Wines of the Week: Waistline-friendly Wines for 2018

Welcome and thanks for joining me for my first “Wines of the Week” show of 2018! I’m thrilled to be back and after a few weeks of shameless indulging, I think today’s episode is, ahem, extremely relevant. Now that the holiday indulgence is over, it seems the popular inclination is to relegate January to a month of self-imposed restriction in order to lose weight or  ‘get fit’ which requires that every enjoyable thing is banished from our homes.

Now that just doesn’t sound like a very Happy New Year, does it?

You see, I’m a firm believer in the motto “all things in moderation” and in keeping with that philosophy I don’t think there’s any reason you have to give up your daily glass of wine to achieve optimal health. What about your spiritual health and well being – shouldn’t that count for something too?


In this episode I share four delicious waistline-friendly wines that are least likely to sabotage your New Year’s fitness or weight loss goals. I’ll also share tips on how to shop for these wines at your local wine or grocery store. Who knows, by allowing yourself this daily indulgence you might not only find yourself losing weight but in a much better mood as well!


1.) Tesoro della Regina Prosecco, Veneto, Italy, NV ($16)

2.) Martin Codax Albariño Rias Baixas, Spain, 2016 ($14)

3.) Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) Bordeaux Blanc, Bordeaux, France, 2016 ($16)

4.) Michele Chiarlo Barbera D’Asti Le Orme, Piedmont, Italy, 2014 ($15)



Waistline-friendly Wine Guide

The Wines of Michele Chiarlo

For ALL the details on this week’s Waistline-friendly Wines for 2018, please check out my Facebook LIVE video above. Also, to view previous episodes of “Wines of the Week,” please click here. Thanks so much for tuning in and if YOU have any wines you’re looking forward to enjoying while accomplishing those New Year’s resolutions – I’d LOVE to hear about them! Please let me know in the Comments section below.


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Fabulous Holiday Wine Picks at EVERY Price Point

The travel plans are made, the gifts are bought and, if you’re hosting your family’s holiday dinner, your menu is probably all set. But what about…the wine? If you haven’t given your holiday wines a thought yet, never fear! Whether money is no object or you’re hosting on a budget, The Glamorous Gourmet’s got you covered with fabulous holiday wine selections at EVERY price point.


Sparkling Wine

Benvolio Prosecco DOC, Friuli, Italy, NV ($15): We were dazzled by this fabulous bubbly made from 100% estate grown Glera. Since the wine’s secondary fermentation takes place in steel tanks via the Charmat method (for more deets, please click here), this delightful sparkler has an extremely reasonable price tag! This wine is vibrant, fruity and fresh with notes of citrus, apple, peach and white flowers with enough backbone to stand up to hors d’oeuvres AND the holiday meal itself!

Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut Rosé, North Coast, CA, NV ($25): This wine hails from the Davies family, California’s first family of sparkling wine! Their Mirabelle sparkler is a multi-vintage, brut sparkling wine made in the same method as Champagne, aka methode champenoise or methode traditionelle. A blend of 61% Pinot Noir and 39% Chardonnay, we love this wine for its sheer value as well as its crisp, food-friendly acidity and depth of flavor, featuring enticing notes of toasted brioche slathered with strawberry butter – yes, it’s THAT good!

Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve, Reims, France, NV ($65): This classic Champagne is truly the wine insider’s favorite! A blend of equal parts Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier this delightful sparkler contains 40% reserve wine, a much higher proportion than most Champagne houses, which imparts a sexy voluptuousness to the wine. The result is a Champagne with a deep, golden hue and enticing aromas of freshly baked brioche, citrus and peach. On the palate, flavors of pastry, citrus, red cherries, vanilla and a hint of praline delight all the way through its long, lingering finish.


White Wines

Charles Smith’s Kung Fu Girl Riesling, Columbia Valley, Washington, 2014 ($12): While this delightful Riesling from rock-band-manager-cum-winemaker Charles Smith is inspired by his love of the 2003 film, Kill Bill, it is still perfect for your holiday feast! Crafted from 100% Riesling, the grapes for this wine hail from the Evergreen vineyard in the Ancient Lakes AVA in Washington’s Columbia Valley. The wine has lovely aromas of crushed minerals, white peach, lime leaves and Linden tree that echo on the palate as well as through the long, fresh finish.

