Author: PositiveVines

Northeastern Thai meets South America

Northeastern Thai meets South America

Today, I’m going to share a wine and food paring experience blending two different regions of the world. It was just about 10 years ago when I was first introduced to Thai food. I was instantly drawn to the complexity of the cuisine with richness 

Piedmont region Nebbiolo

Piedmont region Nebbiolo

How many wine lovers know that Italy is the largest producer of wines in the world? Italy is home to some of the oldest and largest wine producing regions. The Piedmont region of Italy hosts the largest production of the Nebbiolo grape in the country 

Perfect Chocolate Muffins

Perfect Chocolate Muffins

Guest Foodie Blog from

The muffins are a little and I love these small individual cakes that could devour at any time of the day. With the return of the cold, I wanted a beautiful batch of these little chocolate chip delights. I went in search of the ideal recipe and techniques that would allow them to climb high rather than escape to the sides or drop any dish out of the oven. And I came to the perfect recipe for chocolate muffins like chocolate. Fluffy side is the top of the top and surely healthier than those of the famous Coffee shop! I feel like I’m going to revive the muffin mode- visit for more tips about Cakes, Muffins, Pie etc


  • 250g of flour
  • 120g of cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon of baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 250g of sugar
  • 100g of vegetable oil (sunflower or grape seed)
  • 340g sour cream (French sour cream), replaceable with yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 300g of dark chocolate chips
  • For decoration: hazelnut chips (or praline nuggets) and / or even more chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 190 °. In a large bowl, mix flour, coco, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In another bowl, mix eggs and sugar until the mixture is white. Add the oil, liquid cream and vanilla extract and continue mixing.

Pour the dry ingredients in the liquid ingredients and just enough to incorporate the powders (no need to get a smooth dough, the dough must remain full of lumps.

Arrange paper trays in your muffin tray and divide the dough into 12 trays. Sprinkle the dough with hazelnut chips or chocolate chips.

Bake at mid-height for 10 minutes at 190 ° (in static heat if possible) then go down to 170 ° and cook another 15-20 minutes (test with a toothpick planted in the middle of a muffin, if dry spring is cooked).

Let the muffins warm 10 minutes out of the oven in the muffin tray before transferring to a baking rack for cooling.

Texas Honey-Rita!

Texas Honey-Rita!

As Mardi Gras and Cinco de Mayo approach, my thoughts turn to easy to make cocktails that feature easy to blend ingredients made more vibrant by the addition of sparkling wines. I recently had the opportunity to sample TX Honey Bourbon at my local Total 

Sparkling Wines and Food Pairings for the New Year

Sparkling Wines and Food Pairings for the New Year

The 2018 Wine Blogger’s Conference, held in Walla Walla Washington this year, featured a new treat this year – learning to pair foods with sparkling wines and was aptly names “Bubbles and Bites”. Gloria Ferrer Wines ( hosted the seminar which included 4 sparkling wine and food pairing tastings. In many cases, the typical focus for food and wine pairings is strictly based on non-sparkling wines so taking this seminar gave me the opportunity to expand my horizons.

One tip for trying new fun parings is that many restaurants feature wine lists that may include recommended food pairings. If a pairing list isn’t readily available on the menu, ask the beverage or wine steward. They should be able to provide insight on fun and tasty food parings. While everyone’s pallet is different, using a few simple guidelines for pairing wines with notable levels of acidity, tannins and sweetness can enhance the dining experience. Adding a sparkling wine to an already good pairing elevates the whole experience. And, with the New Year quickly approaching, this information can make planning your menu easier, more in keeping with the celebration, and your guests will be thrilled to enjoy the benefits of your new knowledge.

The Bubbles and Bites seminar featured two prominent women in the world of wine: Tia Butts of Tia Butts PR and Sommelier Sarah Tracey. These knowledgeable ladies led us through 4 pairing focus areas. Their pairing strategies included: Acid needs Acid, Flavor Match, Contrast Pairing and Texture Match. The chefs at the Marcus Whitman Hotel created 4 generous bites to display the flavor bursts that can be achieved with the correct pairings.

