Venu Magazine and Fred Bollaci Enterprises to co-host Venu Vines Inaugural “Sip & Savor” Virtual Wine and Dine Series with Celebrated Chef Christopher Covelli of Sage SRQ in Sarasota, FL, Paired with Wines from Williamson Winery in Sonoma, CA July 29, 2020 @6:30pm on VenuMagazine Facebook Live


Friends, please SAVE THE DATE! Weds July 29th, 2020 @6:30pm LIVE on Facebook Venü Magazine our inaugural Venu Vines Sip & Savor Virtual Dining Series Event featuring delicious food by celebrated Christopher Covelli of Sage SRQ and Toscana Saporita Italian Cooking School in Italy paired with three exquisite wines by Sam Williamson Williamson Wines Sonoma, CA! There will be a signature Sparkling Shiraz, a beautiful Sonoma Chardonnay and an estate Pinot Noir! Other delicious wines available for purchase and enjoyment. Recipes and ingredients list to follow so you can cook along! Order your wines today from Williamson at special pricing, and 10 percent goes to benefit Florida Winefest and Auction, which has raised over $8.5million for Florida west coast disadvantaged children the past 30 years! Hope to see you there it will be fun! Please RSVP and order your wines and share on your pages! Cheers, be safe and healthy everyone.

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“All the Lobsters We Know Crave Chardonnay” By Monty & Sara Preiser of “The Preiser Key,” Co-Founders of “The American Fine Wine Competition,” and Co-Owners of Shadowbox Cellars in Napa, CA, Guest Contributors


Pictured: Shadowbox Cellars 2013 Forty Sixth Leaf Chardonnay



by Monty and Sara Preiser July 13, 2020

“All the Lobsters We Know Crave Chardonnay”

Everybody seeks out something they love to help get them through this terrible period in our history. If we Americans weren’t ¬“persona non grata” in Europe these days because of our incomprehensible infection rate, that is probably where we might plan an escape – to one of the countries that have apparently fought the virus intelligently and beat it back.

One of the things we are doing is to take time to make our dining experiences at home more personal than usual. We choose some of our favorite dishes, experiment with others, and accompany what materializes with the best wines we can. That’s our mission today – to talk about wine – to have some fun! Though we don’t eat it every night, we love lobster.

Just as Bubba in Forest Gump recited all the ways shrimp could be prepared, lobster is almost as versatile. You can enjoy it steamed, broiled, grilled, baked, boiled, fried, poached, dipped in butter, in a creamy bisque, in a sauce (Newberg), with Bechamel sauce and cheese (Thermidor), on a roll with mayo and lettuce, mixed in with macaroni, on a grilled cheese sandwich sold by Omaha Steaks (surprisingly decadent), and who knows how many other concoctions? Selecting a wine pairing for each of the above might seem like a daunting task, but, in our opinion, there is only one white varietal that can handle the tastes and textures of lobster in this vast array of recipes, and that is Chardonnay. We know, we know – there are those who consider Chardonnay boring, but it is unlikely these people have ever spent enough time sampling and learning all the different profiles that the grape can show depending on place of origin and winemaking procedures, the latter of which encompasses dozens of decisions designed to influence the character of the final product. What is it about Chardonnay that makes it such a pleasing pairing with lobster? As to body, lobster dishes are usually full and show nice weight on the palate.

Chardonnays usually project a heavier balance than many other varietals, and so are quite complimentary. It’s a good bet that the enjoyment of Chards with lobster has to do, at lease to some degree, with the innate citrus nuances (lemon, grapefruit, lime) that are discernable in both the nose and taste of the grape. It is a better bet that Chards that pair exquisitely with lobster have spent at least some time in oak, are stirred on the lees, and/or and have gone through malolactic (second) fermentation. All of these influencers bring perceptions of butter and cream to the wine – often so pleasing that one need not even use a dipping sauce. Granted, there are other highly aromatic wines, some with touches of spice, that are more than satisfactory pairings. These might include Viognier or Pinot Grigio, as their minerality can go well with the sweet nature of the lobster. But, generally, we suggest Chardonnay, sometimes full bodied, sometimes less, sometimes creamy, sometimes not, depending on the way your entrée will be served. It will take some experimentation to ultimately discover what wine you prefer with what sort of preparation. We would like to recommend some Chardonnays for you to consider with the various preparations common to lobster. Naturally, these pairings are our perception, and swapping them around probably won’t significantly affect your enjoyment of the feast. With one exception, we have, by design, omitted vintages, as the wines from these producers, while certainly not the same every year, are always close enough in style for you to feel comfortable ordering them today, or twelve months from now.