Patient Cottat Sancerre Anciennes Vignes, Loire, France, 2015 ($20): The Fournier family has been making wine in the Loire Valley’s Sancerre region for many generations. This classic incarnation of Sancerre, which is always 100% Sauvignon Blanc, is crafted from 35 year old vines planted on the region’s legendary limestone soils. It’s fermented entirely in stainless steel, with no malolactic fermentation or oak, resulting in a wine with delightful aromas and flavors of citrus, white flowers, minerals, passion fruit and a vibrant acidity and that is sure to keep your palate refreshed during any marathon holiday meal!

Cuvaison Kite Tail Chardonnay, Carneros, CA, 2014 ($45): Established in 1969, Cuvaison winery is dedicated to the production of vineyard-driven wines that showcase their cool-climate estate in California’s Napa Valley. Crafted by winemaker Steve Rogstad, this special, single-vineyard Chardonnay is both graceful and powerful exhibiting aromas of orange blossom, citrus and spice followed by an opulent mouthfeel and flavors of honeyed citrus, spiced pear, vanilla and juicy persimmon. If you enjoy a rich, full-bodied Chardonnay with some oak treatment – this is the white wine for you!


Red Wines

King Estate Acrobat Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon, 2014 ($18): Founded in 1991, King Estate remains a family owned and operated winery with a focus on organic winemaking. Grown responsibly in the hills and valleys of Western Oregon, the winery focuses on versatile Pinot Gris and Pinot Noirs that pair wonderfully with a variety of foods. Pinot Noir is one of the most versatile red wines on the planet with its fruity, cherry perfume, medium body and supple tannins that make it imminently likeable. This wine exhibits aromas of bright red cherries and Oregon earth while on the palate, a food friendly acidity and balanced tannins accompany lush red fruit.

Cerulli Spinozzi Torre Migliori Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Abruzzo, Italy, 2014 ($22): The Cerulli Spinozzi family in Italy’s Abruzzi region, specializes in working with the region’s native red grape, Montepulciano. Cultivated predominantly in central and southern Italy, this grape is known for producing deeply colored, food-friendly red wines with ripe tannins. This delightful selection is 100% Montepulciano with a beautifully intense, ruby red color with violet hues. Fragrant aromas of ripe cherry, blackberry, and violet accompany flavors of juicy black fruit and spice with supple tannins and a delicious acidity.

Round Pond Estate Kith & Kin Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, CA, 2013 ($35): Established by Bob and Jan MacDonnell in the 1980’s, this family-owned and run winery consists of over 400 acres in Napa’s acclaimed Rutherford region. While the family are farmers first and sell off most of their grapes to well-known Napa wineries, in 2002 they decided to make their own wines, starting with their “Kith and Kin” line, named after the Old English expression for “Friends and Family.” The 2014 Kith & Kin Cabernet is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (82%), Petit Verdot (13%), Petite Sirah (3%) and Malbec (2%) with delicious notes of candied cherries, cassis, strawberries, toasted nuts and tobacco followed by a harmonious mingling of smooth tannins and a lingering finish.


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Wines of the Week: Rutherford’s Round Pond Estate!

This week I’d like to introduce you to the oldest new winery you’ve never heard of: Round Pond Estate. Founded by Bob and Jan MacDonnell in the 1980’s this family-owned and operated estate consists of over 400 acres in Napa’s acclaimed Rutherford region. Historically the family had always sold their grapes to such well-known wineries as Franciscan, Duckhorn and Schramsberg... Read More

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Wines of the Week: Rutherford’s Round Pond Estate!


