follow me and my drinking on Twitter

Hey wine lovin readers!

I’m experimenting with doing a twitter “review” or commentary on everything I drink or taste.

Follow me and give me your feedback!

My twitter name is chicagowinediva.

here’s a sample:

Lynfred Cabernet Reserve 2005 $40 winery only. Wow. A concentrated bundle of dark cocoa, gingerbread, and sweet creme. Needs age!

Epicuro Nero d’Avola 2006 IGT Sicilia $5 Trader Joes. like a pleasantly tart blackberry with earthy notes. Nice weekday pizza wine.

Just simple notes on decent wines that I’ve tried. See what ya think!


Leave a comment

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a spicy valentine’s day menu and recipes

My profound apologies for dropping off the blog planet for so long. But, I have the greatest excuse ever – I have cancer. Yep, the BIG C dog. I had surgery in April and I’m DONE with 6 months of chemo and doing GREAT. So, maybe TMI, but I’m all about playing the cancer card when it works to my benefit .

If you want to read about my Great Cancer Smackdown, you can visit my other blog, Chemo and Vino: Breakfast of Champions.

 I should warn you that my cancer blog is completely uncensored and not meant to be as “professional” as my wine blog, so just know that I’ll continue this site in a responsible and entertaining tone. All bets are off on the other one.

Now, on to more entertaining stuff like food and booze. Enjoy!

Spice up your Valentine!

Valentine’s Day is coming up and with the economy sputtering, it’s the perfect time to spoil your beloved with a home-cooked meal. Here my pal Chef Jill Houk from Centered Chef and I give you a perfect Valentine’s Day meal with romantic wine pairings. The best part is that the food and wine are good for your heart in two ways. This meal will induce romance and keep you and your honey heart-healthy. Our meal is a spicy, tasty dinner for two that will give you enough energy for a long night of lovin, without bogging you down in extra calories. The ingredients were picked based on their aphrodisiac properties. Namely, we have:


Coffee-a stimulant that works both the body and mind, getting the drinker ready for extended physical activity.


Cilantro and Coriander-Arabian aphrodisiac thought to cure infertility.


Garlic-thought to be perfect for romance because it’s “bite” causes arousement. Also heart healthy in that it reduces cholesterol.


Ginger-this root is not only phallic, but it also stimulates circulation.


Nutmeg-an ancient Chinese aphrodisiac because it can cause hallucinations if you eat a large quantity.


Champagne-need we say more?


The Booze:


I think sparkling wines are simply essential for Valentine’s Day. The bubbles are festive, tickle the nose, and provide great acidity to lift spicy and savory flavors from the protein. If you’re not a bubbly fan, it might be fun to start with a South American cocktail to conjure up tropical climates. The two wines suggested for the shrimp are lightly sweet with very fruity and floral aromatics. The fruity wine can both quiet a bit of the heat in the dish and also echo some of the citrus in the dish. I love a juicy and fruity red or rose with the chicken and salsa. Bright berry tones should really pop with the earthy black beans and balance a bit of the heat as well. As for the dessert, be sure to taste the granita and the wine as you prepare it. Make sure the wine is still a bit sweeter than your dessert for the best match. The citrus in the granita will really sing with the Moscato and show off the mint as long as the sugar is well balanced. If you’re in danger of over-imbibing from earlier courses, a nice cup of coffee with a touch of vanilla liqueur should perk you right up.


Aperitif: Prosecco or Caipirinha

1st Course: Prosecco (Italy) or Torrontes (Argentina)

Mionetto il Prosecco NV, Crios de Susana Balbo Torrontes 2007

2nd course: Sparkling Brut Rose (US or France) or lighter style, fruity Zinfandel (US)

Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Rose Champagne NV, Peachy Canyon Incredible Red 2006

3rd course: Moscato d’Asti (Italy) or coffee with Licor 43 (a Spanish citrus and vanilla flavored liqueur)

Vietti Moscato d’Asti Cascinetta 2007


Grilled Shrimp and Pineapple Kabobs with Chimichurri Glazecenteredcheflogo1




For Skewers:

6 large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

½ cup large pineapple chunks, preferably fresh

½ large red pepper, cut into 1″ pieces

½ small red onion, cut into 1″ pieces

6 wooden skewers, soaked at least a half hour in water


For Chimichurri Glaze:

1 clove garlic, crushed

½ jalapeno pepper, minced

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons chopped cilantro

2 teaspoons lime juice

1 teaspoon olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


Serves: 2




1.       Pre heat grill to medium-high, or heat a grill pan over medium high heat.


2.       Onto each skewer, thread a shrimp, a chunk of pineapple, a piece of pepper and a piece of onion.


3.       Prepare the Chimichurri glaze by combining all of the ingredients and blending until smooth.  Adjust the seasoning as necessary.


4.       Brush both sides of each skewer with glaze and grill 3-4 minutes per side until shrimp is bright pink. Enjoy immediately!