For steamed, boiled, or poached: Frank Family Carneros ($38) and Frank Family Lewis Vineyard ($70): There is little doubt that the Lewis is the more exquisite of the two, but for this particular meal we don’t think you need to spend the extra $32. The Carneros is brilliant. Rombauer Carneros ($38) and Rombauer Proprietor Selection ($70): With the prices being coincidentally identical to the two Frank Family recommendations, we could simply copy the material above and leave it at that. However, we feel that the Rombauer Carneros is hard to improve upon. It has been winning world-wide awards for a long time, and the winery has modified it as taste preferences have evolved. Del Dotto Fort Ross-Seaview ($85): A spectacular wine from a spectacular region. It is difficult, however, for some to pay $85 to pair with lobster, especially when there are much less expensive choices that are as pleasing. Shadowbox Cellars Orchard Vineyard ($48) and Shadowbox Cellars 46th Leaf ($70): The usual disclaimer: We are co-owners of this winery, and are hesitant to name it amongst our recommendations – we might be a touch biased. But, to our palate this Chard can be perfect – and vintage is important as they age beautifully – much like a quality Montrachet. Shadowbox is in fact creating a niche for the consumer to enjoy older wines. Here you can taste Chards back through 2010, and the 2014 and 2015 Orchard Vineyard are marvelous perceived blends of Burgundy and California. The 2013 46th leaf, with only a few cases remaining, is as hugely mouth filling with butter notes as is any wine in America. Maldonado Family Los Olivos Napa ($42): The terrific Los Olivos vineyard is in the southern area of Napa called Jaimeson Canyon. Though not as famous as the Carneros region, the area is influenced by the same type weather, water, and winds. Ramey Ft. Ross-Seaview ($42): Drinks like a $75 wine, coming as it does from just off the Pacific, and benefitting from David Ramey’s deft hands and palate. Complex and elegant, a distinctive nose and long finish, with layers of flavors and creaminess in between. For broiled, grilled, or baked: Frostwatch Estate ($30) and Frostwatch Ophira Reserve ($45): An under the radar winery we have featured before, Frostwatch’s wines are perfectly balanced, and emit touches of citrus notes that lead to a medium body that compliments the above. Nickel & Nickel Truchard Vineyard ($55): A bright, classic Chardonnay, with huge flavors of citrus that make this wine especially pleasing earlier in the day. Lunch anyone? Hanzell Winemakers Selection ($36) and Hanzell “The De Brye” Selection ($68): Always a beautiful finish. Once again, the qualitative differences in the two Chards, even tho they are from different locations, does not require buying the more expensive for the lobster. V. Sattui Carsi Vineyard ($42): For those who enjoy the enhanced influence of quality oak, this nicely bodied wine is perfect for the lobster charred on the grill. Corley Family Block III ($60): A rich wine with a noticeable citrus nose, creaminess (surprising how much, as it is only partial malolactic), and, not just butter, but butterscotch. Something a little different, but it works well here. For bisques, sauces, and Thermidor: Blue Farm Laceroni Russian River Valley ($70): It was difficult to pick out any one characteristic here, given its layers, integration, and balance. A wine that could easily move up and down these categories and fit anywhere. Castello di Amorosa Reserve ($59): Round and full bodied, with a full mouth feel, some buttery notes, and good structure. It is made for richer dishes. JCB Collection No. 81 ($52): Just as with a valued utility player in baseball, this Chardonnay could play in any field here. We think its crispness, however, allows it to hit a home run with any preparation in this category. For fried and rolls: Jordan Russian River Valley ($35): Beautifully crisp and bright to both compliment the condiments on a roll, and cut through the oils on the fried dish. Keenan Spring Mountain ($40): A wine that zings its way to accompany foods, it offers citrus for the fried lobster, a sur-lees creaminess for steamed lobster on a bun, and a medium body. Truchard Rousanne Carneros ($28): Well, a “Ringer,” not a Chardonnay. This lovely Rousanne possesses all the flavors of a Polynesian luau, which will easily accompany fried shellfish.