This week I’d like to introduce you to the oldest new winery you’ve never heard of: Round Pond Estate. Founded by Bob and Jan MacDonnell in the 1980’s this family-owned and operated estate consists of over 400 acres in Napa’s acclaimed Rutherford region. Historically the family had always sold their grapes to such well-known wineries as Franciscan, Duckhorn and Schramsberg but in 2002 they decided to produce their own estate wines. In 2007, after five years of exploration and experimentation, the family opened Round Pond to the public and while they still sell the majority of their grapes, they are committed to their portfolio of critically acclaimed, limited-production estate wines.

Today, the second generation of the family who grew up roaming the estate vineyards is at the helm, including brother and sister team Miles and Ryan MacDonnell who serve as CEO and COO respectively. In addition to their estate vineyards, Round Pond also includes biodynamic gardens and olive orchards from which artisan olive oils, red wine vinegars and citrus syrups are produced, reflecting the family’s ongoing passion for and dedication to sustainable farming.


I recently had the opportunity to attend a press lunch with Round Pond Estate Global Sales Director, Diane Cline, at La Nouvelle Maison, a newly debuted downtown Boca Raton eatery. On that scorching Summer day in July we were greeted with a refreshingly chilled, salmon-hued glass of the 2013 Round Pond Estate Rosato di Nebbiolo ($22). A mere 300 cases of this wine are produced from a scant three rows of Nebbiolo, a grape typically found in Italy’s Piedmont region. This rosy gem which received its color from a mere thirty minutes of grape skin and juice contact, offers mouth-filling flavors of strawberry, raspberry, and a hint of lavender accompanied a delightful minerality and a refreshingly dry finish – truly lovely!

The four-course tasting menu highlighted the talents of Chef Gregory who created a beautiful menu to pair with the Round Pond wines. Our first course paired the Rosato with a Colossal Crab Martini with Avocado and Yuzu Foam. The dish was beautifully executed featured glistening white chunks of chilled jumbo lump crab meat dressed with the delicate yuzu foam. This pairing served as a delicious introduction to Chef’s cuisine and the wine’s citrus notes and acidity complemented the flavors of the dish very nicely.

The 2013 Round Pond Estate Sauvignon Blanc was next and while our first bottle was noticeably “off” (hey, it happens!) the next bottle proved well worth the wait! This delightfully lemon-yellow incarnation of the Sauvignon Blanc grape had body and presence. Diane explained this wine was de-acidified naturally; 10% of the grapes were harvested when the acid levels were high; 80% were harvested when sugar, acid and pH were all “in the zone”; and the additional 10% were allowed to hang for two additional days contributing to the wine’s viscous mouthfeel. Cline explained, “this method gives three different snapshots of the vineyard,” resulting in a generous expression of this grape with notes of guava, lemon zest, peach and plenty of zip. Chef paired this wine with a duo of dishes which really showcased its range and versatility: with House Cured & Smoked Loche Duart Salmon with Salmon Roe and Dill Creme Fraiche the Sauvignon Blanc really made the dill “pop” and accentuated the lovely texture and oiliness of the salmon while cleansing the palate after each bite; with Saffron Risotto of Florida Rock Shrimp the wine’s body stood up beautifully to the savory flavors while its lemony, food-friendly acidity balanced the richness nicely. 

ROUNDPONDCollage3Our first red wine of the day was the 2012 Round Pond Estate “Kith and Kin” Cabernet Sauvignon. The “Kith and Kin” wines are so named after the Old English expression for “Friends and Family” and originated in 1992 when the MacDonnell family made its very first barrel of wine from their Napa Valley vineyards intended exclusively for friends and family. These wines also sparked the family’s passion for making wine and ultimately became the inspiration for Round Pond Estate! Today, Round Pond’s “Kith and Kin” wines are intended to reflect the Napa Valley appellation and to be consumed in their youth. After a challenging 2010 and 2011, 2012 was a nearly perfect growing season and winemaker Muiris Griffin selected some of his favorite Rutherford estate lots, as well as a careful selection of grapes from neighboring appellations for this cuvee. The wine was aged in second year French oak barrels and after 15 months the result is a Cabernet Sauvignon with fragrant aromas of ripe red currant, blackberry and plum. The velvety mouthfeel is further enhanced by silky tannins which add weight but not astringency making this wine very approachable. Chef prepared a delicious Roasted “Jurgielewicz Farms” Duckling with Red Cabbage Gel, Braised Black Barley and Valencia Orange Glaze which was a home run with this wine, creating a beautiful harmony of flavor and texture.

