The Chardonnay Mom and a Tortured Relationship with Pinot Noir

The Chardonnay Mom, vol. 12 | Carol Kaufmann |October 14, 2020

Need clean-crafted, delicious wine delivered to your door? I can hook you up.

My friend and neighbor Lee bought a Scout & Cellar gift certificate for her sister-in-law for her birthday, and asked if I would offer her some wine recs. “Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes! What kinds does she like?”

“Pinot Noirs.”

Oh.

Is there any grape that has tortured me so? Our sad beginning dates back to my early twenties when I didn’t know anything about wine, other than I liked it—especially reds. I loved to order “Pinot Noir.” It sounded so sophisticated, so like I knew what I was doing. But every one I ordered was wan in color and tasted like the off-brand grape juice that subbed as wine at communion in my hometown Baptist Church in Kentucky. Please, no more.

Then, the film Sideways, featuring national treasure Paul Giamatti and Thomas Hayden Church (above), came out in 2004, touting the varietal’s subtlety and sophistication, and instructing Pinot skeptics that “you gotta get your nose in there” before taking a sip. The unexpected movie phenom resurrected the Pinot, sales boomed, and at my nicer-than-I-could-afford work dinners, they were all the rage.

Subtle? Ha! I still tasted Lord’s Supper grape juice.

But every once in a while, a single sip would be transformative, a true elixir. Layers of red fruit, followed by bursts of brown sugar – and not heavy at all. But how do you find a good one? Price isn’t always an indicator of quality, and it pained me to spend upwards of $50 on a bottle at a nice dinner … for alcoholic grape juice. (I guess that’s what all wine is…but you see my point).

Pinot noir grapes are sensitive little buggers, largely due to their thin skins, and like cool temperatures. They’re sensitive to wild temperature fluctuations (I’m sure the fires in Northern California were no help) and prone to rot, mold, and mildew. They also don’t have terribly high yields.

[Here’s a fun piece about Pinots].

But if they make it to harvest, these light-bodied, high acidity, low tannin wines are incredibly popular for a reason. A good Pinot blends red yummy fruit (think cherries and raspberries), a hint of spice, and layers of complex flavors – a little gift that keeps on giving. And their low tannins, doesn’t overwhelm the flavors. It’s a great choice for your lighter meals – think chicken, seafood, pork, and hearty vegetables.

And I now know two Pinot Noirs that I absolutely love, I have made my peace.

Middle Jane Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. This is the best PN I’ve ever had. Seriously. Light, flavorful, spice, no grape juice in sight. I know I’m not alone because tons of the Scout & Cellar consultants bought cases of it the second this year’s vintage debuted. I’d pair it with medium-flavored cheeses, such as gouda or Gruyere, tuna steaks or grilled salmon with a sauce, hearty fall dishes that contain pumpkin, sweet potatoes, or butternut squash, maybe even pizza! It’s also lovely to drink on its own, preferably with friends in front of a fire.

Middle Jane Pinot Noir

The Middle Jane story is fantastic as well: Every woman in the family of our founder (see below) has the middle name of Jane. It’s a reminder, she says, to be more like Jane, her brave, hardworking, passionate great, great grandmother, who always wore lipstick, only swore when absolutely necessary, and did things the right way. It’s also the model for making this label. $42.

Conte de la Terre, Willamette Valley, OR. This Pinot is a bit thicker and smoother, I think. It has tarter red fruit flavors (think pomegranates or tart cherries) and a bit more of an earthy flavor. Still wonderful. Think about pairing with a lighter meat pasta, such as a turkey tetrazzini or a chicken parm. You can watch Sarah (Jane) Shadonix, our founder, talk about the Conte de la Terre Pinot here. $42.

I also have a tribe of fellow Scout & Circle consultants (and friends😊) in Chicago. They love the Dove Hunt Dog Pinot Noir. It’s light and fruity and takes me back to Baptists communions, but they think I’m nuts.

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HOLDAY GIFT SETS

I can’t believe any of these puppies are left! The Celebrate the Season Box (below) went on sale on Wednesday and, due to demand from customers (and consultants!), it nearly crashed the site. Twelve different mini-wines are included to celebrate key moments in the season, from baking cookies to decorating the house, and a QR code that links to a special message and tasting cards. This makes a great gift, too. $119. Find it here.

And this is only one of our NINE holiday gift sets. Check them out here.

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PAIRINGS

READ: Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl. The former editor-in-chief of Gourmet dishes about her career path from Berkeley cook to New York Times restaurant critic to the lofty editorial heights at Conde Nast during its heyday. If you’re a foodie, you’ll love the descriptions of Reichl’s dinners and recipe creation in Gourmet’s famous test kitchen. And if you’re a human, you’ll love her lyrical, humorous, and straightforward storytelling.

PAIR: 2019 Veinte Cabernet Sauvignon. Wild plums meets sage and tobacco in this distinctive Cab Sauv that will go with any big, spicy dishes.

READ—AND WATCH: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows. This might be one of my favorite books—and movies!—of all times. It’s a tale that combines quirky characters, the German occupation of the Channel Island of Guernsey during WWII, and the lengths people will go to for companionship and good literature. It’s a love story, on many levels.

PAIR: Middle Jane Pinot Noir orConte de la Terre Pinot Noir. $42 each. Layered? Quirky? Now what does that sound like? Grab either Pinot and curl up.

WATCH: Succession. Molded on the Murdoch clan and their media empire, this American version of high family dysfunction showcases (often hilarious) trainwreck after trainwreck among the uber wealthy and powerful. After Season 1, I detested every character, but Season 2, I could watch it for the one-liners alone.

PAIR: 2018 Bookbinder 3rd Edition, $58. Bold and well developed describes both the show and this fine Cab. The show has handfuls of jawdropping “What did he just say?” moments; the wine has plenty of “ooohs” and “ahhhhs” and “mmmmms.”

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©2020 Carol Kaufmann

My name is Carol Kaufmann.

My teenage son presented me with a burst of inspiration when he sarcastically called me “a Chardonnay mom” one night at dinner. Why should that be an insult? I thought. Why is a Chardonnay mom a bad thing? Chardonnay is a delicious, highly versatile, and glorious grape. Being a Chardonnay mom should mean a woman who wears many hats: a family gal, a hard worker, a passionate devotee to great conversation and gathering of friends. Right then, I decided I would proudly take on that title and promote Chardonnay—and all other delicious wines out there—one bottle at a time.

I’m now an executive consultant for Scout & Cellar, a wine company based in Texas that sources and creates Clean-Crafted™ wines from small farms and family-owned vineyards. I joined the team because these wines are delicious, made responsibly without all the chemicals, pesticides, additives, and sweeteners frequently used in other mass-produced wines, and can be consumed by many who have health issues. (Please check with your doctor). Oh, and they’re keto- and paleo-friendly and have 40% fewer calories than most other wines.

I’m also a full-time author/writer/editor; wife and mom of two teenagers, two rescue cats, and a very opinionated bulldog (see below); and native Kentuckian. I love books, travel, my friends and neighbors, wine (of course), and current hometown of Alexandria, Virginia.

The Chardonnay Mom Reconsiders Bubbles

Carol Kaufmann | Vol. 11 | September 21, 2020

Need delicious, clean-crafted wine delivered to your door? I can hook you up.

Bubbly Nights

When I was in my 20s, I lived in a group house in Washington, D.C. For five years, I had a revolving door of three or four roommates at a time. We were all climbing our career ladders, meeting all sorts of people from (quite literally) all over the world, and very frequently, hosted fêtes at our rented duplex that lasted into the wee hours.

Many of these nights involved Champagne.

We’d gather on the house’s main level, spilling over onto the wooden deck in the back of the house, and eventually settling there. My roommate Ron became fixated on buying Veuve Clicquot, which as you probably know, is delicious. Generous (and, ah hem, more well-healed than I was), he’d treat us—his female roommates—to glasses of the bubbly and we’d toast a successful work week, a new relationship or an ended one, or just being alive and together. Ron and I lived in that house for all five years. He was my brother and, because of him, I learned to love Champagne.

