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Under The Radar 2009 Wines

We’ve been talking about the very favorable growing conditions in almost all parts of the world in 2009. So continuing with that theme here is a representative sampling of generally inexpensive 2009 wines that are distinctive and generally not well known. Hence, the “Under the Radar” theme. Be adventuresome. Try a few. I think you will be really glad you did and I expect you will find many new favorites.

Also please see the two recipe suggestions at the end of the article, one for white wines and one for red wines.

White Wines


Paul Draper

2009 Inacayal Vineyards  Pinot Grigio Argentina
Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are the same white grape that originated from Pinot Noir. In Italy, California and Argentina the wine is known as Pinot Grigio, while in France and Oregon it is known as Pinot Gris. The Italian Pinot Grigios tend to be lighter than the Pinot Gris’s of France and those from Argentina, California and Oregon seem to fall somewhere in between.

This 2009 Inacayal Vineyards Pinot Grigio is lovely. It is light yellow in color with a perfumed nose that is floral and slightly nutty. It is round and fruity again with a floral, nutty quality tinged with citrus – Outstanding. Robert Kacher Selections, Washington, D.C. $11.89 Best Buy 3-yellow-stars

A pair of Torrontes to draw to! Never heard of Torrontes? Well, if you are from Argentina you probably have and, if you’re not from Argentina you probably have not. You see Torrontes is almost exclusively grown in Argentina. The grape is related to Muscat and apparently is related to the Mission grape of California. But to me it makes a wine more like a blend of Muscat, Viognier and Chenin Blanc. It can oxidize very easily and is best consumed young. Here are a pair of Torrontes that are absolutely delicious and great values! Try these wines with fish, mild cheeses and Chinese and Thai dishes.

Paul Draper2009 Inacayal Vineyards  Torrontes Argentina
Inacayal Vineyards in Mendoza is owned by Adriano Senetiner of Italy who emigrated to Argentina in 1948. Schooled in wine in Italy and Argentina, he has functioned as a consultant and a winemaker as well as been involved in finance, building and the development of roads. He founded Nieto and Senetiner Winery and now has established 90 hectares of vineyards at the foot of the Andes. The name Inacayal comes from the name of a leader of early indigenous people here representing tenacity, power, value and strength, which Senetiner feels are the characteristics of his wines.

What a gorgeous wine! Pale yellow in color, the perfume is stunning with lichee nut, floral, pineapple and citrus nuances. Light and delicate on the palate, but with gorgeous flavors hinting of exotic fruit and melon. It is rounded yet crisp on the finish – Outstanding. Robert Kacher Selections, Washington, D.C. $11.89 Best Buy 3-yellow-stars

2009 Zolo Torrontes Mendoza Argentina
Zolo selects the grapes from estate vineyards throughout key regions of Mendoza. Located at various altitudes, each of these terroirs provides a different expression of fruit and varietal concentration. The Ortiz family owns Zolo, Fabian Venezuela makes the wines and Carlos Correas manages the vineyards. The purpose of Zolo’s classic line is to create a family of fruit-forward, great value wines which can be enjoyed with a wide range of food or by themselves.

Yet another superb Torrontes, this wine is light yellow in color and has a lovely, faintly tropical perfume with exotic nuances and a citrus tinge. It has lots of fruit on the palate with tropical, melon and citrus nuances. It is elegant, yet crisp – Outstanding. Epic Wines, Aptos, CA $10.99 Best Buy 3-yellow-stars





2009 Bogle Vineyards  Chenin Blanc Clarksburg
A family-owned winery, the Bogles have been farming in the Sacramento Delta region since the mid-1800s but did not plant their first 20 acres of grapes until 1968. Their winery was founded in 1978 and as of today they have 1,200 acres of vineyards. Chenin Blanc originated in the Loire Valley of France where it is very versatile producing dry, off-dry, sweet and sparkling wines. It is also widely planted in South Africa, but less so in California where Clarksburg seems to be the main area.

Made in an off-dry style, the wine is pale yellow in color, with a nice perfume that is faintly floral with a citrus tinge. It is soft and round with lovely fruit hinting of pear with faint floral undertones — Highly Recommended. $7.49 Best Buy 2-yellow-stars
With balanced sweetness, this is a lovely wine that goes well with Chinese food and mild cheeses.

