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A Wine Lover’s Nearly Weekly Review of $15 Wine – A Fine Tuscany White

Tuscany brings lots to mind including the tourist charms of Florence, Asissi, and other sites too numerous to mention here, world class art and architecture, absolutely great steaks (that may come as a surprise), and some pricey red wine that’s off the charts including Super Tuscans, wines that blew a hole as wide as a Hummer in Italy’s official wine classifications. But white wine? Does Tuscany come to mind for white wine? Maybe it should. Vernaccia di San Gimignano is Tuscany’s most highly rated white. Of course we just indicated that official Italian wine classifications, perhaps even more than in other countries, leave something to be desired.

This wine comes from central Tuscany, not far west of Siena and of the Chianti Classico wine region. The property was acquired in 1964 by Riccardo Falchini whose Florentine family has been making wine since the early 1600s, serving the Medicis. It matured in small oak casks for four to six months.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed
Falchini Vigna a Solatio Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG 2008 12.0% alcohol about $14

Let’s start by quoting the marketing materials. Description: ‘Vernaccia di San Gimignano is Tuscany’s premier white wine. It comes from the famous and ancient village of San Gimignano whose renaissance towers (one was measured by the height of one’s tower, so to speak) were the skyscrapers of their day. The wine is made from a local grape called Vernaccia and tends to be soft and full with pleasant complimentary acidity.’ Falchini estate’s 2008 version is crisp, dry and aromatic, with ripe citrus character. And now for my reactions.

At the first sips the wine was multi-layered, mouth filling, and lemony. I first paired this wine with a somewhat disappointing smoked rainbow trout filet accompanied by a grated red cabbage salad. With the fish this wine displayed balanced, light acidity. It was refreshing, subtle, and long. The cabbage salad cut the lemon somewhat but the wine was feathery. There were two desserts. The fresh pineapple weakened this Tuscany white but it still had some power. When paired with oversweet chocolate peanut butter candy the wine had a bit of lemon and a bit of acid.

The second meal was a boxed eggplant parmigiana on which I sprinkled lots of grated Parmesan cheese. The wine was delicious. It’s fine acidity meshed well with the tomatoes’ acidity and gave a subtle lemon flavor. Dessert which was a frozen chocolate pie with a buttery crust weakened the wine, but it was still present with a touch of lemon.

My final meal was an omelet garnished with fresh tomatoes. This Tuscan showed light acidity and was long and pleasant, but there wasn’t a lot of fruit. In the face of fresh tomatoes its acidity stepped up. The side of grilled artichoke dip that had too much mayonnaise muted the wine but it was still long.

As usual I ended the wine tastings with two local cheeses. The pairing with a marbled cheddar was one fine wine pairing. And with the provolone the wine’s elegance manifested itself. It was light but…

Final verdict. This wine is a winner. And the price is right. Be careful, the word has it that many of the Vernaccia di San Gimignano aren’t worth their top of the line DOCG status. But I thought this was one fine wine at the price.

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian, French, or other wine, accompanied by the right foods and spend time with his wife and family. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Among his many web sites he is particularly proud of his Italian travel site with a special focus on regional food and wine at Check out his global wine website at with his weekly column reviewing $10 wines and his new sections writing about (theory) and tasting (practice) organic and kosher wines, and now upscale wines.

Author: Levi Reiss
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Thu, April 17 2014 » Cooking » No Comments

Wine Accessories – Must Have Gadgets That Will Enhance Your Enjoyment of Wine

If you are a wine lover you will want to be up on all the latest wine accessories available today. Having one of the newest gadgets will help to further enhance your enjoyment of favorite wines. Here is a helpful over view of the more popular and unique wine accessories available today.

Ranging from the most practical to help you in your enjoyment of wine to novelty items that are just for fun, there are many wine accessory items available today.

The popularity of wine accessories is so huge that there are stores today that sell only these items for wine without selling any wine at all. These stores are great for gift ideas – especially for the fussy wine consumer or the person that has everything. This is generally a great gift area where you can easily find the right product for any person and any occasion.

Accessories for wine and wine drinkers may include glasses, openers, closers and storage options. Some of the wine racks and holders on the market today can be found in traditional or modern designs and are fashioned to fit just about every decor.

The phrase wine accessories cover anything that is made to go with wine. This includes glasses or related products such as carafes and port glasses. It even includes cleaning products. There are items available today specifically formulated to remove red wine from fabrics and floor coverings and these should be available through any good accessory retailer. Some supermarkets or liquor retailers also sell these products.

The range of stoppers or closers on the market is quite vast and there are options available for red and white wine as well as champagne or sparkling varieties. Each type of wine has a different requirement when it comes to storage and so the specific stopper that works best many vary.

Bottle openers with corkscrew are also available in a range of designs. You can find everything from high end professional styles through to the more traditional and to the novelty and contemporary styles. You can even purchase a product specifically designed to cut the foil on a bottle – saving you from getting cuts trying to pick it off by hand.

If you’ve got a bit more money to spend there is a great range of wine refrigeration systems available. From the small, under the counter style fridges to the full room cellar style designs, you can accommodate and store your wine in whatever way suits your budget.

For displaying your wine, single bottle holders are very popular. These can be placed on a table and hold your wine before opening. They come in all varieties of styles and are fashioned after animals, sports and just about anything you can imagine.

For some people, drinking wine is best when served at the correct temperature. There are especially designed wine thermometers that can be slipped into the bottle, even while it is still corked, so that the temperature can be monitored before opening.