Eight years ago, Ron contracted a rare cancer and died at age 47. At his memorial service, filled with hundreds of friends in an old New York ballroom, we toasted Ron with bubbles. I told those gathered about those nights with the bubbly and the rock that he was in our lives.

I haven’t had Champagne since.

When offered, I say I simply don’t like it, but that’s not exactly true.

But the Time of COVID has offered a chance to rethink long-held habits and cast a new light on what we now can only do in limited quantities – like spending time with friends.

On one Thursday, when the temperature had dropped to a decent 70 degrees, I had four girlfriends over to the patio with socially-distanced furniture. We’ve been close for a decade—ever since our teens were three years old in pre-school together. But pandemic fear has halted our regular gatherings and we hadn’t seen each other all summer.

If there was ever a time to open the bubbly, this was it. Plus, my friend Becky, who was coming, is a serious Champs fan.

Once they were all there, I popped open a NV Cattin Sauvage Crémant D’Alsace Brut. Alsace is very close to Champagne (the only French AOC legally allowed to call its bubbly by that name) and Crémant D’Alsace Bruts are made like champagne in the slow, traditional manner. Not surprisingly, the taste of the Cattin Sauvage, made of mostly Pinot Blanc with 20% Chardonnay, is very similar to what I loved to drink on that wooden porch long ago—though a bit creamier, a welcomed change. I poured Sarah, Heather, Becky, and Ashli (of wine fridge fame) a big flute and we toasted to being together again.

When you have the chance to celebrate, seize it.

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Watch, Listen, & Read

WATCH: Harry Potter – all of them. You know the story, either from the pages or the films, but when the world seems so complicated and summer morphs into fall, movies with a well-told story about magic and innocence coming of age is such a very welcomed salve.

Pair: Dove Hunt Dog Cab. $24. An easy red, with a bit of depth, good for any night. Our website says it pairs well with steak and fires; I concur!

LISTEN: The College Years.

When COVID started, my friends from college organized a Zoom call to combat the horror/boredom/isolation and on it, my friend Julie told us how she’s bringing clean-crafted vino to Chicagoland. A few days later, Seattle-based Stephanie and I joined the Scout & Cellar team at the same time vowing to establish coastal dominance😊 As a result, many of our former roommates are now happy wine customers.

Well into my Spotify playlist-making obsession, I polled my college gal pals about the songs we listened to back in the day and put them in one spot. (Apologies to Gun ‘n Roses’ fans; I’ve heard those songs one too many times). I’m offering my curated collection, but go to Spotify and assemble your own personal favorites. Music at your fingertips is such a great way to beat the back-to-school blues!

Pair: My pairing with these songs when I first heard them would probably have been rail bourbon, but now that I’ve “matured,” I much prefer red blends. Just give me the best grapes—in the right proportions—and make them sing.

Take your pick:

2017 The Resident Red, Mendocino, $22 (I am loving this lately!)

Bookbinder’s Apprentice, 1st Edition, $16

2017 Soleil. Vent. Ȃme, AOP Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, France , $16

2017 Middle Jane Red, Sonoma, $38

2018 Che Fico Red, Tuscany, $25

READ: Dan Silva’s Gabriel Allon series. I’ve read 17 of the 20-book series and am now inhaling the last three. The thrillers center around one reluctant Israeli art restorer-turned-spy who helped his country eliminate the terrorists responsible for the Black September massacre at the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics. Silva was a UPI Middle East correspondent based in Cairo and knows his way around the region so while turning pages well into the wee hours (because you won’t be able stop), you also learn a thing or two. Start with The Kill Artist.

Pair: Go Old World. World-trotting Allon and his team spend significant time in France and Italy, and do you need a better reason to drink wines from there?

Shop French Wines

Shop Italian Wines

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SALE: MYSTERY BOXES $69

Until September 21 TODAY, grab four bottles of limited-quantity wines, many of which we don’t have on the site! Choose mixed or all red. Up your total to $99 and the whole thing ships for free. Hurry – these are running out FAST. Go here.

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Great Choices for Fall (and ships for free)

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Who else likes wine?

I do hope you’re enjoying The Chardonnay Mom, regular musings about wine, wine pairings, books, and life, written by yours truly. If you know of anyone who’d like to subscribe, you can send them here to sign up.

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Other Bits and Pieces

Need a side gig? Maybe a new job? Or do you simply love wine and want to try new kinds? Want to host a fundraiser during COVID? Consultants have many reasons for joining the Scout & Cellar team. I joined in April to learn about the wine business and try new wines; I’m staying because it’s so much darn fun. If you are interested, give me a shout at thechardonnaymom@gmail.com.

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A Big Fat Hug

Thank you! Because of your support, I continue to donate to José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen, a non-profit that feeds fresh meals to hungry people around the country and keeps restaurants open doing so. Lately, I’ve been making donations to their efforts with the California and Oregon fires. So many of our wines come from these states and I shudder to think how farmers and anyone in the area are coping. #chefsforamerica

Buy all wine here.

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©2020 Carol Kaufmann

My name is Carol Kaufmann.

My teenage son presented me with a burst of inspiration when he sarcastically called me “a Chardonnay mom” one night at dinner. Why should that be an insult? I thought. Why is a Chardonnay mom a bad thing? Chardonnay is a delicious, highly versatile, and glorious grape. Being a Chardonnay mom should mean a woman who wears many hats: a family gal, a hard worker, a passionate devotee to great conversation and gathering of friends. Right then, I decided I would proudly take on that title and promote Chardonnay—and all other delicious wines out there—one bottle at a time.

I’m now an executive consultant for Scout & Cellar, a wine company based in Texas that sources and creates Clean-Crafted™ wines from small farms and family-owned vineyards. I joined the team because these wines are delicious, made responsibly without all the chemicals, pesticides, additives, and sweeteners frequently used in other mass-produced wines, and can be consumed by many who have health issues. (Please check with your doctor). Oh, and they’re keto- and paleo-friendly and have 40% fewer calories than most other wines.

I’m also a full-time author/writer/editor; wife and mom of two teenagers, two rescue cats, and a very opinionated bulldog (see below); and native Kentuckian. I love books, travel, my friends and neighbors, wine (of course), and current hometown of Alexandria, Virginia.

With my girl, Mardi Gras

The Chardonnay Mom Pairs Wine and Music

The Chardonnay Mom, vol. 10| Carol Kaufmann | September 8, 2020

Need clean-crafted, delicious wine delivered to your door? I can hook you up.

I’m just back from a 10-day respite on an island off North Carolina. Relocating does the body and soul wonders, doesn’t it? One truly needs a change of scenery every now and then. And now that we’re back in the thick of things, with school and work both in high gear, I’m still clinging to that wonderful memory.

One night, sitting under the live oaks in rocking chairs and (shocking) drinking wine, we went down the rabbit hole of recalling and listening to songs from high school, college, and early adult years. It’s funny what you associate with certain periods of your life. It may not be the songs that were on the radio at the time or that had hit Billboard’s top ten list, but ones that really resonated for a particular reason: What song reminds you of dancing the night away with friends? What lyrics stop you cold? What songs inspire you? What was playing during your high school prom?

Your life doesn’t have one finite soundtrack—it has many.

I’m in the process of making many Spotify playlists of former selves that may become fine coping mechanism for week after week of COVID restrictions and the one-two gut punch of online school and working from home. At least, that’s what I’m hoping. I’ll share with you, if you’d like.

And like an absorbing book or delicious new detective serious, why not pair your (or this) soundtrack with a tasty glass of wine?

ListenThe Chardonnay Mom: High School Years 

Pair: What wine aids in fond reminiscing? I certainly wasn’t drinking wine in high school in Kentucky (though perhaps had sampled some bourbon). I’d go for a spicy red, with hits of berries and a touch of tobacco, which recalls the smell of those leaves drying in my grandfather’s barn. Oso Pardo Tempranillo $25.

Read: The Guest Book by Sarah Blake. Generations of the Milton family hide secret upon secret and though it takes decades for chickens to come home to roost, roost they do. The action bounces among New York, Berlin, and a Maine island and several family members in this sweeping saga.

