Taste New Worlds

An Adventure in Fine Argentine & Chilean Wine and Japanese Sake

An Adventure in Fine Argentine Wine & Chilean Wine and Japanese Sake

Morel and Sweet Pea Risotto

It's almost Spring!  Okay, it's not.  It's not at all, and we're counting our chickens long before they're going to hatch, but this recipe is just so light and refreshing, that we can't wait until all of the ingredients come into season to share it!

Serves 6

Serves 6

1oz dried morels or 8 oz fresh

6 Tbsp butter

sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

3 quarts chicken stock or low sodium broth

1 large shallot, finely chopped

3 cups Italian arborio rice

1-1/2 cups dry white wine

2 cups fresh or thawed frozen peas

1 cup feshly grated Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese

1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme

1 Tbsp chopped fresh chives

If using dried mushrooms, place in small heat-proof bowl and cover with boiling water.  Soak until softened, about 20 minutes.  Squeeze morels to release liquid and any grit; discard soaking liquid.  Coarsley chop.  If using fresh morels, rinse gently and coarsely chop.  In a medium saute pan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat.  Add the fresh or soaked morels, season with salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Bring stock or broth to a simmer in a large pot and keep warm over low heat.  In a large deep saute pan, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.  Add the shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 8 minutes.  Stir in the rice until the grains are evenly coated with the butter, then add the wine and cook, stirring, until the wine is absorbed.  Add 1 cup of the hot stock to the rice and stir over moderately high heat until it has been absorbed.  Continue to cook the risotto, adding 1 cup of stock at a time and stirring constantly until it is absorbed by adding more liquid.  Stir in the morels and peas.  The risotto is done when it is creamy and the rice is al dente. 

We recommend using Fukucho Moon On The Water.

We recommend using Fukucho Moon On The Water.

Remove the risotto from the heat.  Stir in the Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese and herb s and season with salt and pepper.

Let us know how your recipe turns out!

Welcome Monica!


We'd like to take the time to give a huge welcome to one of our exciting new team members!  Monica Samuels, who jetted straight off to Japan to visit our Sake Breweries with the rest of the Vine Connections team!

“We couldn’t be more excited and honored for Monica to join Vine Connections. She is one of the country’s most accomplished sake professionals and will continue to be a driving force in the industry. She will be leading the team though education, marketing, and sales to drive retail, on-premise, and consumer demand of our growing boutique portfolio,” says Nick Ramkowsky, co-owner of Vine Connections.



Here's to many more!  Kanpai!

WHERE'S JAKE: Elqui Valley Edition

This is my third trip to Chile and over the past three years I have heard the whisper of Elqui, Elqui, Elqui. Elqui is the most unique wine region in Chile, hands down. Maybe it's the stark contrast of dry, barren mountains rising up behind lush, green vineyards. Maybe it's because Elqui is the magnetic center of earth or maybe it's because Giorgio Flessati of Vina Mayu is transforming Elqui into a valley not just known for Pisco and stars, but also excellent wine. 

Elqui is a traditional river valley. It is not expansive like other wine regions in Chile, but narrow and winding, like the river which carved it millions of years ago. From the steep slopes of the valley spring fields of green.

Giorgio Flessati knew something was different about this valley when he spotted 70-year-old Pedro Ximenez vines in his family's pisco vineyards.

"Viticulture for me cannot be an industry. I must be an artist, a small one, but an artist nonetheless," remarked Giorgio when I asked him what appealed to him about making wine in such an extreme place.

Elqui has outstanding terroir for cool climate viticulture. The valley is hot; the solar radiation here is 10 times that of Europe, but a cool breeze from the coast is nearly constant and sometimes quite strong. You never really feel the sun, until you notice your arm looks like a freshly cooked lobster. Grapes receive intense sun nearly 340 days a year, but at night the real magic begins. As soon as the sun disappears the temperature plummets, cooling the grapes. This large diurnal temperate affect is what makes viticulture possible in this extreme environment.

The soils throughout the valley are quite varied, from alluvial granitic rock mixed with sand and clay on the valley floor, to huge colluvial stones and a dozen other minerals, namely copper and gold along the hills. There is even one vineyard directly across the winery which is solid limestone.

Elqui is a very special place. The stark contrasts, the stars, and the wines made in an Italian style (which needless to say is quite unique in Chile) speak to a way of life removed from the other wine regions here. Giorgio's words about being an artist really stuck with me. Being an artist takes perseverance, creativity and an endless curiosity to explore and try something new and that is what is being done at the hands of Giorgio.

So, the next time you buy Chilean wine, think outside of the central valley and try Elqui on for size.