Nutrition Information per serving: 19 calories; 1g fat; trace protein; 3g carbohydrate; trace fiber


Jamaican Jerked Chicken with Corn and Black Bean Salsa




For Jerk Marinade:

pinch ground allspice

pinch ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground espresso coffee

pinch ground nutmeg

½ jalapeno pepper, chopped

2 scallions, thinly sliced

½ bunch cilantro, stemmed

1 clove crushed garlic

½ teaspoon grated ginger

1 teaspoon canola oil, canola

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 ½ tablespoons lime juice

1 teaspoon brown sugar, packed


For Chicken:

12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 breasts)


For Black Bean & Corn Salsa:

¼ cup frozen corn niblets, defrosted

2 Tablespoons red onion, minced

3 Tablespoons red peppers, minced

3 Tablespoons green peppers, minced

3 Tablespoons tomatoes, minced

3 teaspoons minced cilantro

2 teaspoons lime juice

½ cup black beans, drained and rinsed




1.       In a sauté pan, toast the spices: allspice, clove, espresso coffee and nutmeg until fragrant, about 30 seconds.


2.       Prepare the jerk marinade by combining all of the ingredients and blending until smooth.  Adjust the seasoning as necessary.


3.       Marinate the chicken for 6-8 hours.  Remove chicken from marinade and grill 9-10 minutes per side over a medium grill or in a grill pan.


4.       Mix the ingredients for the corn salsa together. Adjust the seasonings.


5.       Place a grilled chicken breast on two plates and top each chicken breast with half the salsa. If desired, serve over a bed of lettuce.


Serves: 2


Nutrition Information per serving: 300 calories, 5g fat, 44g protein, 19g carbohydrates, 4g fiber.


Lemon Mint Granita




1/2 cup lemon juice


1 1/2 cups water


1/2 cup sugar


1 tablespoon grated orange zest


1/2 tablespoon grated lemon zest


1 1/2 tablespoons mint leaf, thinly sliced




Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer 5 minutes, or until sugar is dissolved.

Remove from heat and let steep 30 minutes.

Strain into a metal baking dish, wrap with plastic and place in freezer.

After two hours, scrape with the tines of a fork. Re-wrap and return to freezer.

Repeat after two hours.

When completely frozen, serve by scraping half the mixture into a martini glass. Garnish with fresh berries.

Serves: 2


Nutrition Information per serving: 215 calories, trace fat, trace protein, 57g carbohydrate, 1g fiber


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On the Steve Cochran Show Today! (…early. oh my.)

brut-rosseGOOD MORNING! I’m up early just to bring you a fabulous cocktail idea for the holidays. Its perfect for brunch, an aparitif, or just something to knock back to make your family more interesting.coint_bottle175l_hires1 Tune in to The Steve Cochran Show at …gulp…7am to catch me. 720 am on the dial or stream live at

Poinsettia: a 1:4 ratio of Cointreau or another orange liquour to Champagne, with a splash of cranberry juice added for color. Garnish with a mint leaf and or a fresh cranberry.

A tasty treat! If you’d like more info on me, my business, or my “funny little cancer blog”, check out the post before this one from Thanksgiving.

Here’s the Rose bubbly I mentioned on the show today to go with shrimp cocktail and/or ribs. Deeeelish :).

Tune in to WGN tomorrow to catch me on Steve’s Christmas Show! I’ll be featuring the Domaine Carneros Brut 2004.winespage


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Today on Steve Cochran Show! WGN radio at 4:30pm

Hi folks! If you’re reading this, you probably just heard me on the radio – so thanks for tuning in AND visiting my website and/or blog.

Here’s the wine I have on the show today: Gruet Blanc de Noirs from New Mexico

Gruet Blanc de Noirs

Gruet Blanc de Noirs

I know. New Mexico?!!? Yes. And its really tasty.

It usually runs around $15, but I’ve seen it on sale at Whole Foods for 12.99 a few times. Otherwise, it’s available at Sam’s, Fine Wine Brokers, and several other wine shops in the area.

I highly recommend imbibing some immediately upon arrival to your family Thanksgiving celebration. It makes relatives far more interesting.

Now – on to other stuff.

So, you probably heard I have cancer. If you’re browsing here to find out more about that story you can visit my other blog: chemo and vino, breakfast of champions by clicking here. I should warn you, my cancer blog is uncensored. Lots of f-bombs, blasphemy, and poop talk. So if those kinds of things are offensive to you, you might not want to read it. Go read something else. The latest from Thomas Friedman and George Will are pretty good. Check them out.

And if you want to be on Santa’s “nice” list this year, you might consider contributing some $ to my star at stand up 2 cancer. I’m not sure this link will work. If not visit here and click on “search for a star”. Type WINEDIVA in the first name space and the search should bring me up right away.

So, thanks for visiting!