Pair: So much of the book takes place in the summers, and with the lush description of lobster dinners, I’d choose a wine that goes with both. Hushkeeper Pinot Gris ($25).

Watch: Perry Mason (2020). Matthew Rhys embodies the remade down-on-his-luck title character in this eight-episode series. Set in 1932, Mason transforms himself from a shady investigator into a criminal defense attorney saddled with the case of his life. Add in a mesmerizing evangelist, a sharp sidekick, and John Lithgow as a mentor, and how can you possibly not watch?

Pair: What goes with a LA detective noir story? A California Cab, of course! I’m really liking the 2018 Conte de la Terre Cabernet Sauvignon ($34) out of Sonoma that we tried on vacation. Big, bold, and delicious all by itself, it’s also undergone malolactic fermentation, which gives it a round and creamy taste.

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From the Field

*Remember my friend Lili (below) who hadn’t had wine in 20 years due to the crippling migraines it caused her? Her life changed after she tried some Scout & Cellar rosé with no ill effects. But it got even better when she had a glass of red wine, which she had sorely missed, and had no headache the next day. She made a TikTok in tribute to her now beloved 2019 Fieldhouse 301 Red Wine Blend. (Get it in this beautiful gift set that ships for free, a great deal at $49).

*My friend Ashli took advantage of our end-of-August sale and reports that she now has a “Happy Wine Fridge.” I must say, she made excellent choices. I’m particularly loving the 2019 Fieldhouse 301 Chardonnay, which we both had this weekend. It’s complex, creamy, has a tad of vanilla, and—I think—better when it’s served room temperature.

Ashli's fridgeAshli’s very happy fridge

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This Just In

New vintages are here! Our wine comes from small, responsibly-run farms that are only able to make so much a season. Grab ‘em before they’re gone.

2017 Soleil. Vent. Ȃme. Red wine: A Cabernet/Grenache blend combines berries with that signature herby-spicy flavor of the South of France. I could drink this year-round—and probably will. $26.

2018 Fieldhouse Pinot Noir: For a Pinot Noir scaredy-cat (me), this California variety is a tough sell. But it promises spice on the back end so I am hopeful. If anyone out there tries it, let me know what you think. The other wines with the Fieldhouse label—the 2019 301 Chardonnay and Red blend (which ships for free!) — are personal favorites. $22.

2019 Veinte Cabernet Sauvignon: Cabs from Chile, like this one, taste nothing like California Cabs with their serious fruit up front and a rich tobacco and herb spike on the end. A good fall wine to pair with big meat dishes or veggie versions that have lots of seasoning. I’m thinking Cajun dishes would pair really well. $30.

2019 Middle Jane Merlot: I haven’t had a merlot since my 20s but because Middle Jane is producing this one, I’m all in. $32.

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Who else likes wine?

I also hope you’re enjoying The Chardonnay Mom, regular musings about wine, wine pairings, books, and life, written by yours truly. If you know of anyone who’d like to subscribe, you can send them here to sign up directly.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Other Bits and Pieces

Need a side gig? Maybe a new job? Or do you simply love wine and want to try new kinds? Want to host a fundraiser during COVID? Consultants have many reasons for joining the Scout & Cellar team. I joined in April to learn about the wine business, help out some folks who were down on their luck, and try new wines; I’m staying because it’s so much dang fun. If you are interested, give me a shout at thechardonnaymom@gmail.com.

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A Big Fat Hug

Thank you! Because of your support, I continue to donate to José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen, a non-profit that feeds fresh meals to hungry people around the country and keeps restaurants open doing so. Lately, I’ve been making donations to their efforts with the northern California fires. So many of our wines come from California and I shudder to think how farmers and anyone in the area are coping. #chefsforamerica 

Buy all wine here.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

©2020 Carol Kaufmann

My name is Carol Kaufmann.

My teenage son presented me with a burst of inspiration when he sarcastically called me “a Chardonnay mom” one night at dinner. Why should that be an insult? I thought. Why is a Chardonnay mom a bad thing? Chardonnay is a delicious, highly versatile, and glorious grape. Being a Chardonnay mom should mean a woman who wears many hats: a family gal, a hard worker, a passionate devotee to great conversation and gathering of friends. Right then, I decided I would proudly take on that title and promote Chardonnay—and all other delicious wines out there—one bottle at a time.

I’m now an executive consultant for Scout & Cellar, a wine company based in Texas that sources and creates Clean-Crafted™ wines from small farms and family-owned vineyards. I joined the team because these wines are delicious, made responsibly without all the chemicals, pesticides, additives, and sweeteners frequently used in other mass-produced wines, and can be consumed by many who have health issues. (Please check with your doctor). Oh, and they’re keto- and paleo-friendly, have 40% fewer calories than most other wines, and seriously good. I’m a huge fan.

I’m also a full-time author/writer/editor; wife and mom of two teenagers, two rescue cats, and a very opinionated bulldog (see below); and native Kentuckian. I love books, travel, my friends and neighbors, wine (of course), and current hometown of Alexandria, Virginia.

The Chardonnay Mom Breaths a Sigh of Relief, Goes to Beach

The Chardonnay Mom, vol. 9| Carol Kaufmann | August 26, 2020

Need clean-crafted, delicious wine delivered to your door? I can hook you up.

My friend Lili told me she hadn’t had red wine, which she loves, in 20 years.

Sad. Lili is a multi-lingual lawyer by day as well as a fellow mom-in-the-trenches, neighbor, wife, and tell-it-like-it-is friend. She has three kids, one of whom she just transported to college halfway across the country, only to turn around a few days later to evacuate her due to fast-approaching hurricanes. She’s also a three-time breast cancer survivor, who has rebounded better than ever, and boldly seeks to live her life with hope and purpose. I adore her.

If anyone deserves a nice glass of wine at the end of the day, it’s Lili.

But Lili hasn’t been able to drink wine for two solid decades. The last time she had a glass of red, she got a terrible migraine and was out of commission the whole next day. Understandably, she doesn’t want to risk that again.

So when I began bringing Scout & Cellar wine to my neck of the woods, I cautiously suggested, “Lili, I think you can drink this wine.” My dear college friend Kris was in the same boat, eschewing wine due to migraines. She gave S&C whites, reds, and rosés a shot, and is now on her third delivery, so I thought Lili, too, could drink it. Lili was curious, but leery. She came over and she gingerly sipped a Dove Hunt Dog rosé. I held my breath.

And felt perfectly fine the next day. Emboldened by the experience, she came to the patio again, along with friends we’ve known since our kids were in pre-school Gina and Caty Gee, another red wine sufferer. I poured a Fieldhouse Red blend, and Lili loved it so much she had another generous pour.

The next day I was terrified. What if the red wine brought back her migraines? Around 10:30 during the work day, I’m staring at my phone debating whether to call her, when her name appears.

Lili’s wine – with Caty Gee in the background

“I FEEL GREAT!” she screams into the phone. “Do you have any more?”

I know of stories of folks who have various conditions – autoimmune diseases, a doctor-ordered diet of no gluten, dairy, and sugar, GERD, and various allergies (such as Caty Gee and me) who can drink Scout & Cellar wines. But when your cancer-surviving friend who has so much on her plate already, dips her toe back into Wineville…you do NOT want anything going wrong.

And it didn’t. I owe (yet another) debt of gratitude to the folks at Scout & Cellar who source from farmers making wine without additives, pesticides, and sweeteners, lab test it twice to make sure, and have figured out how to get it to people throughout the country during COVID. I know that, in the grand scheme of things, having a glass of wine is a small thing, but on some days, having that freedom is the best thing ever.

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What I’m Pairing: Wines and Vacation

Our family of four finally managed to get out of the four walls we’ve been in since March and replant ourselves on an island in North Carolina that does a damn fine job of social distancing, even without a pandemic. The beaches are wide and deep, and while you can see people, they’re way more than six feet away. We’ve also reunited with dear friends who’ve also been isolated in their house for way too long, and have enjoyed dinners around the same table, epic Texas Hold’em games, and laughter – tons of it. (Fun fact: our friend’s family has a vineyard in Paso Robles so we also talk about wine…a lot). For such an occasion, I chose my wine carefully.

