Don’s April Collector Series Top Picks

(Back row- Jim, Eric, and Chris. Front row-Hadley, Diane, Melissa, and Eleanor)
(Back row- Jim, Eric, and Chris. Front row-Hadley, Diane, Melissa, and Eleanor)

This month’s Collector Series Top Pick goes to Fore Family Vineyards’ 2008 Red Hills Cabernet Sauvignon.  The Red Hills AVA straddles Napa and Lake Counties and is increasing a source of exceptional wines from small family owned wineries such as Fore Family Vineyards.  We could have easily chosen any number of the Fore Family’s exceptional wines to feature (Doug Fore also fashions outstanding award winning Pinot Noir), but considering the nation’s insatiable desire for Cabernet and how hard it is to locate top notch California Cabernet with some bottle age, we decided on the 2008 Cabernet.   And you can enjoy this well-endowed Cabernet now and over the next decade.  Stay tuned for more wines from this up and coming producer.  Enjoy!


Don’s April Premier Series Top Picks

Spring at Endrizzi Vineyards

April offers a bevy of good wines from which to choose, but one wine clearly stands out to me and that is Endrizzi’s 2011 Serpaiolo Maremma – this month’s Premier Series Top Pick.  The 2011 vintage posed some challenges in Chianti Classico and throughout much of Tuscany due to excessive heat, but Tuscany’s cooler coastal areas such as Maremma escaped the heat’s wrath and produced exceptional wines.  And in many cases the region’s producers turned out their finest wines to date.  In Maremma, 2011 was a banner year for Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot as well as for region’s Sangiovese, which is why the 2011 Serpaiolo (a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sangiovese) offers exceptional depth, flavor, and structure and earns this month’s Top Pick.  It is a Super Tuscan to enjoy now and for the next 5 plus years.  Enjoy!


Brioche with Prosciutto, Gruyère and Egg

With Easter fast approaching, this recipe is sure to be a hit at your Easter Brunch with buttery bread, slabs of melted cheese, prosciutto, and finished with an egg on top. Serve it with a bright, berry-scented sparkling rosé or crisp white, such as, our March Premier Series Klein Constantia Sauvignon Blanc 2012.


Brioche with Prosciutto, Gruyère and EggIngredients:

  • Six 1-inch-thick slices of brioche
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus softened butter, for brushing
  • 6 ounces frisée, torn into bite-size pieces (3 cups)
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed parsley leaves
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 pound Gruyère cheese, thinly sliced
  • 12 thin slices of prosciutto (6 ounces)


1. Preheat the broiler. Brush both sides of the brioche slices with softened butter and arrange in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Broil the brioche 8 inches from the heat, turning once, until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes total. Leave the broiler on.

2. In a medium bowl, toss the frisée with the parsley, scallions, lemon juice and olive oil. Season the salad with salt and pepper.

3. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in each of 2 large nonstick skillets. Crack 3 eggs into each skillet and cook sunny side up over moderate heat, until the whites are firm and the yolks runny, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and season with salt and pepper.

4. Top the brioche with the Gruyère, covering as much of the toasts as possible with the cheese. Broil 8 inches from the heat for about 3 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Transfer the cheesy brioche toasts to plates. Top with the frisée salad, prosciutto and fried eggs and serve at once.

Recipe and photo from

South Africa: Going for Gold in Their Vineyards

It wasn’t long ago that acquiring South African wine in America was as difficult as finding water in the desert, but what started as a trickle has now become a torrent.  Thanks to the end of, Apartheid and international sanctions and now a new generation of young talented winemakers, South African wine has emerged as the fasted growing imported wine into America, and for many good reasons.  Today’s South African winemakers are going for gold (medals, that is in international competitions) by making world class wines. 

Venerable estates, including the iconic Klein Constantia, are fashioning outstanding traditional offerings as well expanding their portfolios with equal care to include wines to slake the thirsts of the most discriminating international palates.  Moreover, the variety of wines and varietals one encounters in South Africa is as enchanting as the land itself:  Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Cabernet, Grenache, Merlot, Mourvèdre, Shiraz, and of course South Africa’s unique signature grape Pinotage all stage command performances, yet these varietals just begin to scratch the surface and reveal the true variety that abounds on Africa’s Western Cape.  Now is the time to discover these no longer hidden treasures.  Bellingham, De Morgenzon, Edgebaston, Eagles Nest, Painted Wolf, and Tamboerskloof, are just a few of the better producers whose wines are worth seeking out, so go for the gold!