Italy’s famous sweet or Sherry-like dessert wine. Although produced in several areas of Italy, this wine is most often associated with Tuscany. Made primarily from two varieties of white grapes, Trebbiano and Malvasia, the wine can be straw colored to amber and when it is made with the addition of red wine grapes this style is called “eye of the partridge.” It is a rare style and I have never seen it. The wine can also range in taste from fairly dry (like Fino Sherry) to a sweet variety more akin to a French Sauterne. Lost i…

Tuscan White Bean Soup

By Justin Manjorin | Wine & Food Editor This is a soup that I have made for many years. If you are like me and enjoy soup all year around, I hope that you find it as tasty as I do. I save the bone and some meat from cooked pork butt or a bone in city ham. I generally freeze them until needed. If you are BBQing country style ribs make 3-4 extra with no sauce and use those. I usually prepare this with beans that I have soaked overnight but if this is a spur of the moment meal use canned beans, store bought low sodium stock and grated cheese not the stuff in the green container. [gmc_recipe 4810]…

Delicious Beef Stew

[gmc_recipe 2898]…

Stressed vines lead to excellent wines

By Justin Manjorin | Wine & Food Editor Located about 75 miles south of Florence is the small medieval village of Montalcino, which produces one of Italy’s most prestigious wines Brunello di Montalcino. The village as you can see is at the top of a hill, about 2,000 feet high. This area is quite warm and dry and this stresses the vines, lowering yields and producing superior juice, which leads to excellent wines. In addition, the climate allows grapes to mature about a week earlier than those from Chianti and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. In the Northern Hemisphere grapes planted on the nort…

Restaurant achieves new level of Yum

By Penny Zibula | Staff Writer FAIRFIELD HARBOUR – In August of last year, culinary standards for eastern North Carolina rose considerably with the opening of a new restaurant at Northwest Creek Marina. Fairfield Harbour Food and Spirits is the new kid on the block. This, however, did not stop the ownership team of Roy Simmonds, Chris Manoudakis and Tina Scire from blowing away the competition at the 11th Annual Taste of Coastal Carolina in early March. Offerings included Greek specialties such as chicken souvlaki, spanakopita and chicken-orzo soup. Their efforts went over so well with att…

Straw-covered bottle of Chianti one of columnist’s earliest memories

By Justin Manjorin | Wine & Food Editor This is the first of at least two and probably three columns on the Tuscan Region of Italy. There is so much that can be written about this region! Allow me to offer a quick background and mention some of the grape varietals grown in this area. The above picture is a typical vineyard in the Chianti section of Tuscany. Located in Central Italy and bounded on the West by the Tyrrhenian Sea, Tuscany covers about 8,900 square miles and has a population almost 4 million. To most Americans, the name itself evokes images of rolling hills, vineyards, walled cities a…

Computer glitch affects column writing, but not wine drinking

By Justin Manjorin | Wine & Food Editor It has been more than two months since I last saw my computer. I just got it back and I can’t tell you how happy I am to be able to write my wine column again. Getting rid of the viruses that I acquired proved to be a nightmare. The removal process was simple but somehow all of the material stored on my hard drive was erased or mysteriously disappeared. Not the least of which were all prior articles for theCounty Compass. I wish everyone a very belated Happy New Year and hope that some of you will send me an e-mail describing what meals and wines you enjoyed over the H…

Good wine in Italy produced near famous castle

By Justin Manjorin | Wine & Food Editor Apulia (Puglia), forms the heel of the Italian boot. Bounded by the Adriatic Sea, the Gulf of Taranto and the Ionian Sea, this area has a long history of wine production and other agricultural products dating back to Greek and Roman times. Often called Italy’s wine warehouse or wine cellar due to an annual production exceeding 200 million gallons, the wine from this area for many years was viewed as only suitable for blending, making Vermouth, or to produce industrial alcohol. It wasn’t unusual to achieve grape production of 16 tons per a…