February 14, 2011

There are few things I love more in this world than wine.


And tonight was a fabulous evening to add to my mental wine collection!!

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A dinner to get to know the winemaker at Jefferson Vineyards, Andy Reagan, and his wife Neeley. Plus Chris, who works at Jefferson, and his girlfriend, Allison.

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We started the evening with appetizers – olives, crackers, spreads, and a platter of radish and rosemary baked almonds and baguette and butter!


And of course, some wines.


Andy poured us a blend straight from the tanks– Chardonnay, Traminette & Riesling

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Andy divided the meal into a number of courses – beginning with Tuna seared with Bacon and his famous (onion-free!) cucumber salsa!


Served with the 2009 Jefferson Pinot Gris – an outstanding wine pairing! The spicy peppers in the salsa MADE me drink more of this bright acidic wine!


Our second course (all prepared by Andy himself!) was a spinach salad with tangerines, goat cheese, avocado, walnuts and BASIL!!! I am telling you: add basil to your next salad. This was amazing, and I think I had 3 portions!!


We broke out the red for the entrée course – a smoky lamb with herbs paired with the 2005 (that was 6 years ago!) Petit Verdot



Andy smoked the lamb with oak chips, which infused into the meat. There was no sauce necessary – all the flavor was just…there. I LOVED the pairing on this one – with the oak coming from all angles!



For dessert we munched on Italian pizzelles!! They were so good! We also brought some chocolate cups and chocolate stout to share with dessert.


But our real dessert came when Andy took us into the barrel room and popped open the barrel corks.




Have you ever tasted such a masterpiece? I asked him if he was offended when people were so quick to dismiss the price of wine. There is SO much work that goes into a bottle of wine! He said he wasn’t offended and that people eventually learn over time (as we have) about the complexity of wine. It’s almost like in the beginning you don’t realize that there IS anything better so you buy and drink the cheaper stuff. But you get what you pay for, and while I do believe there are plenty of great wines for not much money, from my experience in the wine industry, I haven’t had a bad bottle of wine that was priced higher….




Three cheers for grapes!!!!

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{ 76 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christin@purplebirdblog February 14, 2011 at 12:15 am

I am a huge fan of basil in salads!!


2 Matt February 14, 2011 at 12:15 am

drip, drip, cabernet!


3 Allison @ Happy Tales February 14, 2011 at 12:19 am

Wow, it looks like y’all had a fabulous time! I’m so excited for this new little venture of yours :)

Oh, and your hair is getting so long, I love it!


4 KathEats February 14, 2011 at 12:23 am

I think I need a CUT! Like to the shoulders!?


5 Kelly February 14, 2011 at 8:04 pm

No, I say keep it longer!! It suits you so much more : )


6 Alaina February 14, 2011 at 12:29 am

I love wine tasting! My goal in Napa was to drink straight from the barrel and I did that at Del Dotto. :-)

My favorite wine is Bogle which I think has a great flavor for a low cost. Although I really like BR Cohn Cabernet and that run’s about $24. I guess it just depends!


7 Maryann (The Balanced Bean) February 14, 2011 at 12:29 am

I need to learn more about wine!! I am so clueless.. I usually just buy the two buck chuck from Trader Joes 😉 Maybe when Im done with school and have a real job I can afford some of the good stuff :)


8 Hannah February 14, 2011 at 12:32 am

You lead such a glorious life! *swoon*


9 Christine February 14, 2011 at 12:34 am

I know your first love is oatmeal :), but have you ever done a crash course post for us non-wine people? I desperately want to “get into” wine, but haven’t found one I like and don’t want to go out randomly buying bottles.


10 KathEats February 14, 2011 at 8:55 am

We’re planning to do a beer series first – but wine would be fun!


11 Amy February 14, 2011 at 10:48 am

Yes please to both series!


12 Christine February 14, 2011 at 12:38 pm

I agree with Amy- both would be great!


13 Chetney (Czesia's Adventures) February 16, 2011 at 11:02 pm

I was just about to ask the same question! Thank you :)


14 Jenna February 14, 2011 at 12:37 am

That looks like such a fun time, and awesome food!