2009 Clements Hill  Grenache Blanc Cochon Eastern Lodi (70% Grenache Blanc, 20% Marsanne, 10% Roussanne)
This is an unusual wine, but one that is also distinctive and very good. The name Cochon comes from the French hogsheads barrels in which the wine is aged.

The wine is light golden in color, with a deep intense peach perfume and an underlying floral and vanilla nuance. It has great intensity of peach-like fruit on the palate, with floral, vanilla, spice and citrus tinges. It is lush and rounded and is an intensely fruity wine — Highly Recommended. Drink soon. Adisea Wine Company, Napa, CA $19.98 2-yellow-stars
It is so rich that it is almost a dessert wine, but would match well with chicken or pork, served with apple, pear or peach condiments.

Paul Draper2009 Sunseri Wine Company New Clairvaux Abbey Albarino New Clairvaux Vineyard St. James Block Tehama County
Albarino is a white wine grape grown mostly in northwest Spain and Portugal. It is presumed to have been brought to Iberia by Cluny monks as early as the 12th Century. Today it is also grown in the Southern and Northern regions of California. This wine is from Northern California and is the best domestic Albarino I have tasted. Perhaps with a bit more fruit than those from the Rias Baixas area of Spain, it is absolutely delicious. And, interestingly, it is grown by monks of the New Clairvaux Abbey and, as such, is unique. Father Thomas X. Davis, Abbot of New Clairvaux Monastery and Aimee Sunseri, a fifth-generation California winemaker, are making wines in Vina, California. Their vision is that together with the Trappist (also known as Cistercian monks) monks of New Clairvaux, using the historic cellars of Leland Stanford, the knowledge of the past and modern techniques they will produce extraordinary handcrafted wine. Leland Stanford’s Great Vina Ranch was the world’s largest vineyard, winery and distillery by 1890. The inaugural vineyards of Sunseri are St. James and Poor Souls.

This Albarino is light yellow in color with a lovely floral perfume with herbal and faint hazelnut nuances. It has gorgeous fruit, hinting of peach with floral, faintly nutty, citrus notes. Rounded, elegant and very flavorful, this is a delicious wine — Outstanding. $13.99 Best Buy 3-yellow-stars


2009 Pedro Ximenez Vina Falernia Reserva Elqui Valley Chile
Pedro Ximenez is the name of a white grape grown in Spain and also in South America.

With a light yellow color, this wine has a faintly smoky, floral-tinged perfume. It has lovely, crisp fruit, with floral nuances and is tasty – Highly Recommended. Meadowbrook Estates (A division of Empson USA, Inc.,) Alexandria, VA $7.49 Best Buy 2-yellow-stars
This is a great wine value that goes well with smoked white meats, olives and nuts.


Paul Draper2009 Andre and Michel Quenard Vin de Savoie Les Abymes
Savoie is at the base of the Alps and wine grapes have been grown here for over five centuries. Andre Quenard’s father began buying vineyards in the 1930s and the wine was sold in bulk until the 1960s when they began Domaine bottling.

This wine is from the Les Abymes Vineyard which is planted to a unique Savoie varietal called Jacquere. It is pale yellow in color and has a gorgeous floral perfume, hinting of pear. On the palate, the wine is flavorful and rounded, but crisp, with floral, spice, pear and apple tones and a lovely finish. This is a gorgeous wine — Outstanding. Kermit Lynch, Berkeley, CA $14.40 Best Buy 3-yellow-stars

2009 Chateau Couronneau  Bordeaux Blanc
This wine is made from 50% Sauvignon Blanc and 50% Sauvignon Gris, which is also known as Sauvignon Rose as the skin can be blushed with pink. It is a low yielding variety producing a relatively high sugar content which balances the crisp Sauvignon Blanc.