If you like to take picnics or you’re fairly social, then you can look into the cooler products. These work like an ice box, but as a bag they are much more portable and convenient. Simply add some ice and your bottle of wine will stay cool for hours.

Once you start shopping for wine accessories the range of products you will find will impress you. If you love wine or have a friend that enjoys wine as a hobby, a wine accessory gift is always a great idea.

Mark writes on a variety of topics including those related to wine. If you are interested in new ways to display your wines at your next wine tasting party take a look at Modern Wine Rack. Also, here is where you can go for a great selection the Wall Wine Rack.

Author: Mark S Myers
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Sat, April 12 2014 » Cooking » No Comments

Work From Home Mom Occupies Her Child

Work from home mom. It sounds good, right? You get to stay at home with your children, raise them, play with them, watch them grow and… work! Well, life gets busy.

It gets especially busy when this work from home mom is on deadline. As a freelance writer, I usually try to schedule myself so that I have ample time to complete my projects. However, life throws curve balls, and sometimes I find myself scrambling to finish my assignments. What can I do this with my 3-year-old?

Get a sitter

That is always your first option. Just because you are a work from home mom, it does not mean that you always have to be home with your child. When you need to work, send the kid to the grandparents’ home for a few hours. Then you can finish your work in peace and quiet. But what if it’s too late to find a sitter?

Grab a solitary game

Give your child something to do that she can do by herself. She can color, build forts with blocks, make a card for Daddy or do something else that engages her for a chunk of time. My daughter likes to dance. Throwing on a They Might Be Giants CD can be all she needs to keep her occupied for a good 45 minutes.

Play work

I especially like this one. Let your child “work” with you. My daughter has a toy laptop computer that she “works” on while I work on mine. She types, prints, makes calls, really does everything that I do. Who says that you can’t play and work at the same time?

All you work from home moms, rest assured. You can make your deadline with an active kid tugging at pant legs.

Terez Howard, who has been writing online for two years, specializes in money-saving and baby-related topics. She created a website for women to find the best skirtini and one piece bathing suits for their body shapes.

Author: Terez Howard
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Thu, April 10 2014 » Random » No Comments

Savory Crockpot Pork Barbecue Sandwiches – Delicious Idea for a Quick Dinner

Eating out on a regular basis takes a chunk out of the monthly budget. However, after a long day at the office, the idea of going home and putting an evening meal together is simply too tiring to think about.

The crockpot is a cooking appliance that has been around for several years. Around 1970, the Rival Company® bought a company called Naxon, which was responsible for the invention of the “Beanery All Purpose Cooker.”

In 1971, Rival® reintroduced the cooker under the name “Crock-Pot.” It wasn’t until 1974 the upgrade was made that provided removable, and easier to wash, stoneware cooking inserts. Even though “crock-pot” is a trade name given to the appliance by Rival®, it is a term used commonly today to describe any brand of this handy kitchen helper.

Crockpots are great for soups, meats, main dishes, vegetables, dips, side dishes, and even desserts. These kitchen wonders cook on low wattage and very slowly, making them economical to use.

Here’s a quick and easy dish for those busy working folks who need a delicious dinner but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen.

Savory Crockpot Pork Barbecue Sandwiches Ingredients

  • 2-3 pound pork roast*
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Preferred brand of commercial barbecue sauce**
  • Dill pickle chips
  • Fresh hamburger buns
  • Homemade coleslaw (optional)

Savory Crockpot Pork Barbecue Sandwiches Instructions

  1. Place meat in pressure cooker. You can cook the meat the night before and refrigerate the next morning until dinner time, or start the cooker when you leave for work in the morning.
  2. Do not add any water. It is a great temptation with many people to load up the crockpot with water, but it isn’t necessary when cooking meat roasts.
  3. Cook the meat on low 8-10 hours.
  4. Pour off any liquid/drippings and wipe inside of crock with a paper towel.***
  5. Shred meat, remove fat, and return to cooker.
  6. Salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Add barbecue sauce.
  8. Allow to reheat after sauce is added.
  9. Warm paper towel wrapped buns in microwave on low for a few seconds.
  10. Mound barbecue pork on buns.
  11. Add dill pickle chips and coleslaw (optional).
  12. Add more barbecue sauce if desired.
  13. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

* Chicken or beef can be substituted for the pork.
** Homemade barbecue sauce is great, too, if you have time to make it.
*** If you cooked beef instead, the meat drippings can be saved for making Yorkshire Pudding. Chicken drippings can be used for broth, soup, or gravy.

Serving Ideas for Savory Crockpot Pork Barbecue Sandwiches

  • Dill pickles on the sandwich and on the side
  • Southern Style Baked Beans
  • Homemade Coleslaw
  • Iced Tea or Lemonade
  • Try putting slaw on the sandwich.
  • Onion slaw is also good on barbecue sandwiches.

Hope you’ll give this recipe a try and that you thoroughly enjoy it. Watch for more crockpot posts for quick and easy meals your entire family will love. Bon Appétit!

Bridgett Barnett is a regular contributor to various culinary blogs and forums. She is a regular guest blogger at the country cooking/country living website “The Ranchers Daughter.” You can get the delicious Homemade Coleslaw recipe here along with instructions for the Southern Style Baked Beans.

Author: Bridget Barnett
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Wed, April 2 2014 » Cooking » No Comments