Bubbles and Bites

First up: Acid meets Acid

Our first sparkling pairing was a Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut ($22) and Classic Bruschetta. The bruschetta was covered in fresh tomatoes bits , rich parmesan with a balsamic glaze which created an acidic food appetizer. The Sonoma Brut is a combination of hand harvested Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes that was fermented in stainless steel barrel for 1.5 years. The nose is floral with a hint of pear. It is in the palate that the strong backbone of the wine comes alive with tastes of citrus through lemon, apple and an acidity that matches that of the tomatoes and balsamic vinegar in the bruschetta. This crisp and clean pairing is an excellent way to get your guests’ taste buds activated for the remainder of a great holiday meal.

Second: Flavor Match

Gloria Ferrer provided the Blanc de Noirs ($22) sparkling wine for pairing with the Cougar Gold and Turkey pinwheel featuring strawberry preserve, boursin and arugula. The Blanc de Noirs is also a blend of Pinot Noir and a small amount Chardonnay that was hand harvested. This wine was aged en tirage (fermentable sugar and yeast were added to induce a second fermentation) for 1.5 years. The Pinot Noir juices were left in contact with the grape skins for 24 hours giving the sparkling wine a light rose color. The Blanc de Noirs shows a strawberry and cherry nose. The flavors feature strawberry and a rich cherry cola flavoring.  The strawberry flavors in both the pinwheels and the wine complimented each other and provided a light and delightful pairing.

Third: Contrast Pairing

Our third dish was a new one for me; Ahi Poke with sunomono cucumbers, sriracha, seaweed salad and pickled ginger. The sparkling wine chosen for this paring was Gloria Ferrer’s Brut Rose ($29). Like the other sparkling wines, it too was aged en tirage. The Brut Rose featured a heavy blending of hand harvested Pinot Noir grapes with a smaller amount of Chardonnay. The Pinot Noir juice was left in contact with the skins for 36 hours giving it a beautiful rose color. The nose is strawberry with a hint of ginger and pear. The taste imparts a round mouth with a hint of cream to balance out the acidity from the fruit. The Ahi Poke appetizer contrasted the hint of spice and crispness of the Brut Rose. This contrast was a new one for me but it played well on the spice and creaminess of the fruit hint sparkling wine.

Final Treat: Texture Match

The last of the pairings was of Gloria Ferrer featured the 2010 Anniversary Cuvee sparkling wine paired with bacon wrapped scallops with a Meyer lemon aioli. The 2010 Anniversary Cuvee is one of my favorites and well worth the $45 price point. The chef at the Marcus Whitman created a beautiful bacon wrapped scallop with multiple textures combining bacon and scallops. The 2010 Anniversary Cuvee was fermented for 5 years with a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. The nose has hints of pear and vanilla. The palate is creamy with a taste of black cherry stone fruit, honey and vanilla. This is a round mouthful of sparkling wine that pairs very well with the full texture created by the bacon and scallop appetizers. This pairing works very well and could make a light meal of its own with the addition of a few crisp vegetables for nibbling.

The Bubbles and Bites seminar was one of my favorites in the entire WBC18. The sparkling wine selections, the wonderful ladies who led us through the pairings and the chef at the Marcus Whitman created an excellent and delicious learning experience.

Remember to drink what it is that makes you truly happy and always think positively!

Drink Responsibly!

#MarcusWhitman @thelushlifeny @WineInkByTia #gloriaferrerwines #blackwinelovers

Lugana and the Turbiana grape

One of the highlights of the annual Wine Bloggers’ Conference (now appropriately renamed to the Wine Media Conference), is the opportunity to learn about wines from around the globe. 2016 and 2017 introduced me to wines from Alsace in northern France. 2018 brought a new 

Walla-Walla Evening Winery Treat

On the Road to Diner – Walla Walla Earlier this month, I reviewed the wine tasting room experience in downtown Walla Walla, Washington during the 2018 Wine Bloggers Conference. This year, the WBC18 returned to a conference favorite format where the Friday evening meal location 

2018 Wine Blogger’s Conference – Walla Walla Hospitality

Walla Walla, Washington was the host for the 2018 Wine Bloggers’ Conference. If you have traveled to Seattle but have not ventured east over the Cascade Mountains, you’ve missed the majority of an amazing state. The state of Washington is just filled with awe inspiring vast landscapes and wonders. Located in the southeastern part of Washington State, Walla Walla boasts a thriving and evolving wine industry that focuses on the history of Washington Territory, the varied terroir of the land and the collaborative spirits that the local winemakers have engaged in to make this a vibrant and successful industry.