Light yellow in color, it has a lovely perfume that is faintly herbal with an undertone of citrus and spice. On the palate, it has a faintly herbal flavor, with lovely balanced fruit flavor hinting of peach and citrus. This is lovely – Highly Recommended. Wine House Limited, San Francisco, CA $15.98 2-yellow-stars

Paul Draper2009 Chateau d’Epire  Savennieres Cuvee Speciale Loire Valley
This small, family-owned domaine in Savennieres dates from 1850. Luc Bizard produces fine Savennieres in four cuvees. Of his 11 hectare estate, nine are planted to Chenin Blanc. Located close to the Loire, it is very near to the famous Clos de la Coulee de Serrant. This “Cuvée Spéciale” is a blend of specially selected barrels made by the importer, Kermit Lynch. He clearly made a great selection!

Light in color, this wine has a great perfume of citrus and is faintly candied with honeysuckle and pineapple nuances. The gorgeous flavor is crisp, yet with a citrus, candied lemon quality and mineral nuances. Finesseful, yet complex, and racy, yet elegant, these are a rare combination in any wine. Lovely, with a long, crisp finish, this is simply a stunning wine, don’t miss it! – Extraordinary. Kermit Lynch, Berkeley, CA $21.60 4-yellow-stars
This wine is delicious with olives and nuts. Picoline olives and raw almonds are particularly good. Also, it is great with heirloom tomatoes (Cherokee Purple and Anna’s Gold), Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Burrata cheese, chiffonade of fresh Basil and a touch of Hawaiian Sea Salt served with crispy thinly sliced baguettes baked with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It would also make a great match with fish and lightly sauced dishes. In fact, it is so good you could serve it with almost anything I can think of except red meat.

2009 Domaine Bru-Baché  Jurancon Sec
The village of Jurancon in southwest France is located in the Basque region. The Dry Jurancon is made with Gros Manseng.

Light yellow in color, the wine has a nice perfume with hints of apple and citrus. The flavors of citrus and tart apple are crisp and clean with a very crisp finish. – Recommended Plus. Kermit Lynch, Berkeley, CA $15.25 1-n-half-yellow-stars

2009 Domaine Comte Abbatucci Ajaccio Blanc  Cuvee Faustine
This is a really lovely white wine from Corsica which is one of the 26 regions of France. Ajaccio is the island’s capital and Napoleon’s birthplace. Jean-Charles Abbatucci is the owner of this winery and Faustine, a blend of Sciacarellu and Niellucciu, is named after his daughter.

Pale yellow in color, the wine has a lovely perfume hinting of pear with a floral undertone. The pear and citrus-tinged fruit is wrapped in a wonderfully delicate yet lush palate impression – Highly Recommended Plus. Kermit Lynch, Berkeley, CA $25.20 2-n-half-yellow-stars.gif

2009 Domaine de Bidalere Cotes de Gascogne Blanc
Formerly known as Domaine de Pellehaut, this Domaine is located in the Gascony region of Southwest France. This wine is made from Ugni Blanc, Columbard, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Gros Manseng grapes. The blending of these grape varieties gives it a nice complexity.

Pale yellow in color, the nose is perfumed with hints of grapefruit and apple, with a touch of spice. Rounded and flavorful on the palate with apple-like fruit tinged with citrus and spice, it finishes with a nice crispness. This is really lovely – Highly Recommended. Charles Neal Selections, Richmond, CA $9.48 Best Buy 2-yellow-stars

2009 Domaine de Corbillieres  Sauvignon Touraine
In 1923, Fabel Barbou acquired a 20-hectare estate in the town of Oisly, 30 km east of Tours. He planted Sauvignon Blanc, introducing the varietal in the central Loire appellation. The wines are now made by Fabel’s great-grandson, Dominique and the estate has expanded to 23 hectares.

This is a Sauvignon Blanc with a pronounced grassy, herbal perfume and flavor. Light in color, there is an underlying citrus nuance and a very dry, crisp finish – Recommended Plus. Robert Kacher Selections, Washington, D. C. $12.74 1-n-half-yellow-stars

2009 Domaine de l’Aujardiere  Fié Gris Pays Nantais Vin de Pays du Val de Loire
Eric Chevalier, having taken over from his father, runs this small domaine in Pays de Retz, west of Nantes. The estate, which has vineyards in small valleys and on hillside slopes, produces Muscadet and Chardonnay and Fié Gris. Chevalier is championing a revival of the ancient grape of Fié Gris, a variety of Sauvignon.

