Wine(s) of the Week – DECEMBER 15th

Winter’s here, virtually, and colder weather with it. It’s time for hearty reds that warm our bodies and our spirits.
Woodbridge by Mondavi’s 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon comes from a line of wines designed for everyday drinking. With scents of dark cherry and blueberry, it has hints of toast and spice. Wine is one of Robert Mondavi’s passions and this one, moderately priced, fits the bill.
De Toren Z 2014 calls itself (and is) an “approachable” wine for chillier days and warms the spirit and the body. From South Africa, it brings richness and complexity to the table. Sip it and savor as it gains in age and body, bring what it makers describe as a “luxurious” win to the table.
Kanonkop Kadette Cape Blend, 2017, also from South Africa, blends 37 percent Pinotage with 36 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 25 percent Merlot and two percent Cabernet Franc to create a dry red wine with deep notes of cherry and plum. Made in Stellenbosch, the home of many excellent wineries in the country, it has hints of spice on the finish.
Waterbrook 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley comes from Walla Walla in Washington State, where the winery was one of the first there. The name comes from Nez Perce Indians and means “Running Water.” Ripe currant and plum combine with toasted oak and chocolate for richness and a smooth finish.
Lab of Portugal 2015 offers a price point for everyday sippers and comes from the region of Lisboa where the climate is well suited for making quality vintages. It blends Castelao (35 percent) with Tinto Roriz (25 percent), Syrah (25 percent) and Touriga Nacional, 15 percent. It’s aged in Portuguese new oak barrels for four months. Moderate pricing and quality come together to offer good value.
Chasseur De Calloux 2017 is from Cotes Du Rhone where its name means “pebble hunter” for the region where there are vast numbers of pebbles covering the vineyards. This Southern Rhone Valley wine brings us flavors of blackberry and blueberry. The wine is 14.6 percent ABV and blends 30 percent Grenache with 30 percent Syrah and 20 percent Carignan. The winery tells us it pairs well with pork and at the bottom of the label is a small drawing of a little white pig.
El Barrio 2017 Chilean Cabernet Sauvigon offers a plush, rich tasting experience with notes of black cherry and plum, with “savory nuances,” the winemakers say, of smoke and dried peppers. A moderately priced wine, it goes well with meats and features a small drawing of a cow on the label.

Baskin-Robbins intros new non-dairy, vegan Coffee Caramel Crunch

Baskin-Robbins, said to be the world’s largest chain of specialty ice cream shops, is serving up Fall treats. The brand, which recently expanded into the plant-based category with vegan* and non-dairy flavors, unveils a new plant-based, vegan option: November’s Flavor of the Month, Non-Dairy and Vegan Coffee Caramel Chunk which features an espresso-flavored base punctuated by chocolate chunks and a smooth caramel ribbon.The Caramel Delight Ice Cream Cookie Torte is inspired by European designs. The chain’s culinary specialists layered Gold Medal Ribbon® ice cream on top of a chocolate chip cookie crust garnished with caramel praline and fudge toppings and almonds. There are also classics like the Turkey Cake, or the Fall Harvest Roll Cake or Football Cake, available at or through the Baskin-Robbins Mobile App.

“This Thanksgiving, we’re giving that typical dessert spread a sweet makeover so that everyone at the table can enjoy some ice cream deliciousness,” says Jason Maceda, senior vice president of Baskin-Robbins U.S. and Canada. “We hope our festive cakes and our expanded non-dairy flavors are the tasty finale to everyone’s Thanksgiving celebration.”

Topping off the month’s lineup is the addition of Chopped Jolly Ranchers™ to the toppings case to enhance favorites such as Vanilla, Rainbow Sherbet or Wild ‘n Reckless. For more information about Baskin-Robbins’ variety of premium ice cream flavors and frozen desserts, visit or follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Sensory Program 2020 announced by Coffee Roaster Guild

SANTA ANA, CA – The Coffee Roaster Guild announces that the first event in its 2020 Sensory Program will be Sensory Summit at UC Davis in the Sensory Theatre inside the Robert Mondavi Institute at University of California Davis.

It will be a two-day conference to educate, inform and inspire Specialty Coffee sensory professionals with “intensive” seminars and workshops. Registration is now through December 13th and save up to $200.

Sessions include “The Journey of Discovery from Cherry to Cup: A Multiphasic Approach” as well as Titratable Aciditty in Coffee with William Ristenpart and Mackenzie Batali, “Understanding Precision Control of Coffee Brewing” with Andrew Cotter and William Ristenpart, “The Updated Coffee Brewing Control Chart” with Ristenpart and Batali, and “The Science Behind the Flavor Wheel” with Jean Xavier Guinard and Molly Spencer.

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Wine of the Week – Tussock Jumper Pinot Noir

Wine of the Week – Tussock Jumper Pinot Noir


This French Pinot Noir two China Wine & Spirits awards (in 2016 and ’17) as well as a gold medal for Best Value Vine de France Selection in 2013 and 2016.