Here’s what I brought:

The wines that traveled to Bald Head Island, NC.

Beach time: 2019 The Greeter Chardonnay. We love going to the beach when everyone else is leaving – right around sunset, and sipping this friendly and crisp white—also from Paso Robles—is smile-inducing, just like Pip the winery dog on the label.

Shrimp Fest: The family favorite meal consists of Zatarain’s-infused peel-n-eat shrimp, farm tomatoes with mozzarella/basil/pesto, a big garden salad, and garlic bread. My big buttery love the 2017 Gallivant Chardonnay and for our red fans, 2019 Oso Pardo Tempranillo compliment it perfectly.

Burgers and DogsMiddle Jane Zinfandel. With its fruit and spice, would also pair well with BBQ.

Pizza:.2018 Che Fico red wine. A Cab/Merlot blend from Tuscany that recalls easy wines that you’d get at a small Italian trattoria.

Hearty Salads: We love a great Mediterranean salad with spinach, orzo, almonds, dried fruit, and chicken. The smooth and fragrant Che Fico Pinot Grigio is a great compliment.

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What to Else to Drink

Scout & Cellar is offering a red and white box set for the ridiculous price of $49 with free shipping (a la carte price $70+). It includes the 2019 Fieldhouse 301 Chardonnay and the 2019 Fieldhouse 301 Red Blend. Fieldhouse is one of my favorite Chards (citrusy, yet smooooooth and vanilla-y and the longer you leave it out the better it gets) and I love all of our red blends (this one is berry/jammy with some herbiness on the backend). The two bottles come in a nice box and make a great gift. Given our weird world, everyone needs a gift.

Did I mention it’s $49, with free shipping?

Bookbinder’s Apprentice, 1st edition. I’ve said this before but GET THIS WINE! Made by the high-end Napa winemaker Bookbinder, this light red blend gives you berries up front, herbs on the back, and jam all the way through. It’s delicious, it’s drinkable daily, and it’s only $16. I’m getting a case, and using my 10% coupon for being a Scout Circle member.

Not a Circle member? If you drink at least four bottles of wine a month, this is the best deal around. $89. (Of course, you can get more and choose the frequency). Free shipping always! Look here.

Scout Circle – the best deal around. Always ships for free and offers access to exclusive wines.

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Who else likes wine?

I also hope you’re enjoying The Chardonnay Mom, regular musings about wine, wine pairings, books, and life, written by yours truly. If you know of anyone who’d like to subscribe, you can send them here to sign up directly.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Other Bits and Pieces

Need a side gig? Maybe a new job? Or do you simply love wine and want to try new kinds? Want to support an organization during COVID? And maybe write a newsletter😊? Consultants have many reasons for joining the Scout & Cellar team. If YOU are interested, give me a shout at thechardonnaymom@gmail.com.

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A Big Fat Hug

Thank you, my wine fans! Because of your support, I continue to donate to José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen, a non-profit that feeds fresh meals to hungry people around the country and keeps restaurants open doing so. This week, I earmarked a donation to specifically help their efforts in with the northern California fires. So many of our wines come from California and I shudder to think what our farmers are dealing with.

#chefsforamerica

Buy all wine here.

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©2020 Carol Kaufmann

About me:

My name is Carol Kaufmann.

My teenage son presented me with a burst of inspiration when he sarcastically called me “a Chardonnay mom” one night at dinner. Why should that be an insult? I thought. Why is a Chardonnay mom a bad thing? Chardonnay is a delicious, highly versatile, and glorious grape. Being a Chardonnay mom should mean a woman who wears many hats: a family gal, a hard worker, a passionate devotee to great conversation and gathering of friends. Right then, I decided I would proudly take on that title and promote Chardonnay one glass at a time. And all the other delicious wines out there.

I’m now an executive consultant for Scout & Cellar, a wine company based in Texas that sources and creates Clean-Crafted™ wines from small farms and family-owned vineyards. I joined the team because these wines are delicious, made responsibly without all the chemicals, pesticides, additives, and sweeteners frequently used in other mass-produced wines, and can be consumed by many who have health issues. (Please check with your doctor). Oh, and they’re keto- and paleo-friendly and have 40% fewer calories than most other wines.

I’m also a full-time author/writer/editor; wife and mom of two teenagers, two rescue cats, and a very opinionated bulldog (see below); and native Kentuckian. I love books, travel, my friends and neighbors, wine (of course), and current hometown of Alexandria, Virginia.

CK and 70 pounds of attitude.

Unsubscribe | Update your profile | Alexandria, VA 22301

The Chardonnay Mom Enters the Dog Days

The Chardonnay Mom, vol. 8| Carol Kaufmann | August 14, 2020

Need wine delivered to your door? I can hook you up.

August is now waning and the start of school is on the horizon. For us here in Virginia, this September will look like no other. Gone are the days of scrambling in the car to get to school on time,dog in tow (below). At my house each morning, two bleary-eyed teenagers will mosey over to their computers to begin class. A stone’s throw away, the hubs and I will also be staring into our screens in the comfort of tees and shorts. And we’ll all exist within the same four walls, sharing the same internet connection, until….?

My own Mardi Gras helps take the kids to school, in what seems like a different century.

The golden lining of forced family togetherness is that we do have more time for family dinners, and more time to think about what to eat (and sip). I’ve also noticed that, since friends and neighbors seem to have fewer commitments, it’s easier to spend quality time with one or two friends, or a small group, and deepen the relationships. And though I’m still knee deep in books to take me away from the Time of Covid, I’m also eating up television series. Has there ever been such quality programming on TV? If we can’t go to the movies, nor stray far from home, I’m grateful that we have so many choices on the tube. Once school starts, this all might become a trifle more difficult so I’m trying to pack it all in now.

What I’m pairing

WATCH: Billions (ShowTime, Amazon Prime). The hubs and I just finished up five seasons/55 episodes of Billions, the drama featuring Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti (he of the ultimate wine movie Sideways), who portray a hedge fund king and a US attorney in a fight-to-the-death game of wits, power moves, and influence. These are two Emmy-great actors at the top of their game, supported by a secondary cast that’s just as strong. Oh, and Giamatti’s wife on the show (played by the perfectly cast Maggie Siff) works for the hedge fund as a “performance coach.” It’s just delicious.

& PAIR: Go big and bold. In Billions world, hedge funders and blue bloods can spend upwards of $1,000 on a bottle of wine (see the fantastic and cringe-worthy scene involving a 2010 Château Haut-Brion in the penultimate episode) but you don’t have to go that far to get a great bottle. Pair this show—or steak or truffle pasta—with 2018 Bookbinder, 3rd edition Cabernet Sauvignon, made by the Napa winery of the same name. Deep, rich, with a touch of eucalyptus on the back end. $58. If you don’t want to fork over the 58, the 2018 Middle Jane Reserve Cabernet is offers of bit more of the jammy side of earthy and bold Cabs. $38

Buy all wine here.

WATCH: The Office Nearly everyone I’ve talked to is watching some season of The Office, and I think I know why. For one, we adults look at the typical office setting of the Dunder-Mifflin Paper Company and think, How quaint! Remember when we used to work in offices? The pranks are fun, the dialog often painful, but the imperfect characters ultimately find love and family in the most unlikely place (except Toby, poor guy).

& PAIR: You want a wine that comforting, yet also entertaining.I’d go with the Gallivant Rosé, a Zinfandel/Syrah blend. Strawberries burst initially, followed by a smooth, refreshing finish. $22. Or if you’re in a red kind of mood, grab the fruity and bold Middle Jane red, a blend of the Dolcetto and Negroamaro grapes $38.

READ: The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. Black twin sisters who have skin so light they can pass for White, grow up in an unusual community in the South, run away when they’re teenagers, and separate shortly after. One sister lives as a Black woman, the other chooses to be White, keeping the secret from her husband and daughter. Like most twins, their fates are inexorably intertwined. I could tell you more, but do I need to? These pages turn themselves.