I love that you eat meat. I think it’s awesome to see a healthy living blogger who proves that you can be active and healthy and still eat red meat and do all the other fun things you do!

Also, I absolutely love your jacket!


15 KathEats February 14, 2011 at 9:53 am


I also asked Andy of the meat’s source and he was happy to tell me they were humanely raised/organic meats.


16 Kate (What Kate is Cooking) February 14, 2011 at 12:51 am

So classy! I really want to go wine tasting. Now that I’m 21, there is no excuse!


17 Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen February 14, 2011 at 12:51 am

This look like such a fabulous evening!


18 Susan February 14, 2011 at 1:04 am

I don’t know what you consider to be a more expensive wine, but I find I can get the same enjoyment out of a $15-$20 bottle of wine as a $50 bottle. Friends of ours had a blind wine tasting party and the winners in two categories ended up being a homemade wine and a bottle of Forestville. A lot of times when I have more expensive wines, I don’t find them to be that much better. We made wine last year with friends and it’s pretty darn good and not counting labor, ended up costing $5/bottle. Maybe I just have a cheap palette. :)


19 Rachel February 14, 2011 at 9:20 am

I think it’s so much about the story, and the place, too, that makes a more expensive wine “worth it.” But a double-blind study shows that most people, who aren’t wine professionals, get just as much enjoyment out of a $15 bottle as a $50 bottle. It’s fascinating:


20 Courtney (Pancakes & Postcards) February 14, 2011 at 1:22 am

looks awesome!! love the pizzelles!


21 Anna Lee February 14, 2011 at 1:23 am

Daffodils on a FOOD PLATE???!!! Never ever!!!!! They are POISONOUS/TOXIC.


22 Mary Frances February 14, 2011 at 2:16 am

Anna Lee,
Why do you believe daffodils are poisonous/toxic? Please share your documentation. I would be interested to know. Thank you.


23 Jenna February 14, 2011 at 2:33 am

It is my understanding that the bulbs are toxic, and the leaves contain a small bit of the toxin, but not the flower itself, which is what is on the plates. You know otherwise?


24 KathEats February 14, 2011 at 8:54 am

Well people put their noses deep into Daffodils all the time to inhale deeply! It’s not like I ate them :)


25 Anna Lee February 14, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Let me begin by saying I’m a Personal Chef and many years ago, I was a florist. Kind of a double whammy there. 😉 There are indeed plenty of delicious and beautiful edible flowers on the market–I grow nasturtiums for their peppery flowers and leaves! But daffs are not considered an edible flower. Decorating plates with these types of flowers isn’t a risk any chef or caterer should take. Besides that, deer and other animals usually leave the flowers and bulbs alone, as they’re tremendously bitter in taste.

Daffodils are yellow, innocent-looking flowers. However, if ingested in large quantities, they can be poisonous and even fatal. Signs of poisoning include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, salivation, trembling and convulsions. Daffodils may also cause severe skin irritation.


26 Anna Lee February 14, 2011 at 12:41 pm

I had one more comment I forgot to make. Commercially grown edible flowers are deemed safe for the table. People who buy a bunch of daffs, etc., at Shop Rite and plunk them down on food platters could possibly be contaminating the food with chemicals and a host of other nasty bugs–not excluding waste products from humans and animals. So I guess I’m saying “Please Don’t Eat The Daisies”! Unless you’ve bought them from a reputable source! :)


27 lynn @ the actor's diet February 14, 2011 at 2:17 am

i love adding basil to my salads – mostly b/c it’s the only fresh thing i have lying around sometimes


28 J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) February 14, 2011 at 3:12 am

I love that bowl of olives. :) Everything looks wonderful!


29 Laura (Starloz) February 14, 2011 at 5:47 am

i’m not a fan of wine but i’m 22 years old, so i’m going to blame my immaturity.

i love the pictures though karen, it’s a beautiful place


30 Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) February 14, 2011 at 5:52 am

I love wine. I love vineyards. I love wine tasting. I would be in hog heaven with your day :)

Amazing! The pic of you smelling the wine….says it all. You are in your own slice of heaven in that shot!


