Tag Archives: Montana

“Wine for the Health of It©”with Montana Celebrity Jill Valley from KPAX-TV on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MDT.

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Sponsors      

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

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Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Jill Valley KPAX-TV Anchor

Jill Valley KPAX-TV Anchor

This week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© local Montana celebrity Jill Valley from KPAX-TV in Missoula joined me in the radio studio.  Jill has been Broadcaster of the Year six times now in Montana including this year’s award.  She will quickly tell you though her biggest victory has come as the result of her winning battle against breast cancer.  Jill recently posed a question to me about wine and with this being Breast Cancer Awareness Month I suggested she come into the radio studio, that is just what she did.

It was a real pleasure to have Jill as my featured guest this week.  It was very interesting to hear her story and she made my job easy, she is very good at her profession.  Jill is a mother and has one wonderful young daughter who is an ice skater.  Jill also skates as a hobby and claims to be a “bad skater”, but I have heard otherwise from Missoula’s top age group skating Coach Patty Koster.

Jill and I have discussed wine in the past and she came to me recently and asked if I was aware of any non-alcoholic wines that tasted good.  The long and short of it was, no I was not aware of any good non-alcoholic wines.  There may be some good ones out there but I am not experienced with any.  Over time it has occurred to me that I learn more from listening than I do from talking.  Jill has done her homework her and has sought out an answer to her own question. 

The following are a few excerpts from Jill’s guest blog post, http://wp.me/PFhHw-dC, based on her research of non-alcoholic wines that are drinkable:

I started investigating the non-alcoholic wine option because even one glass makes me feel hung over the next day. But I still enjoy the taste and ritual of wine. And non-alcoholic wine lets you blend into social or business situations where you don’t have to explain why you’re not drinking. So I thought I’d give it a try – Jill’s guest blog post, http://wp.me/PFhHw-dC

CVS pharmacy has a terrific wine selection but only had Fre’, a product made by Sutter wines. CVS stocks it next to the Reunite (on ice, that’s nice) and the other wines in the giant glass jugs with twist tops which should make anyone suspicious. It was $4.99 with a twist top and wasn’t that good. I tried it years before but thought maybe technology had moved this brand ahead. If you’re the kind of person who likes to mindlessly sip wine while reading a book, this would work. Although mindlessly drinking alcohol might point to a deeper issue but I’m not your mom….so – Jill’s guest blog post, http://wp.me/PFhHw-dC

As a Montana celebrity Jill is constantly involved in community causes and events where attendees drink wine.  Unfortunately for Jill she is plagued by headaches from drinking even one glass of wine.  Jill has been searching for a solution, she too would like to enjoy a glass of wine while attending and speaking at these events.

Reactions to wine are not uncommon for many people.  It is readily assumed that such reactions are due in part to an allergic reaction of sulfites which serve as a preservative in wine.  My research results suggested that those who may suffer from reactions to wine may lack a natural enzyme in their body that will not breakdown sulfites in the wine.

Sulfites or sulfur dioxide is a fruit preservative widely used in dried fruits as well as wine.  It is also produced by the human body at the level of about 1000 mg (milligrams) per day.  Food preserved with sulfites is generally not a problem unless you are deficient in the natural enzyme that breaks it down.  For those individuals, the additional sulfites from food can be a problem.

The levels in wine average 80 mg/liter, or about 10 mg in a typical glass of wine, with slightly higher amounts in white versus red.  Many case studies show reactions by sensitive patients to drinking wine with sulfites.

All wines contain sulfites.  Yeast naturally produces sulfites during fermentation so there is only a rare wine which contains none.

The US and Australia require a “sulfite” or “preservative 220″ warning label.  Nearly all wine makers add sulfites, including imported wines.  Import wines contain sulfites, but they are not legally obligated to indicate this on their labels.  European wines contain an average of 80 mg/L sulfites just as US wines do.

There are a few (very few) wine makers who make wines without adding sulfites.  In the US, organic wine must be made without added sulfites.  These are unusual because the wine is very perishable and often have unusual aromas from the aldehydes that are normally made aroma-less by the sulfites.  Look for these wines at natural food stores.

*Aldehydes – Any of a class of highly reactive organic chemical compounds obtained by oxidation of primary alcohols, characterized by the common group CHO, and used in the manufacture of resins, dyes, and organic acids.