& PAIR: To compliment the two characters who fully embrace completely different identifies, I suggest you do the same with your wine. Let’s take the fruity and crisp as well as a bold and earthy.

Citrus bursts and tropical fruity Hushkeeper Pinot Gris $25, and the plummy and spicy 2017 Fieldhouse Cabernet Sauvignon $32.

READ: The New Chardonnay by Heather Cabot

This in-depth look of how marijuana insiders turned pot into a mainstream consumable in the health, gourmet, and self-care industries is not only absorbing but was written by one of my closet friends. Because I know how she works, I know this book is the real deal – full of people you won’t forget, painstaking research, and nearly-impossible-to-get stories.

Plus, the title? How could I not read this?

& PAIR: 2018 Fieldhouse (I’m sure you’re not surprised) Chardonnay. A down-to-earth Chard that’s smooth and creamy without big oak flavor. $35. Of course, I’ll always recommend Gallivant ($25) to my butter-loving, soul Chard sisters.

Buy all wine here.

Need more recommendations? Email me: thechardonnaymom@gmail.com

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What I’m Drinking

Special offers this month

It’s August, Scout & Cellar birthday month. (Age 3 to be exact). To celebrate, we’re offering a red and white box set for the ridiculous price of $49 with free shipping (a la carte price $70+). It includes the 2019 Fieldhouse 301 Chardonnay and the 2019 Fieldhouse 301 Red Blend. Fieldhouse is one of my favorite Chardys (citrusy, yet smooooooth and vanilla-y) and I love all of our red blends (this one is berry/jammy with some herbiness on the backend). The two bottles come in a nice box and make a great gift (and given our weird world, everyone needs a gift). Did I mention it’s $49, with free shipping?

Like bubbles? Like rosé? We’re debuting our new Ticklebumps Rosé this month. Made from Carignan grapes on California’s North Coast, this fuchsia-colored sparkling wine evokes cherries and strawberries, and finishes smoooooth. Why the name Ticklebumps, you might wonder? The CEO’s daughter (when a toddler) would shout “ticklebumps!” in delight when her stroller rolled over the sidewalk bumps near an intersection. (Fun fact: a family friend of our invented those😊). $29

Bookbinders ApprenticeBookbinder’s Apprentice, 1st edition (above) Oh, my, oh, my. GET THIS WINE! Made by a high-end winemaker (see Billions above), this light red blend gives you berries up front, herbs on the back, and jam all the way through. It’s delicious, it’s drinkable daily, and it’s only $16. I’m getting a case, and using my 10% coupon for being a Scout Circle member.

Not a Circle member? If you drink at least four bottles of wine a month, this is the best deal around. $89. (Of course, you can get more and choose the frequency). Free shipping always! Look here.

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Who else likes wine?

I also hope you’re enjoying The Chardonnay Mom, regular musings about wine, wine pairings, books, and life, written by yours truly. If you know of anyone who’d like to subscribe, you can send them here to sign up directly.

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Other Bits and Pieces

Need a side gig? Or maybe a job? Love wine and want to try new kinds?

Want to support an organization during COVID? And maybe write a newsletter😊?

Consultants have many reasons for joining the Scout & Cellar team. If YOU are interested, give me a shout at thechardonnaymom@gmail.com.

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A Big Fat Hug

Thank you, my wine fans! Because of your support, I’ve donated $875 to José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen, a non-profit that feeds fresh meals to hungry people around the country and keeps restaurants open doing so. As long as this global pandemic continues and y’all buy wine, I’ll support José! #chefsforamerica

Buy all wine here.

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©2020 Carol Kaufmann

About me:

My name is Carol Kaufmann.

My teenage son presented me with a burst of inspiration when he sarcastically called me “a Chardonnay mom” one night at dinner. Why should that be an insult? I thought. Why disparage that seriously versatile, glorious grape? Right then, I decided I would proudly take on that title and promote Chardonnay one glass at a time.

And all the other delicious wines out there.

I’m now an executive consultant for Scout & Cellar, a wine company based in Texas that sources and creates Clean-Crafted™ wines from small farms and family-owned vineyards. I joined the team because these wines are delicious, made responsibly without all the chemicals, pesticides, additives, and sweeteners used frequently in other mass-produced wines, and can be consumed by many who have health issues. (Please check with your doctor). Oh, and they’re keto- and paleo-friendly and have 40% fewer calories than most other wines.

I’m also a full-time author/writer/editor; wife and mom of two teenagers, two rescue cats (Abby is pictured below), and a very opinionated bulldog named Mardi Gras (see above); and native Kentuckian. I love books, travel, my friends and neighbors, wine (of course), and current hometown of Alexandria, Virginia.

The Chardonnay Mom Pairs Wine with Books

Need wine delivered to your door? I can hook you up.

The Chardonnay Mom, vol. 7 | Carol Kaufmann | August 5, 2020

Hello Wine Fans,

Though it may appear that I think a bottle of wine is the answer to any given dilemma, it’s actually not my choice for self-soothing. True, wine can be a conversation instigator when sipped with friends, a reprieve from the chaos of the day, a boon to great meals, and a perfect excuse to linger at the table. But it can’t help explain.

I’ve always been a big reader, but The Time of Covid has driven me further into pages. At the beginning of lockdown, I could only read fiction. But over the months, my book appetite has expanded into biography, and most recently, World War II history, which make my tiny woes pale, and now I’m devouring two to three books a week, in addition to news articles. Perhaps it is because of the news articles that we need bigger-picture stories.

In fact, right about the time we were ordered into quarantine, my friend Cathy and I created a socially-distant book club full of fellow neighborhood moms. Sometimes we Zoom and include far-flung former neighbors from Texas and California; but more recently, we’ve been sitting on my patio, six feet apart, with BYO snacks, candles, and—shocking—wine. If there was ever a time for community wine and discussion – this is it. (Note: Rosés and Bubbles seem to go well with book discussions).

And why keep a good book to yourself? A few of the following have evokes great discussions; others I’ve found through friends or through authors I follow. All are worth reading, or I wouldn’t mention😉

Untamed by Glennon Doyle. The neighborhood book club started with this one. The author of Love Warrior, Carry on, Warrior, and the blog Momastery, Doyle packs a searing punch (mostly) in her short essays about friendship, body image, white women understanding racism, honesty with her three children, and notably, divorcing her husband and marrying a female soccer star.

Wine suggestion: Grab a cocktail for this one! You think that Doyle is just talking about her life, when POW!, you realize she’s talking about you. Because you might need more than one, make it with the Wilderness Road, a refreshing, clean-crafted mixable replaced in for clean liquors, with less alcohol (and about half the calories). $38


Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid.A 26-year-old Black woman is accused of kidnapping the seriously precocious child she babysits, and her wealthy White employer, a social media maven, tries to befriend her. Reid weaves race, class, wealth, and career choices deftly into what feels like a beach read. No wonder her debut novel was just nominated for the Booker prize.

Wine suggestion: NV Ticklebumps Brut Break out a bubbly in honor of Ms. Reid (How do you get nominated for a Booker with your FIRST novel?) and for creating the most memorable three-year-old in fiction history. $45

The Huntress by Kate Quinn. Did you like The Alice Network? This time, the same author continues to mine WWII in this historical novel about a battle-hardened Russian aviatrix, a former war correspondent, a former Nazi, and one plucky young woman. Completely absorbing and un-putdown able.

Wine suggestion: My friend Cathy, mentioned above, told me about this book. She also loves the Middle Jane Pinot Noir, just like I do (see why we’re friends?) so I’ll go ahead and recommend it. Though, honestly, I’d recommend this layered, complex Pinot for most any occasion. $42

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson. Geez, this is a nearly perfect novel. The story of two unwanted kids who burst into flames (yes, as in fire) when agitated is a tale of highly flawed individuals and improbable, redeeming love. You’ll laugh out loud and cry on the same page. Just read it.