Our final wine of the tasting was the 2011 Round Pond Estate Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon. 2005 was the inaugural vintage of Round Pond’s estate wines which, as you might expect, are crafted from the estate’s finest lots. The goal is to create a wine which reflects its historic Rutherford “terroir” with as little intervention as possible. In the fashion of Bordeaux this Meritage blend (for definition and pronunciation of this term, please click here) is comprised of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec and 2% Merlot fermented in small lots and then spends twenty months in 70% new French oak. The result? A wine with a delightfully inky purple hue and fragrant aromas of black fruit and spice which beckons from the glass. On the palate black cherry, plum, spice and a hint of chocolate are accompanied by firm tannins and a long, lingering finish. This wine was definitely built to go the distance while still maintaining excellent balance and made a wonderful accompaniment to Chef’s Herb Roasted “Miyazaki” Wagyu Flatiron Steak with Ratatouille and Red Wine Reduction, cutting through the fat of the lean meat like a vinous laser.

The wines of Round Pond Estate are currently available at The Wine Atelier. These special, limited production wines offer a great opportunity to explore California’s Rutherford region and its unique terroir.





This Summer Just Say No…to Pinot Grigio!

The sweltering Summer temperatures have wine lovers around the globe craving deliciously chilled white wines this time of year. Which brings me to the point of this post. As a Wine Educator, Certified Sommelier and Proprietor of The Wine Atelier online wine boutique, I often tell my students and clients to “drink what you like” and I do sincerely mean... Read More

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This Summer Just Say No…to Pinot Grigio!


The sweltering Summer temperatures have wine lovers around the globe craving deliciously chilled white wines this time of year. Which brings me to the point of this post. As a Wine Educator, Certified Sommelier and Proprietor of The Wine Atelier online wine boutique, I often tell my students and clients to “drink what you like” and I do sincerely mean that…most of the time. Where I feel the need to intervene at times is if I suspect my fellow wine lovers are being taken advantage of or duped in some way and are being sold a bill of goods instead of a good bottle of wine.

I’m afraid this is what has happened with Pinot Grigio, the benign, white wine-producing grape variety found predominantly in Italy’s Trentino-Alto Adige region. Pinot Grigio in its most banal form seems to have blossomed into a vinous epidemic here in the US, with one brand in particular garnering more than $20 a bottle retail and over $60 a bottle on local restaurant wine lists here in Delray Beach, Florida – considerably more than the next Pinot Grigio on the list! It’s bad enough to foist an insipid wine on the wine consuming public but to financially gouge them as well? The real tragedy here is the number of infinitely more interesting and enjoyable white wines in the world, many of which are from Italy, that go unnoticed as a result of the obsession with this uninspiring wine. Here’s a few reasons why you should just say no to Pinot Grigio this Summer:

With over 3,000 wine grape varieties out there you could easily drink a different wine every night of the week for a very long time and never have the same one twice. How exciting, right? Yet many of us still frequently find ourselves in a wine rut and while we all have our favorites, mixing it up regularly helps develop your palate which is defined as much by what you don’t like as what you do. Experiencing different wines from different regions is really the only way to do this and by all means let your palate be your guide on what should be a enjoyable vinous journey.

Italy is a veritable treasure trove of wine grapes from which white, red, sparkling and sweet wines are made. From Piedmont to Sardinia, each region has its own unique vinous culture and if you’re a white wine fan, this country could keep you busy for years discovering all the wonderful whites it has to offer. A few white wine grapes to seek out are Garganega, Pecorino, Malvasia, Greco, Ribolla Gialla, Vermentino and Falanghina (click links for examples and characteristics of each). I must warn you though, you might make your Sommelier positively giddy if you request a wine made from one of the abovementioned grapes instead of the same old $60 Pinot Grigio…so be prepared.

