Wine Of The Week

We are both glad that I didn’t let my early disappointment with Viognier scar me for life. It would be as if I’d gotten my heart broken in seventh grade and decided I could never love again. If that were the case, I could not have fallen in love with the bottle of Maison Les Alexandrins Condrieu Blanc 2016 that we opened with dinner earlier this week.

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Lamb Chops and Bleu Cheese Mashed Potatoes

The first time we cycled through Provençal fields of rosemary, lavender, thyme and oregano, we totally understood the culinary concept of Herbes de Provence. This recipe helps to preserve the tradition of serving lamb at Easter using delicate herbs from the south of France.

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Grilled Spicy Shrimp and Pineapple Skewers

We first had shrimp and pineapple skewers at a tapas bar in Logroño, the capital of the Rioja wine region.  We often go out on a “tapas crawl,” rather than sitting down for a formal dinner.  Our moveable feast usually involves four or five tapas bars, each one offering their special tapas served alongside amazing wines by the glass.

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As prices for wine from Bourgogne spiral out of the reach of mere mortals, it is comforting to know that we can still satisfy our Burgundy cravings with well-made bottles from appellations that do not fetch the exorbitant amounts of those from more prominent terroir or producers.

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Wine Of The Week

As Christmas weekend and the big day itself approach, we can think of no better way to celebrate than with Bottega Venetian Gold Prosecco. Part of Bottega’s “Liquid Metals” collection (there are also Platinum and Rose Gold versions) Bottega Gold comes in a gleaming bottle that is a lustrous work of art in and of itself. 

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Wine of the Week

Small Vines Estate Cuvee 2015

Small Vines Estate Cuvée Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2015

We are starting something new here on World Wine Guys: We will be posting our Wine of the Week and then sharing the love on social media.


Our premiere Wine of the Week is Small Vines Estate Cuvée Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2015, which we enjoyed on our visit to the tasting room and winery on Monday. Small Vines founders Paul and Kathryn Sloan showed off their organically farmed estate vineyards and then took us through a tasting of their current release Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. While they were all beautiful wines—and we don’t use the term lightly—when we looked back at our notes we realized that the Estate Cuvée PN is the wine we were both most rapturous about. We’re not giving points out for our wine of the week, but believe us, if you come across a bottle of Small Vines you should definitely make it your own. 

Small Vines Estate Cuvée Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2015: A nose of black cherry, violet and talc gives way to flavors of black cherry and pomegranate with a hint of smoke and a satisfying sense of earthiness. There is a hint of orange zest on the smooth, acid-tinged finish.

Small Vines is mainly available directly from the winery, but you will find it in some of the country’s best restaurants, including The French Laundry, Eleven Madison Park, and Single Thread Farms in Healdsburg, each of which has three Michelin stars.  Find out more at Small Vines.

Paul and Kathryn Sloan

Paul and Kathryn Sloan in their Small Vines tasting room.

Tapas Bar Seafood Salad

We just returned to New York from Spain (with a detour to France) and we are missing tapas bars already. There is nothing like buying an inexpensive glass of wine--usually around or under $2 US--and receiving a free small plate to enjoy with it. This tapas bar seafood salad, which is also known as salpicon, is one of our favorites. 


Tapas Bar Seafood Salad. Photo by Frances Janisch for The Fire Island Cookbook. 

Tapas Bar Seafood Salad. Photo by Frances Janisch for The Fire Island Cookbook. 

Tapas Bar Seafood Salad


When you walk into a bar in Spain, you will see a glass-covered case filled with salads and cooked foods. With each glass of wine you order, you will be offered a tapa, or small plate of food—for free!  Cold seafood salad is always a sure bet, especially with a nice, crisp glass of Albariño.

  • ¾ pound cooked crab meat, fresh or canned
  • 1 pound octopus
  • 1 ½ pounds medium shrimp
  • 1 small red pepper
  • 1 small green pepper
  • 1 medium red onion
  • ½ pound green olives, pitted
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Peel the shrimp and remove tails.  In a medium saucepan, bring salted water to a boil over high heat. Boil 3-5 minutes, until shrimp turn pink. Empty shrimp into strainer, and rinse with cold running water.

Boil the octopus in salted water until tender. This may take between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on the thickness of the octopus. After cooking, allow to cool to touch, and cut into ¼ inch slices.

Break the crab meat into ½ inch pieces with your fingers and a fork. Place the shrimp, octopus, and crab meat in a large glass or ceramic bowl. 

Rinse and seed the peppers, and cut into lengthwise into ¼ inch slices, and then cut each slice in half crosswise. Dice the onion. Add peppers, onion, and olives to seafood in bowl. Toss lightly.

Add olive oil and lemon juice to bowl, and mix to coat seafood and vegetables. Lightly salt and pepper to taste. Serve cold. May be refrigerated before serving. This can be made in the morning, and plated and served at dinner time.

Wine Pairing: 

Laxas Albariño, Rias Baixas, Spain

The bracing minerality of this clean white wine is just right with seafood.

Note: You may substitute 1 pound cleaned calamari rings for the octopus. Boil approximately 3-4 minutes, until tender. 

From THE FIRE ISLAND COOKBOOK Copyright © 2012 by The World Wine Guys, LLC published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.