Wine Suggestion: Oso Pardo Tempranillo 2019. Just out, this spicy Spanish red is great with fire…as in grilling or BBQ. $25

Kindred by Octavia Butler. This novel, chosen by my work book club, will stay with me for a long, long time. Published in 1979, science fiction writer Butler takes a 20-something black women living in 1970s Los Angeles and transports her to the antebellum South and into the lives of her slave-holding ancestors. Harrowing and unforgettable.

Wine suggestion: You need a big, hearty Zin to sustain you through this. I’d go for a Middle Jane Zinfandel, berries on the front and smooth spice on the back. $29

My Ex-Life by Stephen McCauley.What’s a gay San Franciscan to do when he loses his apartment and lover? Fly across the country and move in with his ex-wife and her kid and help rebuild their lives in a small New England town. What could go wrong?

Wine suggestion: Try Che Fico’s Pinot Grigio. It’s easy breezy with lots of character and a refreshing finish. $22.

Mysteries. A huge fan of Agatha Christie since I was old enough to read (well, practically), I’m always up for a good murder mystery and have to credit the loyal followers of Louise Penny for suggesting Susan Elia MacNeal’s Maggie Hope series set in London before and during World War II. Thanks to them, also, for recommending the 20-book Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters about an ahead-of-her-time dame and her archaeologist husband set mainly in Egypt during the Victorian era.

Wine suggestion: The Birthday Set. Get ready to tuck in with both a great white and red, thanks to Scout & Cellar’s celebration of birthday #3. Fieldhouse Chardonnay (smooth, lemony, not oaky) and Fieldhouse Red (full of berries, herbs). Both for $49/ships for free. (Retails separately at $70! Get it while it lasts).

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Where to buy these books? Why not support a local bookstore?! I suggest my friend Tiffany’s ridiculously special place in Indiana, Wild Geese Bookshop. She’ll ship to you.

Other Bits and Pieces

Need a side gig? Or maybe a job?

Love wine and want to try new kinds?

Want to support an organization during COVID? And maybe write a newsletter😊?

Consultants have many reasons for joining the Scout & Cellar team. If YOU are interested, give me a shout at thechardonnaymom@gmail.com.

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

A Big Fat Hug

Thank you, my wine fans! Because of your support, I’ve donated $875 to José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen, a non-profit that feeds fresh meals to hungry people around the country and keeps restaurants open doing so. As long as this global pandemic continues and y’all buy wine, I’ll support José! #chefsforamerica

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PRO TIP:

If you like wine, and drink it on a regular basis, the easiest (and most cost-effective) thing you can do is sign up for Scout Circle. Seriously. Figure out how much wine you drink a month (or every other month or every quarter) and let our wine experts pick out a selection for you. I, for example, get six bottles of white/red/rose bottles a month for $139. That’s big discount from your basic a la carte purchase! No shipping. No fees.

And if you don’t like a wine, we’ll give you a wine credit to try a different bottle.

Thank you for reading. If you know someone who’d like to subscribe to The Chardonnay Mom, send ‘em this link! Or you can subscribe for them😊

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©2020 Carol Kaufmann

About me:

My name is Carol Kaufmann.

My teenage son presented me with a burst of inspiration when he sarcastically called me “a Chardonnay mom” one night at dinner. Why should that be an insult? I thought. Why disparage that seriously versatile, glorious grape? Right then, I decided I would proudly take on that title and promote Chardonnay one glass at a time.

Plus, other delicious wine.

I’m now an executive consultant for Scout & Cellar, a wine company based in Texas that sources and creates Clean-Crafted™ wines from small farms and family-owned vineyards. I joined the team because these wines are delicious, made responsibly without all the chemicals, pesticides, additives, and sweeteners used frequently in other mass-produced wines, and can be consumed by many who have health issues. (Please check with your doctor). Oh, and they’re keto- and paleo-friendly and have 40% fewer calories than most other wines.

I’m also a full-time author/writer/editor; wife and mom of two teenagers, three rescue cats, and a very opinionated bulldog (see above); and native Kentuckian. I love books, travel, my friends and neighbors, wine (of course), and current hometown of Alexandria, Virginia.

Unsubscribe | Update your profile | 110, West Masonic View Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22301

The Chardonnay Mom Recommends Wines for Trying Times

The Chardonnay Mom, vol. 6 | Carol Kaufmann | July 28, 2020

Hello Wine Fans,

Due to our global pandemic, we’ve been keeping to ourselves and staying away from crowds, navigating the blistering heat wave and resigning ourselves to online everything. No visits to our usual beach haunt and trips to see the grandparents.

This has presented a few challenges that I suspect you might also share. Whatever your situation, no worries. I have a wine for that.

FOR WHEN THE POWER GOES OUT

2017 Solar Del Alma Malbec $36

Unfortunately, we found out the hard way what balm will soothe an unexpected outage when a vicious summer storm tore through our neighborhood leaving a cluster of houses in the dark and without AC in suffocating heat. I randomly grabbed a bottle (left) from the blacked-out basement – and oh, what a gift. Bursts of berries with that clean, spicy tang on the back. Not heavy and fine to drink in summer. Laughter through tears.

2017 Solar Del Alma

FOR A TUESDAY THAT SHOULD BE A FRIDAY

Bookbinder’s Apprentice, First Edition $16

High-end red blend for a Tuesday night price. All the great grapes are represented: Petite Syrah, Zinfandel, Cabernet, Syrah, and Barbera. Goes great with burgers and BBQ.

WHEN DREAMING OF ITALY

2018 Che Fico Pinot Grigio Reserve $29

2019 Che Fico Pinot Grigio $22

NV Rivamonte Prosecco $22

It pierces my wandering soul that we are forbidden from entering most every country on the planet, particularly Italy, which I love with a white-hot passion. And I have a soft spot for the Veneto region, which produces grapes that makes even the simplest wines divine.

WHEN YOU NEED TO BE APART FROM OTHER HUMANS

2018 Oso Pardo Tempranillo $25

When you’ve just had Just. About. Enough, grab yourself a bottle of this spicy Spanish red (left), a brick of cheese, a slab of salami, and prepare for siesta, as our friends in Spain do…after you’ve had enough sips to escort you gently into slumber.

2018 Oso Pardo Tempranillo

WHEN ZOOMING WITH LONG-LOST FRIENDS

2018 Soleil. Vent. Ȃme. Sémillon $25

Crisp and soft. Pairs with any light food. This wine’s name means sun, wind, and soul – and when reunited with old friends, what more does one need?

WHEN ZOOMING WITH CO-WORKERS AT HAPPY HOUR

2017 Middle Jane Zinfandel $32

Go big and hearty to get through a potentially loaded call. We workers have been home a lllloooonnnnngggg time—and once encouraged to unwind and let loose, anything can happen. But this bold wine with berries at the front and nice spice on the end is strong enough to see you through.

In fact, let me just say  – ALL the Middle Jane wines are outstanding. And they have a great story. Every girl in this winemakers’ family has the middle name of “Jane” after a great-great grandmother who was strong, swore when necessary, worked hard, and always wore lipstick. Giving the girls’ a common name reminds them all to be more like Jane.

WHEN YOU CAN’T BE BOTHERED WITH A CORKSCREW

Cans!  $19 – 25 (for four)

Delicious options that are SO EASY TO OPEN. Effervescent and refreshing spritzers. And in BPA-free containers.

Order any and all wines HERE.

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SALE! SALE! SALE!

Oh, my! These will not last and when they’re gone, they’re gone!

Grab ‘em now!

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PRO TIP:

If you like wine, and drink it on a regular basis, the easiest (and most cost-effective) thing you can do is sign up for Scout Circle. Seriously. Figure out how much wine you drink a month (or every other month or every quarter) and let our sommelier CEO pick out a selection for you. I, for example, get six bottles of white/red/rose bottles a month for $139. That’s big discount from your basic a la carte purchase! No shipping. No fees.

And if you don’t like a wine, we’ll give you a wine credit so you can get another bottle.