Locals are fond of saying that the town of Walla Walla is so nice, they named it twice.  The Walla Walla river, tributary to the Columbia River, actually runs through the center of town. Just east of the town, you can see the Blue Mountains. The Blue Mountains range spans from northeastern Oregon to southeastern Washington state. Downtown Walla Walla boasts several statues and plaques describing and honoring the history of the town and the Native American peoples who traditionally inhabited these lands. Walking down Main street in Walla Walla is a visual display of the importance of winemaking in this region with several of the local winemakers hosting vibrant tasting rooms for locals and visitors to enjoy. The people are friendly, and the wines are rich in complexity.

The Walla Walla appellation (AVA) is a regional agricultural hub with a rich history of growing apples, strawberries and asparagus. It is noteworthy that more than half of the apples consumed in the United States are grown in the region. This AVA is unique in that 2/3rds of it lies in Washington and 1/3 is in Oregon. The terroir includes types from river gravel to deep dark silt. 43% of the 2,933 acres of vineyards are planted in Oregon with the remaining 57% planted in Washington state (1).

The Visit Walla Walla association ( was extremely accommodating, and the conference was held in the historic Marcus Whitman hotel in downtown. The Marcus Whitman hotel and conference center is a luxury facility featuring western décor with an exceptional culinary experience. The hotel is named for missionary Marcus Whitman who holds a special place in the history of the Washington territory. The hotel features 3 tasting rooms – TERO Estates, The Vineyard Lounge and Locati Cellars.

The conference bookended with education sessions and visits to local wineries. Visit Walla Walla sponsored Saturday’s luncheon with a special treat- visits to the local winery of your choice on Main Street with a full wine tasting menu. There were several wineries to choose from. I chose Truth Teller winery for our luncheon and wine tasting experience. The court jester graphic painted on the picture window at the front of the tasting room drew me in. Those of you who followed my 2016 Wine Bloggers experience may remember that I chose the circus symbol for my mystery dinner. There is clearly a parallel that can be drawn between my love of humor and the wineries that I continue to visit sight unseen.

Truth Teller Winery Tasting Room – downtown Walla Walla

Truth Teller winery ( is a small family owned winery in Washington state. Husband and wife team Chris and Dawn Loeliger started their winery in Woodenville and in May of 2018 opened a tasting room in Walla Walla. The couple met in Dallas, TX and through a series of earlier high tech career moves found themselves in the Seattle area. They loved the region and decided to give winemaking a try. The name of the winery comes from the origin of their Swiss family name – Loeliger which loosely translated means “jester”. With this they have adapted an approach that combines humor in the names of their wines and the truth that is told when an individual enjoys a bottle of their craftsmanship.

Chris Loliger – Owner Truth Teller Winery

















While the Walla Walla AVA is well known for their exceptional and complex red wines, one of my favorite wines during the tasting is the 2017 Frolic Viognier. This wine is made from 100% Viognier grapes sources from Sugarloaf Vineyard in Yakima Valley. It is a crisp white wine with medium acidity, a light stone fruit taste and a touch of sweetness. The nose is a pleasant white floral with a hint of peach.

The fermentation is primarily stainless steel with 34% of the fermentation taking place in neutral oak. Neutral oak is not used to impart flavor but, to soften a wine to balance out the flavors, acidity and tannins.





Walla Walla is a thriving community where the average age of their residents is in the late 30s. Businesses are thriving, and the wine industry is growing. 2018 saw a 4.3% increase in the number of acres planted in the Walla Walla AVA. The predominant grapes grown are red – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Franc. Walla Walla reds are generally lighter in body while exhibiting an earthiness that makes these easier to enjoy young in the vintage. While white varietals are not predominant in this AVA, Walla Walla winemakers will source from their neighbors in Yakima Valley to create excellent white wine offerings. I would encourage wine lovers to visit this region. Wines are value priced with exceptional levels of complexity only seen in the finest wines.


Remember to drink what it is that makes you truly happy and always think positively!

Drink Responsibly!

@truthtellerwine #blackwinelovers #wbc18