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Vol. 15 No. 22- March 25, 2015


The world of wine

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story


Try beets and bowtie pasta topped with feta,
balsamic glaze and chives.

The world of wine is changing at a rapid pace. When I first became interested in wines, which was back in the ‘70s, the selection was relatively limited. I remember the sales person in the local liquor store asking if I had ever tried a spatlese, probably because he didn't want to sell me my third bottle of Blue Nun in as many days. I'm glad he asked though, because it was he that piqued my curiosity about wine. At that time, the choices available in a wine shop consisted of a large number of French, German and Italian wines. Then there were the couple of shelves of California wines – jugs of Martini, Christian Brothers and Inglenook come to mind – and don't forget that top or bottom shelf of Cold Duck, Mateus, MD 20/20, Ripple and, yes, Boone's Farm. In fact, in 1975 there was a total of only 330 wineries in California, most of which were not even distributed nationally, no less world-wide.

Today, just 40 years later, there are 4,100 wineries in California. Considering that wine has been around since 3000 B.C., it seems funny to think that most of the wines that were available in that ‘70s wine shop in .750-ml bottles are now mostly referred to as Old World wines.

It is this Old World/New World wine concept that has the wine world changing so quickly. The Old World wines of Europe have always been made the same – long aging in ancient cellars, being released after regulated storage and even then requiring aging in the bottles to reach their peak. These wines now have to compete with New World wines of North and South America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. They are made with modern equipment and technology and made to be drank “young.” Generally speaking, they are fruit-forward, well-made and easy drinking, and usually available at reasonable prices as compared with their Old World counterparts. All of this wine makes for an interesting situation for us, the consumers.

Wine and food have gone together for a long time. In Europe it is virtually unheard of to have one without the other; wine is an integral part of every meal. Here in the New World (and here on the Island), we have a totally different scenario. When you have a meal in the Old World, you are served the local wines with the local cuisine – Albarino with seafood on the coast of Spain, Chianti with pasta Bolognese or an Alsatian white with pork roast and sauerkraut. The foods served regionally in Old World countries tend to be paired traditionally, and it usually works quite well. When you dine in a restaurant in a New World setting, you aren't always so lucky, depending on the person who orders the wines for a given restaurant. If you are dining in an ethnic restaurant, you will probably be offered the wines traditionally served with that cuisine. What do you do, though, when you are eating in, let's say, a continental restaurant and everyone orders something different? It is then up to the restaurateur to offer a variety of styles of wines, hopefully by the glass, so that each individual might be able to order a wine that will enhance his or her selection. That requires a staff member or a host that can offer suggestions for those pairings, but that is a conversation left for another time. Enjoy yourselves and good luck with your selections.

Bon appétit!

Beets & Bowtie

By Chef Justin Hibberts


• 5 medium beets, roasted whole, peeled, cubed
• 1 medium white onion, julienned
• 8 oz. wild mushrooms
• 1 lb. slow cooked pork shoulder, pulled.
• 8 oz. fresh Florida orange juice
• 8 oz. vegetable stock
• 16 oz. bowtie pasta, pre-cooked
• 4 oz. butter
• 8 TBS. crumbled feta
• Balsamic glaze
• Chives, diced small
• Salt & pepper


• With a hot sauté pan, dry roast your mushrooms and onions for one minute. Season lightly. Add half the butter and let brown. Season lightly. Add beets and pork shoulder, bring pan up to temperature. Season lightly. Add orange juice and the other half of the butter. Bring to boil and toss in bowtie pasta. Season to taste. Simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated leaving a smooth butter sauce to coat. Top with feta, balsamic glaze and chives. Serves four.

Let us know what you think, post a comment.

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