Pale yellow in color this wine exhibits a pronounced green pepper, herbal perfume, with faint floral undertones. It is flavorful with the same characteristics on the palate and a faint spiciness. It is a wine of several dimensions. First, is the pronounced peppery, herbal character. The second is a rather lush, rounded suppleness. And lastly, the finish is crisp and dry — Recommended. Kermit Lynch, Berkeley, CA $21.60 1-yellow-star
Spicy Chinese food or grilled chicken or veal sausage would work well with this wine.

2009 Domaine La Hitaire Hors Saison  Vin de Pays des Cotes de Gascogne Blanc
Made with 85% Sauvignon and 15% Semillon, this wine is different than most wines from Gascony.

Pale yellow in color, it has a floral, faintly herbal, citrus perfume. On the palate it shows melon and citrus fruit with a faint herbal, green pepper tinge – Recommended. Robert Kacher Selections, Washington, D.C. $10.19 1-yellow-star

2009 Domaine Le Cellier du Palais Vin de Savoie
The property of the Bernard family since 1700, Rene and his daughter Beatrice operate this estate at the foot of Mount Granier.

Pale yellow color, this wine has a nice perfume, hinting of apple, pear and citrus. It is delicate and crisp, again hinting of apple, pear and citrus, and ends in a crisp finish – Highly Recommended. Charles Neal Selections, Richmond, CA $11.90 2-yellow-stars

2009 Domaine de Pouy Vin de Pays des Cotes de Gascogne Blanc
This is another lovely wine from Gascony.

It is light yellow in color and has a lovely perfume with hints of apple, citrus and vanilla. With nice apple, melon and citrus fruit on the palate it is flavorful, yet elegant and finishes with a nice crispness – Highly Recommended. Robert Kacher Selections, Washington, D.C. $10.19 Best Buy 2-yellow-stars

2009 Orange des Rouguette  Vin de Pays d’Oc
The owner of this Domaine, the Boudinaud family, have been winegrowers in Southern France for five generations. This wine is made from 55% Marsanne and 45% Viognier. This blend has produced a lovely balanced wine of elegance and finesse.

The wine has a yellow gold color and a nice perfume that hints of tropical fruit and melon with a faint spiciness. It is lovely, supple and rounded with nice spice-tinged tropical fruit. With a nice underlying crispness, this is a very appealing wine – Highly Recommended. Robert Kacher Selections, Washington, D.C. $10.19 Best Buy 2-yellow-stars


2009 Bodegas Skouras White Peloponnese (Roditis 70%, Muscofilero 30%)
Established in 1983 in Argos by Dijon-trained enologist George Skouras, this winery is at the forefront of Greek wine estates, located about a 1½ hour drive from Athens.

Pale yellow color, the wine has subdued nose, faintly perfumed, hinting of peach. It is clean and fresh, faintly floral and tinged with citrus and has a nice crisp finish, very nice – Recommended Plus. Diamond Imports Inc., Chicago, IL $9.98 1-n-half-yellow-stars

Paul Draper2009 Domaine Sigalas Assyrtiki Santorini
The predominant grape on the island of Santorini is Assyrtiki. Domaine Sigalas, founded in 1991 is a 19 hectare estate, growing local varietals. The Assyrtiki vines are over 50 years old.

Very pale yellow color, the wine has a lovely subtle perfume of floral and citrus nuances. It has great fruit, yet with a lively, subtle flavor of floral and mineral notes. It is balanced and delicious with a crisp finish – Outstanding. Diamond Imports Inc., Chicago, IL $21.88 3-yellow-stars
Great with lighter food, particularly with grilled white fish and smoked trout.