It is possible that eating food along with your wine may reduce the severity of a reaction.  My hypothesis is this; sulfites may not be the cause of wine induced headaches or generally not feeling well as Jill has mentioned.  I suspect that people who are deficient in the natural enzyme that breaks down sulfites can be the problem.  When ingesting additional sulfites a person may have a difficult time digesting the sulfite and hence “the reaction”.  It is interesting to note that anyone you talk to who suffers from such reactions vary from mild to severe.

If you are someone who suffers from this wine dilemma you should consult with your physician concerning this issue before drinking any wine

If your physician suggests that it would okay to try wine in moderation and according to the American Medical Associations guidelines I would suggest trying organic wine or an estate produced and bottled wine.  Typically the grapes in estate produced wines grown by conscientious farmers have been treated in a similar practice to that of organically grown grapes.  Many wineries have not gone through the process of being certified organic as it is a very arduous and expensive process.   Organic and Biodynamic Agriculture practices are on the rise as wineries realize the benefits of sustainable farming practices.

The other suggestion I may offer is to select an Old World Wine as they have a tendency to be lower in alcohol.  For instance Beaujolais is a great choice as these types of wine are light-bodied, fruity, fresh, and without an abundance of tannin.  While enjoying wine at lunch the French use sparkling mineral water to dilute their wine which greatly reduces the alcohol content. 

 This is a great solution for a person in a social situation who wants to enjoy a glass of wine with the rest of the crowd.  A glass of wine diluted by ½ or 2/3 sparking water still maintains a beautiful color in your glass.  The wine still provides the palate with a nice taste experience.  San Pellegrino is my favorite brand to use when mixing sparkling water with my wine.  Drink in moderation and good health and may we all raise a glass during Breast Cancer Awareness month in acknowledgement of our fellow wine lovers who have been touched by this illness.   

I want to personally thank my friend Jill Valley for taking time out to join me on the show this week.  She is a very brave, humble, and courageous woman who has survived her battle with cancer.  In wellness Jill is a crusader for the prevention and cure of this illness that has touched all of our lives.  Jill, cheers to you.

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

Dinner at Marie's Italian Restaurant, Stevensville, Montana

My wife and I enjoyed an evening out to celebrate her birthday last week.  I wanted to do something different restaurant wise than our normal establishments we enjoy.  So it occurred to me that we had not been to our favorite Italian restaurant for a few years.  Marie’s is located in the beautiful Bitterroot Valley in Stevensville, Montana about 35 minutes south of where my wife and I live.  So this is not an establishment I frequent due to time constraints.  We had an incredible evening, our food was fantastic, the service was great, and it has a charming Italian Villa like atmosphere that makes you feel as if you’ve taken a vacation. Marie’s is a family style restaurant that is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. You need to call ahead to get a reservation and when you do you will get an answering machine that you leave your message about the day and time you want your reservation, if no one calls back it is OK to go to dinner.  When you arrive at the restaurant you walk right into an area that faces an open kitchen where you can see all the food being prepared and a list of the menu items from appetizers to entrees that are available that day. 

Chef-Mike-at-Marie's-Restaurant

Chef-Mike-at-Marie's-Restaurant

You are then escorted to one of the two rooms decorated like your Italian Villa where you will be seated.  On the way you will pass by the bread and dessert bar on one wall and a buffet that showcases all the wine selections.  By now you realize everything served at Marie’s has been prepared from scratch that day, and I mean everything.

Marie's-Restaurant-Wine

Marie's-Restaurant-Wine

Marie's-Restaurant-Daily Breads

Marie's-Restaurant-Daily Breads

Marie's-Restaurant-Dessert

Marie's-Restaurant-Dessert

While walking to your table you realize that you’re in for an evening of great food.  It is very tantalizing but you now begin to think about the dinner choices, appetizers, and what wine to order knowing that pairing be damned because my wife drinks only one wine, Pinot Grigio, period, end of story.  That being said it is her night after all so I will defer to the PG.

Marie's-Restaurant-Table in the "Villa"

Marie's-Restaurant-Table in the "Villa"

 My wife and I are now seated and are discussing food options and my theory is this; if it’s that good why make choices just order it all, so to speak.  We decide to have two appetizers, the Lamb Tortellini and the Fried Calamari. These both arrive at the table and our bottle of Loredona Pinot Grigio from Monterey, California(notes will follow).  Both of the appetizers are delicious, and the Calamari may be the best I’ve ever had.  OK the wine is good too even though it’s a Pinot Grigio which is not necessarily my favorite.

