Celebrating Black History Month
With February being Black History Month, it is a great time to familiarize ourselves with more of the diverse voices in the wine industry. Ideally, we do this all year, not just in February. I have gratefully watched the industry change over the past few years, becoming more inclusive, especially with writers I have met. Still, it is nowhere close to where it should be, but I hope we can ride the tide of this progress.
The writers at #WinePW (Wine Pairing Weekend) are focused this month on BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) wineries, led by David of Cooking Chat whose Invitation post you can read here.
We will be doing a Zoom Chat about these wines. It is open to any who would like to attend, but you will need to register. Scan the QR code in the image or here is the link,
You can find links to my colleagues’ articles at the end of this post.
Finding wines from BIPOC wineries
If you have tried searching in wine databases for these, you will be frustrated. I was. I found a wine locally, at last. Something that is widely distributed so that you can get your hands on it also.
After I bought this wine, I found that my friend Brianne Cohen of SOMMspirations has a list on her site. She had been asked so often that she finally put together a resource. I was grateful to find it. I’m sharing it with you and throwing a big ‘thank you’ out to Brianne. https://briannecohen.com/diversity/#black-owned-wineries
Phil Long and Longevity
The wine we are pairing today is from Longevity. I briefly met Phil Long of Longevity at the Wine Media Conference in Eugene, Oregon, a couple of years ago.
Phil and his wife Debra opened Longevity in 2009 in the Livermore Valley of California. The company name was based not only on their last name but also on their enduring love for each other. Phil designed the logo based on the hearts he would give Debra each Valentine’s day.
If the label looks familiar, well…Phil and Debra worked hard to get their wine out there, managing some product placement on shows like the ‘Big Bang Theory,’ ‘Big Little Lies,’ ‘American Horror Story,’ and ‘Mom.’
Debra was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2016, and Phil lost her in 2019. He has the heart logo tattooed on his arm, a constant reminder of Debra.
His son Phil Long Jr works with him to produce 3,500 cases of wine each year from local Livermore Valley grapes. In-house with their small production, they make Sparkling wines, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Muscat Canelli, a GSM Rosé called Rosé of deb-ru-vee, as well as reds including Grenache, Mourvedre, Tempranillo, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and several blends.
That’s a small winery. So how did I find a bottle in large distribution? In 2019, Phil partnered with Bronco Wine Company to produce Longevity Classic California wines on a larger scale. They have a Chardonnay, a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Blanc de Blanc Sparkling, and a Rosé of Pinot Noir, called Debra’s Cuvée, under this label. I was able to find a bottle at Total wine.
Time for a bit of bragging about Phil and Longevity. In 2018 they were awarded the Livermore Valley Winery of the Year. In 2020 Phil was nominated for the Wine Enthusiast Wine Star Awards in the Social Visionary Category, and he is the President of the AAAV (Association of African American Vintners. You can use this link to learn more about this Association and their outreach.)
Longevity 2019 Chardonnay
This wine is 96% Chardonnay, 1% Sauvignon Blanc, 1% Pinot Grigio, and 2% Mixed (not quite sure what that means.) Phil says the 2019 season saw lots of rainfall and a consistently warm summer.
***This wine has a helix closure, so you do not need a corkscrew. The glass and the cork are threaded. Resealable and recyclable. Of course, this doesn’t keep your wine like if you have used a Coravin. There will be air that goes back into the bottle, but you can reseal to keep it from spilling without struggling to fit the cork back in the bottle or buy another closure device.
Some winery brags about this wine: It has appeared on Oprah’s Valentine’s O list (and V Day is coming up, so…), and Reese Witherspoon raved about this wine on an episode of Big Little Lies.
I will admit that I had a cold, so today, we defer to Michael’s tasting notes!
This wine pours a rich golden color, and the first aromas are of movie theatre-buttered popcorn. This blows off and is replaced by notes of apple pie as it opens. Michael found lovely notes of fruit sweetness on the palate but not residual sugar. He found subtle notes of lemon gumdrop, granny smith apple, tropical notes like sweet pineapple, baking spices, white pepper, and vanilla. This was complex and round in his mouth with mouth-watering acidity that is not too sharp.
He very much enjoyed this wine, finding it a good happy medium to bring together those who like oaked Chardonnays and those who like stainless steel Chardonnays.