ANOTHER PRO TIP:

TCM hates to pay shipping. Hates it. So, when I order wine for myself, I always pair it with a gift set because IT WILL SHIP FOR FREE. I love free. And I love the two wines in the Celebrate the Everyday Mix ($49). My beloved creamy and luscious Gallivant Chardonnay and the clean and berry-tasting Dove Hunt Dog Cabernet Sauvignon. Both easily drinkable year-round, perfect for small gatherings, and ideal for nights on the patio.

Put it in your cart, add whatever else you’d like, and it all ships for free. FREE!

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Know of a friend who’s like wine recs and musings from The Chardonnay Mom?

Subscribe!

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©2020 Carol Kaufmann

About me:

My name is Carol Kaufmann.

My teenage son presented me with a burst of inspiration when he sarcastically called me “a Chardonnay mam” one night at dinner. Why should that be an insult? I thought. Why disparage that seriously versatile, glorious grape? Right then, I decided I would proudly take on that title and promote Chardonnay one glass at a time.

And all the other delicious wines out there.

I’m now an executive consultant for Scout & Cellar, a wine company based in Texas that sources and creates Clean-Crafted™ wines from small farms and family-owned vineyards. I joined the team because these wines are delicious, made responsibly without all the chemicals, pesticides, additives, and sweeteners used frequently in other mass-produced wines, and can be consumed by many who have health issues. (Please check with your doctor). Oh, and they’re keto- and paleo-friendly and have 40% fewer calories than most other wines.

I’m also a full-time author/writer/editor; wife and mom of two teenagers, three rescue cats, and a very opinionated bulldog (see below); and native Kentuckian. I love books, travel, my friends and neighbors, wine (of course), and current hometown of Alexandria, Virginia.

The Chardonnay Mom Tries a Cocktail

Vol. 5, July 22, 2020 | Carol Kaufmann

I love wine, particularly Chardonnay, and am also crazy about reds— almost every red grape under the sun—and even sip them during the torturous heat wave a big portion of the country is experiencing right now.But the time has come to expand.

I love a good cocktail but have had trouble in the past, um, regulating myself. Many are just too strong and sugary, and cause ridiculous headaches. I just don’t know how much to drink before descending into the abyss of a bad next morning.

We now have a solution: Wilderness Road.

What the devil is a mixable, as our Victorian ancestors might have asked? It’s a combination of white and rosé wines that are carbon-purified to soften the wine characteristics. Then, it’s distilled and mixed with a Clean-Crafted™ grape wine, which raises the alcohol level to around 20% (which is about half the amount of alcohol in vodka or gin).

Shorthand: This lower-alcohol alternative means you can drink a few cocktails without worrying about repercussions. It’s the same size as a bottle of wine, provides 17 servings (more or less), and costs $38.

What can you do with this new-fangled mixable? You could….

  • Mix with organic tonic water or soda water with a slice of lemon or lime.
  • Try with water and an organic citrus slice.
  • Use it in your favorite cocktail (a Daquiri, Cosmo, Mojito, etc.)
  • Try this recipe named after the winery’s dog (a beautiful, happy Golden Retriever).

Subscribe to The Chardonnay Mom! And I’ve be ever so grateful if you’d tell your wine-loving friends.

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Sale! Sale! Sale!

Oh, my! The Adelante Cabs are so so very good! Grab ‘em now!

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Other thoughts:

*Would you like a sip of our wines? If you’re local–in the DMV area, that is–I can bring you a few in tiny bottles. Let me know: thechardonnaymom@gmail.com.

*Would you like to join me in the wonderful world of wine? Let me know that, too!

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© 2020 Carol Kaufmann

About me:

My teenage son presented me with a burst of inspiration when he sarcastically called me “a Chardonnay mam” one night at dinner. Why should that be an insult? I thought. Why disparage that seriously versatile, glorious grape? Right then, I decided I would proudly take on that title and promote Chardonnay one glass at a time.

And all the other delicious wines out there.

I’m now an executive consultant for Scout & Cellar, a wine company based in Texas that sources and creates Clean-Crafted™ wines from small farms and family-owned vineyards. I joined the team because these wines are delicious, made responsibly without all the chemicals, pesticides, additives, and sweeteners used frequently in other mass-produced wines, and can be consumed by many who have health issues. (Please check with your doctor). Oh, and they’re keto- and paleo-friendly and have 40% fewer calories than most other wines.

I’m also a full-time author/writer/editor; wife and mom of two teenagers, three rescue cats, and a very opinionated bulldog (see below); and native Kentuckian. I love books, travel, my friends and neighbors, wine (of course), and current hometown of Alexandria, Virginia.

The Chardonnay Mom Contemplates the Socially Distant Summer

July 14, 2020–Since our viral pandemic shuttered our workplaces, schools, public forums, live music, sporting events, restaurants, and any other traditional fun things back in March, my own little social life, like many, has transformed significantly.

But not in a horrible way.

While my family of four doesn’t have the number of invitations and options we did pre-COVID, I’m finding that we do have more quality ones. The kids don’t have band practices and summer camps, so they navigate the local creek, ride bikes, roast marshmallows, and pitch tents in the backyard. Neighborhood adults are also winging it – pulling up lawn chairs in driveways six feet apart and organizing small gathering of, say, six or eight, in the backyard.

Now, TCM likes a party as much as anything, but I do relish small groups because they tend to lead to better conversations.

Last night, our neighbors up the street invited the hubs and me along with another couple to drop by after dinner for drinks. Easy. To be super safe, we brought our own wine glasses, grabbed a bottle of Gallivant Bubbly Rosé, and filled up big glasses of ice water for the one-block walk (it’s sultry here in Northern Virginia)! My friend up the street, the hostess, set out olives, tortillas, these delicious veggie chips, while her nine-year-old daughter

 supplied some homemade cookies and berry kabobs. Along with a cooler of beer, more rosé, and night lighting, we wanted for nothing. As the temperature fell and the stars appeared, the bubbles of the Gallivant and the easy dry fruit of the rosé paired perfectly with substantive conversation and heat-induced, slightly tipsy banter.

Would this have happened in a “normal” summer when vacations, family obligations, and sports  and camp schedules compete for dates? Would we have ever gotten it on the calendar? Doubtful. This is the summer to savor longer conversations – and maybe just another glass of wine.

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Wines to Savor During the Long, Hot Summer

Soleil. Vent. Amê. Sémillion: Sun, Wind, Soul. That’s the translation of this creamy, subtle wine from the Aquataine region in France known for renowned wines. Smooth and layered, try it with sushi, shellfish, or a summer salad. $25.

Dove Hunt Dog – Taste the strawberries right off the bat in this light and easy rosé that draws friends together and encourages one more glass. So drinkable. $17.

Gallivant Rosé: My favorite of the S&C roses, this Syrah and Zinfandel blend is exquisite to drink when it’s too hot for words. $22.

Bookbinder’s Apprentice: easy summer red

BRAND NEW! Bookbinder’s Apprentice: 1st Edition Red Wine (at left): Even when it’s hot and steamy, I love a good summer red to have with BBQ and burgers. And here it is. Oh, how I love a good California red blend! Here are all the good red grapes – Petit Syrah, Zinfandel, Cab Sauv, Syrah, and Barbera happily together that will keep red wine devotees happily sipping as their friends down Pinot Grigios and Rieslings.

The Apprentice comes from the makers of Bookbinder, a big, juicy Cab that you savor in front of a fire with steaks. At $58, it’s one of our pricier choices. But the Bookbinder’s Apprentice is a steal for $16. (Plus, it has books on the label. Books!)

The Scout Sampler is still available! (But won’t always be). Try some of our best offerings with this adorable four pack. $32

  • 2019 Conte de la Terre Vermentino (187mL)
  • 2019 Hushkeeper Pinot Gris (187mL)
  • 2019 Fieldhouse Red Blend (187 mL)
  • 2018 Middle Jane Cabernet Sauvignon (187mL)

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PRO TIP:

If you like wine, and drink it on a regular basis, the easiest (and most cost-effective) thing you can do is sign up for Scout Circle. Seriously. Figure out how much wine you drink a month (or every other month or every quarter) and let our sommelier CEO pick out a selection for you. I, for example, get six bottles of white/red/rose bottles a month for $139. No shipping. No fees.

