mashed potatoes and gravy

Tipsy Tuesday – Wine & Gravy

mashed potatoes and gravyYes, you can put wine in gravy and it tastes delicious! Try this recipe out next time you have mashed potatoes with poultry for dinner. It really seems to add a more gourmet dimension to your typical chicken gravy.

Chardonnay Mushroom Gravy


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1-3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Chardonnay
  • 2 Tablespoons green onions or leeks, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


In a medium skillet, melt butter. Add mushrooms and cook 3-4 minutes or until softened, stirring often. Mix in cornstarch, stirring continuously until  incorporated. Add in chicken broth, wine, green onions, salt and pepper. Cook, continuing to stir, until thickened, about 3-4 more minutes.

Serve hot with mashed potatoes.

Linda's Signature

Summer Picnic Wines

I found some delicious summer white wines to accompany your next picnic or light lunch. These will keep you cool under the summer sun and save you money since they are all under $15!

A Chardonnay can be both creamy or very light and refreshing. Pair this varietal with white fish, grilled chicken or salad to keep it light.

2009 Four Sisters Chardonnay


2009 Four Sisters (4/5) – fruity flavors of peach and melon and subtle notes of flowers, apple, fig, lemon and toasty oak. It has a nice balance and smooth finish.



Hess Chardonnay


2009 Hess Chardonnay (3.5/5) – offers a smooth, oaky taste with tropical notes of pineapple, apple and pear.




2009 simi chardonnay

2009 Simi Chardonnay (3.5/5) – a medium bodied wine with the aromatic aroma of fruits – nectarine, pineapple, orange, and green apples. The taste is very balanced with distinct flavors of tangerine, peaches and green apple with hints of vanilla and honey as well as a slight toasty oak.


2011 Dominican Oaks Chardonnay

2011 Dominican Oaks Chardonnay, unoaked (3.5/5) – aromas of green apple, pear, lemon and tropical fruit with flavors of melon, orange and pineapple. It is a lighter wine with a firm acidity that has a lingering minerality at the finish.


Sauvignon Blancs are especially refreshing with summer salads.

2009 Slingshot Sauvignon Blanc


2009 Slingshot Sauvignon Blanc (4/5) – a perfect pairing of refreshing citrus, hints of honeydew and key lime with a crisp fruity finish.



2011 Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc


2011 Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc (3.5/5) – a sharp citrusy New Zealand wine with flavors of lemon, lime and grapefruit accompanied by notes of pear and grass. A nice light wine for the price.



Want a slightly sweeter but crisp wine you can opt for a Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris. Again it pairs great with seafood, appetizers and salads highlighted with fruit. Here are my daughter’s absolute two favorites.

santa margherita pinot grigio.

2010 Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio (4.5/5) – This is a dry, crisp and refreshing wine with fruity aromas of citrus, pear and golden delicious apples.


2008 Kris Pinot Grigio


2008 Kris Pinot Grigio (4/5) – A light flavorful Italian wine with refreshing notes of apple, peach, pear and melon. It has a very crisp, citrusy taste with hints of  almonds and honey as well as a nice body and soft finish.



And lastly, try a sparkling viognier, albarino or prosecco for just sipping or to pair with appetizers such as cheese or fruit, a lunch of tuna or chicken salad or with a light dessert.

2010 Casillero del Diablo Voignier


2010 Casillero del Diablo Voignier (4/5) – a medium-bodied wine with aromas of rose petals, apricots and peaches and creamy flavors of the same along with papaya and just a hint of oak and vanilla.



2011 Conde Villar Alvarinho.

2011 Conde Villar Alvarinho (4.5/5) – a full, rich wine with complex aromas of jasmine and orange blossoms and refreshing flavors of pear, lemon and melon. Very nicely structured and a smooth finish.



Riondo Prosecco


Riondo Prosecco (4/5) – a light bodied, fruity wine that has a wonderful effervescence and a fresh clean taste.  It has subtle, slightly sweet flavors of tangerine, pears and apples and ends with a crisp, citrusy finish.



Linda's Signature

Wine Wednesday – Gordon Brothers Chardonnay

2010-Gordon-Brothers-ChardonnayI love trying new Chardonnays, especially in the summer when I want something light and refreshing, and this 2010 Gordon Brothers Family Vineyards Chardonnay really hits the mark.