It’s true that Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are made from the same grape, but they are definitely not the same wine! The two wines are produced in different regions and climates and Pinot Gris, which is predominantly found in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and France’s Alsace region, has a very appealing viscous texture with ample flavor and personality which definitely deserves your attention! While perfectly enjoyable on its own, it’s also a very food-friendly wine – for some examples of Pinot Gris, please click here.

Farmers who toil in obscurity to make a living growing esoteric wine grapes struggle due to the lack of consistent demand for wines produced from grapes outside the mainstream. The unwavering consumption of mass-produced wine in this country ultimately limits the availability of more unique, artisanal products. Next time you’re in the mood for a light, crisp white wine ask your Sommelier or retail sales person to recommend a wine with that profile, that’s a little off the beaten path. Whether they recommend an Albariño, Torrontés, Grüner Veltliner, Riesling, or any of the abovementioned wines, your selection might have more far reaching effects than you think.

Is there a particular white wine grape you’re looking forward to trying? Would love to know, please let us know in the comment section below!



Fast & Fabulous: Thai Chicken & Pomelo Salad!

Spring has finally sprung, serving as our seasonal indicator that it’s time to switch from those comforting winter dishes to lighter, more figure friendly fare.

Here in South Florida, it may come as no surprise that citrus plays a large role in our springtime cuisine. Many of our citrus fruits are sourced locally so when I came across this recipe for Thai Pomelo Salad (Dtam Som Oo) in the March 2014 issue of Saveur Magazine, it peaked my interest since it incorporated the delicious and exotic pomelo. Also known as shaddock, pummelo, Chinese grapefruit, or lusho fruit, the pomelo is native to Southeast Asia and is the largest known citrus fruit. It is a principal ancestor of the grapefruit and over the years, was introduced to North America where it is now grown in many states including Texas, California, Arizona and Florida. The large fruit (pictured bottom right) tastes like a milder version of a grapefruit, which is slightly sweeter and not quite as acidic.

I wanted to make this recipe for dinner so I added a chicken breast that I pounded flat, seasoned with salt and pepper and grilled and then plated the chicken with the salad on top of it. The dressing is incredibly flavorful and gives this lighter dish plenty of delicious flavor and personality. In the event you are unable to locate a pomelo or if they are out of season, a ruby red grapefruit will work equally as well. Also, slicing a citrus fruit into “supremes” can take a little practice and involves separating the fruit into segments by removing the bitter peel, pith and membranes. For a video on how to perform this culinary technique from Iron Chef Michael Symon, please click here. I do recommend using a very sharp knife to supreme your citrus and once you complete that part of the prep, making the dressing and assembling the salad is a breeze!

To pair with the Thai Chicken and Pomelo Salad, I served the 2012 Château Pesquié Terrasses Blanc ($16) a blend of 70% Viognier, 15% Roussanne, and 15% Clairette grown in the limestone soils of France’s Southern Rhone Valley. This wine is delightfully fresh, floral and fruity with a bright acidity, notes of honeysuckle, white peach and pear with a mineral-tinged finish. Winemakers Alexandre and Frédéric Chaudière fermented the wine entirely in stainless steel and concrete vats to preserve its fresh fruit aromas and flavors which complement the flavors of the dish beautifully!




Thai Chicken & Pomelo Salad
1/4 cup Thai fish sauce
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1-2 Pomelos depending on size (2 grapefruit), peeled and supremed
2 fresh red Thai chiles
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 cup trimmed watercress
1/3 cup roughly chopped peanuts, lightly toasted
20 fresh mint leaves
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin

Drizzle chicken breasts on both sides with olive oil and then season with salt and pepper. Preheat a grill pan or outdoor grill to medium-high heat and lightly brush grates with olive oil. Cook the chicken breasts approximately 3-4 minutes per side until done and set aside. Whisk fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, chiles, garlic, and 1/4 cup water in a bowl and set aside. Plate chicken and top with the watercress. Scatter pomelo or grapefruit sections over the salad, spoon on the dressing and top with the chopped peanuts and mint leaves. Serves 4