We love lobster in all its preparations, and we love well produced and balanced Chardonnays. Our mission today has been to discuss, and maybe persuade, how much a perfect Chardonnay enhances the natural flavor of the lobster meat.

A Little Lobster Humor

A girl lobster meets a crab boy and they quickly hit it off. Unfortunately, the girl lobster’s father is dead set against inter-species relationships and tells his daughter “If you keep seeing that crab boy, I’m cutting you off. No daughter of mine will be with a ‘sideways walker’, I will not stand for it.” Upset, the girl lobster tells her crab boyfriend about her father’s feelings. The boy crab is so in love with the girl lobster that he resolves to learn to walk forwards and backwards to prove his love, and win her father’s blessing. He practices for weeks, and finally overcomes his natural urge to walk sideways. Ready to show his true love’s father that love conquers all, he arrives one morning at the girl lobsters house. As he is making his way up the sidewalk, in a perfectly straight forward line, he hears the father yell from inside the house, “That does it, that good for nothing crab is here, and he’s already drunk.” ===========

George was driving through Maine and he saw a man with a push cart holding a sign that said, “Two lobster tails – $4.00.” Knowing what a good deal this was, George pulled off, went over to the man and paid his money. “I’m ready for my lobster tails now, George said.” The fishmonger put a pipe in his mouth, sat down on a rocking chair, and began, “Once upon a time there were these two lobsters . . . .”

============ What do you call a crab that throws things? A Lobster

============ Cathy and Tiffany are talking. Cathy: “That cute George Johnson asked me out for a date. I know you went out with him last week, and I wanted to talk with you about him before I give him my answer.” Tiffany: “Well, I’ll tell you. He showed up at my apartment punctually at 7 P.M., dressed in a beautiful suit. He brought me flowers and we went to the restaurant in a limousine with chauffeur. Dinner was my favorite – lobster, champagne, dessert, and after-dinner drinks. Then we go see a show. Let me tell you, I enjoyed it so much! So then we were in the limo going back to my place and he changed – he tore off my expensive new dress and, well, you can imagine . . “ Cathy: “My Goodness. So you are telling me I shouldn’t go out with him?” Tiffany: “No, no, no , , , I’m just saying, wear an old dress.”

S T A Y S A F E !!

Monty and Sara Preiser reside full time in Palm Beach County, Florida, and spend their summers on the west coast where they have a home in Napa. They honed their wine skills as they traveled the country while Monty practiced law for 20 years, and for many years were wine columnists for The Boca Raton News and other publications. They are now the principal wine writers/editors for numerous lifestyle magazines including Coastal Isles on the Atlantic Coast and Living on the Suncoast on the Florida west coast. They own Creative Professional Programs, a company devoted to continuing education for professionals in conjunction with fine wine & food instruction. The Preisers have served as judges for several wine competitions from east to west coast, are frequent guest commentators on wine radio shows, and they publish the most comprehensive guide to Napa Valley wineries and restaurants titled, appropriately, The Preiser Key.

For more information, visit

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Chilled Cantaloupe Soup with Fresh Chantilly Cream- A Perfect Summer Starter or Dessert!

Chilled Cantaloupe Soup


This delicious, refreshing soup works great as a starter, as well as for dessert, especially during the summer months when the weather is hot and the likelihood of finding a ripe, sweet, delicious melon is greater.

Serves 4


4 cups of peeled, de-seeded, diced ripe cantaloupe melon (Note: honeydew is another option)

1 cup whipped cream (instructions for making your own below)

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons chopped basil

juice of 1 lime

1 cup water

2 teaspoons mixed seasonings (see note)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Sprigs of fresh basil or mint leaves as a garnish (optional)


Put the diced cantaloupe, balsamic, basil, lime juice and water in a food processor or blender and process into a smooth, creamy consistency.

Add mixed seasonings and the olive oil and process into the soup.

Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.


Mixed Seasonings:

Combine 1/2 teaspoon each of ground nutmeg and cinnamon with a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar, and an optional pinch of cayenne.


Chantilly Cream Recipe:


1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

optional 1/2 vanilla bean


Place a metal mixing bowl and metal whisk in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Split the vanilla seam lengthwise with the tip of a sharp knife, hold then pod open and scrape out the seeds into a bowl for use.

Add sugar to mixing bowl, then add the heavy cream. Start whisking, then add the vanilla, continue to whisk just until the cream reaches stiff peaks. Store any unused portion as long as overnight. Re-whisk for 10-20 seconds when ready to use.