Enjoy your turkey,



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Annual Halloween Candy and Booze matchup TODAY on WGN radio@ 4pm CST. 720 am –

Hey gang! Its that time of year again. The time of year that you trot your spawn around the neighborhood dressed up like superheroes and Disney characters as they chow down all the candy they can manage without barfing and bounce off the walls until they crash in a sugar coma way past their bedtime. Or something like that. Anyhoo, after you’ve tucked in Batman and Ariel, you might need a drink. And I think it should be something that will pair nicely with a little treat pilfered from the orange plastic pumpkins your kids hauled around town. (Warning: some kids do, in fact, inventory their candy before bed. I’m convinced they have tiny mental excel sheets that detail exactly how many Kit Kats are left in their stash. So – be stealthy and careful when looting your kid’s bounty.)

This year I decided to change things up with liqueurs. Sweet liquid grown up candy. Yet, as I tasted various fruity and creamy concoctions with my latest control group of candy, there was only one that stood out as pretty darned tasty with everything: Amaretto di Saronno. Its a delightful carmel colored sweet booze with the flavors of almond, apricot, and a tiny bit of spice. It brought out the sweetness of the coconut in a Mounds Bar, held up to the overly sweet carmel in a Twix, and highlighted the salty nutty goodness of a Reese’s. SO. In this difficult economy, maybe you only need one boozey treat to pair with your stolen sweets? Not only that, its makes a mighty fine addition to coffee and hot chocolate. I like to sweeten home made whipped cream with it as well to bring out a sweeter candied almond note. Best to serve it in little liqueur glasses or sherry glasses if you have them. At 28% alcohol, a little goes a long way. Sweet dreams!

OH! And if you’re looking to book holiday events – contact me NOW. Seriously. Call or email like today. I have very limited availability this holiday season, and I’d like to make sure I get all of my WGN listeners the premium party dates they desire. Hosting a holiday Champagne tasting or rustic reds blow out doesn’t have to be expensive or overly time consuming. Relax and drink with Winediva through the end of 2008!


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Pinot Noir Awesomeness

A few nights ago, I dropped in to the Chicago Chop House for a drink and some fried calamari – a dish my husband won’t eat, so I never get to order it unless I’m by myself. After my tasty Champagne and fried seafood fix, I had some time to kill before my dear hubby could pick me up. I decided on a glass of the latest Pinot Noir from Truchard Vineyards in Napa. The Truchards have been growers for lots of luxury Napa brands for over 30 years, but made some lovely wines under their own label starting in 1989. They are lovely people and I hear Joanne Truchard makes an incredible pie. (Long story for another time.)

Holy cow.

I was intending to just sip and enjoy without “evaluating” the wine, but this luscious beauty demanded attention. I was simply overwhelmed by the complexity of aromas: cranberry, wild strawberry, cocoa, black pepper, and nutmeg. The texture was rich, smooth, and thouroughly luxurious. I was spellbound.

So, the wine is in the $35-40 range retail but worth every penny. Get some before I clean out all the local stores.


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Like the phoenix, I’m back. WGN today at 4:30pm cst.

Dearest readers,

My profound apologies for dropping off the blog planet for so long. But, I have the greatest excuse ever – I have cancer. Yep, the BIG C dog. I had surgery in April and I’m half way through 6 months of chemo and doing GREAT. So, maybe TMI, but I’m all about playing the cancer card when it works to my benefit :).

If you want to read about my Great Cancer Smackdown, you can visit my other blog, Chemo and Vino: Breakfast of Champions at

I should warn you that my cancer blog is completely uncensored and not meant to be as “professional” as my wine blog, so just know that I’ll continue this blog in a responsible and entertaining tone. All bets are off on the other one.

So – I’m on The Steve Cochran Show today at 4:30 CST. WGN radio 720 am or stream live at Oddly enough, I’m featuring a cocktail today. Mostly because I’m bringing along my great pal Sean from and he’s a total spirit -cocktail -madman- genius.

Behold the great Chris Blumer cocktail invention:


Into a shaker pour:

2oz blanco good quality tequila (Partida Blanco is a nice one. Stay away from aged tequilas or anything “gold”)

1oz Cointreau (or other orange liquor, but Cointreau’s my fav)

1 splash of OJ (something real with no pulp like Tropicana Pure Premium)

juice of 1 fresh lime (none of that weird stuff that comes in a plastic lime-shaped container)

1 handful of ice (really no need for a paranthetical here, but thought I’d keep the gag running)

Shake your shaker (and your moneymaker!) for about 30 seconds and strain into rocks glasses filled with ice

Top each glass with a splash of a nice Moscato d’Asti and give it a gentle stir. ( I adore the Vietti.)

Drink up and mentally transport yourself to a beach filled with the half naked cabana attendants of your choice. (Matt Damon is my first choice.)

Ahhhhh…..Summer, Margaritas, and Matt Damon. Good Times.

And if you want to see me LIVE this fall, I’m doing 2 wine festival appearances! Catch me at The Old Town Wine Crush on Sat Sept 13th at 3pm. (Double check on the time closer to the event.) And Winefest Chicago on Sun Sept 21st at 2pm.

One more thing! If you live in Illinois, please check out my friend’s cancer blog Everything Changes and educate yourself about a bill that will really help young adults with cancer and insurance problems in our state. Its her August entry entitled, “Flat as a Pancake”.


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