And if you don’t like a wine, we’ll give you a wine credit so you can get another bottle.

ANOTHER PRO TIP:

TCM hates to pay shipping. Hates it. So, when I order wine for myself, I always pair it with a gift set because IT WILL SHIP FOR FREE. I love free. And I love the two wines in the Celebrate the Everyday Mix ($49). My beloved creamy and luscious Gallivant Chardonnay and the clean and berry-tasting Dove Hunt Dog Cabernet Sauvignon. Both easily drinkable year-round, perfect for small gatherings, and ideal for nights on the patio.

Put it in your cart, add whatever else you’d like, and it all ships for free. FREE!

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COMING SOON: Wine and Book pairings

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My girl Mardi Gras and me

About me:

My name is Carol Kaufmann.

My teenage son presented me with a burst of inspiration when he sarcastically called me “a Chardonnay mam” one night at dinner. Why should that be an insult, I thought. Why disparage that most versatile, glorious grape? Right then, I decided I would proudly take on that title and rehabilitate Chardonnay one glass at a time.

I’m now an executive consultant for Scout & Cellar, a wine company based in Texas that sources and creates Clean-Crafted wines from small farms and family-owned vineyards. I joined the team because these wines are delicious, made responsibly without all the chemicals, pesticides, additives, and sweeteners used frequently in other mass-produced wines, and can be consumed by many who have health issues. (Please check with your doctor). Oh, and they’re keto and paleo-friendly and have 40% fewer calories than most other wines.

I’m also a full-time author/writer/editor; wife and mom of two teenagers, three rescue cats, and a very opinionated bulldog (see above); and native Kentuckian. I love books, travel, my friends and neighbors, wine (of course), and current hometown of Alexandria, Virginia.

(C) Carol Kaufmann 2020

The Chardonnay Mom Asks: What’s in My Wine?

For the past decade, I’ve become increasingly aware about what goes into the gaping maws of my always hungry family. Granted, now that my kids are both in their teens, my choices are often overruled way more often than I care to admit. (Damn you, Uber Eats). But as the designated grocery store shopper, I still exert a bit of influence about what we consume.

And with the craze of the COVID-19 pandemic still very much in the picture and a soul-crushing travel ban that will last until some mystery date, this is one tiny place where I’m in control. I can choose to buy clean organic produce and responsibly-raised beef, chicken, and seafood that is free of immunity-destroying antibiotics, pesticides, and God knows what else.

So…it only makes sense to consider what goes into all the liquids we drink. And oh friend, our beloved wine industry is far from transparent.

Wines ranging from cheap, mass produced labels to your expensive reds that are reclining in your wine cellar are treated with all kinds of chemicals:

  • additives that boost color, acidity, or thickness
  • added sweeteners for taste
  • extra tannins to produce a drier taste
  • designer yeasts that can produce certain flavors such as pineapple, lemon, or peach
  • polysaccharides for a thicker mouthfeel

Winemakers are doing nothing illegal. They don’t have to disclose how they doctor their wines, and the FDA allows 250 chemicals to exist in wine. But most wine producers also aren’t transparent about it.

For more details and a highly entertaining read, check out Cork Dork: A wine-fueled adventure among the obsessive sommeliers, big bottle hunters, and rogue scientists who taught me to live for taste by Bianca Bosker.

In addition, many winemakers add egg whites or a substance made from fish bladders to clarify their wines—an important piece of information I’m sure vegans might want to know. And, alas, many grapes are grown with pesticides, particularly those in more humid climates, such as the Bordeaux and Champagne regions.

If I can get strawberries and apples without pesticides, why shouldn’t I get chemical free wine? I mean. Geez.

So I was hugely and irrationally excited to find out about Scout & Cellar, a company founded by a corporate lawyer-turned-sommelier who found that after drinking just one glass of wine for her Somm certification, she got a headache. Why, she wondered? Her research revealed much of what I describe above: Crap in your wine. So she, Sarah – her name is –started her own company that sources grapes from producers the world over who do not use pesticides and additives – as well as produce their own labels. ALL OF THE BOTTLES have 1. Grapes 2. Less than 100ppm sulfites (most have less than 50). (350ppm of sulfites are allowed, thus most other wines have much more).

That’s it.

So far so good. But would the wine actually BE good?

Oh, yes. A big fat yes. And I don’t get wine headaches or have allergic reactions any more. Gone.

You’ve seen me gush. I will continue to do so because I love these wines. (And I don’t lie about wine). Now, you can’t buy Scout & Cellar wines for $4.99/bottle. Most sell from $17-68. But you can absolutely be sure that what you’re getting is great wine, pure and simple.  

Cheers!

Drink this NOW:

The Scout Sampler 4-Bottle Pack: How fun to grab a hold of this handle and tote four small bottles of deliciousness to your next (socially distant) BBQ?! For $32, you’ll get:

  • 2019 Conte de la Terre Vermentino (187mL)
  • 2019 Hushkeeper Pinot Gris (187mL)
  • 2019 Fieldhouse Red Blend (187 mL)
  • 2018 Middle Jane Cabernet Sauvignon (187mL)

2019 GALLIVANT ROSÉ: What I’m drinking: I shared a bottle of this with my neighbor Caroline one sultry Sunday afternoon and fell in love with this easy-drinking blend of Syrah and Zinfandel. A perfect pink wine. $22.

GALLIVANT BUBBLY ROSÉ: Or kick it up a notch with a bubbly version. Taste strawberries, grapefruit, maybe some peaches. Yum. $26.

ADELANTES ON SALE! Stock up on three of these popular Chilean wines:

The wonderful Adelante 2019 (Chile) is creamy, goes with fish and cheese, and is vegan. Lighter mouthfeel than my beloved Gallivant, with a bonus tastes of vanilla. And it’s only $15.20 right now!

Adelante’s muy delicious Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is also a steal right now at $20! One night last week when the pandemic restrictions proved too much to bare, the hubby and I sat outside in the spittin’ rain and tried this Cab for the first time. Kevin didn’t tell me what he was pouring – and I couldn’t figure out what it was! Much lighter than Cali Cabs, for sure, with tart cherries on the front, and a smooth and surprisingly light finish. You can drink this Cab in summer!

The Adelante Sauvignon Blanc is also on sale at $15.20. I haven’t tried it, but if any of you do, I’d love to know what you think. 

Go here to purchase any of these wines, and more.

My friend Sue sent me this New Yorker cartoon. I told her a good, sturdy Cab would do the trick.

Grab that Adelante Cab on sale or try the Middle Jane Reserve, an earthy and bold Cab with heft. Or if you want to go real big, the 2017 Bernhard Cab.

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Want the best deal around? The Scout Circle Wine Club is ideal if you regularly drink wine/host gatherings/gift wine. Get 4, 6, or 12 curated bottles, chosen by our CEO Sommalier, every month, every other month, or once a quarter. You choose between all whites, all reds, or mixed. Prices start at $89/four bottles. Shipping is always free, even in summer. Cancel anytime. My Scout Circle membership is how I fell in love with the company. Join here.

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Need wine assistance? I’m happy to curate a selection of wines for friends, and friends in the making. Let me know what foods and flavors you like, and I will pick you some winners. I’d also to host a tasting for you and your friends be it a special occasion, a little pre-game, or you know, Wednesday.

Have a wine emergency? By all means, reach out! I do have bottles at home😊

Contact me: carolbkaufmann@yahoo.com

OR my new addy: thechardonnaymom@gmail.com

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About me:

I’m an executive consultant for Scout & Cellar, a wine company based in Texas that sources and creates Clean-Crafted wines from small farms and family-owned vineyards. I joined the team because these wines are delicious, made responsibly without all the chemicals, pesticides, additives, and sweeteners used frequently in other mass-produced wines, and can be consumed by many who have health issues. (Please check with your doctor). I’m also a full-time author/writer/editor; wife and mom of two teenagers, three rescue cats, and a very opinionated bulldog (see below); and native Kentuckian. I love books, travel, my friends and neighbors, and current hometown of Alexandria, Virginia.