31 marie February 14, 2011 at 6:21 am

I don’t mind paying more for a wine that is local (for me Ontario) or a wine I’ve tried before that I know I’ll like. Most of the time though, I stick with around $10-12 and I look online at reviews of the best cheaper wines to not buy something bad. I also have a few favourite cheap wines around $7-10 that I will bring to parties or serve when my friends come over because they are still (unfortunately) at the stage where no matter how good the wine is, they will mix it with Sprite or Fresca, and I’d hate to see my $20 wine go that way!


32 Lauren February 14, 2011 at 6:46 am

What a fantastic dining experience!!! Pairing good wines with amazing food is one of my true passions. Glad you had a good night!


33 megan @ blackberries for jam February 14, 2011 at 7:11 am

Holy moly! You guys have the most amazing food adventures!


34 Simply Life February 14, 2011 at 7:15 am

wow, what a fun dinner!


35 Erika @ FoodFitnessFun February 14, 2011 at 7:17 am

Happy Valentine’s Day, Kath! 😀


36 Katie February 14, 2011 at 7:21 am

Can I just be you for one day?! I would of loved to have been you last night! The wine, the food, the pizzelle cookies! Yummy!

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Matt!!! xoxo


37 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey February 14, 2011 at 7:22 am

What a night! I lwould love to spend an evening in a winery like that. I’m kind of wine illiterate, but I know I love it! I just don’t know anything about it.


38 Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn February 14, 2011 at 7:26 am

That looks like such a good time! I can’t wait until I can spend some time at a place like that!


39 Kara February 14, 2011 at 7:33 am

That lamb sounds fantastic!

I don’t even like wine, but this post made me want to go drink some :)


40 Heather (Heather's Dish) February 14, 2011 at 7:40 am

what a beautiful dinner! i am just starting to like wine, and i can definitely see how this would be such a fun outing for wine lovers :)


41 Holly @ Couch Potato Athlete February 14, 2011 at 7:40 am

I don’t drink much wine, but it isn’t because of the cost — my parents never drank wine when I was growing up, so maybe I never really even think about adding it to our meals? I’m not sure.

Either way I am totally jealous of your evening — looks like a great meal!


42 Paige @Running Around Normal February 14, 2011 at 7:58 am

What an experience!! This is completely awesome! :)


43 Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin February 14, 2011 at 7:59 am

I agree that a good wine is totally worth the price! That looks like a fantastic dinner. I’m really interested to learn more about wine pairing!


44 Allie February 14, 2011 at 8:26 am

Looks like you had a VERY nice time!!! Happy V-Dday <3


45 Katy (The Singing Runner) February 14, 2011 at 8:28 am

How fun and very cool! I went wine tasting in France (when I was 15!) and it was so cool. The day after I turn 21 (in April), I’m going to go wine tasting. :)


46 Camille February 14, 2011 at 8:35 am

That first photo is so cool!
What a lovely evening :)


47 Jessie -- The Messie Kitchen February 14, 2011 at 9:02 am

What a wonderful looking Sunday. That is an evening I would absolutely love to have my own experience with!


48 Hope February 14, 2011 at 9:04 am

What a fun dinner! I love wine and I think it would be such a great experience to learn about it and to taste different types of wine! :)


49 Jen @ February 14, 2011 at 9:06 am

Oooh, I see you had bread and butter radishes! I recently blogged on that. Such a simple and tasty snack!


50 Julie @ Honey B. Nutrition February 14, 2011 at 9:17 am

A THOUSAND cheers for grapes that have been turned in to wine!!!


51 Kiran February 14, 2011 at 9:25 am

Awesome dinner! You folks sure know how to dine 😉


52 Stacie @ Imperfectly Healthy February 14, 2011 at 9:25 am

Looks like a really fun day! And I LOVE pizzelles!


53 Danielle February 14, 2011 at 9:31 am

Maybe an idea for a future post (though forgive me if you have done this already) would be a list of our favorite wines/a list of wines to get a newbie to wines started, along with suggested pairings?


54 KathEats February 14, 2011 at 9:43 am

That would be a good idea – I’m just so forgetful about which wines I’ve had!


55 Jentree February 14, 2011 at 1:59 pm

I use an app on my iPhone called WineSnob. You can store a picture of the wine along with notes and your ratings. It may be available on other Smart Phones too.