The grapes, says Tussock Jumper, is rooted in clay-limestone terraces in the south of France. It’s gestation begins with a cold pre-fermentation maceration and two weeks additional fermentation at controlled temperatures. “It takes six to nine months,” the winery says, before it becomes drinkable.

This Pinot Noir has hints of black cherry, raspberry, and vanilla.

The final product is dark with ruby tints and flavors of red and black berries mixed with floral notes. There are hints of wood and vanilla in this complex Pinot along with a nose of crushed black fruits and jam. Tussock Jumper calls it “plump” with “well-integrated tannins.”

The company doesn’t own wineries or vineyards but rather, selects “the best value for money wines” and “shares” them. Each bears a picture of an animal that comes from the company the wine is from, in this case, the boar. Each animal is pictured on the bottle in a red jumper, which Tussock Jumper calls “a seal of authenticity “ which is a guarantee, it says, that all possible has been done to offer the best quality and best tasting wine.

The company is Wineforces SARL in France. In the US, the wines are imported by TRI-VIN Imports, Inc. in New Rochelle, NY. Check it out at


Brewer’s Fork to open new unit in Charlestown Navy Yard

Known for its craft beers and wood-fired pizzas, Brewer’s Fork in Charlestown, MA where it first opened four and a half years ago in Hayes Square gaining instant acclaim for its craft beers and wood-fired pizzas, plans to open a new restaurant in the Navy Yard next year, Foodservice East has learned, bringing its moderately priced, high quality fare to the under-served neighborhood. It will be a completely different concept from the original, the owners say, and will have a different, yet to be decided name.

From the Mushroom Man pizza with locally harvested Ben’s mushrooms, melted leeks, arugula, tomato and mozzarella and The Notorious P.I.G. with prosciutto, potatoes, pecorino and rosemary to the Freebird with smoked chicken, pickled collard greens, mozzarella, Alabama white sauce and pork cracklins or the Mexican Street Corn with local corn, mozzarella, Cotija cheese, spicy lime crema and cilantro, there’s a pizza for everyone.

Additionally, there’s a Charcuterie Board, the Flatbread Salad and a Local Cheese Board that changes daily, or varieties of oysters which change daily and five sandwiches – Sweet Potato Pita, Grass-Fed Burger, Spicy Tuna Melt, Meatball and Prosciutto Cotto Ficelle.

By early next year, Mike Cooney, his wife Kari and their partner John Paine will take over the former Navy Yard Bistro space in the Charlestown Navy Yard where Kari will head up the wine program as she has down at Brewer’s Fork and offer a list that compliments Chef Paine’s menu with wines from small, family-owned vineyards at moderate prices. Cooney will select a list of eight to 10 draft beers and cordials.

Ultimate Tailgate Party honors Baldor Specialty Foods

lovinspoonfuls-logo.pngBOSTON – Lovin’ Spoonfuls’ 9th annual Ultimate Tailgate Party, Nov. 3 when Baldor Specialty Foods will be honored with the Thomas M. Menino Award for Leadership for its commitment to sustainability in every aspect of the supply chain to optimize environmental and social best practices.

Lovin’ Spoonfuls’ Founder and Executive Director Ashley Stanley notes since the company’s start in 2010, via large scale support of events, operations, and the personal advocacy of Sales Executive Shane Brunette, Spoonfuls has been able to count on Baldor Specialty Foods as a committed partner. “Baldor is a true leader in the food space with tremendous impact through their sustainability initiatives; they represent an impressive commitment to zero waste,” she declares.

Through advocating for responsible production and consumption, Baldor Specialty Foods is a pioneer for sustainability in the wholesale space. Their programs, such as SparCs and Imperfect Produce, rescue fruits and vegetables from a fate of compost or landfill.

“It’s always incredible to partner with an organization that gets it, and Lovin’ Spoonfuls truly gets it,” says Thomas McQuillan, Baldor vice president of Sustainability. “Baldor continues to identify and promote food sustainability best practices and, together with Lovin’ Spoonfuls, is having a genuine impact in the communities we both serve.”

He’ll be joined at the party by Bizarre Foods’ Andrew Zimmern who returns as host. Zimmern, a member of Lovin’ Spoonfuls Culinary Board and a past Menino Award recipient, is a renowned advocate on issues relating to food justice and access. Attendees at this year’s Tailgate will enjoy tailgate- inspired dishes from restaurants like Uni, Myers + Chang, Eventide, Little Donkey, Bar Mezzana, and more than 20 others. The event takes place from 4-8pm, ending prior to the Patriots’ kick-off versus the Baltimore Ravens at 8:20pm (away game), and will be held at Cruiseport Boston, 1 Black Falcon Avenue, Boston, MA 02210. Tickets sell out each year, and are now on sale. More information and the complete restaurant lineup can be found here. General admission tickets are $200 and VIP tickets are $300. All proceeds benefit Lovin’ Spoonfuls. The Ultimate Tailgate Party is Lovin’ Spoonfuls’ primary fundraiser of the year, attracting more than 450 guests and over 25 restaurants. For more details, contact Liz Ferguson at liz@lovinspoonfuls