2009 Borgo di Colloredo  Malvasia Terre Degliosci
Pale yellow in color, this wine has a nice floral perfume with a faintly exotic fruit nuance. It is light and supple with a floral nuance and a touch of citrus on the finish – Recommended. Tesuri Wines, San Francisco, CA $10.98 1-yellow-star

2009 Col del Mondo Trebianno d’Abruzzo Sunnae
Light yellow in color, this wine has a nice floral perfume with hints of almond. Elegant and rounded, the restrained flavor has a faint hint of peach and citrus – Recommended. Chambers & Chambers, Inc., San Francisco, CA $8.98 1-yellow-star

2009 Marco Porello  Roero Arneis Camestri
Roero is located northwest of Alba. The white wines here are made from the Arneis grape. This is a gorgeous example.

Light yellow in color, the nose has hints of spice, citrus and mineral. Elegant, yet with lots of complex flavors, the wine displays hints of almond, melon and citrus on the palate – Outstanding. Oliver McCrum Wines, American Canyon, CA $15.98 Best Buy 3-yellow-stars

2009 Palazzone  Umbria Bianco
Very light yellow in color, this is a distinctive wine. The delicate floral perfume hints of peach and citrus. On the palate, it is faintly petillant and is rounded yet crisp with a nice fruit hinting of melon and citrus – Highly Recommended. Estate Wines, Ltd., San Rafael, CA $9.98 Best Buy 2-yellow-stars




2009 Companhia Das Quintas Prova Regia Arinto Bucelas
Companhia Das Quintas is a consumer-oriented company, established in 1703, intent on creating quality estate grown and bottled wines and finding the most effective relationship between Portuguese grape varieties and terroir. The Arinto grape is the Portuguese Muscat grown in the Bucelas region.

Light yellow in color, the wine has a subdued nose, with a touch of citrus and a faint lemon-lime note. It has great fruit of lemon-lime and peach and a faintly candied quality with a crisp finish — Highly Recommended. HGC Imports, Inc., San Jose, CA $14.29 2-yellow-stars

Vinho Verde is a delightful , light, faintly sparkling white wine. The wines are delicious with a wide variety of lighter foods. The relatively low alcohol (9-10%) and crispness makes them particularly refreshing and a perfect luncheon wine. Also, should I also mention they are inexpensive? Below are two very nice examples.

2009 Quinta de Aveleda Casal Garcia  Vinho Verde Branco
Casal Garcia is one of Vinho Verde giant Quinta de Aveleda’s labels.

Pale yellow in color, the wine has a lovely floral perfume with citrus nuances. It is light crisp, fresh and faintly petillant, with floral and citrus tones and a crisp finish – Highly Recommended. HGC Imports Inc., San Jose, CA $7.99 Best Buy 2-yellow-stars

2009 Sogrape Vinhos, S.A. Vinho Verde Gazela
Sogrape Vinhos is another giant Portuguese wine operation and Gazela, created in 1984, is an important brand of the company.

Pale yellow in color, the wine has a perfumed floral nose with a tinge of citrus on the palate. It is light, crisp and faintly petillant, with delicate floral, citrus-tinged flavors — Highly Recommended. Evaton Inc., Stamford, CT $5.99 Best Buy 2-yellow-stars

South Africa

2009 Man Vintners  Chenin Blanc Coastal South Africa
Man Vintners, located in the Stellenbosch area, sources its grapes from various vineyards in the region of Agter-Paarl. The evolution of Man began with three friends and an idea to make a wine of good quality, excellent value and cool packaging. The name Man is derived from the initials of their wives, Marie, Anette and Nicky.

Light yellow in color, the wine has a perfume of floral and herbal notes. The lovely fruit of melon and citrus, with faint tropical tones, has a touch of sweetness that is balanced by a citrus-tinged finish – Recommended. Vineyard Brands Inc., Birmingham, AL $7.99 1-yellow-star

2009 The Winery of Good Hope  Chenin Blanc
This wine comes from the Helderberg area of Stellenbosch. The vineyards here are primarily old bush vines and are planted on mineral soils on decomposed granite slope that face the ocean.