The wine is comprised of 100% Chardonnay grapes and produced in the oldest estate winery in Washington state, and let me tell you, it is absolutely fabulous! Upon opening, you will be greeted with aromas of apples, pear and melon as well as some toasty floral notes.  On your first sip, you will find a wonderfully complex wine with flavors of butterscotch, or maybe it’s caramel, tangerine and pineapple and a rich, smooth, lingering finish. A great wine to stock up on and enjoy during the heat of summer.

Food pairing: An excellent wine to accompany turkey, fish, pork, cream-based pasta sauces, salads and a variety of cheeses.

Price: $14.99

Rating 4 out of 5

Linda's Signature

Tip Tuesday – Stretching Your Wine Dollars

Mango Basil Wine CocktailIf you are having a large party and are on a tight budget you might want to try serving wine cocktails, or as some people know them by – sangria, instead of straight up wine. It makes the wine stretch further and you can usually get away with a cheaper wine since it is mixed with other ingredients. No one will know that you did it to cut costs because they taste oh so good and are very refreshing on warm summer nights.

Mango-Basil Wine Cocktail


Basil Simple Syrup

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup basil leaves

Cocktail Mix

  • 1 bottle inexpensive Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay
  • 2-1/2 cups mango nectar (peach nectar can also be used)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • Garnish: basil leaves, mango or peach slice


To make simple syrup, combine all of the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, crushing basil leaves against side of pan to bring out flavor, then simmer just until sugar has dissolved. Let cool.

When ready to serve, mix wine, mango or peach nectar, lemon juice and simple syrup in a large pitcher. Pour into glasses filled with ice. Garnish with basil leaf and slice of mango, peach or lemon. You can also make the cocktail more colorful by placing pieces of fruit such as mango, peaches, lemons, raspberries or strawberries right in the pitcher.

Serves 6.

Note: You can also try pureed strawberries in place of mango or peach nectar as they go great with the taste of basil.

Linda's Signature

Wine Wednesday – 2011 Glass Mountain Chardonnay

2011 Glass Mountain ChardonnayWhile attending my son’s wedding in Austin Texas we had the chance to stop by the hotel bar for a drink. Their house white was a golden colored Chardonnay from the Glass Mountain Vineyard near St. Helena, California. I was surprised to note that the parent company is none other than Markham Vineyards, producers of  excellent wines, and among which are some of my favorites. This particular vintage is comprised of 77% Chardonnay, 16% Chenin Blanc, 5% Riesling and 2% Sauvignon Blanc, which gave the wine a nice crispness, probably from the Chenin Blanc and Riesling grapes, and a toastier oak edge from the Chardonnay grapes.

The flavors were mainly those of tropical fruit, crisp apple and pear with just a hint of vanilla and oak. Aromas were very pleasant reminding one of golden apples and fresh melon. There was a nice minerality to it and it finished very clean and smooth. A great choice for an everyday wine and even more so when you consider the low price.

Food Pairing: Pair with poultry, seafood and white fish, creamed based pastas, vegetable soups, light appetizers or just by itself.

Price Range: $6.99-$8.99

3 and one half out of 5

Linda's Signature

Wine Wednesday – 2011 Maple Ridge Chardonnay California

2011 Maple Ridge ChardonnayI love Wine Wednesday since I get to taste several wines so that I can pick a favorite to post about. Lucky me!

This wine was featured in Total Wine the week before I went on vacation so thought it would be a nice white to try while soaking up the warm tropical sun of Key West. And indeed it was! It was an instant hit with all members of the family, not only the Chardonnay drinkers but the Pinot Grigio ones as well. It is often hard to find a wine that will please both palates so I am one happy camper.

This wine is very light and crisp with a wonderful blend of pear, apple and honey flavors. It has a touch of vanilla from the oak barrel and delivers a smooth, refreshing taste. I would recommend this one heartily for summer dining and plan on stocking up on it while it is still available. A great wine for the price!

Food Pairing: Pair with seafood, lightly sauced pastas, green salads, especially those highlighted with fruits like this delightful Spinach & Strawberry Salad, and creamy to mild cheeses.

Price: $7.99

4.5 out of 5 ratingRating 4.5/5

Linda's Signature