Counter Intelligence

“I had absolutely no restaurant experience whatsoever when I began,” says Deborah Gavito of Counter, a self-described “Organic Wine & Martini Bar Vegetarian Bistro,” in New York City’s East Village. “I wanted a sleek and sexy, but affordable, vegetarian restaurant. When I discovered that the world of biodynamic, sustainable, and organic wine was so vast,… Continue reading Counter Intelligence

Spinach & White Bean Crostini

Lemon-spiked white beans and garlicky, balsamic-laced spinach are tangled over toasted bread then topped with Parmigiano Reggiano in this crave-worthy crostini. A ripe Chardonnay or bright Tocai Friuliano works well alongside. Serves: 8 Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 10-15 minutes 1 French baguette (white or whole wheat), cut on the bias into 1/2-inch slices… Continue reading Spinach & White Bean Crostini

Mini Artichoke & Roasted Red Pepper Frittatas in Phyllo Cups

The name might appear a tad suspect (isn’t a frittata in a cup suspiciously similar to a quiche?), but there’s a reason for the distinction – here, cooked frittatas are slipped into flaky phyllo cups right before serving. The cups stay light and crisp and are the perfect counterpoint to the creamy mint- and feta-scented… Continue reading Mini Artichoke & Roasted Red Pepper Frittatas in Phyllo Cups

Caramelized Onion & Blue Cheese Tart

Sweet balsamic-caramelized onions, salty blue cheese and buttery puff pastry. What could be better? Serve this as an appetizer or first course with a chilled glass of full-bodied Chardonnay. Serves: 8-12 Prep time: 25 minutes Cooking time: 45-50 minutes 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 medium onions, very thinly sliced 1 teaspoon… Continue reading Caramelized Onion & Blue Cheese Tart

Red Wine Braised Beef Ragu with Papperadelle

This luscious ragu starts with organic beef oxtails, which are simmered with pancetta, garlic, vegetables and herbs in red wine until the meat is falling-off-the-bone-tender. Use a good-quality, full-bodied organic red wine such as a Chianti or Cabernet Sauvignon (and be sure to save some for sipping alongside the finished dish). Serves: 6-8 as main… Continue reading Red Wine Braised Beef Ragu with Papperadelle

Letter From Canada

I began drinking organic wines to explore how to avoid the headaches and hungover feeling I got after a couple of glasses of wine at events or dinners with friends. While many people are not affected by sulfites, there are those, like me, who adore wine but need a palatable alternative. Several years ago organic… Continue reading Letter From Canada

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Champagne’s Dirty Secret

Champagne is like a polite, clean houseguest. Other wines commingle with your food, stain your teeth, then rudely leave their flavors all over your mouth. Champagne breezes in, wipes down your palate, then exits with a bubbly flourish. Pale, bejeweled in crystal, shimmering with bubbles, it’s a “clean” beverage literally and figuratively. Its reputation is… Continue reading Champagne’s Dirty Secret

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The Benziger Dilemma

Benziger is the last family winery of its size left in California. Located in Glen Ellen, it has, as the Europeans say, a “beautiful position.” With its verdant rolling hills, constant blue skies, and the warm Sonoma earth, I can see why Mike Benziger staked his claim to the wine country here. The operation is… Continue reading The Benziger Dilemma

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Categorized as Editorials

True To Our Roots

Paul Dolan’s turning point came early one crisp fall morning in 1987 while, as head winemaker of Fetzer, he was tasting grapes in the vineyards before the harvest. He tried a ripe Sauvignon Blanc grape from an experimental vineyard that was being farmed organically. The fruit was bursting with lush, creamy flavors. Only fifteen feet… Continue reading True To Our Roots