Appetizers-at-Marie's-Restaurant

Appetizers-at-Marie's-Restaurant

 Once we have finished with the appetizers we are served the dinner salad for two and I have ordered the Chianti Beef Soup, once again not choosing but just deciding I need to try both.  After all I’m a wine and food writer and need to have the complete experience.  The dinner salad was very good, fresh, and colorful.  Fresh greens and thinly sliced yellow squash, zucchini, red peppers, and tomatoes.  The dressing was a lite olive oil, vinegar, and Italian seasonings.  Now the Chianti Beef soup was terrific, as suggested it has Chianti wine base that has been reduced and incorporated into the soup with finely shredded beef that perfectly thickens the soup broth and accompanies simple vegetables in the soup.  Simple, great.

Chianti-Beef-Soup-at-Marie's Restaurant

Chianti-Beef-Soup-at-Marie's Restaurant

At this point we have pretty much already had enough food, but why stop now the best is yet to come.  Three entrees, Veal Scallopini, Angel Hair pasta with Meatballs, and Scallops and Clams on Linguine with a lite tomato based broth.  The meals were great.  The Veal Dish was done perfect and prepared perfectly, pounded very thin and lightly breaded and not over powered by anything else it was dressed with or accompanied by.  The Angel Hair had a perfect red sauce and fantastic homemade meatballs simple, ample, and a unbeliveable flavor.  The Scallops and Clams over Linguine were so good I can still remember the taste.  Chef Mike who is the owner, chef, husband, father, and grandfather prepared this dish to absolute perfection.  Perfect scallops, perfect clams, great pasta, a very lite broth that was to die for.

Veal-Scallopini-at-Marie's-Restaurant

Veal-Scallopini-at-Marie's-Restaurant

Meatballs-on-Angel-Hair-Pasta-Marie's Restaurant

Meatballs-on-Angel-Hair-Pasta-Marie's Restaurant

Scallops-and-Linguine-at-Marie's Restaurant

Scallops-and-Linguine-at-Marie's Restaurant

My wife and I enjoyed her favorite wine varietal, Pinot Grigio with our dinner.  It was a California wine from the Monterey area, Loredona Pinot Grigio.  Loredona wines are a reflection of the vineyards on which they are grown.  Monterey’s cool and moderate climate is ideal for crafting our Riesling and Pinot Grigio.  Monterey’s warm days result in ripe, tropical fruit flavors and floral aromas, while the cooling fog and nights preserve a crisp and refreshing acidity in the wines.  With a 50 degrees variance between daytime high and nighttime low temperatures not uncommon, their Riesling and Pinot Grigio display ripeness from the sun and crispness from the fog.   

Loredona Pinot Grigio from Monterey, California

Loredona Pinot Grigio from Monterey, California

The Loredona Pinot Grigio features a melange of tropical and spicy aromas including pear, pineapple, and ginger.  The flavors are rich and intense, with ripe pear and Fuji apples.  The wine finishes with strong hints of vanilla.  My wife truly enjoyed this wine on her birthday and that was the whole point, not for me to have chosen a more appropriately paired wine that she wouldn’t enjoy.  

Moving on to the desserts that were fantastic and the crescendo of the dinner.  We chose Tiramisu and a Chocolate Cake with Hazelnut filling.  They were both amazing, the Tiramisu perhaps the best I’ve ever had anywhere and the Chocolate Cake was moist, flavorful, not too rich, and the filling was fantastic.  

Tiramisu-and-Chocolate-Cake

Tiramisu-and-Chocolate-Cake

We had a terrific night out to celebrate my wife’s birthday thanks to Marie’s, Chef Mike, and our wait person Gina who is Chef Mike’s Daughter and has grown up in the restaurant .  Please give Marie’s a try when you’re in Western Montana or if you live near by please try it.  It’s a fantastic meal and experience, from my table to yours.  

WineGuyMike

Marie’s Italian Restaurant‎

4040 U.S. 93, Stevensville, MT 59870-6443

(406) 777-3681‎

Marie's Restaurant Map

Marie's Restaurant Map