The resulting wine is a really nice example of Chenin Blanc. It is light yellow in color with a very nice floral, faintly herbal perfume. On the palate the wine exhibits a lovely ripe fruit quality with a floral undertone and is rounded, but with a nice crisp finish – Highly Recommended. Robert Kacher Selections, Washington, D. C. $9.94 Best Buy 2-yellow-stars


2009 Bodegas Ostatu  Rioja Blanca Alavesa Spain
This family-owned winery is located in the heart of Rioja Alavesa region in the town of Samaniego. The white wine is a blend of 90% Viura and 10% Malvasia, made from vines averaging 60-70 years of age.

Pale yellow in color, the perfumed nose shows a tinge of citrus and spice. The wine has a lovely flavor, hinting of melon, citrus and a faint spice, a lovely wine with a crisp finish – Highly Recommended. DeMaison Selections, Inc., Chapel Hill, North Carolina $12.98 2-yellow-stars


2009 Vinas del Vero La Miranda de Secastilla Garnacha Blanca Somontano
La Miranda is a higher altitude vineyard in Somontano’s Secastilla Valley. The Garnacha Blanca grape, like its red counterpart, originated in this part of Spain. Ancient tradition of the region grants property and estate rights through the “lady of the house.” Hence, the name of the vineyard is a woman’s name, La Miranda.

This is a wine of great style. It is light yellow in color and has a gorgeous vanilla-tinged perfume with floral, spice and citrus nuances. On the palate, there is lovely fruit hinting of pear and citrus with a kiss of vanilla and a nice, citrus-tinged finish. This is really lovely – Highly Recommended Plus. San Francisco Wine Exchange, San Francisco, CA. $13.29 2-n-half-yellow-stars

Red Wines



Paul DraperAs we said in our first article on 2009 Beaujolais, these are wines you do not want to miss. Here are notes on three 2009 Beaujolais from Chateau de Raousset. Chateau de Raousset is in the lower part of the commune of Chiroubles between the villages of Morgon and Fleurie. The property is part of a vast estate covering nearly 150 acres with over half of it planted with vines in Chiroubles, Fleurie and Morgon. These 2009s are delicious to drink now but will keep.

2009Chateau Raousset  Chiroubles
Wow! This wine is just brimming with cherry and raspberry fruit. It is deep in color and has an intense perfume of cherries and raspberries with floral undertones. It has similar flavors on the palate with a bright underlying crispness – Outstanding. The Wine House Limited, San Francisco $14.44 Best Buy 3-yellow-stars

2009 Chateau Raousset Beaujolais Fleurie Grille-Midi
This wine is from the Grill-Midi Vineyard, one of 13 named vineyards in Fleurie. It is simply lovely with a deep color and a gorgeous perfume of blackberries with a floral nuance. Loaded with blackberry fruit, it has a floral note on the palate and is soft and lush with an underlying crispness on the finish – Outstanding. The Wine House Limited, San Francisco, CA $16.99 Best Buy 3-yellow-stars

2009 Chateau Raousset  Beaujolais Morgon Douby
This Morgon comes from the Douby Vineyard, one of 6 named vineyards in Morgon. It is rich and lush and intensely fruity with a deep color and a lovely floral, cherry and blackberry perfume. There are similar flavors on the palate with a faint underlying spiciness and a nice underlying crispness on the finish – Outstanding Plus. The Wine House Limited, San Francisco, CA $16.99 Best Buy http://www.undergroundwineletter.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/3-n-half-yellow-stars.gif


Paul Draper2009 Corte Gardoni Bardolino Le Fontane
Established in 1980, Corte Gardoni, a well-respected estate owned by the Piccoli family, is located in Bardolino which is in the Veneto region of Northern Italy southwest of Lake Garda. The grapes grown are Corvina, Rondinella, Trebbiano and Molinara.

This Bardolino is simply delicious. With a deep color, the wine exhibits an intensely fruity perfume of berries, cherries and a touch of spice. It has tremendous fruit, nuanced with berries and cherries on the palate as well and again with a faint spiciness. Soft and lush but with a nice, crisp finish, this wine is lip-smacking good! – Outstanding. Kermit Lynch, Berkeley, CA $11.95 Best Buy 3-yellow-stars
Best with a nice chill and great with a wide variety of foods, especially pasta, antipasti, chicken, turkey and risotto.


