Category Archives: FOOD & WINE

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…

Recommended red for Thanksgiving: 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau from Georges Deboeuf

By Justin Manjorin | Wine & Food Editor It seems as if it were yesterday that I was writing about wine and the Holidays and here they are rushing toward us like an express train coming to an intersection. With this in mind, I am taking a one-article break from our tour of the various regions of Italy but I am already researching the next region. (Hint: Think the heel of the boot.) This time of year not only brings us the Holidays but the annual release of Nouveau Beaujolais a light, fruity wine from the Burgundy area of France, but made with the Gamay grape. Thanksgiving and Christmas are the two most…

Fast cars, great food, Balsamic Vinegar, and famous Lambrusco wine

By Justin Manjorin | Wine & Food Editor While Italy rediscovers Cucina Povera (peasant cooking) and minimalist serving, Emilia Romagna has celebrated food for more than 700 years. Back then, the region and especially Bologna was known as La Grassa or plump due to the prosperity of the area. Hallmarks of this Italian region: Fast cars, great food, Balsamic Vinegar, and the famous Lambrusco wine! Emilia Romagna is the fourth largest region in Italy and one of the richest. This area is comprised of about half in plains — featuring extensive agricultural enterprises — and the o…

Ragu Bolognese

Keeping with the Emilia Romagna spirit, the following is a classical Ragu from Bologna or Ragu Bolognese. This should be served with a semi sparkling Lambrusco which is served ice cold and with no elaborate ceremony. Think family or close friend and cheap wine glasses. This wine is usually around 11% and can cut through the intense flavors of this dish. The Ragu can be paired with Linguine, Fettuccini or egg noodles. [gmc_recipe 3105]…

Prosecco – the gem of Italy’s eastern Veneto region where Harry’s Bar originated

By Justin Manjorin | Food and Wine Editor Again, here I am writing about the Veneto Region of Italy. As you may remember from the last article, there are a number of large cities in this region, including Venice, which is one of my favorites! An incredible number of tourists visit Venice each year and until the recession of 2008 one of the main attractions was Harry’s Bar, which has worldwide fame. Started around 1930 with the repayment of a loan made to Harry Pickering by Giuseppe Cipriani, Harry’s Bar may still be owned by the Cipriani family although one or more lending institutions now fi…

Columnist likes ‘Baby Amarone’ as alternative to more expensive older brother

By Justin Manjorin | Wine & Food Editor My columns about Italy are becoming equal parts wine, food, and travel! Please continue to e-mail your questions, comments and suggestions. Because we live in a rural area, it can be difficult to find some of the wines that I mention. When you go to Raleigh or Greenville, there are wine stores that carry a larger selection. And, don’t forget that the small wine stores in our area have contact with the distributors. The diligent store owner will help you find the wines you want. As you might have guessed, this column and possibly the next will be abou…

CHICKEN MARSALA

This is an elegant dish when presented at a restaurant. They just don’t tell you that it is very easy to make. Plus, you can get the whole thing done in less than 45 minutes. This meal goes with rice, pasta, noodles or mashed potatoes. All of these can be made at the same time you are working on the main dish. THIS RECIPE FEEDS 4 AND CAN BE DOUBLED [gmc_recipe 2925]…

Whites from northern Italy possess remarkable, penetrating perfumes

By Justin Manjorin | Wine & Food Editor Located along the Austrian, Lichtenstein and Swiss borders is Italy’s northern most region –Alto Adigia and Tirol Sud as they are called. This is an autonomous region made up from the provinces of Trentino and South Tirol. Both German and Italian are the official languages. This area is famous for white wines, dairy products, timber products and hydroelectricity due to the mountainous nature of the region. This area was a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the end of World War I when it was annexed by Italy. The duality of the cult…

Wine categories in Italy almost too numerous to fathom

By Justin Manjorin | Wine & Food Editor This is the beginning of what I hope will be an epic trip thru Italy. Unfortunately, I am not going in person! I urge everyone who reads this column, or is of Italian heritage, or just loves the place to send me an e-mail if you have any special area requests, wine questions or recipe needs. I can be reached at justin@compassnews360.com Italy has become a ‘unified ‘country only in the last 150 years or so. Until the development of social media such as TV, even a short trip in Italy would bring a different dialect, style of cooking and wine production. When comb…

You heard it here first – a Pinor Noir named ‘ Meiomi ‘

By Justin Manjorin | Wine & Food Editor In my opinion, it is hard to beat a medium rare T-bone steak done on the grill with fresh corn and a salad accompanied by an intensely flavored Cabernet or a Zin. Unfortunately, with the population aging and watching both cholesterol and weight, those great grill moments become further apart. More folks are switching to chicken, chicken sausage, pork and seafood. While tasty, these edibles require a different wine pairing. The focus of this column is to find lighter reds and whites and rose wines that will have enough depth to match grilled foods. Ther…

Grab that bottle of Madeira to toast the U.S. Constitution – just like our Founding Fathers!

  By Justin Manjorin | Wine & Food Editor As I wrote about Sherry and Oporto in the prior articles, the remaining most recognizable fortified wines are: Madeira, Marsala, and Vermouth (White and Red). The word Vermouth comes from a German word Wermut, which means wormwood. There was a wormwood wine being sold in the mid 1500s. This style of wine remained popular for hundreds of years and until the late 1800s was mostly used for medicinal purposes. As this wine was quite popular in England, the name gradually evolved to Vermouth. The Vermouth that we recognize today was developed in the…