Wine of the Week – Two whites for summer nights

Two lovely white wines we’d like to share for summer sipping are the Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc 2014, a great reflection of New Zealand’s Malrlborough terrain. Stone fruit and citrus flavors are completed by tropical notes . The wine is 13%ABV and is imported in the U.S. by Pasternak Wine Imports.

The second, from South Africa, lends itself to an after dinner drink thanks to its richness and sweetness. It is the Nederburg 2011 Special Late Harvest. Nederburg has been making wines since 1791 a great heritage. This wine is full of rich dried fruit aromas such as apricot and raisin, acidity and also has more than a few honey notes. It lends itself so savoring and enjoying at the end of the meal. It is a blend  of Muscat d’ Frontignan. Chenin Blanc, Weisser Riesling and Gewurtztraminer.


Raats Original Chenin Blanc, 2013

We admit South African wines are among our favorites. Bruwer Raats was called “the most exciting and forward thinking winemaker in Stellenbosch, winning 86 points from Neal Martin (Wine Spectator) and many accolades and honors.


We loved the 2013 Chenin Blanc with its fruity notes of melon, apple, pineapple and lime and great minerality. The 35 year-old vines produce grapes, and subsequently wines that are both powerful and elegant. This unwooded offering’s fruitiness is attributed to one of two types of soils, one with decomposed granite and a second, responsible for its minerality, from the sandstone. The wines are produced without wood (oak) aging, celebrating Chenin in its natural state, says Raats, who celebrates its “vibrant freshness” and flavors. Go to www.raats.co.za or www.pasternakwine.com.


Chicken concepts growing in popularity in the Northeast

Chicken is heating up this summer as operators promote new fried chicken offerings. Shake Shack introduces The Chicken Shack™ exclusively at its Brooklyn Shacks downtown, in DUMBO and Flatbush Ave.

Priced at $6.29, the sandwich is a crispy, all natural, antibiotic-free chicken breast served with lettuce, pickles and buttermilk herb mayonnaise. Visit www.shakeshack.com for more details.

Also in Manhattan, Momofuku Restaurant Group creator David Chang’s “beta” concept, Fuku, opened recently on the site of the former Ko, and Chang is said to want to grow it into a quick service brand all its own. The $8 sandwich has fried chicken thighs as its core ingredient, with a sauce of habanero peppers with spices and a buttermilk coating, all served on a potato roll.
It’s a prototype, says Chang,  who calls the sandwich both juicy and crispy, with variations reportedly in the works.

In Boston, Chef Brian Poe takes his own course this summer with the opening of CLUCKIT! in the South End in his next venture with Gordon Wilcox, Wilcox Hospitality Group.

Located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Tremont St., the new venture is based around piri piri, a sauce from Portugal and Mozambique, with varying levels of heat – mild, medium and scorching. Check out the menu and more at www.CLUCKITboston.com.





Wine of the Week -Benegas Don TIburcio, Liberad Estate Wines, 2010

Winemaker Federico Benegas Lynch blends Malbec and Petit Verdot with a bit of Cabernet Sauvignon in this rich and delicious wine from Argentina. Merlot adds the plummy notes and depth. Federico comes from a family with a long tradition of making wines since the 1800s and grew up in El Trapiche, the winery his great grandfather founded in 1883. He later moved to Buenos Aires but returned to his roots in 19999 to buy Finca Libertad.

His wines are harvested manually and aged in old concrete underground tanks that he restored.  Today his capacity is around 120,000 bottles. Warm days and cold nights result in grapes with high concentration, ripe tannins and acidity.

The Benegas Don Tiburcio ages well, with soft texture and deep cherry fruit. A bit of Cabernet Franc in the blend adds what Lynch calls aromatic lift, while the Cabernet Sauvignon contributes structure and a touch of cassis. Visit http://www.bodegabenegas.com/eng/libertad.php


The Spirit(s) World – Don Q Rum partners with Surfrider Foundation

PONCE, PR – Don Q Rum forms a partnership with the Surfrider Foundation, a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to protecting and enjoying the world’s oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network.

This Spring, Don Q began giving customers a reusable grocery bag made from recycled materals when they purchased its rums, and from May through the end of June, donated a portion of proceeds from sales of Don Q Coco cocktails and bartenders’ original Don Q Coco recipes in participating establishments to the Surfrider Foundation.

The signature drinks are
. Coco Bongo (Don Q Coco, coconut water and pineapple juice)

. Coco Splash (Don Q Coco, lemon-lime soda and orange juice)

As one of America’s oldest owned and operated family businesses, Destilería Serrallés has been producing exceptional rum for 150 years. Don Q and the Serrallés family maintain a commitment to producing the highest quality rum, and continually develop new methods in an effort to run a greener rum making operation. The distillery implemented a wastewater to energy system, which converts the 350,000 gallons of wastewater the distillery produces each day into irrigation grade water. This guarantees that not a single drop of wastewater reaches the ocean. Visit www.donq.com, @donqrum or http://www.facebook.com/#!/DonQ.

The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s ocean, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, CA, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains more than 250,000 supporters, activists and members worldwide. For more information on the Surfrider Foundation,visit www.surfrider.org.


Make these suggested cocktails below –



2 oz.                     Don Q Coco rum

3 oz.                     Lemon-lime soda

1 oz.                     Orange juice

One                       Orange wheel

One                       Cherry


Pour rum, lemon-lime soda and juice into an ice-filled old-fashioned or tumbler glass.

Garnish with orange wheel and cherry.



1¾ oz.                  Don Q Cristal rum

¼ oz.                     Cucumber juice*

½ oz.                     Simple syrup**

Half                       Lime cut in wedges

Six                         Mint leaves

Splash                   Club soda

One                       Cucumber slice

One                       Lime wheel


Muddle lime, simple syrup, cucumber juice and mint leaves.

Add rum and ice, then shake.

Pour into an ice-filled highball glass.

Top with splash of club soda.

Garnish with cucumber slice and lime wheel.


*Cucumber juice: place a whole cucumber in blender with 1 oz. of water and ½ oz. of simple syrup. Blend on high until liquefied.


**Simple syrup: dissolve 8 oz. granulated sugar in 8 oz. hot water.


  1. Intensely Stormy
2 oz. Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur
1 oz. Caliche Rum
Splash of Soda






Reuilly, Les Pierres Plates, 2013

There is a chalky minerality to this Kermit Lynch import from the eastern Loire region in France where Denis Jamain’s family began making wines 80 years ago. Today, after adding 17 hectares to the estate, the winery’s practices are biodynamic and organic. Jamain is said to love the land so deeply that he carries a stone from the vineyard in his pocket.

This Sauvignon Blanc is from a vineyard where the area has been called “the poor man’s Sancerre”. The family first planted grapes in 1935 and Jamin has expanded the vineyard to17 hectares.

The soil, with minerals, clay, fossils and sea shells, gives the resulting Sancerre a distinctive minerality all its own. With 12.5% ABV, it is aromatic, floral and smoky. Beneath the soil, Kimmeridgian limestone forms part of a geological chain connecting the Loire Valley with Chablis in Burgundy. Contributing to the strong local character of the wines, Denis Jamain selects special oak trees in his grandfather’s forest to be used for oak barrels in which to age them.

The wines offer notes of citrus, white flowers and the distinctive minerality. The approximate retail price is $19.99. The winery produces around 11,000 cases a year.