Creamy Garlic Chicken with Spinach
We paired this wine with Creamy Garlic Chicken with Spinach. Chicken cutlets or boneless chicken thighs are coated in herbs and spices and cooked until golden, then they nestle in a creamy sauce with onions, garlic, bacon, sundried tomatoes and spinach.
Serve with cauliflower rice or puree and pair with a Chardonnay, like this one from Longevity that balances between the creamy buttery spicy notes of an oaked chardonnay and the fruit and crispness of a stainless steel chardonnay.
Michael found that the bacon and the spinach in the sauce worked nicely as a counterpoint with the wine. He was surprised at how well the onions worked (he is not a fan). He was sure that a whole onion would be too much, but he said that it was just right.
Other terrific Black-owned Wineries to check out this month and every month!
(These are just a few we have visited, there are more on Bri’s list above!)
Corner 103 in Sonoma
We visited Lloyd Davis at Corner 103 in Sonoma a few years ago. You can read about our experience, and it is an experience. It is so much more than a simple tasting.
Bodkin Wines in Sonoma.
We tasted Chris Christensen’s “Where’s Linus” Sauvignon Blanc a couple of years ago, and I’m still wanting to taste some of his sparkling wines!
- Where’s Linus? Sauvignon Blanc with a shaved vegetable salad, crostini, and scallops on cauliflower rice risotto #WinePW
Meadows Family Estate in Oregon’s Umpqua Valley.
We met Dexter & Marilyn Meadows and their daughter Angela at their winery in 2021. They were just getting their feet wet with their first few vintages. You can read about them in this piece on the Umpqua Valley.
More on BIPOC Wineries from my friends at #WinePW
- Linda from My Full Wine Glass will share “Celebrating BIPOC wine: Maison Noir paired with mushroom pizza“
- Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm is “Celebrating Black History Month with #WinePW“
- Camilla from Culinary Cam is writing about “Tehran to McMinnville: Maysara’s 2015 Jamsheed Pinot Noir + Joojeh Kabab with Mast-o Khiar“
- Wine Predator…Gwendolyn Alley is “Feeding the Worms with Winemaker Susanna Vasquez at Lodi’s Peltier”
- David from Cooking Chat will be pairing “Jerk Chicken Pasta Recipe with Wine from Maison Noir“
You can watch our conversation on Zoom below! (My voice was gone, but I managed to squeek out some of the details on the wine we tasted!)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp fresh basil
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary
- 2 tsp fresh parsley
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 lb chicken cutlets or boneless thighs
- 2½ tbsp butter
- 1 small onion diced
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 cup of cream
- 1 cup of chicken broth
- 2 ounces of cream cheese
- 5 slices of bacon crisped
- 2 tbsp chopped sun-dried tomatoes
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 3 cups of fresh spinach
- Basil for garnishing
- Cauliflower rice or puree to serve
- Fry the bacon in a large cast iron skillet. Set it aside to cool, then chop it into small pieces.
- Do not clean the pan.
- Chop the fresh herbs and mix together the seasonings and olive oil for the chicken.
- Rub the chicken with the seasoning.
- Add ½ tbsp of butter to the bacon grease in the cast iron skillet and heat to medium-high.
- Cook the chicken for 7 min per side until golden (165°F internal temp)
- Set aside. Do not clean the pan.
- Add 2 tbsp butter to the pan with the drippings over med-high heat
- Add the onion and cook, mixing with the fat for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute or so until fragrant.
- Add the cream, chicken broth, cream cheese, and ½ of the bacon and/or sundried tomatoes.
- Whisk and cook until creamy
- Add the parmesan and fresh spinach
- Simmer until the spinach wilts
- Season with salt and pepper
- Return the chicken to the pan to warm in the sauce
- Serve over cauliflower rice or puree using the remaining bacon and fresh basil to garnish.
If you are not using bacon, use 1 tbsp olive oil with the butter to cook the onions.
We used cauliflower rice. If you want to make a puree, simply toss the cauliflower rice in a blender or food processor until smooth, adding a little butter, salt, and pepper.
Amount Per Serving Calories 794Total Fat 56gSaturated Fat 28gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 24gCholesterol 301mgSodium 1657mgCarbohydrates 26gFiber 3gSugar 5gProtein 48g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine and WSET 3 Certified. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.
When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.
Check out our book series, “Tempting Spoonfuls” available through Amazon!
Inspired by the flavors and aromas in wines, these books create “tempting spoonfuls” of flavors to pair with wines.
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