‘The Lost Vintage’ Takes Readers On A Sensory Journey to the Past [REVIEW]

French vineyard

A trip to France teaches a young sommelier about much more than wine in Ann Mah’s The Lost Vintage. (Photo by Mark Fusco, Flickr)

Young love, delicious wine, family history, and the French countryside. It’s all here in Ann Mah’s sumptuous new novel, The Lost Vintage. Behind this book’s gorgeous cover you’ll meet a woman who journeys from San Francisco to France with the goal of building upon her knowledge of fine wine. What she learns instead are lessons even more powerful and life changing, ones which will enhance much more than her educated palate.
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Evil Lurks In A Sleepy Seaside Town In Preston and Child’s ‘Crimson Shore’ [REVIEW]

Lighthouse Twilight

Evil lurks in a sleepy seaside town in Preston & Child’s CRIMSON SHORE. (Photo by _Imaji_, Flickr)

Dark lore and sinister secrets become much more than mere legend in Preston and Child’s latest novel, Crimson Shore. The story opens as Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast and his companion Constance Greene travel to Exmouth, Mass. to unravel the mystery behind the theft of a priceless wine collection. But is there more to this case than an empty wine cellar? Read more of this post

Fun, Friends and ‘Vino’ at the Avinger Wine Festival

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I never exactly associated Texas with wine country. But the Lone Star State has a surprising number of locally owned wineries that produce some unusual and delicious varieties of vino. We discovered many of those at the first Avinger Wine Festival earlier today. Read more of this post

Rotini with Sugo Fresco Giardino

Rotini with Sugo Fresco Giardino

This no-cook pasta sauce is prepared with fresh ingredients straight from the farmer's market.

Summer always seems rather magical, whether we’re strolling through the park at dusk, watching fireflies illuminate the night or walking along the cliffs of Big Sur as the Pacific crashes against the coast, filling the air with the mingling scents of salty sea water and crisp pines. One of our favorite places to visit on warm afternoons waits among the arid, rolling hills of California’s beautiful central coast. Introduced to us by my great aunt and uncle during a visit to Paso Robles several years ago, Wild Horse Winery and Vineyards is one of those picturesque places where time stands still, laughter lingers like the roses that perfume the air, and each moment becomes a memory to be savored like the flinty chardonnay served in the garden there beneath long vine-covered arbors, big white umbrellas and the shimmering sun. Much like those languid days, our Rotini with Sugo Fresco Giardino is simple and elegant, infused with rich aromas and delightful flavors, and best of all, it can be savored with your favorite wine and enhanced with the company and laughter of dear friends.

This recipe is in memory of Editha Hayes Spencer, who taught us to relish simple moments, find beauty in unexpected places, and to live life with an open heart. We know she would have loved this one.

PREP: 10 minutes + 2 to 8 hours sitting time
COOK: 8 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 ½ teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 6 medium tomatoes
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound rotini pasta
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Make chili oil: Stir together ½ cup oil and 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes. Let stand at room temperature at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
  2. Make sauce: Core tomatoes and tear into bite-size pieces directly into a serving bowl. Add garlic, remaining ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, oregano, basil, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, and remaining ½ cup oil. Lightly crush together using a wooden spoon. Let stand at room temperature 1 to 8 hours.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt to taste. Add pasta; cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain. Add hot pasta to tomato mixture. Discard garlic cloves. Serve with Parmesan cheese and chili oil for drizzling.

YIELDS: 6 servings

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