56 Charise February 15, 2011 at 8:34 am

Ooh thanks for the heads up on this app! I am always thinking when we are out that I want to make sure to remember some delicious wine I try, and end up losing the scraps of paper I scrawl names on.


57 Amanda- The Nutritionist Reviews February 14, 2011 at 9:48 am

I love basil in a salad! Looks like a wonderful evening!


58 Jess (Sweet Potato) February 14, 2011 at 10:08 am

You look like you are so in love with that wine in the first picture. So great!


59 Alice February 14, 2011 at 10:41 am

Looks like a fabulous evening!!

I will say that I’ve had some expensive wines, from Virginia vineyards (Williamsburg and some along I-66), that were absolutely undrinkable. You don’t ALWAYS get what you pay for in a bottle of wine.


60 Alice February 14, 2011 at 11:10 am

This is a really interesting study I read in business school specifically focusing on price of wine and quality perception.


61 Charise February 15, 2011 at 8:38 am

I agree. In general, I think even spending, say, $15 instead of <$10 at a retail store can make a difference in the quality of wine. BUT, for smaller local operations (which it sounds like you were at), I often see higher prices for not necessarily higher quality. I notice this at some wineries we've been to in Northeast Ohio and the Finger Lakes in New York. I would imagine it has to do with them needing to cover overhead/make a profit off of the smaller scale they produce, or wanting to seem higher quality. If it's the first, I don't mind paying more, because I'm following my philosophy of buying local and supporting small businesses. If the latter, eh, well, probably don't like that stuff enough to buy it anyway, and we won't be back to that winery. :)


62 Sarah February 14, 2011 at 10:57 am

Your evening looks so rich and enjoyable. I’ve become quite the lover of wine lately myself, so I get what you’re saying about quality wine. Thanks for sharing a bit of your evening with us!


63 Anne @ Baking Me February 14, 2011 at 11:04 am

Your dinner looks and sounds amazing! Oh and I love the wine pictures!


64 Shannon @ A Better Me February 14, 2011 at 11:24 am

Great pictures! Looks like a great time 😀


65 Tracey February 14, 2011 at 11:31 am

Looks like a great time! The food looks fantastic and it’s always fun to hang out with the owners of a Vineyard. The are so Knowledgeable and passionate about what they do.


66 Mindy@FindingSilverLinings February 14, 2011 at 11:35 am

This is my dream scenario. You are one lucky girl!! Which wine was your favorite? That first shot in between the barrels is awesome!


67 KathEats February 14, 2011 at 11:37 am

I really loved the Petit Verdot :)


68 Sarah @ onelovesarah February 14, 2011 at 11:39 am

looks like so much fun!


69 Annette February 14, 2011 at 11:39 am

what a great meal! :)


70 Ann February 14, 2011 at 1:04 pm

What a fabulous evening! I confess I don’t know much about wine, and often end up just drinking the cheap stuff. I do, however, agree that you can taste the difference in a fancy bottle. And you can often tell the next morning! This is a fantastic partnership for you, you have inspired me to research some of the local companies around here to find one to potentially work with!


71 JessicaEn February 14, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Your hair IS getting long and its so beautiful! And you didn’t ask my opinion, but I think a cut to the shoulders would look so refreshing and summery on you! Go for it!


72 Eileen February 14, 2011 at 2:33 pm

What a fabulous evening! The opening picture is SO cool … one of my favorites in KERF history!


73 Freya (Brit Chick Runs) February 14, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Ok, nothing to do with wine – but my aunt (who is english too, lives here) has those plates! Who knew they were global…


74 Sara February 14, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Hi Kath. I want to replicate the salad you had at dinner. What type of dressing was on the salad? I love the combination of ingredients. Thanks!


75 KathEats February 14, 2011 at 6:03 pm

He had a raspberry vinaigrette but I just ate it plain – the goat cheese was awesome!


76 odelia February 26, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Great photography! You captured the essence of the winery, the food & the people! Even my pizzelles looked good!! I can’t wait to check out your “tribute to oatmeal”… one of my morning favorites!! Thanks!


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