Ladies We Love: Eileen Crane

November 9, 2010 at 10:32 am , by

President and founding Winemaker at California’s Domaine Carneros, Eileen Crane knows a thing or two about being a lady.  Named “Napa’s Most Powerful Woman” this year by ForbesWoman, Eileen balances business, style, and a commitment to eco-conscious living while maintaining her reputation as a trailblazer in the wine world.  Under her leadership, Domaine Carneros has adopted organic farming practices for their sparkling wines and pinot noirs and received organic certification in 2008.  The vineyard even has a solar powered facility for pinot production (just one more reason their wine is hot)! Beyond her vision for vino, Eileen Crane’s cup runneth over with inspiration for other women – read on to see why:

What makes you a lady? Biology, age, a sense of humor, and graciousness even in difficult times.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure? Gosh, there are so many.  I do guilt well, but it would probably be 4 hours in bed with a good book and a box {or two} of L.A. Burdick chocolates.

What are 3 things on your Life List? 1. Learning to be a great fundraiser for my favorite charities; 2. visiting all the U.S. and Canadian National Parks; 3. learning the art of the perfumer.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be? To build wonderful lives for women starting in the Congo and Darfur.  If I got a second super power, it would be time travel.

Who are ladies you admire? Early feminists, hard-working women who also volunteer, and single moms.

Confucius says: “You will never have to spend more than $10 on a bottle of wine again”

July 26, 2010 at 9:42 am , by

A wonderful complement to Chinese take-outThat’s what my fortune cookie read when I recently met Nicole Hitchcock, senior winemaker at Turning Leaf, for a sampling of their new releases. Why the fortune cookie? A new Turning Leaf survey on American take-out habits found that nearly twice as many Americans choose Chinese over Italian food for takeout (41% compared with 21%; the runners-up being American take-out, 18%; Mexican, 14%; and Japanese, 4%). Other American habits? Friday night is the most popular take-out evening and more than a third (34%) of respondents in the survey admit to (occasionally?) serving take-out as homemade dishes. And one last fact that’s not hard to fathom is how well the Turning Leaf Pinot Grigio pairs with Chinese food.

“Wine doesn’t need to be reserved for fine dining,” points out Nicole, who developed the food survey to demonstrate not only the casual (and inexpensive) side of dinner but to show off Turning Leaf’s wine selections, most of which retail for from $8 to $10 per bottle.

Now is the perfect time to start experimenting with wine-and-take-out combos: it’s much too hot to cook. Nicole suggests these pairings:
Sauvignon Blanc—Seaweed salad, green curry, broccoli and garlic sauce
Riesling—Pad Thai, chicken tikka masala, spicy tuna rolls
Pinot Noir—Falafel, salmon rolls, tacos
Cabernet Sauvignon—Cheese pizza, meatball heroes, cheeseburgers
White Zinfandel—General Tso’s chicken, rainbow rolls, California rolls
Pinot Grigio—Miso soup, garlic knots, tortilla soup

Happy pairing, everyone!

Summer Wine Guide

June 24, 2010 at 10:38 am , by

Masi-Masianco-lgSummer is officially here! Translation: BBQs, picnics and beach weekends. And  who doesn’t love to get together with close friends? We all do of course; it can be intimidating, however, when the time comes to pick the wine to compliment your party. Summer lends itself to light, crisp and refreshing wines, but what goes best with the food you’re serving?

The good news is that  you can’t go wrong. Your friends love you and will love anything you give them. The better news is that we’ve put together a list of some fun wines that are perfect as gifts or for guests this summer. My favorite is the 2008 Masianco Pinot Grigio and Verduzzo ($17.95); take a look at the rest of our fave wines on The Dish page on, and see some recipe ideas for food pairings.

Food Festivals To Visit This Summer

May 21, 2010 at 9:45 am , by

47b9d622b3127cce98548ae651aa00000045102AaNGzhwzYslLooking for some tasty treats to indulge in this summer? All over the country, cities are having food tastings to show off all their delicious cuisine. From bar-b-que, to seafood and wine tastings, there is absolutely a festival out there for any and all food junkies. Find one near you and eat up!

East Coast:

Washington D.C.- The Food and Wine Festival at National Harbor on June 12-13 will feature distinctive food, beer, wine and spirits from nations all over the world, and will educate its guests in all the latest culinary trends.


Houston, Texas- Wine and Food Week runs from June 14-20, and has several different events to celebrate the food of the south. Events during the week include H-E-B Wine Walk at Market Street, Sips, Suds and Sliders-A Texas Experience, and Wine Rendezvous Grand Tasting and Chef Showcase presented by Texas Monthly.

New Orleans, Louisiana- June 11-13, at the Louisiana Seafood Festival, local chefs will be cooking up local favorites such as crawfish, oysters, crab and even alligator. Grilled, fried, baked or barbequed, there will be something for everybody to enjoy!

Owensboro, Kentucky- May 7-8, the International Bar-B-Q festival features some sizzling, hickory-smoked fun that people come back for every year.

Read more

Green Wine for St. Patrick’s Day

March 17, 2010 at 3:59 pm , by


It’s been a long winter for everyone. I can’t think of any part of the country that wasn’t either pummeled by snow, drowned in rain, or frozen to death…Okay, maybe I’m being a tad extreme. But in any case, I’m ready for spring. That’s why a night of filling beer and heavy stews isn’t exactly on the menu for me this St. Patrick’s Day. Instead, I’m going to have some refreshing “green” wine tonight, like this Sauvignon Blanc from Sterling Vineyards. It’s made from organic grapes and comes in a recycled bottle, and at $12, you’ll have plenty more than a pot of gold left over. Just think, you could spend it on cableknit sweaters, Irish step-dancing lessons, or anything else a leprechaun might convince you to buy.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!

Wine Review: Valentine’s Day

February 9, 2010 at 5:23 pm , by

Bottega Petalo Il Vino dell' Amore Moscato SpumanteValentine’s Day is almost here and you know what that means? NO! Not THAT! Well, yes, probably THAT too, but I’m talkin’ ’bout wine…mmkay.

Recently, I sent all the editors home with a bottle of vino…with a catch: to put their palates to good use and bring me a wine review. After much swirling, swishing, debate and scrutiny, this “highly scientific” survey is finally up! Just in time to pour a glass for you and your valentine.

My personal favorite was the Bottega Petalo Il Vino dell’ Amore Moscato Spumante from Italy for $14 bucks! The bottle is ADORABLE (I’m such a sucker for pretty packaging) and it’s a seriously delicious sparkler–the perfect apéritif before a romantic dinner. (Jon Hamm and Michael Bublé not included.)

Thanksgiving Wines

November 23, 2009 at 10:56 am , by


Do you know what wines you’re serving with the turkey and stuffing? Don’t stress about it! I was a wine writer earlier in my career, and one thing I learned is that when it comes to pairing wines with Thanksgiving dinner, almost anything goes. Many people offer a white and a red, but it really comes down to what you like. Luckily there are lots of good affordable options to choose from these days. We picked the wines pictured here (which are also featured on page 20 of the November issue of LHJ) for their clever names as well as their quality and price. So you can make a real statement with them as hostess gifts. Read more