2009 Bodega Quo  Grenache Red Campo de Borja
Campo de Borja is an area in the mountains of Sistema Iberico in the Ebro Valley. Bodega Quo is located in Northern Aragon with vineyards extending onto the slopes of these mountains.

This is a really tasty wine and a great value. Deep in color, it has a gorgeous perfume of berries with a hint of spice and a faint smokiness. On the palate, there is a lot of fruit with a good underlying crispness and a faint spiciness – Highly Recommended. The Artisan Collection, New York, NY $9.98 Best Buy 2-yellow-stars

Recipes to Match with These Wines

Laurie’s New Potato and Shrimp Salad

This is a delicious salad that is great matched with most of the white wines reviewed here.


2 lbs. new potatoes
¼ cup lemon infused olive oil*
¼ cup lemon juice (Meyer lemon is best)
1 Tbs. tiger sauce*
1 tsp. apricot cream honey (honey infused with apricots)*
½ tsp. hot chili oil
1 cup celery leaves/heart finely diced
2 cups fennel thinly sliced
4 Tbs. finely chopped chive
1 Tbs. finely chopped tarragon
½ cup coarsely chopped arugula
2 Tbs. lemon zest
24-32 large shrimp
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
1 tsp. sumac*
Lemon pepper (to taste)
Santa Maria salt (to taste)*
1 cup microgreens
1 Tbs. olive oil
1tsp. lemon juice (Meyer lemon is best)
¼ cup chopped roasted and salted pistachios

*Available in specialty stores or on line

POTATO DRESSING: Combine lemon infused olive oil, lemon juice, tiger sauce, and apricot cream honey. 

SHRIMP DRESSING:  Place ½ of the potato dressing in another bowl. Add hot chili oil, sumac, and lemon pepper.


Slice potatoes and cook in boiling, salted water.  Drain and cool slightly.
Add shrimp to potato water, cook, and drain.  Cool (with ice), and cut in half lengthwise.
Sprinkle potatoes with lemon pepper and Santa Maria salt.
Toss potatoes with dressing.  Add celery, fennel, 1 Tbs. tarragon, 2 Tbs. chive, arugula, and lemon zest.  Divide into cylinders on sheet pan with parchment paper square under each serving.
Toss shrimp with dressing, sprinkle with 1 Tbs. chive, parsley, sumac, and lemon pepper.
Refrigerate potatoes and shrimp.
Remove potatoes and shrimp from refrigerator approximately 1 hour before serving.


Toss microgreens with 1 Tbs. olive oil and 1 tsp. lemon juice.
Sprinkle half the pistachios on plate.
Place potato cylinder in middle and remove cylinder and parchment.  Sprinkle potatoes with remaining pistachio.
Place shrimp around potatoes.
Sprinkle microgreens around the edge of the plate.
Sprinkle with remaining chive and sumac.

Serves 8

John’s Shredded Beef and Egg Noodle Pasta

This is a really tasty pasta dish that goes great with all of the red wines reviewed here.  It is also excellent with Pinot Noir or Red Burgundy.


1 cup parsnips, peeled and diced into bite size pieces
2 cups shredded beef (pot roast)
1 Tbs. clarified butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup beef stock
3 Tbs. Marsala
1 bunch scallions, green part only, sliced thinly
8 oz. egg noodles
¼ cup heavy cream
Salt/pepper to taste
½ cup grated Reggiano Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs. chopped chive


Shred pot roast. (If you have leftover steak, you can use by boiling until tender and then shredding).
Put in a glass bowl (that will microwave).
Saute parsnips in 1 Tbs. clarified butter for until soft (5 minutes).
Heat beef stock in a large sauté pan.
Add garlic, cream, and Marsala and reduce by half until thickened slightly to make a sauce.
Bring large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 Tbs. salt and pasta. Follow package directions for cooking.
Remove just enough of the sauce to coat meat.


Heat meat in microwave.
Heat parsnips in microwave.
Put cooked pasta in sauté pan and coat with sauce.
Add meat, parsnips, and green onion.
Add some pasta water if the sauce is too thick.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Put in heated bowls.
Top with grated Reggiano Parmesan cheese, then chive.

Serves 4