To serve, pour the chilled soup into soup bowls or pasta dishes. Top with the prosciutto chips and a dollop of the Chantilly cream and optional fresh basil or mint as a garnish. Note: a tablespoon of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt of your choice also works nicely.

Note: to make this a more savory starter, you can crisp up several thin slices of prosciutto di parma or pancetta in a saute’ pan with a drizzle of olive oil, allow both sides to brown lightly. Remove from the heat onto paper towels, let dry and cool off a few minutes, and break the now crunchy slices into small bits to sprinkle on top as a garnish when you are serving. To complement that, consider a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche instead of the sweeter Chantilly whipped cream.

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Pasta with Smoked Salmon Pink Sauce, Perfect for Brunch!

Pasta with Smoked Salmon Pink Sauce

Perfect for Brunch!

Serves 2-3


1/2 pound imported Italian pasta (or fresh pasta)

1 tablespoon butter

4 ounces Smoked Salmon

1 cup tomato sauce (previously made or store bought)

handful fresh basil

1/2 cup heavy cream (option for fat free half and half for lighter preparation)


dash cayenne pepper (optional)

freshly grated parmesan cheese at end (optional)


Heat a large pot of water to a rolling boil, salt generously, drop the pasta.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large saute’ pan over medium/high heat, add the salmon, break into pieces and stir, don’t let get too dried out, add the tomato, and some of the basil, let simmer while stirring as needed. As the pasta cooks, add the cream, pepper, and cayenne, and let thicken, stirring often to help prevent from sticking and to help amalgamate the flavors.

When the pasta is still more al dente than you would eat, drain and add the pasta to the sauce, reserve a cup of the cooking water, add a splash or two as needed to help the sauce expand and not dry out, but don’t let it get too watery. You want to stir the pasta and sauce with the splash of water for a couple minutes, the end result should be velvety, it should coat the pasta generously, and not be at all watery.

Plate and serve immediately with grated parmesan if desired, and garnish of additional fresh basil. Note: a sprinkle of capers on each dish when plating is another nice option. If using salt-packed, be sure to rinse them well first.

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Pasta “Scampi” with Ripe Tomatoes and Shrimp

Pasta “Scampi” with Ripe Tomatoes and Shrimp

Serves 2-3


1/2 pound imported Italian pasta

1/2 pound Shrimp, peeled, deveined.

2 cups ripe cherry or grape tomatoes

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, additional for drizzle off the heat at the end.

4 cloves garlic, chopped

sea salt and pepper to taste

red chili flakes (optional)

fresh basil

4 ounces dry white wine

1 tablespoon butter

Heat a large pot with plenty of water to a rolling boil for the pasta. Meanwhile, in a large saute’ pan, heat oil with the chopped garlic, mix around, don’t let the garlic brown, after about 1.5 minutes, add the tomatoes, sprinkle of sea salt, pepper, and chili flakes, and continue to toss on medium/high heat for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes burst (you can assist them with your cooking utensil as they soften). Add the basil and shrimp and let simmer for about 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp and set them aside. The reason to cook the shrimp now and remove them is you want to get the flavor from the shrimp into the sauce, as well as the flavors from the sauce absorbed into the shrimp, but you don’t want to overcook the shrimp. Shrimp cook and dry out very quickly, this is why it is important to remove them now.

At this point, drop the pasta in the boiling salted water. Cook until shy of al dente, reserve a cup of the cooking water. Add the white wine and turn up the heat to let the sauce come together. Then add the swirl of butter. When the pasta is shy of al dente (harder than you would eat), drain and add to the sauce, toss for several minutes with a splash or two of pasta cooking water as needed to help form a luscious sauce that is abundant, yet not at all runny and does not overpower or drown out the pasta. It should be dressed like a salad. About 1 minute prior to serving, add the shrimp back in and continue to toss.

Serve immediately.

Notes: this is nice with added fresh basil or freshly chopped parsley. A drizzle of a good quality olive oil off the heat when serving adds another layer of complexity. Another nice variation is to add a slice of orange rind to the sauce while cooking to give it a slightly sweet and citrusy flavor reminiscent of Florida. Italian seafood pastas typically don’t call for cheese, if you have your heart set on something, go for a few scant shavings of ricotta salata so as not to overpower the dish.


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